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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Review: Outstanding Customer Service and No Medical Exam Required

Review Updated
Kailey Hagen
By: Kailey Hagen

Our Insurance Expert

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This life insurer is a good fit for: Those who want excellent customer support and those interested in getting a policy without a medical exam

Northwestern Mutual

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Best overall life insurance companyNorthwestern Mutual
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5.00 stars
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Full Northwestern Mutual life insurance review


  • Excellent customer service
  • No medical exam options available
  • Dividend paying policies
  • Top-tier financial strength


  • No online quotes
  • Limited policy details online

Northwestern Mutual life insurance at a glance

  • Average costs: Contact Northwestern Mutual
  • Term life policy limits: Contact Northwestern Mutual
  • Whole life policy limits: Contact Northwestern Mutual
  • Riders/Add-ons: Accelerated Care Benefit, Additional Purchase Benefit, Early Payment Benefit, Waiver of Premium
  • Eligibility: Contact Northwestern Mutual
  • Discounts available: None
  • Other insurances offered: Universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance

Top perks

Excellent customer service

Northwestern Mutual has received high marks from J.D. Power, ranking third in its most recent U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. It also has one of the lowest complaint ratios of any life insurer, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This suggests most customers are satisfied with the quality of its service.

No medical exam options available

It is possible to get life insurance through Northwestern Mutual without completing a medical exam, though this isn't available in every case. It depends on the type of policy and how much coverage the person is interested in. Still, many other life insurers refuse to underwrite policies without a medical exam altogether.

Dividend paying policies

Northwestern Mutual whole life insurance policies pay annual dividends to its policyholders. They can use these to offset the cost of their policy's premiums, increase the policy's value, or just take it in cash if they want.

Top-tier financial strength

Northwestern Mutual has an A++ rating from AM Best. That's the highest rating the company offers, and it suggests that Northwestern Mutual is more than capable of paying out claims when necessary.

What could be improved

No online quote tool

Northwestern Mutual doesn't enable those interested in its life insurance policies to obtain a quote or purchase a policy online. Anyone who wants to know more about its rates must reach out to a representative. This can be frustrating when trying to compare quotes from several companies, but it shouldn't be a dealbreaker for most people.

Limited policy details online

Northwestern Mutual shares few details about its policy options or riders on its website. Again, it encourages prospective customers to reach out to its agents for more information. But this could be useful for those who aren't familiar with life insurance and don't know which type of coverage they need.


Northwestern Mutual offers pretty competitive rates across all its policy types. As is the case with all life insurers, smokers and older adults pay more than their non-smoking, younger counterparts. Unfortunately, Northwestern Mutual doesn't offer online quotes, so the only way to get an accurate price estimate is to contact the company.

Alternatives to consider

For those who want to purchase a policy online: State Farm offers flexible life insurance policies and enables customers to purchase them online without speaking to an agent. The company was also one of the few to best Northwestern Mutual in J.D. Power's life insurance survey. However, it's not licensed in all states.

For those who want flexible and affordable policies: Pacific Life offers a variety of term, whole, and universal life insurance policies. It also gives customers the option to customize their policies with a number of riders. But like Northwestern Mutual, it doesn't offer online quotes.

Policy options

Term life insurance

Northwestern Mutual offers four term life insurance policies. The two level-term policies -- Level 10 and Level 20 -- have locked-in rates for 10 and 20 years, respectively. But if the policyholder chooses to renew their coverage or convert it to a whole life policy, they could pay more.

There are also two annual renewable policies. The Term 10 policy is the company's most affordable option, but rates increase every year. There's also the Term 80 policy, which covers the policyholder until they reach 80 years of age. But again, rates rise every year, so this may not be the most affordable option over the long term.

Whole life insurance

Policyholders interested in protection for their entire lives should consider Northwestern Mutual's whole life insurance policies. They offer level premiums and the option to build cash value that they can later use for anything. Individuals who choose one of these policies will also receive annual dividend payments.

Universal life insurance

Universal life insurance is another type of life insurance that lasts for the policyholder's entire life. These policies are usually more affordable than whole life insurance policies and offer greater flexibility. It's possible to borrow against the cash value of this policy if need be.

Variable universal life insurance

Variable universal life insurance (VUL) is a type of universal life insurance that enables policyholders to grow their cash value more quickly by investing it in securities. It also offers the flexible premiums and death benefits common to other types of universal life insurance.


Northwestern Mutual offers the following life insurance riders:

Accelerated Care Benefit

The Accelerated Care Benefit helps policyholders cover any long-term care costs they may incur as they age.

Additional Purchase Benefit

The Additional Purchase Benefit guarantees the policyholder the right to buy additional coverage at certain ages without providing further evidence of insurability.

Early Payment Benefit

The Early Payment Benefit advances a portion of the policyholder's death benefit if they develop a terminal illness. This rider isn't available in all states.

Waiver of Premium

Those who purchase the Waiver of Premium rider won't have to worry about paying their premiums if they become disabled. Their policy will still remain in good standing.

Application process

Those interested in a Northwestern Mutual Life insurance policy must contact an agent to begin the process. The agent will help them determine how much coverage they need and which type of policy best suits them. Then, they'll give them a quote based on the information they've collected.

If the applicant chooses to proceed with the policy, they may have to complete a medical exam. Pending the results of that, their rate may change. Once they've provided this information to Northwestern Mutual, they can purchase the policy if they want.

Who is eligible for Northwestern Mutual life insurance?

Northwestern Mutual doesn't go into a lot of detail about who is eligible for its policies on its website. It's reasonable to assume you have to be at least 18 years old. Those interested in a Northwestern Mutual life insurance policy should contact an agent to learn if they qualify for one.

Customer service and ratings

Northwestern Mutual scored third in J.D. Power's most recent U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. It also has a surprisingly low complaint ratio with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This means that it's received far fewer complaints than is average for a typical insurer of its size.

This life insurer is a good choice for:

Northwestern Mutual life insurance could be a good fit for:

  • Those who put a premium on customer service
  • Those interested in getting life insurance coverage without a medical exam
  • Those who prefer to work with an agent to figure out how much coverage they need

But those interested in buying their own policy online should consider State Farm. And those looking for more flexible policies may prefer Pacific Life.

Our Insurance Expert