Guardian Life Insurance Review: A Good Resource On All Things Insurance
For the uninitiated, shopping for life insurance can be overwhelming. To get the most bang for your buck, you need to understand just how much coverage you need and then compare prices across different insurance companies – and you have to do all this while wading through all the financial jargon.
Guardian Life is a company that seems to understand this reality. Their website is a wellspring of useful guides and tools for understanding the basics of life insurance. But how does the company hold up as a life insurance provider? In this Guardian life insurance review, we take a closer look at everything the company has to offer.
What To Look For In An Insurance Provider
When we review life insurance companies, we look at five factors. These are:
Policy And Coverage
Most life insurance companies offer three types of life insurance policies – term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance.
Term life insurance is the simplest and most affordable type of policy. This is because this kind of life policy only lasts for a set duration, or a term. Beneficiaries only receive the death benefit if the policyholder passes within the term. However, if the policyholder outlives the term, no death benefit will be paid. Term durations range from 5 and 40 years.
Whereas term life insurance stands to be the most affordable of life policies, the opposite can be said for whole life insurance. In fact, whole life policies can cost five to nine times more than most term life policies. There are advantages to this type of policy though. For one, whole life is a type of permanent life insurance. This means that you get long term coverage. Secondly, whole (and universal life) policies come with an interest-earning cash value component.
Universal life insurance is similar to whole life in that it provides permanent life insurance coverage and a cash value. However, unlike whole life, universal life insurance comes with flexible premiums and death benefits – allowing policyholders to decide how much they pay for premiums as long as they meet the minimum required amount.
The different types of life insurance policies aside, be sure to look at the minimum and maximum death benefit limits and term durations offered in each policy. Since each person has different needs, there is no magic number when it comes to coverage and term. However, there are ways to calculate or the right amounts for your needs.
Ease of application, availability of online quotes, and processing time are all factors we look at when we review life insurance companies.
The average underwriting process – which usually involves medical exams and health-related questions – can take anywhere between three to eight weeks. If the policy you're applying for is guaranteed issue, meaning medical exams/questions are not required to qualify, the application process can take three days to one week.
Factors like your health, age, gender, and lifestyle can all affect the price of your premiums. This is because insurance providers want to minimize risks. And the older, unhealthier, and more often you engage in risky behavior, the more likely you are to pose greater risks to the insurance company. In fact, Forbes states that premiums can increase three to five percent for each year you age. This is why we recommend everyone to get life insurance while they are young.
Note that the amount of coverage you need for the duration you desire will also influence the cost of your premiums.
Because insurance lasts for years (or even a lifetime for some), one of the most important things to look for from your life insurance options is good service. After all, you don't want to spend decades tied to a company that doesn't show up or provide enough information at crucial moments.
To determine the quality of a company's customer service, we like to look at the availability of hotlines and consultants, along with customer satisfaction ratings on sites like TrustPilot, Better Business Bureau, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Financial Strength Ratings
Finally, don't forget to look at a company's financial strength, or their ability to honor claims. We refer to three agency ratings for this – A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s.
Guardian Life Insurance
The Guardian Life Insurance Company was founded in 1860 and has been in operation for more than 160 years. Today, the New York based company claims to serve around 29 million each day, with over 2,700 financial representatives employed.
As a mutual company, Guardian is owned not by shareholders, but by policyholders, who have the opportunity to earn dividends from the company. Though dividend payments are not guaranteed, note that Guardian has been making payments to their customers every year since 1896. Guardian Life also makes contributions to marginalized communities with projects like the Accessibility Empathy Lab, which allow tech developers and designers understand the needs of disabled users.
Apart from life insurance, Guardian also offers disability insurance, health insurance, annuities, IRAs, and investments.
Guardian Life offers three types of life insurance – term, whole, and universal life insurance. Unfortunately, there is very little information on the specifics of each type of insurance. Here is the basic information we were able to gather on their plans:
Term Life Insurance
Guardian Life offers term life insurance in 10, 15, 20, and 30-year durations, with death benefit coverage ranging between $250,000 to $5 million. Their term life policy is available to anyone from18 to 75 years of age, and provides coverage until the age of 85. You can renew your policy till the age of 95.
Guardian's term life insurance policy is also automatically convertible to whole life during the first five years of the policy. The company waives additional medical exam and application fee requirements if you convert your policy within the limit.
Finally, Guardian offers the option to add a waiver of premium rider, which allows policyholders to hold off their premiums for a certain duration in the event that they become seriously ill or disabled.
Whole Life Insurance
At Guardian, a whole life policy comes with permanent coverage, a guaranteed death benefit, and a cash value which policyholders can borrow against during their lifetime.
A Guardian whole life policy provides coverage of up to $5 million and the possibility of earning annual dividends (based on the company's financial performance). Premiums for their whole life policy also remain fixed, meaning that monthly or annual fees never go up. There is also an option to choose a limited payment scheme, which allows policyholders to complete their premium payments over the course of a set duration. This is a good option for those who don't want to be paying premiums well into their retirement.
Universal Life Insurance
Guardian's universal life insurance product provides a death benefit and a cash value from the day. Much like with their whole life policy, customers can borrow against their policies and even use the money to pay for premiums. Unlike with the whole life policy, universal life policyholders get adjustable premiums and death benefits.
Guardian's universal insurance products do not pay dividends, however, the interest rate is tied to the company's general account assets. This means that policyholders are guaranteed not lower than 2.5 percent interest annually.
Guardian life also offers survivorship life insurance, which gives surviving spouses the option to access the cash value when the first spouse passes away.
You can only request for online quotes for Guardian’s term life policy. For this part, you need to provide the following:
If you wish to continue your application, you must then provide your full name, zip code, and contact details. Once you've submitted your information, you'll be contacted by a Guardian employee.
For whole and universal life insurance policies, you can enter your zip code here and find a financial representative near you.
Guardian does not provide specific information about medical exam requirements and the underwriting process, so it's best to get in touch with a financial representative to learn more.
As mentioned, you can only get online quotes for Guardian's term life insurance policy. For a healthy, 25-year-old male non-smoker, the average price for $250,000 worth of coverage for 20 years is $20 a month.
The average monthly premium price for this profile is about $17.08, meaning that Guardian's rates are slightly higher than others in the industry.
Guardian has a robust library of information on all things life insurance, from comprehensive guides on the different types of policies to online tools for calculating your needs. Guardian also boasts a roster of over 2,700 financial representatives across the country, meaning that you're likely to find someone who can help you understand everything the company has to offer no matter where you live. And while the company has the standard customer support hotline, it also has a secure channel for consumers looking to send private information securely.
When it comes to customer satisfaction and user experience, Guardian holds some pretty impressive ratings: The Better Business Bureau gives Guardian an A+ rating, while the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows that the company has a 0.10 score on its complaint index. The complaint index is a measure of the amount of times a company has received complaints from consumers. The national average is 1.00, so a lower score indicates that a company received fewer complaints than the average insurance provider.
Financial Strength Ratings
A.M. Best rating: A++
Better Business Bureau rating: A+
Standard & Poor's rating: AA+
Moody’s rating: Aa2
The website has a lot of resources on financial matters: Guardian makes it easy for anyone to understand the basics of life insurance. In that regard, shopping for insurance through Guardian life is also an enriching learning experience.
High coverage limits: Every insurance company has its own minimum and maximum coverage limits. Compared to other life insurers, Guardian offers a relatively large range of coverage, with a minimum of $250,000 and a maximum of $5 million.
Provides the opportunity to earn dividends: Whole life insurance policyholders are given the chance to earn dividends, allowing for greater returns.
Good service and financial ratings: Despite the lack of information on policies online, Guardian has decent customer service, customer satisfaction, and financial strength ratings, meaning that the company's insurance and customer service agents do a good job of answering questions and keeping clients informed on procedures and other important information.
Limited policy information online: Unfortunately, if you're looking for specific information on a policy, Guardian doesn't provide much online. You'll have to contact a Guardian representative to discuss which insurance products could be made available to you. This can be a big turn off to consumers who want to weigh their options first before speaking to any one insurance company.
No guaranteed issue policy: As far as we know, Guardian life does not offer any guaranteed issue insurance plans. This means that all applicants must undergo the full underwriting process, medical exam and all.
The Bottom Line
The Guardian Life Insurance Company offers a wealth of information for those who are just getting started. If you're looking for a place to better understand and weigh your life insurance options, Guardian has a lot of resources and tools to help you out. However, despite having all this information online, Guardian doesn't provide a lot of useful information on their actual policies. If you want to understand a specific life insurance policy, you'll have to talk to a representative.
If you don't think Guardian is the best life insurance provider for you, don't fret. We at Wesley LLC are dedicated to helping our customers find the perfect fit. Contact us to learn more about how we can find the best company and policy options for your needs.