SBLI Life Insurance Review

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    BLI Life Insurance Review: Where To Find Blended Insurance Policies And Accelerated Underwriting

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    With the option to blend insurance policies, accelerated underwriting for certain groups, and an online tool for the safekeeping of estate plans, final wishes, and other important documents, SBLI is an insurance company that stands out for its customer-first ethos. In this review, we take a look at all the features that make SBLI a promising option for insurance.

    What To Look For In An Insurance Provider

    These are the five factors we always consider when conducting a life insurance review:

    Policy And Coverage

    Life insurance companies offer a variety of insurance policies depending on their area of focus. It's important to know what kind of insurance policy you need before you go insurance shopping. 

    Here are the three most common types:

    • Term life insurance: Term life insurance is considered the simplest and cheapest form of life insurance. This type of life insurance policy provides short-term protection, usually ranging from five to 40 years. Some companies offer one-year policies, too. 
    • Whole life insurance: In contrast to term insurance, whole life provides lifetime protection plus a cash value component that can build interest over time. As such, whole life insurance can cost five to nine times more than term life.
    • Universal life insurance: This type of insurance is similar to whole life in that it provides lifetime insurance coverage and a cash value that policyholders can invest in. However, it also comes with the added bonus of flexible premiums and death benefits.

    Aside from the variety of life insurance policies offered at a company, we also look at term durations, issue ages, and minimum and maximum coverage limits.

    Price Range

    Life insurance rates vary per person, depending on one's age, health, lifestyle, and even gender. This is because insurance companies are always looking to minimize risks. So the older, unhealthier, and more likely you are to engage in risky behaviors, the more expensive you can expect your life insurance quotes to be.

    Do keep in mind, however, that each life insurance company has its own criteria for determining premium rates and quotes. Some companies may be more accommodating to seniors or those with certain health complications than others.

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    Application

    Applying for insurance can be a frustrating task. On average, the entire process can take anywhere between three to eight weeks – during this time, you’ll have to go through a phone interview, health questionnaire, and medical exam to qualify for coverage.

    Some life insurance companies offer accelerated underwriting to speed up the process, but this provision usually applies to applicants who are young, healthy, and only need a minimal amount of coverage. 

    You may also be able to find guaranteed issue insurance, which provides instant acceptance regardless of your health record. It’s important to note, however, that this is often considerably more expensive than the usual policy.

    Customer Service

    When you buy life insurance, you're making a long-term commitment, whether for five years, 40 years, or your whole lifetime. This is why it's imperative you choose a life insurance company that can show up when you need them the most.

    To get a better picture of a company's customer service, we don't just look at available hotlines, support channels, and online portals, we also check out ratings from agencies like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the National Association for Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). 

    The former, according to its website, rates companies based on "information it can obtain about a business" and "complaints received from the public". NAIC, on the other hand, keeps a record of consumer complaints and provides a ratio based on these. You can then compare how a company fares to the national average, which is a base score of 1.00. 

    Financial Strength Ratings

    Financial ratings are ratings given by third-party agencies like A.M. Best, Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and the like. These ratings are determined by things like an insurance company's ability to honor claims and their projected financial performance.

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    SBLI Life Insurance Review

    Savings Bank Life Insurance (SBLI) was founded in 1907 by former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis. The lawyer founded the company with a mission to provide families "a low-cost, trustworthy alternative to traditional life insurance". Today, SBLI still shares that belief and focuses on making the process of buying insurance "accessible, affordable, and reliable for all who need it".

    The mutual company has protected over 1 million families since its founding.

    Products And Services

    These are the life insurance policies and riders offered at SBLI:

    SBLI Term Life Insurance

    SBLI's term life insurance comes with level premiums and a choice of 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year term durations. The minimum death benefit is $100,000, while the maximum is $20 million.

    One of the outstanding things about SBLI life insurance is the accelerated underwriting program, which allows those between the ages of 18 to 60 to get coverage lower than or equal to $750,000 without the need for a medical exam.

    SBLI term life insurance is also convertible to permanent life insurance without the need for additional medical requirements.

    SmartTerm 360

    In your early adulthood, you're more likely to be faced with more financial responsibilities, from mortgages to childcare, to education. But as you and your children grow older, your responsibilities slowly lessen. Children eventually become independent and mortgages reach their end. And while life insurance is there to help cover these costs should your life be cut short, a poorly planned long-term policy can lead you to pay more than you should for life insurance.

    SBLI provides a solution with SmartTerm 360. This cost-efficient solution allows you to pay only for the insurance you need and save up to 30 to 50 percent more than you would normally spend on a standard term life policy. This comes with decreasing premiums, which, in contrast to graded premiums that increase over time, lower in price as you get older.

    For example, if you get a 30-year term with $1.5 million worth of coverage, you would have to pay $89 a year for the first 10 months. Your premium would decrease to $70 for the next 10 to 20 years, and $43 for years 20 to 30.

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    One Year Non-renewable Term Life Insurance Policy

    Whether you're waiting for estate matters to be solved or you're a small-business owner who needs protection while you pay off a year-long loan, you may only need coverage for a short amount of time. SBLI life insurance offers one-year non-renewable coverage for this need.

    This SBLI policy is available to those between the ages of 18 and 90. It is convertible to permanent life insurance without the need for additional medical exams or questions.

    SBLI Whole Life Insurance

    SBLI's whole life insurance policy provides policyholders with lifelong protection and a cash value component that can earn interest over time. Premiums remain level for the lifetime of the policyholder, meaning that the policy won’t expire as long as the account holder pays their premiums. You can also take a loan against your cash value.

    Apart from these standard features, SBLI offers a unique twist when it comes to whole life: the opportunity to blend insurance products. With SBLI Flex, policyholders can opt to add a term rider lasting 10 to 30 years to their permanent policies, with premiums guaranteed to remain level. 

    With SBLI LifePace, policyholders can opt to either get 10 to 30 years’ worth of coverage with a term life rider, or get a 30-year cash-out term life insurance rider. The latter option allows you to get your money back for all premiums paid after 30 years.

    Cherish Life Final Expense Life Insurance

    When a loved one passes, not only is it a fraught time for their family emotionally, but it can also be a huge blow to their finances. Final expenses such as funeral services, casket and urn costs, and outstanding medical bills can cost thousands of dollars. This is why some people opt to buy final expense insurance.

    With its Cherish Life policy, SBLI offers $2,000 to $35,000 worth of coverage to those aged 50 to 80 years old. Coverage never expires and premiums remain level until the insured's death. Plus, all applicants get an Instant Decision, meaning that the application process is speedier than the run-of-the-mill life policy.

    SBLI’s Cherish Life also comes with a free lifetime subscription to LegacyShield's Mission Control, an online tool that can help policyholders organize and maintain documents, photos, and other personal information.

    Legacy Shield

    SBLI LegacyShield's Mission Control does not provide life insurance coverage. Instead, this product allows policyholders to consolidate documents, final wishes, family photos, and videos into an online dashboard for safekeeping and easy access. Anything from financial accounts to one's will and power of attorney can be stored here. LegacyShield's Mission Control is available to all Savings Bank Life Insurance customers.

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    Life Insurance Riders

    SBLI offers the following riders:

    • Accelerated Death Benefit: This SBLI rider pays up to $250,000 if you are diagnosed with a fatal illness with less than 12 months to live. The accelerated death benefit rider is automatically included in SBLI life insurance products at no additional premium charge.
    • Child Rider: This covers all children between the ages of 15 days and 23 years. When the covered beneficiary reaches the right age, the rider can be converted to a permanent policy for up to five times the face amount of the rider. This is available for whole and term insurance.
    • Accidental Death Benefit Rider: With this rider, SBLI beneficiaries are paid the rider’s face amount if the insured dies due to an accident within 180 days of the accident. This is available for whole and term policies.
    • Waiver of Premium: This rider allows premium payments to be waived for a certain amount of time if the insured becomes disabled and unable to work. This is available for whole and term insurance.
    • Guaranteed Purchase Option: This rider allows policyholders to purchase more coverage when facing a life event such as a marriage, childbirth, etc. with no need for an additional medical exam or health questionnaire. This is available for SBLI's permanent policy.
    • Single-Pay Paid Up Additions: This allows policyholders to make one additional cash deposit upon policy issue. This can be used to increase the death benefit and cash value from the onset.
    • Term Rider: Also known as a Guaranteed Level Premium Term Rider, this rider can be appended to a permanent policy to give additional term coverage for a range of 10 to 30 years. Premiums are guaranteed to not increase during the selected period until age 85.
    • Cash-Out Term: This rider can be added to a whole life policy to provide the insured with affordable term coverage. It can also be surrendered for a full or partial refund.
    • Value-Added Benefit: This rider provides policyholders with access to services, apps, online subs, tolls, and programs designed for managing one's health, wellness, and financial needs.

    Price Range

    If you're considerably young and looking for an affordable life insurance company, SBLI may be the one for you. Their rates tend to be lower-than-average for younger applicants but reach close to or higher than the industry average for seniors.

    When we requested a life insurance quote for a male non-smoker for a 20-year term with coverage worth $500,000, we got quotes of $25 for those in their 20s and $168 for those in their 50s. This is compared to the industry average of $28 and $150 respectively.

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    Application Process

    Applicants can get online quotes for SBLI's term life policies. For the company’s permanent policy options, you'll have to contact an insurance agent.

    One of the best things about SBLI is their accelerated underwriting program, which allows anyone under 60 applying for $750,000 or less of coverage to qualify without the need for a medical exam. According to the SBLI website, decisions can be made within a week of applying.

    Customer Service

    SBLI's customer service experience is on the satisfactory side. They have a hotline open from Mondays through Fridays, 8 am to 4 pm. 

    In-person appointments are currently not allowed, however, due to social distancing guidelines enforced in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, customers have an online channel in which they can report claims, make payments, download forms, and the like.

    When it comes to customer feedback, reviews show that the company is one to be trusted. They have a 4.3/5 star rating on review site TrustPilot with a 68 percent Excellent rating. Though their BBB rating is middling at 3.89/5 stars, their NAIC complaint index shows they have far fewer complaints than the national average with a score of 0.84.

    Financial Strength Ratings

    • A.M. Best rating: A
    • Better Business Bureau rating: A+
    • Standard & Poor's rating: A-
    • Moody’s rating: N/A

    Pros

    • Provides an option to combine whole and term life insurance: By allowing customers to combine life policies, they can employ the ladder strategy – a technique that allows policyholders to only pay for the coverage that they need.
    • Option to skip the medical exam: In certain instances, policyholders have the chance to skip the medical exam and get their policies approved much faster than average.
    • LegacyShield: This online tool is an excellent organizational resource for keeping important documents neat and tidy for when the time comes.

    Cons

    • No universal life policies: If you're looking to grow your money through investments, SBLI may not be the insurance company you're looking for.

    The Bottom Line

    Affordable premiums, flexible policies, and the opportunity to hasten the underwriting process – these are all excellent traits that make SBLI one of the best life insurance options out there.

    Looking for something else? Head on over to Wesley LLC's website for more life insurance company reviews, finance 101 guides, calculator tools, and the like.

    Written By Cameron McDowell
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