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If you're in the market for life insurance and you're wondering which companies have been around for a while, you might stumble across Life Insurance. Initially founded in 1859 as Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, this provider has over 150 years of experience in life insurance and other investment products. It ultimately rebranded under the sole name of "Equitable" in 2020 and operates under this same name today.
On the plus side, 150 years in the industry indicates Equitable may be more stable than companies that have been around for five to ten years. Equitable's A rating with AM Best also supports the idea that the company will be around for the foreseeable future.
When discussing a life insurance policy that might pay out in 20+ years, longevity is crucial to building trust between the consumer and the company. Financial stability is one factor in shopping for the best life insurance company to meet your needs.
Currently, Equitable offers a range of employee benefits and retirement plans in addition to life insurance. Life insurance products offered by the company include term life, variable universal life insurance, and indexed universal life insurance.
If you're considering term or permanent life insurance and wondering if Equitable may be the right provider for your needs, read on to learn more about the policies they offer, available riders, and the average cost of life insurance.
Life insurance plans from Equitable
Life Insurance offers both term and permanent life insurance coverage options. This means you can purchase life insurance that only lasts for a certain number of years or a policy that provides a lifetime death benefit. If you choose a term policy upfront, you can also discuss conversion options with a licensed life insurance agent.
Its term policies are relatively cut and dry. Buyers pay for a set death benefit in the event of their unexpected passing. If the buyer lives beyond the set term, they can discuss conversion or allow the policy to lapse.
Its permanent life insurance options are a little more diverse. Buyers can build cash value to borrow against for various purposes throughout their lifetime. Some life insurance options from Equitable also offer premiums that can be adjusted over time based on your changing needs. The three plans break down as follows:
Types of life insurance
Builds cash value
Term life insurance
Variable universal life insurance
Indexed Universal life insurance
What else should you know about Equitable's life insurance options?
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is limited to a specific term ranging from one to 20 years with Equitable. Life insurers offer artificially low monthly premiums upfront. If and when you convert to a permanent policy, you would renegotiate the monthly premiums, and your death benefit would drop. However, if you died during the preset term, your beneficiaries would enjoy a higher payout given your monthly premiums.
Customers who choose term coverage pay their premiums for the entire policy term. At that point, coverage is suspended, and premiums are no longer due. Buyers pay for a permanent policy up to an agreed-upon point. Then it's available until you take out a loan, take early withdrawals, or pass on, depending on the terms of your policy.
If you're solely looking at the monthly premium, term life insurance may seem more affordable. However, even without accounting for the lapse in coverage once the term ends, buyers spend more on a term policy than a whole life insurance or permanent universal life policy. In addition, once you convert your policy, monthly premiums will also be higher with the term coverage.
A unique term policy offered by Equitable is called the Equitable Term-in-10. It promises easy term coverage with no medical exam required and an application process that takes ten minutes or less. This type of coverage can provide a death benefit worth up to $1 million upon approval.
However, we caution against taking the ease of application for granted. The concept of "you get what you pay for" also applies to the time you spend buying a life insurance product. The application process is more straightforward, but it comes with other costs.
- Term policies can be converted to permanent life insurance policies for qualified buyers.
- Some plans don't require a medical exam to qualify, though underwriters may use medical history.
- Initial monthly premiums may be lower than a comparable whole life insurance policy.
Variable universal life insurance
Equitable also offers a type of permanent life insurance known as variable universal life. This coverage provides tax-deferred growth and a lifetime death benefit, and it can build cash value you can borrow against later in life. The appeal for many consumers is that you can continue contributing to the policy and increase your death benefit or available funds for retirement, medical bills, and more.
It also offers the flexibility to adjust premiums when life changes. Specific terms around a lapse in payment due to layoffs, financial losses, etc., should be discussed with a licensed life insurance agent familiar with Equitable.
As you make payments toward a variable universal life insurance policy, the company invests the money in various ways. The investments come with a higher risk profile, so a young buyer typically purchases this policy to be adjusted over time. However, aggressive investments also create more significant returns overall. Individual Equitable variable universal life insurance policies can be broken down as follows.
- Equitable Advantage Max promises tax-deferred growth, the potential for tax-free income, and a death benefit beneficiaries can access without paying income taxes. Buyers should discuss specific situations with a licensed tax professional.
- VUL Optimizer® offers cash value accumulation through "customized, professionally-managed investment portfolios" with a wide range of investment options included.
- VUL Legacy® from Equitable allows consumers to put their premiums to work with various "market-sensitive" investment options.
Indexed universal life insurance
Indexed universal life insurance is similar to variable universal life in that part of the premiums are automatically invested. However, this type of life insurance also builds cash value, and the universal component allows you to tailor your premiums (the amount you pay) to your financial situation over time.
For many buyers, this could be the difference in keeping a life insurance policy open during hard times. It also allows for continual growth as long as you're making monthly payments, unlike a whole policy limited to a predetermined death benefit/balance.
The main difference is that, with indexed universal life insurance, your funds are invested in an index-linked vehicle. So your returns mimic the performance of said index up to a cap. That said, indexed universal life insurance from Equitable also comes with downside protection. So when the index shows a negative return, policyholders are protected against loss.
The primary indexed universal life insurance policy Equitable offers is called BrightLife® Grow.
Additional coverage options from Equitable
Life Insurance's term, variable universal, and indexed universal policies have specific presets. For example, term policies expire, while universal policies last a lifetime. However, it also offers several popular riders to customize policies to fit individual needs. It's worth noting that buyers cannot customize all Equitable plans with specific riders.
So potential customers should reach out to an Equitable agent to explore options and find a policy that fits their needs.
The following insurance riders can customize certain Equitable life insurance plans based on availability:
- Cash value plus rider: This rider increases the available cash value on some permanent policies by reducing the surrender charge. According to Equitable, the protections could include partial refunds on other policy deductions.
- Charitable legacy rider: This rider lets you provide additional life insurance coverage for up to two qualified charities.
- Children's term rider: This rider allows the insured to add term life insurance coverage for underage dependents. Dependents can convert their policy to permanent life insurance coverage once they reach adulthood. Minors reaching adulthood can also buy life insurance not connected to the original policy at that time.
- Disability premium waiver rider: This insurance rider provides an automatic waiver of life insurance premiums when the insured becomes fully disabled. Coverage kicks in after the traditional waiting period. Other conditions may apply, and we recommend talking to a licensed agent familiar with Equitable.
- Living benefits rider: This life insurance rider (also called an accelerated death benefit) allows the insured to access all or part of their death benefit if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than 12 months to live. This money could pay for living expenses, medical bills, and other expenses before the policyholder passes away.
- Long-term care services rider: This rider lets you customize some permanent life insurance options from Equitable with an accelerated death benefit you can use toward long-term care expenses. This would be applicable in the cases of accidents or illnesses that are not necessarily deadly but prevent the policyholder from working, caring for themselves, etc.
- Return of premium death benefit rider: This rider ensures beneficiaries of the policy receive an additional death benefit equal to a set percentage of the premiums paid.
How much does life insurance from Equitable cost?
Many factors control how much you'll pay for life insurance from Life Insurance, including the type of life insurance you want. Other factors that impact the cost of your policy include:
- Death benefit
- Additional riders
The Equitable Term-in-10 policy promises term life insurance coverage with no medical exam required with an application process that takes 10 minutes or less. However, all policies have to be quoted by an Equitable agent. In some ways, this is good as it allows the buyer to ask questions and get answers to questions they might not otherwise know to ask.
Even among financially savvy people, life insurance often needs to be clarified. A qualified professional guiding you through the process could help you avoid confusion and mishaps. However, buyers looking for an online experience may not get what they want with Equitable. It also makes it harder for buyers to compare pricing with other companies before starting a formal application.
With that in mind, some average costs apply to all types of life insurance coverage. As an example, a 30-year-old male in excellent health may be able to purchase $250,000 in term life insurance that lasts 30 years for as little as $276 per year (or $23 per month). Meanwhile, a 40-year-old female in excellent health may pay $372 per year ($31 per month) for $250,000 in term coverage that lasts for 30 years.
Getting an online quote for permanent life insurance is relatively rare. However, most online quotes still leave room for change. So it would be best if you spoke with a qualified life insurance agent to get accurate pricing and ensure you include all the coverage you want.
Also, permanent life insurance's monthly premiums may be higher early on. But buyers pay less overall for permanent life insurance compared to similar term policies. This cost difference is especially stark if the policy is not used in the original term. Regardless, permanent life insurance has advantages like a lifetime death benefit and cash value accumulation.
How do I file claims with Equitable?
Life Insurance policies are quoted exclusively by licensed life insurance professionals. However, the claims process is largely self-managed. Customers with an Equitable life insurance claim can call the company to file a claim at (800) 777-6510 or online.
Equitable also combines all applicable life insurance claims forms you might need onto one page of its website. Regardless of where you file your Equitable claim, you'll need to have the following documentation and forms:
- Completed death claim form
(Required for all beneficiaries listed on the policy)
- Copy of the original life insurance policy (if available)
- Certified copy of death certificate
- Additional death claim forms that can apply
We also recommend having the policyholder's name, date of birth, and social security number on hand. Once you have filed a life insurance claim with the company, you'll need to send the required documentation to one of the addresses below.
PO Box 1047
Charlotte, NC 28201-1047
National Operations Center
8501 IBM Drive, Suite 150
Charlotte, NC 28262
Who are the ideal customers for Equitable?
Because Life Insurance requires applicants to work with an agent to purchase its policies, it isn't the best option for people who only want cheap term coverage with online quoting. Equitable term policies also last up to 20 years, whereas some companies offer term life insurance for up to 40 years.
With that in mind, Equitable is not the right company if you want term coverage that lasts as long as possible. However, customers may get more support in buying Equitable's term policies. Its universal life insurance policies also have riders making it a cost-effective option for buyers who want a modest permanent life insurance policy.
Also, note that Equitable does not offer whole life insurance. So individuals who want this type of coverage will need to look elsewhere.
Equity's promise of an "agent experience" can be a significant plus. Buyers who need more clarification about life insurance can ask questions and get an expert opinion. In addition, buyers can dispel misinformation they didn't know they were victims of.
Compare Equitable vs. Colonial Penn
Colonial Penn promises permanent life insurance options that start at just $9.95 per month. In addition, its guaranteed acceptance policies don't require a medical exam as long as you're within certain age limits. For senior buyers who meet the requirements, Colonial Penn offers a quick and easy option for funeral costs coverage.
Buyers can complete quotes online, but unlike Equitable, buyers may struggle to connect with a life insurance professional to answer their questions. Both Life Insurance and Colonial Penn have A ratings with AM Best.
However, Colonial Penn does not offer universal or term life insurance options. Conversely, Equitable does not provide whole life insurance. Both companies offer budget-friendly options. Neither offers more comprehensive policies that could be used for wealth-building and retirement planning.
Compare Equitable vs. Gerber life insurance
Gerber life insurance is another company to consider if you're looking for policies for all ages. Gerber's main claim to fame is that it doubles the value of life insurance policies on minors once they reach age 18. However, death benefits for children are relatively low.
Gerber offers term life insurance coverage, whole life insurance, and an adult accident-based policy. Seniors may also be eligible for guaranteed coverage with no medical exams on funeral cost life insurance. Gerber's life insurance plans list is more diverse than Life Insurance's, and it offers plans geared explicitly towards parents buying plans that will follow children into adulthood.
But both companies seem to apply similar death benefit limits. Neither company provides strong life insurance plans if you're looking for higher limits, financial planning options, etc.
Compare Equitable vs. Protective Life
Protective Life is another life insurance provider operating for over 100 years. This company also offers a range of life insurance policies, including term life insurance, indexed universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance, and whole life insurance. Life Insurance offers the same plans minus whole. Both companies also offer comparable insurance riders to customize and enhance coverage.
Protective Life makes it possible to get life insurance quotes for its term policies online. It also offers tools to help you determine how much coverage you need and the type of policy you should buy.
So Protective may appeal more to the tech-savvy buyer. But, especially if you're purchasing life insurance for the first time, we recommend consulting with a licensed life insurance agent.
To write a comprehensive review of Life Insurance, we compared the company's life insurance policies with similar policies from a wide range of life insurance providers. We analyzed individual policies based on unique details, benefits, and drawbacks. We only rank companies based on facts gathered.
We rely on the company websites to break down the coverage offered, which can then be compared to other companies. Customer service ratings, financial stability, pricing, and support provided are variables in our decision.
While Business Insider offers a comprehensive overview of the life insurance options offered by different companies, working with a professional life insurance agent can also help you find the appropriate coverage for your family's needs and goals.
What is Equitable Life's company name?
Life Insurance was founded as the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and used the name AXA Equitable until 2020. The company now goes by "Equitable."
How do you contact Equitable?
Consumers can reach Equitable's customer support center at (800) 777-6510 Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Does Equitable sell annuities?
Equitable sells or facilitates various retirement plans and products, including annuities.
Is Equitable a trustworthy company?
Equitable is a trustworthy financial firm with an A rating for financial strength from AM Best, an A1 rating from Moody's, and an A + rating from Standard & Poor's.
How long has Equitable been in business?
Initially founded in 1859, Equitable has been in business for over 150 years.