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ByMaggie Overholt Contributor

Maggie is a former senior content strategist at Reviews. She’s covered everything from smart hubs and stand mixers to home insurance and mortgages.

Transamerica Life Insurance Review

The Transamerica Life Insurance Company provides policies that are both well-rounded and flexible, while still pulling consistently low premiums in our quote comparisons — which is why we awarded it "most affordable policies" in our review of the best term life insurance.

In terms of policy options, we love that Transamerica offers term life coverage ranging from 10 to 30 years in length and from $25,000 to $10 million in death benefits. This is a wider range than most companies on both counts. Since term life insurance is meant to provide affordable coverage as long as you need it (and no longer), Transamerica’s flexibility is key.

Transamerica has the credentials to back up its offerings, too. The company earned top financial strength scores from three separate ratings agencies, meaning it can be counted on to pay out if you need to file a claim. The only place Transamerica falls a little short is in customer service, polling below average in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey. That may be something to look out for if excellent support is high on your list of must-haves.

The Claim

The Transamerica Life Insurance Company emphasizes their highly individual nature of life insurancee, claiming to offer a “range of flexible products to suit your personal needs.”

Is it true?

Yes.

It’s true that Transamerica’s term life insurance is singularly flexible. It offers an impressive range of death benefits and term length options, so most people will be able to find a policy that fits their needs and their budget. The company also has a good selection of policy add-ons, like an accelerated death benefit, disability coverage, and the option to purchase long-term care insurance. This means you’ll be able to bolster your life insurance wherever you need extra protection. This flexibility also extends to the company’s permanent products, with individual whole life insurance policies going up to $3 million.

However, we don’t recommend Transamerica if you’re looking for a universal life policy. Its universal option — Transamerica Financial Fund Indexed Universal Life (FFIUL) — has been controversial in recent years, even being sued for upping prices on active policies.

Don’t let that turn you off on the Transamerica Life Insurance company as a whole, though. Transamerica has a positive reputation for offering sound, affordable term life policies. Of course, prices are individual, so we recommend getting multiple quotes before buying. But if you’re thinking term insurance, then Transamerica insurance should make the list.


Transamerica

Product Overview

Best for

Affordable term life insurance

Not for

Whole or universal life insurance

Features

States served 50*
Financial strength ratings A.M. Best: A+

Moody’s: A1

S&P Global: AA-
J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Life Insurance Study score 751/1,000
Insurance types offered Term, whole, universal
Term lengths offered 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Standout coverage Guaranteed level premiums for term insurance

Accelerated death benefit

Disability waiver of premium

Accidental death insurance

Long term care insurance
Customer tools Online quotes for term insurance

Community financial forum and blog

*Trendsetter LB term life policy not available in New York

Flexible term life policies

The goal of term life insurance is to provide coverage during the most critical financial periods of your life: for instance, while you have a mortgage out on the house or while you’re paying your kids’ way through college. The best term life policies can be tailored to your unique situation — so you’re protected during these important times without paying for more coverage than you need. This is where Transamerica insurance excels.

Transamerica term life policies start at a death benefit of just $25,000: one of the lowest entry points we’ve seen. That gives customers the opportunity to purchase a small-size, super-affordable policy. The company also offers terms from 10 to 30 years in five-year increments. It even has a 25-year term, which some companies with similar options (like TIAA Life) skip over. Most people will be able to find the right term for their needs with Transamerica.

Well-rounded coverage selection

After choosing the right type of life insurance and the right term length (if applicable), you’ll have the option to customize your policy through add-ons or “riders.” Transamerica insurance has a good selection in this department. Most importantly, it offers an accelerated death benefit rider, which lets the insured access funds during life to cover bills for a critical illness.

Other highlights include a disability waiver of premium rider, which forgives future payments if the insured is injured and can no longer work, and an accidental death rider, which may pay as much as 200% of the death benefit if the insured dies of accidental causes. If you’re considering a Transamerica insurance policy, be sure to speak with an agent about available rider options that may benefit you.

Generally affordable for term insurance

The larger your death benefit, the larger your premium. That means that Transamerica’s low bar for entry — term insurance starting with a death benefit of $25,000 — allows it to offer some of the cheapest policies on the market by default. Even for a larger policy, though, Transamerica’s prices are likely to be competitive. After comparing a few companies’ premiums for different scenarios (by age, gender, and health) we were impressed with Transamerica’s low cost — beginning at just under $11 per month.

Long-term care insurance available

Although Transamerica doesn’t offer long-term care as a life insurance add-on (some providers do), the company does sell it as a separate policy. Long-term care coverage can be incredibly valuable down the road. It may save family members from paying huge medical bills out of pocket, allowing them to take care of their loved ones in the best way possible. If you’re looking for both term insurance and longer-term medical care coverage, Transamerica may be a good choice for keeping both policies under one roof.

Possible drawbacks

Average customer service

The Transamerica Life Insurance company’s reputation for customer service is strictly mediocre. In J.D. Power’s 2018 customer survey, the company was rated near the bottom of the list with a below-average score of two out of five. If excellent support is a big selling point for you, you may be better off with a company like State Farm (which has earned J.D. Power’s gold award five years running).

However, this isn't a guarantee that your individual experience will be bad. We still recommend grabbing a quote from Transamerica when shopping around and seeing how the price and customer service stacks up for your individual circumstances.

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The Competition

  Transamerica TIAA Life New York Life State Farm
Our review Our review Our review
Term life
Whole life
Universal life
Term life coverage starts at
$25,000 $100,000 $100,000 $50,000
Whole life coverage starts at
$2,000 N/A $50,000 $100,000
Term lengths (years)
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 10, 15, 20, 30 10-20 10, 20, 30
Guaranteed level premiums
Accelerated death benefit
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

Transamerica Life Insurance Company vs. TIAA Life

TIAA Life and Transamerica run pretty neck-and-neck for term life insurance. They both nailed all the major criteria we look for in great coverage, including level premiums, renewable and convertible policies, and a wide selection of policy riders. However, TIAA may have a slight edge when it comes to price. It rang in a few dollars cheaper than Transamerica insurance policies we looked at in almost every scenario we tested.

It’s important to keep in mind that life insurance prices are highly personal, though. Since cost is dependent on your age, health, family history, and other factors, it’s impossible to say which company will be cheapest for you until you’ve compared quotes. We’d recommend checking prices at both TIAA and Transamerica to see who can offer the best deal on your coverage.

Transamerica Life Insurance Company vs. New York Life

While Transamerica is one of our top picks for term life insurance, New York Life is one of our favorites for whole life. This is one of our top providers across the board, for whole and universal policies as well as term.

When it comes to whole life coverage, we appreciate that New York Life offers an incredible range of death benefits. You can purchase a policy starting at $50,000 or ending in the tens of millions — meaning there’s almost no limit to its capacity as a savings or inheritance channel. (Unless you’re Jeff Bezos. But you’re probably not.) New York Life also offers especially flexible guaranteed universal life policies, which makes it one of our favorite life insurance companies for seniors. Start your search here if you’re set on permanent coverage.

Transamerica Life Insurance Company vs. State Farm

One of the drawbacks we noted about Transamerica was its customer service: not awful, but not outstanding, according to the company's policyholders. If you’re someone who puts a lot of stock in customer service, you may be better off purchasing coverage elsewhere. We recommend State Farm. This company lives up to its reputation of being “like a good neighbor” and its newer pledge to be “here to help life go right”: as of 2018, it’s taken home J.D. Power’s gold award for customer satisfaction five years in a row.

That said, there may be a minor trade-off between service quality and price. Our quote comparisons showed higher premiums from State Farm than from other term life providers, including Transamerica, TIAA Life, New York Life, and The Globe. Remember that prices are individual, so this isn’t set in stone. It’s definitely worth getting a State Farm quote while you’re shopping around to see how prices stack up.

Transamerica Life Insurance FAQ

Is Transamerica life insurance right for me?

Yes — if you’re in the market for term life insurance. Transamerica insurance policies meet all of our benchmarks for great term coverage, including guaranteed level premiums, renewability, flexible term lengths, and the option to convert to permanent coverage if you need to. It’s also worth noting that Transamerica is one of few providers that seems to really understand how to underwrite for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes.

“Their underwriting guidelines are very straightforward, and favorable for many people who are not in perfect health,” says Matt Schmidt, CEO of Diabetes Life Solutions. “Being competitive in the sub-standard world of life insurance is one of their priorities, and the Diabetes community can benefit from this.”

We’re less impressed with Transamerica’s whole life insurance. Death benefits range between $2,000 and $3 million, which is a fairly limited scope when compared to other top companies. (New York Life’s whole life policies max out in the tens of millions.) If you’re shopping for a permanent policy, try starting with our picks for the best whole life insurance or the best guaranteed universal life insurance instead.

Is Transamerica life insurance available everywhere?

Yes. Transamerica writes life insurance in all 50 states, although its Trendsetter LB policy is not available in New York.

What is Transamerica FFIUL?

FFIUL is Transamerica’s Financial Fund Index Universal Life. This is a type of permanent life insurance policy. It offers flexible premiums and a guaranteed death benefit, with part of your policy’s cash value going into an interest-earning index fund.

The merits of index life insurance are debated: Growth can be aggressive, but it’s also subject to volatile markets, and fees tend to be high. Whatever your stance, we recommend caution when considering Transamerica FFIUL. These policies draw a high volume of customer complaints, and the company has even been sued for raising prices on active accounts.

What is an accelerated death benefit rider?

Sometimes referred to as a “living benefits” rider, an accelerated death benefit rider allows the policyholder to receive cash payments and advances against the death benefit. “These types of payments are usually made if the insured is diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness or may also be paid if the insured becomes unable to perform some of the essential functions of daily living,” says Ali Hashemian, President of Kinetic Financial. He says that these have become a popular answer to those concerned with long-term care expenses and also points out that “the way these riders work varies greatly depending on the insurance carrier and product.”

The Bottom Line

If you’re shopping for term insurance, get a quote from Transamerica Life Insurance Company. It offers a great range of policy sizes and term lengths, and it’s likely to be affordable. If you’re in the market for permanent insurance, on the other hand, we recommend looking elsewhere. Transamerica insurance offerings are much more limited in that department.

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