Prudential Insurance

Prudential Insurance is one of the best known and trusted insurance companies worldwide and offers a wide array of term life insurance policies and riders to meet virtually every need. 

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8.7
Grand Score
8
User Score
8.7
Grand Score
8
User Score
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Prudential Life Insurance of America is one of the most highly respected and popular names in the financial services sector, with a logo familiar to most of us since childhood: “The Rock.” Founded in 1875, it has offered over 140 years of service to its customers. In the life insurance sector, it is said to have carved out certain niches to prioritize, including tobacco users, cancer survivors, diabetics and people with a DWI or DUI. Others mention its flexibility with those with sleep apnea and high cholesterol, plus those using medical marijuana, pain pills and anxiety medication. 

While Prudential may have mastered underwriting in those circumstances, it may not be as competitive in other categories. However, it does offer a wide range of term life policies, with many riders to customize them; all are described on a very logical, well-designed website that lets you access ample information before contacting the company.

Grandfolk Scoring
Coverage 10/10
Waiting period 8/10
Customer support 9/10
Medical exam required 8/10
Maximum coverage 9/10
Coverage age limit 9/10
Living benefits 8/10
Exclusions 8/10
Rate increases 7/10
Ease of enrollment 9/10
Cost 8/10
Coverage
What services are covered?
Death Benefits, plus Terminal Illness Rider, Living Needs Benefit, Waiver of Benefit and Accidental Death riders
Waiting period
How soon can services be used?
As soon as the policy is approved, if you qualify
Customer support
Ease of access
Email, phone or via your Account Access online service
Medical exam required
s a medical exam required?
‘Yes’ for most plans, based on your age and the amount of coverage
Maximum coverage
What is the maximum coverage available?
$50,000 to $10+ million, depending on policy type
Coverage age limit
To what age is coverage available?
Depends upon the policy, but most are extendable to 95
Living benefits
Can benefits be accessed while living?
Terminal illness rider available
Exclusions
What isn’t covered?
Suicide, usually, if it occurs during the first two years of the policy
Rate increases
Will the rates increase each year?
Not during initial term of Level-Premium policy; Yes on PruTerm One yearly renewable plan
Ease of enrollment
Ways you can enroll
Fill out an online form, call or have a financial professional call you
Cost
Monthly premium
Varies based on age, health and other factors
Age Score:
9
50-64 Years
9
65-74 Years
10
75-84 Years
10
85-Above

Prudential offers several term life insurance policies that open opportunities to seniors as they move through the age brackets. While term insurance is often purchased in our early years in order to keep premiums low, policies purchased later in life tend to have high premiums. However, if it does make sense to take on a term policy now, Prudential may have one that meets your needs. Most policies are extendable to age 95. The company’s website is a delight to explore, and it gives far more information than most websites on individual policy options before having to talk to someone at Prudential.

Health Score:
8
Great Health
8
Good Health
9
Fair Health
10
Poor Health

Except for its MyTerm policy, all Prudential policies seem to require a medical exam. This is not all bad news: first, the company is flexible in its rating policies for several medical conditions. Second, medical exams can save you money in premiums because the insurer does not have to ‘pad’ its premiums to cover the ‘unknowns’ as when it doesn’t test. 

Many of its term policies are convertible to permanent life insurance somewhere along the way and do not require additional medical exams. Your original health condition prevails, so if you have become ill since purchasing your term policy, you can convert it regardless of health condition whereas you would probably not be able to purchase a new policy.

Lastly, Prudential’s Living Needs Benefit rider comes with two accelerated death benefit options: terminal illness option and nursing home option. This latter trigger is extremely valuable, and unusual in the industry. 

Pros:

  • Prudential has niches where its underwriting is said to be particularly favorable, including for diabetics, cancer survivors, smokers and others.
  • According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the company draws significantly fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators. 
  • It has one of the best websites for providing full information on policy offerings: clearly presented, well-organized and intuitive.
  • Prudential’s no-medical-exam MyTerm policy takes minutes to sign up: apply online, get approved and make your first payment to activate coverage. 
  • Prudential has financial advisors it can have contact you to provide financial planning and advice.
  • Known for being the first U.S. life insurer to offer coverage to people living with HIV when it was controversial.

Cons:

  • Prudential does not offer a Guaranteed Universal Life plan, which is a hybrid between term and life policies that offers advantages to seniors.
  • A cigarette smoker must be smoke-free for five full years to qualify as a non-smoker, which is longer than most companies.
  • While it is favorable to people in select niches, its rates are less competitive for people with other conditions or other lifestyles.

Bottom Line:

Prudential has several term life insurance policies available to meet a variety of needs. It also has various riders that can customize those policies further. Prudential is said to have the best rates re tobacco, offering non-tobacco rates to chew and cigar users. Also, for sleep apnea, medical marijuana, high cholesterol and some other health conditions, plus seniors taking certain pain and anxiety medications. It is said to be forgiving with the weight standards of its rating tables.

Prudential’s Living Needs Benefit stands out for accelerating a benefits payout not only upon being diagnosed as having a terminal illness, but also upon confinement to a nursing home. Prudential’s good efforts have been noticed: it was ranked first in the ‘Insurance: Life and Health” category of Fortune magazine’s 2018 list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does your term coverage include an ‘accelerated death benefit?’ Yes, Prudential offers the Living Needs Benefit rider (an accelerated death benefit provision triggered by confinement to a nursing home or diagnosis of terminal illness), as discussed in detail under ‘Optional Accessories or Add-On Services.’

How do I get started?  Getting a quote online is just a matter of answering a few questions. With that, you can apply online in 20 minutes. Depending on whether the policy you choose requires a medical exam, you will either schedule an exam or (if accepted) make your payment to activate your coverage.

What security measures do you provide for my personal information if I contact your company online? “Prudential uses reasonable processes and technical security measures that are intended to keep personal customer and employee information secure and confidential.” However, as often happens in the fine print on websites, its Terms and Conditions policy states “Prudential does not warrant that the website will operate error-free or is free from viruses, worms, Trojan horses, or other destructive or harmful code. Prudential assumes no liability or responsibility for any damages to you, your computer, or other property due to your access to, use of, or downloading of Content.”

More Information:

PRODUCT DETAILS:

Overview: Prudential offersTerm Life, Universal Life, Indexed Universal Life, Variable Universal Life, Long-Term Care and Annuities. Only term life insurance is being reviewed here.  

Package Details:  Premiums will not increase for the coverage period you select if you pay your premiums on time. Premiums will increase each year after the initial term, until the policy ends, usually at age 95. Premiums are payable annually, bi-annually, quarterly or monthly, with a small upcharge for more frequent payments.

All term policies offer an income tax-free death benefit. Except for the MyTerm policy, all offer access to the Living Needs Benefit rider, an accelerated payments rider, and all require a medical exam. Most term policies offer a conversion option that changes your term policy into a permanent life policy that can potentially cover you for life. No new health exam is required for the conversion, so if your health has declined since you originally purchased the policy, you will not be disadvantaged. Policies can also be customized with riders, for an extra cost. Riders are described below.

MyTerm offers guaranteed level premiums with coverage from $50,000 to $250,000, for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. It is not convertible at the end of the term. The application is made online, and an answer is given in minutes. No in-person medical exam needed, just health-related questions. A Terminal Illness rider is available in lieu of the Living Needs Benefit rider. Three easy steps to coverage: apply online, get approved in minutes and make the first payment to activate coverage.

Term Essential offers guaranteed level premiums with coverage from $100,000 to $10+ million, for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. If you keep the policy beyond the term, premiums increase yearly as indicated in the contract, to age 95 when the policy ends. It is convertible to permanent life insurance before age 65 or the end of the term (whichever comes first), without another medical exam. It offers Accidental Death Benefit and Waiver of Premium riders.

Term Elite, same as Term Essential, but offers a 1-year premium credit if you convert to permanent insurance within the first five years.

PruTerm WorkLife65 offers guaranteed level premiums for your working life, to age 65. You can extend to age 85, but premiums increase yearly during the extension. Convertible to permanent life up to age 65 without another medical exam. It includes a free rider under which you pay no premiums if disabled, until disability ends or you turn 65. Also, if you are unemployed longer than one year, you pay no premiums for one full year. It offers the Waiver of Premium rider.

PruLife Return of Premium Term offers guaranteed level premiums for 15, 20 or 30 years. Major benefit: if you outlive the term of your policy, your premium payments will be returned to you, tax-free, but without interest. However, your premiums are significantly higher. Coverage can be extended beyond the term, to age 95, but at higher premiums which are not returnable. It is convertible to permanent life before age 65 or end of initial term (whichever comes first) without another medical exam.

PruTerm One offers coverage for one year at a time, renewable annually, up to age 95. Maximum issue age: 85. Premiums are guaranteed for the first year but increase yearly. Convertible to permanent life within the first five years. Good for filling in a gap in insurance coverage, or other short-term needs. 

NOTE:Like many other insurers, Prudential offers a policy that is gaining in popularity, particularly among seniors, because of its improvement over earlier versions. It is a Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL) policy called PruLife Universal Protector. It is a bit of a hybrid: it offers ‘lifetime’ coverage (you pick the age, from 90 to 121), yet the policy does not have to build cash value, so you can have lower premiums as you would with term insurance. Premiums increase the higher in age you go with coverage. Several riders are offered to customize your policy to fit your needs. Face value runs from $100,000 to $10+ million, and policies can be issued to ages 18-85. Be certain to question the ‘lifetime no-lapse guarantee premiums’ and their cost, how to keep the benefits payout tax-free and any surrender fees if you cancel your policy.

 

Needless to say, the fine print of all policies must be read before signing, to be certain no hidden terms or conditions would affect the viability of the policy for you.

Optional Accessories or Add-on Services: Prudential offers several riders to its policies, some included in policies and some for an added fee:

Terminal Illness Rider: Should you be diagnosed with a terminal illness, this rider provides access to funding by accelerating part of your death benefit while you are still alive.

Living Needs Benefit: This accelerated death benefit rider offers the standard terminal illness option: upon diagnosis of terminal illness. However, the benefit also kicks in if you have been confined to a nursing home for at least six months and expect to remain there. This generous rider gives you access to 70-80 percent of the policy’s death benefit while still alive to help cover any additional expenditures facing you or your loved ones. 

Waiver of Premium Rider: Should you become disabled and not be able to work, your requirement to pay premiums is waived under certain circumstances.

  Accidental Death Benefit: Should you die not because of an illness, but because of an accident, this rider will pay an additional death benefit to your beneficiaries.

ADDITIONAL COMPANY DETAILS:

Contract Details: N/A

Warranty: N/A 

Accreditations: Prudential ranked ‘average’ in J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction survey, within the top 20 insurance companies in the U.S., rating 777 out of 1,000 (where top-ranked State Farm rated 853). It ranked about average in four categories: overall satisfaction, billing and payment, policy offerings and interaction with the company. It ranked lower on price. Financial strength is A+ (Superior) according to A.M. Best ratings and AA- from Standard & Poors. Its Comdex Ranking is 94 out of 100. Prudential is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau but rates an F on BBB’s website for not responding or resolving a surprisingly small number of complaints for a company this large. Whether this rating is representative is questionable.

Company Details: Prudential began in 1875 with insurance agent John Fairfield Dryden establishing the Prudential Friendly Society to make insurance affordable to working-class Americans. It provided funeral and burial costs for low-income families. Over the next 140+ years, Prudential has grown into a worldwide financial leader with some 50 million customers and ranks fourth in sales in the U.S. based on recurring premiums. Its parent, Prudential Financial, Inc., is on the New York Stock Exchange and manages some $1 trillion in operations in the U.S. and abroad.    

CONTACT:

The Prudential Insurance Company of America
751 Broad Street

Newark  NJ  07102

Phone: 800-556-8527

Website: https://www.prudential.com/ 

Sharon O'Day - Senior Advisor

Sharon O’Day fixes financial lives. She is a tell-it-like-it-is money expert with a successful career in global finance, plus an MBA from the Wharton School. Today she specializes in getting entrepreneurial women over 50 back on their game so they can have more money, less stress and more joy. With her “Over Fifty and Financially Free” strategies, they take actions that lead to their ultimate goal: financial peace of mind.