Transamerica Life Insurance

Transamerica Life Insurance Company’s niche is older clients, following liberal rating guidelines and underwriting for seniors over 70 at competitive prices. 

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9
Grand Score
8
User Score
9
Grand Score
8
User Score
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For well over 100 years, Transamerica Life Insurance has cared for individuals and small companies. This reputation began with its founder who started a small bank in San Francisco in 1906 ‘for the people.’ Through many expansions, diversifications, mergers and acquisitions, including with such familiar names as Bank of America and Occidental Life, today Transamerica belongs to a Netherlands-based insurance powerhouse. In the U.S., the company continues to offer a wide range of insurance and retirement-based products and is best known in the life insurance industry for its favorable treatment of older Americans. Its 26 million U.S. customers are served primarily through a network of agents, brokers and financial institutions.  

Grandfolk Scoring
Coverage 8/10
Waiting period 8/10
Customer support 8/10
Medical exam required 8/10
Maximum coverage 7/10
Coverage age limit 8/10
Living benefits 10/10
Exclusions 9/10
Rate increases 9/10
Ease of enrollment 9/10
Cost 9/10
Coverage
What services are covered?
Death Benefits, plus Life Benefits 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
Business-hours phone or email access
Medical exam required
s a medical exam required?
Yes, in most cases
Maximum coverage
What is the maximum coverage available?
$2 million
Coverage age limit
To what age is coverage available?
Mostly to age 80+
Living benefits
Can benefits be accessed while living?
Yes, both nursing home option and terminal illness option
Exclusions
What isn’t covered?
Suicide, if it occurs during the first two years of the policy, may only result in the return of premiums
Rate increases
Will the rates increase each year?
Not during initial term of policy, then annually
Ease of enrollment
Ways you can enroll
Get an online quote in minutes, call Transamerica or contact a Transamerica insurance agent
Cost
Monthly premium
Varies based on age, health and other factors
Age Score:
9
50-64 Years
10
65-74 Years
10
75-84 Years
10
85-Above

Transamerica is sometimes called the “senior term life insurance company” because it consistently offers some of the best term life insurance for seniors 70 and older. It even offers term insurance for seniors over 80 in some cases, which is the age most competitors stop offering coverage. The company works with seniors, not against them, particularly when rating them, based on their health condition. Its rates are also favorable to older clients.

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

Compared with other providers of term life insurance offering similar benefits, Transamerica allows you to accelerate distribution of death benefits if you are diagnosed with a wide array of illnesses, not only when you are diagnosed as terminally ill. This is extremely beneficial to help cover any uninsured medical costs, as there is no guidance on how the money must be spent. 

Also, anecdotally, one insurance agent reports Transamerica to be the least-cost option for people with mild sleep apnea, heart issues and mild to moderate asthma. As for its underwriting, one agent reported that you could receive a Best Rate class with cholesterol ratio up to 5.5, whereas the typical cutoff would be 4.5. In cases where a senior’s health has deteriorated too far for standard term life insurance, Transamerica also offers several Final Expense policies under its whole life division, which are available regardless of age or health condition.

Pros:

  • It is reputed to be supportive of seniors with some of the best rates and generous underwriting guidelines. It also offers longer term lengths than most insurance companies.
  • Transamerica’s Trendsetter Super Series appears more forgiving on rates for smokers.
  • Transamerica is said to be the only company that would allow someone up to age 58 to buy a 30-year term life policy.
  • The company has an excellent “accessibility” link on the site, with clear instructions on making the website easier to read.
  • Transamerica has launched its Wealth + Health campaign to help customers, and financial professionals understand how the two are linked as the underpinning of living well tomorrow.
  • According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, it draws fewer than the median number of complaints to state regulators.
  • As the policyholder, you can choose whether your beneficiaries receive the death benefit as a single lump-sum payment or a monthly payout over a period of 5 to 25 years.

Cons:

  • When the period of coverage ends, you can automatically renew coverage. However, the policy turns into a 1-year term policy, which means premiums will increase each year as you get older and as the company’s risk increases.
  • Some geographic restrictions exist: Trendsetter Super Series is not available in AL, GA, MD, NY, OR, PA or WV. Trendsetter LB is not available in NY.
  • Despite an above-average rating with the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction survey, the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau has dropped to a surprisingly low D, out of a range of A+ through F. Complaints seem to center on long wait times to reach company support staff and slow payouts on claims.

Bottom Line:

Transamerica is recognized as a leading provider of life insurance, retirement and investment solutions with perceived flexibility for seniors. It has a long history in financial services in the U.S. Products are sold mostly through a network of agents, brokers and financial institutions. It offers two similar term life insurance policies, but with different maximum coverages and with differing access to accelerated death benefits. As the policyholder, you can choose whether your beneficiaries receive the death benefit as a single lump-sum payment or a monthly payout over a period of 5 to 25 years. Transamerica is a financially strong and stable company, as reflected in its excellent ratings (A+ Superior from A.M. Best) and has a good reputation for paying out its policyholder claims.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does your term coverage include an ‘accelerated death benefit?’ Yes, the Trendsetter LB (Life Benefits) policy makes funds available in cases of a qualifying chronic, critical or terminal illness. (Trendsetter Super Series policies do not.) Most companies are less flexible and require the diagnosis of a terminal illness.

How do I get started? Buying term life insurance is simple. You can get an online quote in minutes or contact a Transamerica representative directly at a toll-free number. If your plan requires full underwriting (including medical exams), it could take 2-8 weeks for coverage to start. Those plans that determine acceptance based on your answers to questions can take 14 days after submitting your application.

What security measures do you provide for my personal information if I contact your company online? Transamerica uses administrative, technical and physical security measures that are designed to safeguard the information you submit against loss, theft and unauthorized use, disclosure or modification. Despite these measures, it states that no network or system is ever entirely secure, and the company cannot guarantee the security of networks and systems it operates or that are operated on its behalf. 

More Information:

Product Details: 

Overview:  Transamerica offers Term Life, Final Expense Life, Whole Life, Universal Life, Variable Universal Life, Index Universal Life and Annuities. Only term life insurance is being reviewed here.  

Package Details: Transamerica’s term insurance policies do not offer loan options since they do not carry a cash value component. Premiums for policies can be paid annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly, with a slight upcharge for more frequent transactions. Checks, bank drafts or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover) are accepted. Autopay can deduct the premiums regularly, for convenience.

Transamerica’s term life policies offer periods of 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years and financial protection from $25,000 to $2 million. Policies have level premiums during the initial term, which may be up to 30 years. Except for applicants under a certain age and policies under a certain amount, most policies require medical exams. In the absence of exams, acceptance is determined by how health questions on the application are answered. Transamerica’s two plans vary only in access to a generous accelerated death benefit.

Trendsetter Super Series term life insurance policies offer up to $1 million in coverage. Coverage will remain constant throughout the term of the policy that you select. At the end of the term, conversion to a permanent life insurance policy may be possible without additional medical exams, based on how questions on the application are answered. Available for issue ages: 18-80. 

Trendsetter LB term life insurance policies offerup to $2 million in coverage, but also offer life benefits. Life Benefits are also known as ‘accelerated death benefits’ where the insured has access to the partial distribution of death benefits while alive, in case of a wide range of qualifying chronic, critical or terminal illness. Most companies are stricter and require the diagnosis of terminal illness. 

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:

Accidental Death Insurance offers policies as standalone or as a rider to existing insurance. It requires no medical exams or health questions, and acceptance is guaranteed for those between 18 and 80. 

Final Expense Insurance: One reason seniors tend to purchase life insurance after age 50 is to cover end-of-life, or final expense, costs. While not part of Transamerica’s term life insurance offerings, it is easy to purchase a final expense life insurance policy through Transamerica, which may make more sense to some seniors than term insurance. A Transamerica agent will have to work with you to come up with the preferred plan.  

Transamerica offers three versions (Immediate Solution, 10-Pay Solution and Easy Solution) of final expense policies. Your age and health may not affect your approval for coverage, and some policies have no waiting period for coverage. They require no medical exam, only health questions. Premiums cannot be increased because of age. These plans are covered under the whole life sector of the company and are issued by Transamerica Financial Life Insurance Company. 

Additional Company Details

Contract Details: N/A

Warranty: N/A

Accreditations: Transamerica is ranked ‘above average’ in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction survey, is within the top 20 insurance companies in the U.S., and rates 780 out of 1,000 (where top-ranked State Farm rated 853). It ranks about average in all five categories: overall satisfaction, billing and payment, price, policy offerings and interaction with the company. Transamerica is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau. However, surprisingly, a recent check of the BBB website shows the rating has dropped to a D, out of a possible rating scale of A+ through F, for failure to respond to some complaints and to resolve others. Nonetheless, its financial strength is A+ (Superior) according to A.M. Best ratings, and its Comdex Ranking is 91 out of 100.

Company Details:  In 1904, a young entrepreneur named Amadeo P. Giannini founded a bank in San Francisco to make financial services available to everyone. Over the years, the bank grew by offering diversified services. In 1928, the company merged with Bank of America and later acquired Occidental Life Insurance Company. In 1956, about the time the company took on the name Transamerica, the Bank Holding Law of 1956 forced Transamerica to choose between its banks or its non-bank investments. It chose insurance. In 1999, Transamerica was acquired by a leading global financial organization, Aegon N.V., a Netherlands-based company that manages €1 trillion (about $1.25 trillion) in investments. It has 26 million customers in the U.S. and is licensed in 49 states, plus Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Contact:

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

4333 Englewood Road, NE

Cedar Rapids  IA 52499

Phone: 319-355-8511

Website: http://www.transamerica.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.