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The Complete Savings Bank Life Insurance Review [2022]

Clifford PendellWritten by Clifford Pendell, Managing Partner and Co-founder

Savings Bank Life Insurance, or SBLI has been around for over 115 years. Founded in 1907, SBLI has become one of the top life insurance companies in the last decade. They are known for offering superior rates to people who are in excellent health and for being lenient with occasional cigar smokers.

Overall, SBLI's term life insurance rates are competitive for most people, and they have a rich history of customer service in the industry. We will reveal all this and more in our in depth company review of SBLI.

This insider's review outlines the situations that SBLI is best for, and it provides an overview of the policies they offer. We've also included some sample rates and a list of pros and cons to help you decide if this is the best company for your needs.

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SBLI Company Overview

Before we dive into the life insurance policies SBLI offers it’s important to take a brief look at some of SBLI’s financial ratings and customer ratings.

Financial Ratings Policy Options Customer Rating Our Review
A.M. Best - A

Moody’s - N/A

S&P - A-

BBB - A+  

  • Term Life
  • Whole Life
  • Universal Life
4.3 / 5B

SBLI Life Insurance Policies

SBLI offers basic level term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance policies. Overall, the policies have some fair rates, and decent features, as well as a wide range of additional riders. In this section, we will break their coverage down in-depth.

Term Life

Term life insurance offered by SBLI comes in 3 main policy types:

  • Guaranteed Level Premium
  • Annual Renewable Term (ART)
  • One Year Non-Renewable Term
Let’s break them down more in depth:

1. Guaranteed Level Premium

This policy offers guaranteed premiums for the duration of the policy, and is offered in 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms.

This policy is available for people ages 18-80 years old, in face values of $100,000 to $500,000. They also include a rider that allows you to convert it to a universal life insurance policy, which is the only way you can access this type of coverage through SBLI.

2. Annual Renewable Term (ART)

This type of term life policy is automatically renewed on an annual basis. You pay premiums based on your age when the policy is renewed. This policy is offered through age 85.

In some cases, you have to take a medical exam before renewing. The benefit of this policy is that you can use it as a way into a permanent policy through SBLI without a medical exam, by converting it to a permanent policy.

When most term life policies "expire", they actually just turn into ART policies like this, which are automatically renewed each year at an increasing price until manually canceled by the policyholder, or exceed the coverage age.

While this seems like a good deal, it typically raises prices to ridiculously high levels in just a few years. We only recommend this type of policy to people who have needs for life insurance for a single year or two, people who have no other coverage option because of age, or who need coverage while switching between policies.

3. One Year Non-Renewable Term

This type of policy is available in one-year terms only and is paid with a single premium for the whole year. It is not renewable after it expires, which means you must undergo the application process again in order to get more coverage for the next year.

One perk of this policy is that it does allow you to convert to permanent coverage without a medical exam. So, for people who are concerned about their health, but want permanent coverage, this policy can be a good way to get affordable rates without a medical exam.

Reasons to consider term life insurance from SBLI:

  • Lower costs
  • Premiums will not change
  • Policies are available up to $500,000 for people 60 years and younger without a medical exam
  • There are options to convert to a permanent policy without a medical exam.

SBLI Term Riders

Insurance PlanDetails
Accelerated Death BenefitThis is automatically included. There is no extra cost for this and it will pay up to $250,000 if you receive a physician statement that indicates the person who had the insurance policy has a terminal illness and they will pass away within 12 months. That said you can use the amount to cover unexpected costs for that terminal period.
Children’s Level TermThis provides a single low-cost for all of your legally adopted or natural children who are currently unmarried, financially dependent on you, and younger than 23. You can convert this policy for your children once they are no longer dependent on you.
Accidental Death BenefitThis will give your beneficiaries a payment worth the face amount of the rider in addition to your death benefit in the event that you pass away from an accident as indicated by a death certificate or Physician's statement.
Waiver of PremiumIf you become completely disabled and you cannot work, your premiums will be waived.

Whole Life

SBLI also offers a whole life insurance policy which offers a guaranteed death benefit and level premiums. It remains in effect as long as premiums are paid on time.

The major benefit to this policy is the cash value component, which accumulates cash value in a separate account at a steady, secured rate. At any time, for any reason, you can borrow from your cash value in the form of an interest-free loan that you must pay back. What you do not pay back is taken out of your death benefit when you pass. 

This helps to provide you with a greater policy amount and is ideal for people who may have reached the capacity of their tax advantage retirement savings plan. Moreover, it helps to protect against inflation when the policy is finally paid out.

Overall, whole life is not recommended for many people, as the premiums are very high. For the most part, it is best for people who are looking to use life insurance as a vehicle for asset protection and preservation, such as:

  • Estate Planning
  • Leaving a Legacy
  • Passing Down a Business
  • Establishing a Trust
However, there are also people who need permanent coverage in order to provide for dependents such as a spouse or children. In this case, we actually recommend Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance, which combines the longevity of permanent life insurance with the low cost of term life insurance - by removing cash value accumulation.

Reasons why to consider whole life insurance from SBLI:

  • The coverage is guaranteed and will never expire
  • The premiums are guaranteed and will never get higher
  • The cash value grows over time
  • The death benefit is guaranteed to be tax-free
  • You can borrow against your cash value while you are still alive
  • There are many different premium payment schedules you can establish

SBLI Whole Life Riders

Insurance PlanDetails
Accelerated Death BenefitAutomatically included with no extra cost. Pays up to $250,000 if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Allows you to use this money for living expenses, medical expenses, etc...
Children’s Level TermSmall amount of coverage for all of your legally adopted or natural children who are currently unmarried, financially dependent on you, and younger than 23. You can convert this policy for your children once they are no longer dependent on you.
Accidental Death BenefitAdditional death benefit if you pass away from an accident (per terms of the meaning of 'accident').
Waiver of PremiumIf you become completely disabled and you cannot work, your premiums will be waived.
Guaranteed Purchase OptionYou can purchase more coverage at specific ages or after a specific life event without having to undergo an additional medical exam or health questions.
Single Pay Paid-Up AdditionsThis allows you to make a single cash deposit at the time that your policy is issued. This increase your death benefit amount and cash value.
Term RiderThis can be added to your whole life insurance policy to give you additional term coverage insurance available in increments of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. The premiums will not increase during this time.

Depending on your life insurance needs, whole life insurance may be best for you. However, in most cases, term life or guaranteed universal can get the job done for a fraction of the cost.

To learn more about your permanent life insurance options, and if this type of life insurance is best for you, check out these comprehensive resources:

Blended Life

SBLI also allows you to opt for a blended policy that gives you lifelong coverage plus extra coverage during a fixed amount of time or until you turn 85. The death benefit is guaranteed and the premium amount will remain level for the entire policy.

With a blended policy you get federal income tax free death benefits for your loved ones, cash value accumulation, and the option of adding different riders.

The strategy of blending allows you to combine the best of whole life insurance policies with term policies by getting the extra coverage you need through a term policy with the cash value of a whole life policy.

SBLI Life Insurance Rates

Let’s take a look at some sample rates for SBLI. Keep in mind that each of these quotes reflect a specific person and will differ based on a myriad of factors taken into account in the underwriting process.

Term Life - $250,000 (Preferred Male)

Age Monthly Rate

Whole Life - $500,000 (Preferred Male)

Age Monthly Rate

$200,000 Term with Pre-Existing Health Conditions (Male)

Age Monthly Rate

Seniors - $250,000 Term Life (Preferred Male)

Age Monthly Rate

What Does SBLI Consider “Preferred” Health?

So you are probably asking what SBLI considers to be Preferred Health in order to determine whether they are right for you. Let’s break down some of their underwriting practices to give you a better idea of where you fit into their health ratings.


  • BMI height/weight chart used
  • Any person 5’ 10” over 196 lbs. doesn’t qualify for Preferred
  • Unisex chart used

Family History

  • No cancer in family history before age 60
  • If 65+ and meet all other criteria you can still get Preferred rating
  • If 70+ family history is not taken into account


  • 120 minimum
  • 300 maximum
  • Treated or Untreated
  • Max 5.0 CHL/HDL for men
  • Max 4.5 CHL/HDL for women

Blood Pressure

  • Treated or Untreated
  • 135/85 maximum up to age 60
  • 140/85 maximum over age 60

Tobacco Use

  • No use for 5 years
  • Test negative for nicotine levels
  • 12 or less cigars/year can get Preferred rates

sbli life insurance review

SBLI Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Electronic applicationsSlower than average approval time for applications
Fast processing for issue free medical history applicantsNot as favorable for pricing for those with prexisting conditions
Favorable pricing for those with high cholesterolNot the best option for cigarette smokers

Who Is SBLI Best For?

Much like many other life insurance companies on the market, SBLI has a specific group of people who fit with their product selection. So who is their coverage best for?

1. Women In Their 40’s & 50’s In Preferred Health

We took the time to run the numbers, and find out exactly who SBLI is best for. From our study, we found that SBLI has the best life insurance rates for women in their 40’s and 50’s who are in preferred health.

For this specific demographic, it is hard to beat SBLI on price, but that still does not mean that they are the best policy for you. Always work with an independent agent in order to compare all of your options before making a decision.

2. Males in Their 40’s Looking for Term Policies

SBLI also has very competitive rates for men in preferred health who are in their 40’s. Specifically when it comes to term life policies.

Again, because of their limited policy options, we often recommend that even if you find the best price with them, you consider your other policy options on the market with an independent agent first.

Who Should Avoid SBLI?

So, who should absolutely avoid SBLI life insurance policies because of high prices?

1. People with Pre-Existing Conditions

If you have pre-existing health conditions and are looking for affordable life insurance coverage, SBLI is not the company for you. We recommend PrudentialAIGProtective, and Pacific Life, as they are some of the best providers for people with health conditions.

Looking to learn more about life insurance with pre-existing conditions? These resources should help you take the next steps:

2. Tobacco Users

Whether you are a recreational smoker who enjoys an occasional cigar, or someone who smokes daily, SBLI is not the best option for you. Their underwriting standards are pretty harsh on tobacco users, making for high prices even if you are in preferred health.

They do allow people who smoke under 12 cigars recreationally per year to obtain preferred rates. But other than that, they are not very lenient towards other types of recreational tobacco users or regular users in general.

For smokers, we recommend Prudential and American General. However, depending on your health, there may be better options for you out there. If you are looking to learn more about life insurance for smokers, check out these resources:

Bottom Line - SBLI Review 

Overall, SBLI is best for people who are in excellent health and who are non-smokers. If you do not fit into this category, you may want to consider shopping around before making a decision.

They have strong financial ratings, and have a history of solid customer service. SBLI is a great company, but it fits well with very specific life insurance needs.

• Premiums

Their premiums are competitive for most people in the preferred health class for both term and permanent coverage. However, outside of this health class, they are not very competitive.

• Policy Options

SBLI offers basic term and permanent life insurance with a few options for customization. Overall, the policies they do have is great, but their variety compared to some of the other top life insurance companies is relatively scarce.

• Underwriting

SBLI has solid underwriting standards which are meant to benefit people who are in excellent health the most. Their policies are typically approved quickly, and with relatively few extra steps needed.

• Overall Grade

Our overall grade for SBLI is a B. They offer superior rates for a very specific group of people (as most life insurance companies do), have solid financial ratings, good customer service, and a few decent policy options. If you were to choose them as your life insurance company, you would definitely be satisfied, but at the end of the day, their offerings are nothing out of the ordinary.

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Looking for the best life insurance policy for your needs? At JRC Insurance Group, we work with more than 50 of the best life insurance companies to help our clients explore all of their options in-depth before making a choice.

Our goal is to always make sure that we have helped you examine all of your options and understand each one before making a decision for your family. Our expert independent agents have the experience and resources to answer your questions and help you understand the process start to finish.

If you are looking to compare rates and policies, give us a call today at: 855-247-9555 to speak with an agent. Or, get started by using our quick and easy life insurance quote tool below! Our services are free and there is no cost to apply for life insurance.

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Clifford Pendell

Clifford Pendell

Managing Partner and Co-founder

Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.

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