Transamerica Life Insurance Review - Policies & Pricing
As an independent life insurance agency, JRC Insurance Group works directly with dozens of top-rated insurers. Having hands-on experience enables us to provide our readers with detailed, objective reviews that are based on our real-life experiences.
Working with so many different carriers allows us to see where each of their strengths and weaknesses lie. We are particularly familiar with Transamerica and frequently recommend their insurance products to certain types of applicants.
In this Transamerica life insurance review, we’ll walk you through Transamerica’s history, underwriting leniencies, and current product offerings.
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
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Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
If you recognize the San Francisco skyline, you recognize the iconic Transamerica Pyramid. Located at 600 Montgomery Street in SF’s Financial District, the uniquely shaped skyscraper was commissioned by Transamerica CEO John R. Beckett and completed in 1972. The building served as Transamerica’s headquarters until the company moved to Baltimore in 2011. Nevertheless, Transamerica still uses the pyramid as its logo today despite having a minimal presence in it.
Transamerica Corporation was formed by Amadeo Giannini in 1928. Giannini was also the founder of the Bank of Italy, which became the Bank of America. After acquiring the Occidental Life Insurance Company in 1930, Transamerica continued to grow into a conglomerate, eventually splitting its financial and life insurance businesses in 1956. The life insurance business kept the Transamerica name and continued to grow. The Transamerica website tells the story:
“A flurry of creativity and acquisition activity in the 1960s and 1970s resulted in Transamerica owning interests in not only life insurance and financial services, but also motion picture distributor United Artists, Trans International Airlines, and Budget Rent A Car.The page continues:
In the mid-1980s, Transamerica refocused its core business on its founding mission of making insurance and financial tools available to more people. And in July 1999, Transamerica began a new chapter in its history when it became part of one of the world's leading international financial organizations: Aegon N.V.”
“Today, the Transamerica companies are as committed to helping people as we were 100 years ago. Customers now have access to an even wider range of services, from life insurance to retirement plans, to secure their financial futures.
From our very beginning, we've been committed to helping you build a solid financial foundation for now and the future. And we’ll continue to do so with insurance and financial products that are as affordable as they are exceptional.”
Transamerica carries an “A+” (Superior) rating from AM Best, and they are one of the most retiree-friendly life insurers out there. First, they offer extended term life policies for older applicants and are one of the only companies that will grant a 30-year term to someone who is over the age of 55. In fact, they are also one of very few companies that will offer a 20-year term to applicants aged of 66, 67, or 68 as well. For a complete guide to buying life insurance over 50, click here.
Additionally, Transamerica is one of the few companies that will offer less than $100,000 in term coverage. In some cases, Transamerica will even offer as little as $25k of coverage. These types of policies can be ideal for burial and final expenses, depending on your lifetime expectancy. To learn more about lifetime coverage and affordable alternatives to traditional whole life insurance, please see our article here.
Lastly, Transamerica offers no medical exam life insurance for applicants up to age 70. These no-exam policies can offer up to $100,000 of affordable coverage to applicants who are 60 or older, and in fair or better health. Between the lengthy terms, small term policies, and no medical exam options, Transamerica is a great company for older applicants to consider.
Like most life insurance companies, Transamerica offers some competitive underwriting niches. These niches are specific health and lifestyle issues that Transamerica tends to be more lenient with than other top-rated insurance providers. Here are some situations where we’ve found Transamerica to be the least expensive option:
- Active military (as long as you are not serving or on orders to serve)
- Instrument-rated private pilots (Preferred rates)
- Mild sleep apnea without nightly c-Pap use (Standard rates)
- Heart issues (including heart valve repair, replacement, aortic valve insufficiency and aortic valve stenosis)
- Mild to moderate Asthma
Term life is the most affordable type of life insurance coverage available. It does not require an investment value, and your rates cannot increase, regardless of changes to your occupation or health.
Transamerica offers a variety of industry-standard options for 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year term policies with coverage amounts as low as $25,000. During your policy’s “term”, your rates and coverage are guaranteed not to change, but you can cancel your policy at any time without penalty.
Affordable Options into Your Late 80’s
The downside to term insurance is that it is not designed to offer lifetime coverage which is why it is so affordable. Most term policies will expire by the age of 80, leaving you without affordable options for coverage. However, with Transamerica, it’s possible to secure a term policy that offers coverage until age 88.
Transamerica is one of very few companies that offer a 30-year term until age 58, a 20-year term until age 68, and a 10-year term until age 78. In addition, most of Transamerica’s term policies offer a “conversion option” which allows you to convert a portion of your existing term policy into permanent or lifetime coverage.
Options to Convert your Term into Lifetime Coverage
What’s great about a conversion option is that they’re available to almost anyone with a term policy from Transamerica, regardless of their current health. When you convert your policy, you’ll automatically qualify for the health class you were originally approved at, no health exam needed.
The only catch is that Transamerica will not allow you to convert your coverage after the age of 70 or 75, depending on the rate class you originally qualified for. In addition, you must convert your existing policy before your term expires, which is one of the many reasons we recommend annually reviewing your policy.
Providing a Replacement Income
Term life insurance is ideal for income replacement or family protection because it ensures a “death benefit”, or money paid to your spouse or heirs in the event of your death.
We usually recommend purchasing a term that will extend your coverage past the age you expect your children to move out, your mortgage to be paid off, your retirement, or all the above. You can always cancel a term policy in the future if your needs change.
Below we’ve provided some sample monthly quotes for Transamerica’s term life insurance policies to help you estimate the cost of your coverage.
Whole life insurance is permanent, meaning it lasts your entire lifetime. Whole life policies usually come with a “cash value” component that acts as an investment attached to your life insurance policy. In addition to standard whole life policies for $50,000 of coverage or less, Transamerica also offers minimalist burial and final expense policies with a guaranteed payout.
Transamerica’s traditional whole life insurance policies do not build a considerable cash value, but they do offer guaranteed rates and coverage to age 100 without a medical exam. In our experience however, Transamerica’s whole life insurance policies tend to be more expensive than other options from comparably rated companies.
Transamerica also offers various types of universal life insurance. Universal life offers lifetime protection with greater flexibility than whole life insurance but can also be very complicated and even risky. Transamerica doesn’t offer a whole lot of information about universal life insurance on their website, so if you are considering buying a universal life policy, we recommend reading this article first.
Variable Universal Life Insurance
Transamerica describes its variable universal life product as follows:
“Variable universal life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that provides death benefit protection. In addition to the death benefit, there is also a cash value portion of the policy, which you can invest to grow your wealth.To be honest, we are not huge fans of variable universal life in general because of the fees and market risk involved. The universal life product we recommend most frequently is guaranteed universal life insurance. These policies offer affordable coverage with level rates and can be customized until the age of 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, or 120. You can learn more about guaranteed universal life insurance here.
This exposure to underlying investments, such as stocks and bonds, offers the opportunity for cash value accumulation over time. Keep in mind that the policy owner bears the investment risk for the investment options, including the possible loss of principal.
Similar to universal life, variable universal life insurance allows the policyholder to adjust premium payments or death benefit as needed in order to meet their changing circumstances. There are fees and charges associated with variable universal life insurance that are not applicable to other types of policies.”
Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, roughly 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will eventually need some sort of long-term care? Unfortunately, traditional health insurance and Medicare do not cover the cost of long-term care expenses, leaving the financial burden on loved ones. To avoid this scenario, many experts recommend purchasing affordable long-term care insurance.
Transamerica offers long-term care insurance, but does not explain how the product works on its website. You can learn more about long-term care insurance in this guide we’ve created.
Transamerica is just one of many life insurance companies out there. Before buying any life insurance policy, you should shop the market to be sure you find the right product at the right price. JRC Insurance Group is here to help you do just that. All it takes is one click or call, and we’ll be able to send you quotes from 63 top-rated carriers including Transamerica.
There is no cost to you for our services, and there are no obligations. Call us toll-free at: 855-247-9555 to speak with one of our agents, or request a free quote online to instantly compare rates from dozens of insurers.
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.