Transamerica Life Insurance Company is one of the better-known insurers in America.
It has an iconic logo that reflects its San Francisco roots. It has a century of stability and broad name recognition. These qualities alone may put Transamerica Life Ins Co on your shortlist for your next life insurance policy.
But can you trust Transamerica Insurance Company to have your back and keep its word — to pay your death benefit whether it’s a $10 million term life policy or just $10,000 in final expense coverage?
And what about customer service, the buying process, medical exams, riders, cash value, and special underwriting conditions? Is this coverage a good value for your premium dollars?
Those are all good questions when you’re shopping for any kind of life insurance. I’ll answer them in this Transamerica life insurance reviews.
Table of Contents:
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Transamerica Life Insurance Ratings – Financial Strength
Let’s get this out of the way first: Transamerica credit rating checks the right boxes in the financial strength and stability department.
No, this Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based carrier does not have top-notch ratings like MassMutual, Northwestern Mutual, and New York Life.
But it does have a century-long legacy of solidity as reflected in Transamerica ratings from the independent credit rating agencies:
- Transamerica AM Best Rating: A (Excellent)
- Moody’s: A1
- S&P: AA-
Is Transamerica Legit?
Rating agencies like AM Best analyze the books within the private offices of the nation’s life insurance companies.
Grades of A or better say the company has good financial footing and should be able to pay its policies’ death benefits for years to come.
Insurance companies make money by selling new policies, collecting premiums, and investing the premiums. But they can’t sell too many policies without putting their future solvency at risk.
So a company like Transamerica Life Insurance Rating, which has solid grades, has a good ratio of new vs. existing policies.
Transamerica Customer Service
The best judges of customer service strength come from firms like J.D. Power, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Here’s what their most recent studies say:
- J.D. Power: Rates Transamerica 2 out of 5
- NAIC: Complaint ratio of 1.3 (slightly above the median of 1.0)
What does this mean? The J.D. Power number (2 out of 5) is not as simple as it may seem, so here’s a little context: To even get reviewed by J.D. Power Transamerica Life Insurance Company had to make the study’s top 25 life insurance companies.
Yes, Trans America Life Insurance Reviews of their customers landed them among the bottom performers within the 25 top companies, but this rating does not reflect the entire life insurance industry which includes nearly 1,000 providers. Believe me, you can do a lot worse once you’re outside the top 25 to 40 providers.
The NAIC ratio works like this: The association measures all the complaints filed against life insurance providers, calculates the median number of complaints, and places that median as the number 1. Transamerica customer service rating of 1.3 means it gets slightly more complaints than the median number for the industry.
Online Transamerica Life Insurance Reviews Shed More Light…
Online Transamerica reviews from current policyholders on sites like Consumers Advocate, Consumer Affairs, and TrustPilot can tell you about a company.
Online Premier Life Insurance Company reviews skew to the negative. If you read these online Transamerica insurance reviews, don’t put too much stock in one person’s opinion. Look for trends that show patterns of problems instead.
- Transamerica BBB: A-
- Consumer Affairs: 3 out of 5
- Consumers Advocate:3 out of 5
What does this mean?
Considering the usual negativity in Transamerica customer reviews, Transamerica life insurance reviews hold up pretty well. The Transamerica BBB aka Better Business Bureau, score means they attempt to resolve complaints from policyholders made to BBB.
Transamerica complaints from customers tend to be for customer service issues. Luckily, they are financially sound and consistently payout on their policies, but getting ahold of someone that cares and can help you may hold you up.
Working With Transamerica Insurance Company
The following details help some life insurance shoppers decide whether to work with a carrier, so let’s get them out of the way before moving ahead:
- State availability: Almost all of Transamerica’s life insurance products are available in every state. New York State does not allow the company’s living benefits term policy which we’ll look at below.
- Medical exams: If you’re buying less than $100,000 in coverage you may qualify for the Transamerica no exam life insurance; instead, you’ll answer a medical questionnaire. Larger policies almost always require a medical exam.
- Application process: You’ll have to work with a licensed Trans American life insurance agent or financial advisor to buy this coverage.
- Online access: Transamerica Life Ins Co still uses paper forms to handle most changes to your policy. You can also make a phone call to handle most of these details. Don’t expect up-to-date apps like you’d get with Bestow Life or Haven Life’s term policies.
- Payment methods: You must pay your premiums via bank draft; no credit card or online payments. This is actually a good thing since it lessens the likelihood that you’ll forget to update a credit card and have a coverage lapse. Most policies offer a 2 to 3 percent discount for making annual instead of monthly payments.
If you’re OK with these terms, it’s time to move ahead to the policy types Transamerica offers.
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Transamerica Life Insurance Policy Types
To review so far: Transamerica Life Insurance Co has the financial stability and enough customer support to partner with you on something as important as life insurance.
But does this carrier have the kind of insurance you need, and how much would you pay in premiums?
Here’s a breakdown of Trans America Life Insurance policy types:
- Transamerica Term Life Insurance
- Transamerica Whole Life Insurance
- Transamerica Univeral Life Insurance
- Transamerica Final Expense
Transamerica Term Life Insurance Policies
Transamerica Life Insurance Review has two categories for its term life insurance products.
Both term policies provide 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30-year terms. Death benefits range from $25,000 to $10 million!
Most of these policies require a medical exam, but if you’re buying less than $100,000 in coverage you can skip the medical exam.
You also have three death benefit options for both types of Transamerica term life insurance policies that include:
- Level term – which provides a fixed death benefit.
- Decreasing term – where the death benefit decreases over time.
- Increasing term – where the death benefit increases over time.
Trendsetter Super Series
This policy provides coverage of up to $10 million. Premiums would increase dramatically after the term is complete, but the idea with term life is that you’ll no longer need so much coverage when the term expires.
This policy also lets you convert your term coverage to a Transamerica universal life insurance policy when the term expires without having to complete another medical exam — a valuable benefit if your health isn’t as strong a few decades from now.
Transamerica Living Benefits (Trendsetter® LB)
In addition to its death benefit, this term policy from Trans America life insurance specializes in “Transamerica living benefits.” You could claim part of your death benefit before you die using the accelerated death benefit rider for qualifying chronic, critical, or terminal illnesses.
As with any quality term life policy, your premiums will remain level for the duration of the term but begin to increase dramatically after the term expires unless you convert the coverage to a whole life policy or cancel the coverage.
Transamerica Whole Life Insurance Policies
A Transamerica whole life policy is a permanent form of life insurance that lasts the rest of your life. Along with the death benefit, your policy will slowly accrue its own cash value. A whole life policy becomes an asset you can use later in life.
The drawback of permanent life insurance is its cost which can be 15 to 20 times more expensive than a term life equivalent.
To lower the cost, you’ll probably need to lower the death benefit. This is fine if you don’t need a huge policy. But I recommend term life if you have a young family, are planning a family, or need a large amount of coverage like $1 million or $2 million.
Some people use permanent life insurance in their retirement plans along with other financial services like annuities, IRAs and 401(k)s. Transamerica excels with this kind of coverage since the insurer is part of a larger financial services provider.
Transamerica whole life insurance offers coverage up to $2 million and Transamerica group whole life for employers who’d like to offer insurance as an employee benefit.
Transamerica whole life insurance works well as final expense coverage, also known as burial insurance. You could buy a policy with $25,000 or $50,000 in coverage and your children or grandchildren could use the death benefit to pay for your funeral and other final expenses.
Transamerica Indexed Universal Life Reviews
Transamerica Indexed Universal life insurance is another kind of permanent life insurance. Like whole life, these policies provide lifetime coverage, death benefits and cash value accumulation.
But Transamerica indexed universal life insurance is more flexible. You could change the policy’s premiums or its death benefit later in your life by using the policy’s cash value.
Transamerica Insurance Company offers:
- Transamerica Indexed Universal Life Insurance: This kind of coverage connects your policy’s growing cash value to a stock index such as the Dow or the S&P 500. Your cash could grow more quickly, enhancing your policy’s flexibility. It could also shrink during a bear market.
- Variable Universal Life Insurance: You could invest your policy’s growing cash in mutual funds managed by Transamerica. The cash could grow more quickly or your policy could lose value depending on market conditions. These policies come with safety measures to prevent big losses but they also cap gains when the market surges.
Unless you’re working on a retirement plan, the best life insurance options do not include an investment component. I always recommend keeping life insurance separate from your investments unless you have a good reason to combine the two.
If you do want a market connection to your life insurance, though, Trans life insurance is one of the best since it has expertise both in fund-based investing and life insurance.
Transamerica Final Expense Life Insurance
Transamerica Final expense insurance is a type of whole life insurance policy with a specific purpose: To provide a small amount of life insurance coverage to pay for your burial, cremation, or other final expenses such as small debts.
Also known as burial life insurance, final expense life insurance coverage normally has affordable premium payments because of the smaller death benefit.
Transamerica Life Ins Co has competitive life insurance rates for final expense coverage.
Life Insurance Policy Riders from Transamerica
The Transamerica Life Insurance Company offers policy riders that let you customize your whole life or term life coverage.
Riders will add to your premiums but will also make your coverage more flexible.
Term Life Riders
You could add these riders to a Transamerica term life insurance policy:
- Accelerated death benefit rider: You could access 75% of your policy’s death benefit (up to $250,000; whichever is less) to help pay medical expenses if you’re diagnosed with a qualifying terminal illness and have less than a year to live.
- Accident death indemnity rider: If you died from an accident, life insurance Transamerica would double the amount paid to your beneficiary if the accident was caused by a bus or train or other “common carrier.” This rider could also provide financial support if you lost a limb or lost your sight because of an accident.
- Child protection rider: Can extend part of your coverage to your children as long as they’re minors.
- Return of premium rider: If you survived until the end of your term policy you could reclaim all the premiums you’d paid for a 20- or 30-year term policy.
- Waiver of premium rider: If a disability prevented you from working you could keep the life insurance policy without having to pay the premiums for a set period of time (requires a 6-month waiting period).
Whole Life Riders
Whole life insurance plans through Transamerica company allow you to add on these riders:
- Accelerated death benefit rider
- Accidental death rider
- Child protection rider
Where Does Transamerica Life Ins Co Excel with Life Insurance?
So I’ve talked about policy types, customer satisfaction reviews, and financial strength. But here’s a secret about life insurance companies:
When you’re working with a top 25 life insurance company like Trans life insurance, the most important question is “How will the company’s underwriters view my application?”
Life insurance is a subjective business. If you get categorized as a high-risk applicant, you’ll pay more and should choose another carrier. But if you fall within one of Transamerica’s underwriting niches, this could be the best insurer for you.
Transamerica Company excels with applicants who:
- Are older than 70 and need a whole or final expense life insurance plan.
- Have heart conditions or cholesterol issues in their medical history.
- Are young and healthy and want a large term life insurance plan.
But I’d suggest you look elsewhere if:
- You smoke, vape or use any other tobacco product
- You have a history of mental illness like schizophrenia
- You have a recent DUI or a shaky driving history over the past three years
- You travel outside the United States regularly.
- You are overweight or obese.
How Much Does Transamerica Life Insurance Cost?
When it comes to paying for a Trans American life insurance policy, you’ll do best if you’re at one of the extremes in life.
What I mean is that young, healthy applicants will almost always find competitive rates with this carrier’s large term life policies. In fact, Transamerica life insurance quotes will likely be among your lowest life insurance quotes as you shop.
On the other end of the spectrum, Transamerica life insurance quote also competes well if you’re 70 years old or older and want a small final expense life insurance policy.
It’s the middle ground where Transamerica has trouble competing on price. A Transamerica whole life policy for a 50-year-old who smokes and is 15 pounds overweight, for example, would probably cost more with Transamerica.
Of course, you never know until you get quotes, but since it’s harder to get a Transamerica quote I tend to direct our clients elsewhere if they’re in this middle ground.
Please Note: If you already work with a Transamerica financial advisor and want to mix the benefits of a universal life insurance policy into your retirement plan, that’s another matter. If you’re already working within this company’s umbrella of financial services, a Trans America life insurance will keep your plan simpler.
Why Does Trans America Life Insurance Get Bad Reviews?
Trans American life insurance has been around since 1904. It got its start in San Francisco, and its pyramid tower became synonymous with the city after its completion in 1972. Now, the company has moved its headquarters to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, though it still uses the pyramid in its logo.
A lot of legacy carriers like Transamerica company have been slow to adopt a 21st-century business model. While some policyholders like the old fashioned approach of working with a financial advisor and calling a phone number for customer support, other shoppers prefer a modern approach.
So a lot of the customer complaints and negative reviews center on this old fashioned approach. I mention this here so you’ll know before continuing the shopping process. If you want an online life insurance agency, you won’t find it with Transamerica insurance company.
Now, you can learn a lot about the company’s policies at transamerica.com, but you’ll need to work with an insurance agent to buy this coverage.
Other complaints stem from a practice of upselling policyholders into other financial services. Trans America Life Insurance Co is a full financial services provider. You can invest, plan your retirement, invest, and even arrange benefits for your employers.
Life insurance is part of this company’s business, but it’s not exclusively an insurance provider. If you want only life insurance and don’t want to discuss other parts of your financial life with your agent, you may prefer working with a company like Banner Life, Haven Life, or Northwestern Mutual.
Pros and Cons
- A century of financial strength.
- Competitive prices for youngest, oldest shoppers.
- Great products within the company’s broader financial services offerings.
- Not ideal for smokers or shoppers with recent DUIs.
- No online policy management.
- Must work with a licensed company agent to buy.
How To Buy a Transamerica Life Insurance Policy
Transamerica Life Insurance Company has financial advisors throughout the nation. You can find an agent at transamerica.com.
If you don’t live near a licensed agent, Transamerica Life Ins Company will ask for your contact information so an agent can call you.