September 22, 2021

Y M L P-260

Business the wise choice

American Family Life Insurance Company Review

AmFam is not one of our top-rated life insurance companies. You can review our list of the best life insurance companies for what we think are better options.


Pros Explained

  • Simplified issue policies available: When you apply for life insurance, you typically have to answer questions about your health and schedule a medical exam and bloodwork. Fully underwritten policies can take weeks to be processed. If you need coverage quickly, AmFam has some policies that are simplified issue, meaning you can get insurance without a medical exam. 
  • Some policies can be purchased online: Some insurance companies require you to work with an insurance agent to purchase any of their policies. With AmFam, you can apply for simplified term, children’s whole life, and senior whole life policies entirely online. 
  • Term life coverage is renewable: If you have an AmFam term life policy, you have the option of renewing your coverage annually after your original term expires. 


Cons Explained

  • Online quotes aren’t available for all policies: You can only get quotes online for select policies. For other options, you’ll have to contact an insurance agent. 
  • Limited policy information online: AmFam has limited information on its site about the policies that aren’t sold online. To get details about terms and rates for term life, whole life, and DreamSecure Flexible Life policies, you’ll have to work with an agent. 
  • Relatively low coverage limits on simplified issue policies: Depending on the type of insurance you buy, you may be limited in how much coverage you can get. For example, the maximum coverage amount for simplified term life plans is $500,000. With some other companies, you can get $1 million or more without medical exams. 


Available Plans

AmFam sells term and whole life policies. It has both fully underwritten and simplified issue coverage, so you can choose the best option for you. While Simplified Term, Children’s Whole Life, and Senior Whole Life plans can be purchased online, all other plans must be purchased through an AmFam agent

AmFam has six life insurance plans: 

Term Life

With term life insurance, you purchase coverage that lasts for a specific term. If you die during that term, your beneficiaries receive the policy’s death benefit amount, but they receive nothing if you pass away after the policy’s term ends. With AmFam term life options, you can select a term of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. Its term coverage options are level-term policies, meaning its premiums stay the same throughout the length of your contract. 

There are two term life plans: 

  • DreamSecure Term Life: DreamSecure Term Life is a fully underwritten term plan that offers a higher coverage limit than the Simplified Term option. This policy can only be purchased through an insurance agent. 
  • Simplified Term Life: Available online, Simplified Term Life policies allow you to get $50,000 to $500,000 of coverage. You can complete the application in just a few minutes. 

Whole Life

Although whole life coverage is usually more expensive than term life insurance, it lasts for your lifetime. It provides you with reliable protection, and whole life plans can also accumulate cash value over time. 

There are three whole life plans: 

  • Whole Life: AmFam’s Whole Life plan offers permanent protection with multiple payment options. This policy has fixed premiums and the potential for dividends, but may require a medical exam over certain coverage amounts.  
  • DreamSecure Senior Whole Life: If you’re between the ages of 50 and 80, you may be eligible for the DreamSecure Senior Whole Life plan. You can get $10,000 or $15,000 of coverage for your final expenses without undergoing a medical exam. 
  • Children’s Whole Life: By purchasing a Children’s Whole Life policy from Am Fam, you can get lasting protection for your child. You can choose a coverage amount of $25,000, $50,000, or $75,000, and you can choose to make payments for 10 years or 20 years. After that, the policy is paid for in full, and the coverage will last for your child’s lifetime. 

DreamSecure Flexible Life

The DreamSecure Flexible Life plan is a unique policy that offers permanent protection with more flexibility than your typical whole life plan. At different stages of your life, you can make changes to your policy, such as reducing your coverage amount and your premiums. 


Available Riders

When you buy life insurance, most companies have optional endorsements, also known as insurance riders, that you can add to your policy. Although riders add to your policy’s cost, they also allow you to get coverage for family members, access benefits early, or purchase additional insurance without having to get a medical exam. 

AmFam has the following riders: 

Children’s Insurance

With some of AmFam’s policies, you can purchase up to $15,000 in whole life coverage for your children, including stepchildren. 

Guaranteed Purchase

If you add the guaranteed purchase option to your policy, you can get additional coverage at certain points without further medical questions or exams. 

Waiver of Monthly Deductions for Disability

If you become disabled and have this rider on your policy, AmFam will waive your premiums and your policy will remain active. 


Customer Service

Although some AmFam plans can be purchased online, you’ll need to contact an agent for others. AmFam’s agents are independent insurance agents that work on commission, so keep that in mind when considering their recommendations. 

AmFam’s website is easy to use, but it has limited information about its policies online. It does have a chat feature where you can contact customer service, and it has an online portal you can use to download documents or make payments. 

If you need to contact customer service by phone, call 1-800-692-6326. Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. CST. 


Complaint Index

With life insurance, customer service is a core attribute to consider when evaluating companies. While AmFam is a smaller life insurance company, it does offer effective customer service, as evidenced by the very low number of complaints that consumers have submitted about the company. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases complaint ratios every year—scores that reflect how many complaints consumers submitted about companies relative to their market share. 

American Family Life Insurance Company’s complaint ratio was 0.15 in 2020, which is better than the industry standard of 1.0. In fact, just one consumer complaint was recorded. 


Third-Party Ratings

Although AmFam was not included in the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study that evaluated and ranked top life insurance companies, AmFam does have a strong reputation for financial stability and governance. 

In May 2021, AM Best affirmed American Family Life Insurance Company’s A (Excellent) rating. It recognized its balance sheet strength, favorable business profile, and enterprise risk management. The high rating indicates that AM Best is confident that AmFam can meet its policy and contractual obligations in the future. 


Cancellation Policy

As with any insurance company, you have a 10-day “free look” period when you buy insurance from AmFam. The free look period allows you to review your policy documents and cancel without penalty. 

Once the free look period ends, you can still decide to cancel your coverage, but there may be some significant downsides. With term life coverage, you won’t get a refund of any premiums that you’ve paid. With whole life plans, there may be a surrender charge. 

To cancel your coverage, contact an AmFam agent or call 877-536-2385. 


Price

You can get quotes for Simplified Term, Children’s Whole Life, and Senior’s Whole Life plans through AmFam’s direct purchase site. For all other options, you must contact an agent to get a quote. 

We got quotes for Simplified Term Life policies and found AmFam’s rates to be in line with other companies that offer term life coverage without requiring medical exams. The premiums listed below are for a healthy 30-year-old woman: 

Coverage Amounts 10 Years  15 Years  20 Years  30 Years 
$50,000 $6.19 $6.41 $6.59 $7.25
$100,000  $9.43  $9.70  $9.97  $13.88 
$250,000  $20.25  $21.14  $22.03  $34.71 
$500,000  $39.61  $42.28  $44.50  $68.98 

As with other insurance companies, AmFam requires you to select either “male” or “female” when getting a quote or applying for a life insurance policy. Being nonbinary doesn’t disqualify you from getting life insurance, but you should be aware that most insurance companies haven’t updated their underwriting processes to reflect a current awareness of gender issues. 


Competition

While AmFam has multiple plans and simplified issue policies, it has relatively low coverage limits, and it has a small number of optional riders. 

If you’re looking for a more robust and customizable policy, consider Northwestern Mutual, our pick for best whole life insurance company. The company has 12 life insurance options to choose from, including term, whole, universal, and variable universal life coverage. It also has multiple riders you can add to your policy to purchase additional coverage or to use your benefits under special circumstances, such as accelerated care benefits and waiver of premium riders. 

What’s most impressive about Northwestern Mutual is its outstanding reputation for customer service. Northwestern Mutual is a huge insurance company, but its complaint ratio was better than the industry standard in 2020. Northwestern Mutual was ranked fourth out of 23 companies in the J.D. Power study, and it received an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best in 2021, the highest available rating. 

  American Family Life Insurance Company Northwestern Mutual 
Market Share Not applicable Largest in the U.S., 8.52%
Number of Plans  6 12 
Dividends for 2020  Not applicable  $6.2 billion
Wellness Program Discounts/Quit Smoking Incentives  Not applicable  Not applicable
Service Method  Insurance agent, online Agents and advisors
AM Best Rating  A (Excellent)  A++ (Superior)
Complaints Trend  0.15 0.5


Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a basic policy you can purchase online without a medical exam, AmFam is worth a look. You can get up to $500,000 in coverage online, and the application takes just a few minutes to complete. 

However, the American Family Insurance Company has limited coverage amounts, and you may find you need more coverage for your family. If that’s the case, you’ll need to work with another company.



How We Review Life Insurance Companies

Our reviews of life insurance companies are based on a quantitative methodology that analyzes each insurer on their stability and reliability, customer service, claims experience, diversity of product lines, and cost. We compare the terms of each type of policy offered—including available coverage amounts, optional riders, and premium payment options—with those of other major life insurance companies. Lastly, we look at how the company is rated by third-party organizations to determine its reliability and overall reputation. 

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .