Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review

June 4, 2020
Jonathan Fritz
B.A. Risk Management
Life Insurance Agent

Age is the single biggest factor that determines your insurability. Fortunately, there are a few life insurance companies that offer specialized policies for elderly people. Colonial Penn is one such company that is known for its guaranteed acceptance policies that do not require applicants to undergo medical exams. Below is an in-depth look at Colonial Penn, its financial background, the products it offers, and its strengths and weaknesses as a life insurance company.

Our Take

Colonial Penn is a highly recognized name brand offering life insurance direct to consumers. They are a great choice of life insurance for seniors. Globe Life insurance is the closest comparable offering when considering a brand with as much recognition and a similar buying process. Colonial Penn's sister company Bankers Life serves a nearly identical market.

Getting the best rate

About Colonial Penn

AM Best Rating
A-
Our Rating
Phone

1-877-877-8052

Founded

1968

Products sold

Term, Whole, Final Expense

Colonial Penn was founded in 1968 and is based in Philadelphia. It is a fully owned subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, an Indiana-based financial services holding company. One of the first companies to offer guaranteed acceptance policies for older people, Colonial Penn accepts people who are generally seen as high-risk by most other companies.

Financial Ratings of Colonial Penn

  • A.M. Best: A– (Excellent)(1)
  • Standard & Poor’s: BBB+ (Adequate)
  • Fitch: BBB+ (Satisfactory)
  • Moody’s: Baa1 (High ability to repay short term debt)

Colonial Penn is owned by CNO Financial Group, a Fortune 1000 company that has over $30 billion in assets and $4.3 billion in revenue(2). The group’s subsidiaries, including Colonial Penn and Globe Life, provide insurance policies to well over four million people in the country.

Compare Colonial Penn's Financial Ratings

  • AM Best
     A-
  • Better Business Bureau
     N/A
  • J.D. Power
     N/A
  • Moody's
     Baa1
  • FitchRatings
     BBB+
  • Standard & Poor's
     BBB+
  • Comdex
     62
  • AM Best
     
  • Better Business Bureau
     
  • J.D. Power
     
  • Moody's
     
  • FitchRatings
     
  • Standard & Poor's
     
  • Comdex
     

The Policies Offered by Colonial Penn

Renewable Term Life Insurance

This is the only term life policy offered by Colonial Penn. This is an annual renewable policy, which means it is designed to provide coverage for one year. Once it expires at the end of the year, it needs to be renewed again.

Age

The policy is available for everyone between the ages of 18 and 75 and can be renewed up to the age of 90.

No Medical Exams

The most important feature of the policy is it does not require applicants to undergo any medical exam. Rather, the application process requires applicants to answer a few questions about health status, based on which insurability is determined by the underwriter.

Premium

At the start of the coverage period, the life insurance rate is determined based on two factors—age and gender. The premium increases every time the policyholder enters a new age band, which is usually every five years. Policyholders have the option of paying premiums on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or yearly basis.

Designate Up to Two Beneficiaries

The policy allows the insured to designate one or two beneficiaries. The amount of the death benefit each should receive can also be customized, whether an even 50/50 split or a different allocated division of funds.

Coverage

The death benefit could be anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

Permanent Whole Life Insurance

For those not thrilled about the idea of renewing a term policy every year, there is the option for the permanent whole life policy, which covers the policyholder for a lifetime. For help deciding which is the best type of life insurance for a particular individual’s situation, see this guide to term vs whole life insurance.

Age

Applicants should be between the ages of 40 and 75 when applying for a permanent life policy from Colonial Penn. Once insured, there is no need to extend or renew the policy, since its coverage is effective until the insured’s death.

No Medical Exams

Just like its term policy, Colonial Penn’s whole life policy also does not involve any medical exams. The applicant need only to fill out an application form, which contains questions about health status. Based on these answers, the policy underwriter determines insurability.

Premiums

Right at the start of the coverage period, the premium is determined by the insurer based on the age and gender of the policyholder. Once it is determined, it stays the same for the entire duration of the policy, until the insured’s death. In other words, the premium rate is locked in and does not change at any time for any reason. Premium payments can be made on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly basis.

Coverage

The death benefit offered by the policy could be anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

Designate Up to Two Beneficiaries

This policy offers the option to designate one or two beneficiaries also and provides the freedom to allocate different or exact portions of the death benefit to the beneficiary parties.

Cash Value

Since it is a permanent life policy, this policy has a cash value component, which starts building after the first year. It grows in value throughout the term length. The rate of growth is predetermined by the insurance company. Once it has sufficiently grown in value, the cash can be borrowed against the policy in case of an emergency, to meet ongoing expenses, or for any other purpose.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

This type of insurance is primarily meant for elderly people who are looking for a policy to cover their funeral expenses. Upon the policyholder’s death, the family receives a payout which is sufficient to cover the final expenses, thereby reducing their burden to a small extent.

Age

Applicants should be between the ages of 50 and 85 when applying for this policy. Once the policy is in effect, the insured is covered until death.

No Medical Exams

This is a defining feature of all the policies offered by Colonial Penn, as seen above. There are no medical exams, and applicants need not worry about health conditions. Regardless of family history or preexisting conditions, acceptance is guaranteed under this policy.

Coverage and Premium

This is a unique policy, wherein there is no fixed coverage or premium. The coverage amount is divided into different units, which the policyholder can purchase for a fixed cost. Each unit of coverage costs $9.95. The maximum number of units available for purchase is eight. The coverage amount offered per unit depends on several factors including age, gender, and location. The minimum coverage amount offered per unit is approximately $400, and the maximum coverage amount offered per unit is approximately $2,100. The maximum amount of potential death benefit available by the purchase of all eight units of coverage is $16,664.

For instance, a 60-year-old female could get up to $1,600 of coverage per unit. If $10,000 for final expenses was needed, she could buy seven units, which should provide her with a death benefit of $11,200. Her monthly premium would cost $69.95 ($9.95 x 7). The premium, once determined at the start of the coverage period, remains unchanged for the entire duration of the policy.

Monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or yearly premium payment schedules are available. If paid yearly, the company waives one month’s premium, and thus, the insured gets 12 months of coverage for the cost of 11 months of premiums.

Cash Value

The policy has a built-in cash value component, which accrues interest throughout the term. If borrowed against, repayment will incur an eight percent interest rate. If unpaid, the insurance company will deduct the outstanding amount from the death benefit.

Waiting Period

The policy has a two-year waiting period, during which time the death benefit payout is restricted. If the insured passes away during this period, the beneficiary is not eligible to receive the entire death benefit amount. They will receive an amount equivalent to the total number of premiums paid up to that point, plus the eight percent compounded annual interest.

Pro’s and Con’s of Colonial Penn Life Insurance

Now, let us take a look at the pros and cons of choosing Colonial Penn as your life insurance company.

Pros

No Medical Exams

It is no secret that if older applicants with a family history of heritable diseases or preexisting conditions are seen as high-risk consumers by most companies and are likely to have a hard time qualifying for most policies. If they do qualify, they will almost certainly have to pay expensive premiums to get a sufficient amount of coverage.

With Colonial Penn, this is not an issue because the company accepts even high-risk applicants. Apart from answering a few questions, applicants do not have to do undergo an exam or any other testing. Applicants are not likely to be rejected based on age or health condition. This is a huge advantage for people who are considered “uninsurable” by other companies and need a policy to cover their needs later in life.

Cash Value

The permanent life policies of Colonial Penn have a cash value component built into them, which gives the option of borrowing against it.

Locked in Premium

The permanent life policies of Colonial Penn have the lock-in feature that keeps the policy’s premium the same. It makes the long-term financial planning process easier since insurance premiums do not fluctuate over time.

Flexible Payment Options

Payment options include monthly premium payments, yearly premium payments, or quarterly or semi-annually premium payments. The company also waives off a month’s premium if paid yearly.

30-Day Return Policy

All of Colonial Penn’s policies come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If the policy purchaser changes his or her mind suddenly after purchasing the policy, they can cancel it within 30 days and get their money back.

Cons

Low Coverage Amounts

Colonial Penn’s policies have a death benefit ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. If only minimal coverage for final expenses is required, this policy will be sufficient. If more coverage is required to pay for major financial commitments, a different company would be a better option.

Lack of Riders

Unlike most other insurance companies, Colonial Penn does not offer riders or additional benefits with their policies.

Consumer Complaints

Colonial Penn receives a larger number of complaints compared to some of its competitors. Its complaint ratio in 2017 was 2.49, which is much higher than the national average of 1.00.

Is Colonial Penn the Right Choice for You?

Colonial Penn is a good choice for elderly people who are typically in the high-risk category. The policies do not require medical exams, and the acceptance rate is very high. Policyholders can easily buy a policy whose death benefit payout is sufficient to take care of final expenses and pay off a few outstanding bills.

If a policy is needed to replace income and secure long-term financial needs of dependents, Colonial Penn is certainly not the right choice. Moreover, applicants who are relatively young and healthy need not settle for a no-exam, no-questions-asked policy. Instead, they should undergo a medical exam, get classified as a low-risk consumer, and get the best possible rates on term and whole life policies.

For those still not sure if Colonial Penn is the right choice, or if assistance is needed in choosing the right type of policy, get in touch with the insurance experts at NoExam.com who’s specialty is offering help to life insurance shoppers in choosing a policy that meets their needs and fits their budgets.

About NoExam.com

NoExam.com is a place where you can find everything you ever wanted to know about life insurance. If you are looking to get insured, but not sure what kind of policy is right for you, we can help you.

We provide you with a wide array of information on various insurance providers, insights into the products they offer, and indications of their strengths and weaknesses, so you can compare the options available to you and make the best choice for your unique needs.

References

  1. AM Best Affirms CNO Credit Ratings- Available from: http://news.ambest.com/presscontent.aspx?altsrc=14&refnum=27534
  2. CNO Fact Sheet- Available from: http://cno.mediaroom.com/download/CNO_Fact_Sheet.pdf