If you are looking to get insured and wondering if MetLife is the right insurance provider for you, you have come to the right place.
In this review, we will take an objective look at MetLife’s financial background, the different types of policies it offers, and its strengths and weaknesses, so that you can go through all the information and decide if it is the right choice for you.
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, more commonly known as MetLife, is one of the most well-known names in the industry and is among the largest life insurance providers in the world today. It was established in 1868 and is headquartered in New York.
A Fortune 500 company, MetLife has over $700 billion in assets and is a market leader in the US, Europe, and Asia.
MetLife’s Financial Ratings
The single biggest factor that determines an insurance company’s ability to honor its obligations is its financial strength. So, let us first take a look at MetLife’s financial ratings.A.M. Best: A+Moody’s: Aa3
Standard & Poor’s: AA–
An ‘A’ rating from all four agencies means MetLife is in an excellent position in terms of its financial strength and long-term financial stability.
Policies Offered by MetLife
MetLife does not offer life insurance to individuals. It only offers insurance policies through the workplace. In 2016, it stopped selling individual insurance policies, which are now being offered by Brighthouse Financial.
Now, let us take a look at the policies offered by MetLife.
Term Life Insurance
Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance – This is a simple, hassle-free policy for coverage amounts less than $100,000. It does not involve a medical exam and the approval process is very quick.
The application process for the policy is also very simple. You can use the online application form or call the company directly to apply for the policy. You are likely to get accepted within a day’s time.
Level Term Life Insurance – This policy is meant for coverage amounts greater than $100,000. The term length could be 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The death benefit and the premium remain unchanged throughout the policy’s duration.
This is a standard term life policy, which you can use to safeguard your short term and long term financial commitments like mortgage and children’s education.
You need to undergo a medical exam in order to qualify for the policy. So, if you are in good health, you might be able to buy a competitively priced policy. If you, on the other hand, have any health problems, your premiums could go up.
One Year Term Life Insurance – This is a short-term policy which covers you for a period of one year alone. It can be a good choice to cover your short term needs or to offer enhanced protection in addition to your regular policies. The policy can be renewed for five years, but the premium increases every year at a guaranteed rate.
The company also offers a supplemental term life policy wherein you can increase your coverage amount as and when your needs change and a dependent term life policy which provides coverage for your life partner and children.
Permanent Life Insurance
MetLife offers two types of permanent life policies – universal life and variable universal life – and the coverage amounts range from $100,000 to $1,000,000.
Universal Life – This is a standard issue universal life policy wherein the premium you pay is divided into two components – one for the death benefit and one for the cash value. The cash value component is invested in a savings account, whose interest rate is determined by the company.
Variable Universal Life – Just like the universal life policy, this one too has two components – a death benefit portion and a cash value portion. The difference, however, is that the cash value portion is invested in a variety of stocks, mutual funds, and bonds. As a result, the interest rate varies from time to time. When the market performs well, your cash value grows fast and when it performs poorly, it grows at a slow rate.
With both policies, you have the option of withdrawing or borrowing against the cash value portion as and when you need it.
Both policies have their own advantages and disadvantages.
With universal life, you know the exact rate at which your cash value component will grow throughout the term of the policy, since it is predetermined by the company.
This can be something that sparkles, since you can calculate the growth rate of your policy’s cash value well in advance and rest assured that you have a financial safety net to fall back on in case of an emergency.
At the same time, universal life policies grow at a much slower rate compared to variable universal life policies, since the interest rate offered by the company is typically lower than the returns gained from stock market investments.
With universal variable life, you have the option of investing your policy’s cash value component into high-performing stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, so that it can grow in value at a much faster rate. Under favorable market conditions, your cash value component could build up significantly in a short period of time.
On the contrary, if the market nosedives, your cash value component could go down in value. If you need money during such times, you might not be able to withdraw or borrow against your cash value, since it would have considerably shrunk in value at the time.
Guaranteed Acceptance Whole Life Insurance – It is a guaranteed acceptance policy which is meant for people between the ages of 50 and 75. If you are within the age limit, you cannot be turned down for any reason. The coverage amount could be anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. It can be used to cover your funeral costs. Your family can also use the money to pay off minor debts and outstanding bills.
MetLife also offers short term as well as long term disability insurance policies. Most companies offer disability benefits in the form of a rider, but MetLife offers it as a separate policy. Again, it should be noted that the policy is only available through the workplace. So, your employer has to purchase it for you.
Short Term Disability Insurance – This policy is meant to replace your income for a short term – anywhere from 3 to 12 months – in case you become disabled due to an illness or injury. It covers your treatment and rehab costs.
Long Term Disability Insurance – This policy is meant to replace your income for a long term in case you become permanently disabled due to an illness or injury. It not only covers your treatment and rehab costs, but also pays for living expenses like food, utilities, clothing, and mortgage payments.
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
MetLife, just like most other insurance companies, offers an accelerated death benefit rider, which is perhaps the most important rider you should consider purchasing along with your policy.
The accelerated death benefit rider is designed to cover your medical expenses in case you develop a severe or terminal illness. You can receive a portion of the death benefit to pay for your treatment, so that you do not have to deplete your savings and other investments, which you might have earmarked for other purposes.
The difference, however, is that MetLife has a very generous accelerated death benefit rider. You can access as much as 92% of your death benefit to pay for your treatment, which is much higher than what most other companies offer.
Some companies only allow you to access 25% of the death benefit. So, this is an excellent rider and is certainly worth purchasing along with your insurance policy.
Let us now take a look at MetLife’s strengths and weaknesses as an insurance provider.
MetLife is one of the largest insurers in the world today. It is reliable and financially very stable. If there is one insurance company you can count on to deliver on its long-term financial commitments, it is MetLife.
Lenient Underwriting Policies for Specific Groups of People
Insurance companies generally do not apply the same underwriting guidelines to everyone. They tend to have lenient guidelines for some people and strict guidelines for some others.
MetLife has lenient underwriting guidelines for the following groups of people.
- Those who serve in the military
- Those who suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Those who have high blood pressure
- Those who use marijuana for recreational purposes
People with diabetes or blood pressure are often classified as ‘high risk’ by many insurance companies. As a result, the premiums invariably go up. MetLife, on the other hand, offers affordably priced policies even if you happen to be diabetic and/or have hypertension.
Wide Range of Choices
Even though it only offers insurance policies through the workplace, MetLife has a good selection of policies, which means your employer can choose a package that covers your needs. Apart from regular policies, the company also offers supplemental coverage to take care of your ever-changing needs.
Moreover, buying insurance through the workplace is usually cheaper than buying it individually. So, you might be able to get sufficient coverage without spending as much money as you would have, if you had gone for an individual life insurance policy.
No Individual Policies
As mentioned above, MetLife’s policies are offered only through the workplace. While the company does offer a wide selection of policies, the coverage you receive depends on the package your employer chooses.
You do not have the option of choosing a policy and customizing it to your needs by adding the necessary riders and add-ons, like you can do with other companies.
Lack of Sufficient Riders
MetLife offers an excellent accelerated death benefit rider, but apart from that, there are not too many options available for you in terms of riders and add-ons. This can be a problem, as a regular life insurance policy does not always cover your needs adequately.
If often needs to be boosted with the help of riders and add-ons to make sure all your financial needs are taken care of. In the absence of such riders, you could be left without adequate protection.
So, is MetLife the Right Insurance Provider for You?
MetLife has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, just like any other company in the industry today. It is an internationally known company and dwarfs many of its competitors in terms of assets, cash flow, the number of policies issued, and the total number of policyholders it serves.
If you are diabetic, have hypertension, and/or if you currently serve in the military, MetLife might be the best choice for you, since it has very lenient terms and offers competitively priced policies.
On the other hand, if you are a smoker, you might have to pay a significantly higher premium compared to the average person.
Despite the fact that it only offers workplace insurance, MetLife has a wide range of policies, from which your employer can choose the best package that covers your needs adequately.
If you are in need of individual life insurance, your options include Brighthouse Financial, which is a spinoff company of MetLife, and other prominent companies that offer customized life insurance policies for individuals.
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Metlife Life Insurance Review by Jonathan Holloway