New York Life Insurance Company Review – Products, Rates, and Customer Service

new york life review

Last Updated: 01/04/2018

AM Best Grade: A++ (Superior) 5 stars

Address51 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010

Phone: (212) 576-7000


Also Known As: New York Life

In business for over 170 years, New York Life Insurance Company one of the largest life insurance companies in the world. They rank as the third-largest insurance company in the United States, and made #61 on the Fortune 500 list in 2016. They also received the best possible ratings from all four independent rating companies (A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch) in 2017. The company’s products include life insurance, annuities, long-term care, and asset management.

Quick Review Guide:

  1. Company History
  2. Insurance Products
  3. Product Pricing
  4. Underwriting Niches
  5. Customer Service & Approval Process
  6. Financial Stability & Ratings
  7. Why We Like New York Life

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Company History

Founded in 1845 in New York City, New York Life Insurance was originally titled Nautilus Insurance Company, until the company changed its name in 1849. New York Life’s headquarters were originally located at 58 Wall Street under the president James Depeyster Ogden (who served from 1845-1847). After moving buildings a few times, the company finally settled at 51 Madison Avenue, New York, New York.

New York Life was ahead of its time when it came to enacting policies, or getting rid of unjust ones. The company was in business before the end of slavery, so they did insure their southern clients’ slave lives; only for a few years, however, ending the policy on April 19, 1848. This was 15 years prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. They also developed the non-forfeiture option in 1860 before state laws required it, which states that a policy would remain in force even if a premium payment was missed. New York Life was also the first U.S. company to give women and men the same policy rates (including Susan B. Anthony, one of their first female policyholders), as well as the first to insure people with disabilities; they provided a policy with a disability benefit that assumed total disability would be permanent after a certain amount of time.

Insurance Products

New York Life Insurance offers quite a few different services and products, which include:

The company’s most popular product is term life insurance, in which they offer anywhere from 10-20 years of coverage. When you purchase term life insurance, New York Life guarantees fixed payments – that means your premiums stay the same for as long as 20 years. You also have the option to upgrade to permanent coverage. If you decide to convert to a permanent policy within the first 10 years of your policy, you won’t have to undergo a new underwriting process (based on your original underwriting assessment).

Some people aren’t ready to purchase 10-20 years of term life insurance just yet; in that case, New York Life offers temporary (also known as yearly) convertible term life insurance. This policy allows you to renew it each year without providing evidence of insurability or proof of your good health. You may renew the policy until the expiry age, which varies by state. However, unlike 10-20 year term life insurance, yearly convertible term only provides pure insurance protection, it doesn’t accumulate cash value. The premiums also increase with each policy renewal, based on your age when you renew. If you decide to convert part or all of your yearly term policy, you generally have the option to until the 10th annual renewal, or the insured’s age 55 policy anniversary.

In addition to your policy, life insurance companies offer products that can be added to them, called riders. Some riders require an additional cost, and must be added at the initial issue of the policy. Notable riders from New York Life Insurance include:

Accidental Death Benefit Rider: You can add this rider for an additional death benefit if you die within 12 months after obtaining an accidental injury. The rider is equal to the face amount of the policy, and up to $300,000 per life.

Children’s Insurance Rider: This rider provides level term insurance for your children who are eligible, and can later be upgraded to permanent insurance (up to five times the term coverage face amount).If you choose to upgrade to permanent coverage, the conversion is available either when the covered child is 25, when the insured parent is 65, or when the child marries. If not, the rider ends when the child is 25 or the insured is 65. Note: this rider is not available with Custom Whole Life policies.

Chronic Care Rider: If you were ever to run into a financial hardship due to a permanent chronic illness, this rider would protect you by providing tax-free access to a portion of your base policy benefits.Monthly benefits can be chosen for payment over 25, 50, or 100 months (this payout period cannot be altered throughout the course of the policy). This rider is available on most Whole Life and Custom Whole Life policies.

Disability Waiver of Premium Rider: On Whole Life Policies, if you were to become completely disabled for six months or longer before age 60 and through age 65, this rider waives your policy premiums until age 100. This rider can be added after the initial issue of the policy.

Living Benefits Rider: If you were to ever be diagnosed with a terminal illness and be given 12 months or less to live (depending on state policies), this rider would allow you to access a portion of your policy’s eligible death benefit. With those funds, you could pay for critical medical treatments or living expenses for caregivers. This rider can also be added after the initial issue of the policy, and there is a charge once the rider is used.

Spouse’s Paid-Up Insurance Purchase Option (SPPO): Should you die during your policy, this rider provides your spouse (as long as he/she is the beneficiary of your policy) the right to buy a new paid-up life insurance policy for himself/herself without providing evidence of insurability. This rider comes at no additional cost, and must be in effect at the time of the insured’s death. Note: This can also be applied to a family member in the state of New York.

Product Pricing

New York Life Product PricingWith such a highly regarded company, comes a price. Due to the popularity of the company’s products, their pricing can be a little bit more on the expensive side. That doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify for some of their niches (discussed below), and receive a better rate, though! In addition, knowing you’re in such good hands – especially when it comes to life insurance – is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

On average, it takes about three weeks for New York Life to approve an application. There may be variance depending on how each of the three application steps go (a medical records review, telephone interview, and/or face-to-face assessment), so ensuring that you fully prepare for the application will make the process go much smoother. New York Life is a great option to those in good to excellent health, commercial pilots, and to those age 70 and older.

You may be wondering, “How do I know which health category I fit into?” If you have a few medical conditions, a dangerous hobby, or a hazardous occupation, give one of our licensed agents a call, and they will work with you to determine if New York Life is the best company for your unique “risk” profile.

Underwriting Niches

New York Life Insurance provides applicants with some underwriting niches that may be much more affordable than their competitors’ rates. Some of the niches that New York Life are more tolerant of include:


New York Life is rather lenient with their height-to-weight ratio guidelines. To qualify for “select preferred”, both men and women can have a BMI between 19.5 and 27.4.

To qualify for “preferred”, BMI can be between 18.5 and 19.5 or 27.4 and 30.9. An overweight BMI would be anything between 24.9-30, and 30+ is obese, so you could still qualify for great rates with New York Life if you fall into one of those categories.

Blood Pressure

For “select preferred rates: applicants under the age of 59 need average blood pressure levels of 130/80 or lower; ages 60-69 with levels of 140/85 or lower, and age 70 and up with levels of 145/85 or lower.

To qualify for preferred rates, applicants ages 18-59 need average blood pressure levels of 135/85 or lower, applicants ages 60-69 with averages of 150/90 or lower, and those 70 and up need averages of 155/90 or lower. All need to be sustained for the past 12 months or longer. If one blood pressure medication is used, applicants can qualify for “preferred” rates.

Common Blood Pressure Medications Include:

  • Amlodipine
  • Atenolol
  • Avapro
  • Benicar
  • Bystolic
  • Carvedilol
  • Clonidine
  • Cozaar
  • Diovan
  • Enalapril
  • Exforge
  • Furosemide
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Hyzaar
  • Lasix
  • Lisinopril
  • Losartan
  • Lotrel
  • Metoprolol
  • Micardis
  • Norvasc
  • Propranolol
  • Spironolactone
  • Tekturna
  • Toprol
  • Verapamil

Prescription Drugs

To qualify for “select preferred” rates, New York Life allows quite a few different prescriptions. These include:

  • One statin cholesterol lower medication
  • Hormone replacement for females
  • Thyroid replacement
  • Osteoporosis/Osteopenia medications
  • Sleep Aids
  • Allergy medications
  • GERD medications
  • Nasal Steroid Spray (if only used occasionally for seasonal allergies)

Leniency to those over 70

In relation to blood pressure, weight-to-height ratio, and cholesterol, clients who are over the age of 70 are given more leniency on underwriting requirements, which does not always happen with life insurance companies.

Commercial Pilots

Oftentimes, commercial pilots will not qualify for very good rates due to their high risk occupation. However, New York Life offers “preferred” rates to pilots who are 18 or older years of age, which a huge perk for the company (and pilots!).

Customer Service & Approval Process

New York Life Customer ServiceSince New York Life is such a secure and financially strong company, it’s no surprise that their customer reviews reflect nothing less. The company has received 4 out of 5 stars on their customer service. Here are two customer reviews that we found:

“I’ve had a term life insurance policy with New York Life for several years now. All my interactions with them have been professional and productive. New York Life is one of the most financially stable insurance companies there is. So I can rest easy and know that my family will be taken care of if the worst happens. They also have plenty of life insurance policy types to choose from.”

“I love my insurance company. They are always available to assist me in any questions I may have regarding my coverages. They are a very reputable company and I feel confident that they will meets my needs in case something arises. I have two policies with them. The monthly premiums are low enough for me to be able to afford. My insurance company is always offering me additional great deals on more policies. They answer and make me fully understand any concerns or questions I may have.”

Financial Stability and Ratings

Life insurance is not something to take lightly; it is a very big and important purchase. Thankfully, the United States is aware of this. That’s why each life insurance company is routinely audited to ensure that it is financially stable, and assigned an appointed commissioner in each state to oversee the company’s operations. With this, there’s no deceit in life insurance – you can be sure that you know exactly what you’re getting.

Out of the 800 life insurance companies in the United States, New York Life is one of two companies that has received the highest possible financial strength ratings from all four rating agencies. The company has about $550 billion in total assets, and over $21 billion in surplus and asset valuation reserve (AVR).

New York Life’s Financial Stability Ratings:

  • A.M. Best: A++ (Superior; highest rating)
  • Fitch: AAA (Exceptionally Strong; highest rating)
  • Standard & Poor’s: AA+ (Very strong; highest rating for life insurers)
  • Moody’s: AAA (Very strong; highest rating)

Why We Like New York Life

At Term Life Advice, we represent over 60 companies; each company is hand-picked to ensure that we provide the best options possible. In this article, we’ve explained just how financially strong New York Life is. Let’s look at what else makes them a strong pick:

  • Multiple underwriting leniencies
  • Competitive pricing
  • Over a 170-year history of excellence
  • Term life, universal life, and long-term care insurance options
  • Additional policy benefits/riders
  • Phenomenal customer service

Term Life Advice is an owner-operated life insurance agency that works directly with highly-rated life insurance companies including New York Life. This could absolutely be the best company for you; but it is always best to shop around and compare rates to make sure that you and your new life insurance company are fully compatible.

If you’d like to get an accurate quote based on your age and health, or to determine if New York Life is your best choice for coverage, give us a call today toll-free at: 855-902-6494. Our services are free, and our agency can quickly compare your options and rates by asking you a few questions about your health and lifestyle.

You can also request a free instant quote online below to instantly compare rates from more than 60 highly-rated life insurance companies in less than a minute.

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