The best time to buy life insurance is probably the time in your life when you’re thinking the least about buying life insurance: while you’re young and healthy and can command low costs.
We realize buying life insurance sounds B-O-R-I-N-G. It might even seem difficult if this is your first time. And, unfortunately, this is one more workplace benefit that’s disappeared as companies replace money in our pockets with espresso bars and hope we don’t notice.
But online life insurance companies have swept in, waved their magical technology wands, and made buying life insurance as easy and quick as a quiz to find out which Olsen twin is your spiritual doppelganger (curveball: It’s their little sister, Elizabeth).
Bestow is one of the top online life insurance companies, and it provides straightforward and affordable life insurance for those of us who’d rather not think about it.
Here’s our breakdown of what you get with Bestow and how to decide whether it’s right for you.
What Is Bestow Life Insurance?
Bestow is an online life insurance company that helps customers find, buy and manage term life insurance policies through a fast, online application and portal. It uses data and artificial intelligence to make faster decisions on applications, eliminate the need for medical exams and simplify the process of finding and buying life insurance policies.
Our Bestow Review: At a Glance
|Coverage||$50,000 up to $1.5 million|
|Terms||10- to 30-years, available in five-year increments.|
|Premiums||Starting at $10/month|
|Eligibility||Age 18-60; no felonies; no cancer diagnosis or treatment within 10 years|
Bestow life insurance products are straightforward and simple to set up if you qualify. Here’s what you get when you sign up.
Term Life Insurance
Bestow offers term life insurance policies. Policies are available in 10- to 30-year terms, available in five-year increments.
Bestow’s policies cover most situations, though all policies exclude death from suicide within the first two years of coverage, which is typical of life insurance policies.
Apply and Sign up Online
You don’t have to talk to anyone or visit an office to get Bestow life insurance. You can apply and sign up online in minutes.
The process starts with a quote tool, where you’ll enter your gender, birthdate, height, weight, and state of residence to get an estimated monthly rate for the term and coverage you want.
Like it? Continue to officially apply. Don’t like it? No commitments; you can move on.
The actual application includes questions about your health and lifestyle — for example, whether you smoke or enjoy activities like skydiving. If you’re approved, you’ll see a recommendation for coverage amount and monthly rate.
The process doesn’t include the dreaded physical exam. Instead, Bestow relies on data vendors that use the information you enter to verify your identity and look into things like prescription history, motor vehicle reports and financial data to determine your level of risk — and, therefore, your monthly rate.
Your information is totally secure and confidential. Bestow’s vendors are compliant with regulations on health and financial information, and Bestow uses industry standard security to encrypt and protect your information. You’ll also be prompted throughout the application process to consent to data retrieval, so you’ll know anytime the company is tapping into your data.
You can cancel your policy within the first 30 days after buying it and get a full refund of that first month’s premium. Your coverage will also end immediately.
You can cancel your policy anytime after the 30 days without a refund, as well. In that case, your coverage will continue through a 60-day grace period from your last payment date.
Bestow makes the cancelation process painless, so don’t be afraid to try it out. In its FAQs, the company states, “We won’t guilt trip you to stay… you do you!”
Backed by A+ Rated Carriers
As a technology company, Bestow doesn’t technically issue life insurance policies itself. Its policies are issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance (NAC), and reinsured (i.e. backed up) by Munich Re.
Both NAC and Munich Re are A.M. Best A+-rated carriers, an industry-standard rating that means they never welch on paying their claims.
If you already have a policy with another insurance company but you’re liking what Bestow has to offer, you can purchase a replacement policy — which is just what it sounds like.
Replacement policies come with some complications and concerns for the customer, including hitting restart on the two-year exclusion of coverage for death from suicide.
Bestow’s process walks you through questions to decide whether it’s the right move for you. And, because you’re not dealing with a live insurance agent, no one will push you into a policy that’s not right for you just for the commission.
Replacement policies aren’t available in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nevada, Oklahoma or Wyoming. (Bestow’s regular term life policies are available everywhere in the U.S. except in New York state.)
Premium Grace Period
If life happens and you miss a payment, you’ll get a reminder and you can make it up within 60 days past the due date before your policy is cancelled. If you can’t make the payment within 60 days, your policy will be cancelled, but you can always purchase a new one in the future to start your coverage again.
Online Member Portal
When you apply, you’ll enter your email address and set a password. That creates your account for Bestow’s Member Portal, where you can see and update your beneficiary information, billing, and contact information.
How Much Does It Cost?
Bestow offers 10 to 30-year term life policies available in five-year increments with coverage between $50,000 and $1.5 million. Premiums start at $10 per month and are dependent on your risk factors.
Pros & Cons
Bestow’s biggest promise to customers is simplicity.
That comes with a lot of benefits that eliminate the annoyances of life insurance companies of yesteryear, but it also comes with drawbacks that could be a dealbreaker depending on your financial situation and insurance needs.
- No sales reps. No offense to anyone who works in sales, but, customer alert!, their job is to get you to buy something. Bestow’s online application is designed to help you find the right coverage for your loved ones, and there’s no one staring you down and pushing the upsell while you’re trying to make your decision.
- Instant coverage. Quotes take just a few seconds, and applying takes about five minutes. Your coverage begins as soon as you make your first monthly payment, which you can do as soon you’re approved and you sign up. All online, from anywhere.
- Fixed premiums. Your monthly payment will never change. You’ll agree to the amount when you purchase your policy, and that’ll be your payment through the entire term of the policy.
- No medical exam. Bestow checks the info you provide on your application against health and financial databases and determines your risk with “predictive models” (statistical tech wizardry), so you don’t have to get a medical exam.
- No riders. A life insurance rider adds coverage or special terms to your life insurance policy, and they usually add to the cost of your premium. Bestow doesn’t offer riders, so you can’t customize or expand your coverage like you might be able to with another provider.
- No return on premiums. Some life insurance companies offer a “return on premium,” usually as a rider, that lets you recoup some or all of the costs of your policy at the end of your term if no one made a claim (i.e. you didn’t die). Bestow doesn’t offer this option, so your policy simply expires at the end of the term, and your premiums are a sunk cost.
- Policies are non-renewable. At the end of your policy’s term, your coverage ends. If you want to continue coverage, you’ll have to re-apply and qualify to purchase a new policy. Depending on your age or health circumstances at the time, this could mean you no longer qualify for coverage through Bestow. While renewable term life insurance isn’t common in the industry, some providers offer the option (usually with an added cost).
- No whole or universal life policies. Bestow only sells term life policies of 10 to 30 years in five-year increments. If you’re looking for any kind of permanent life insurance policy, this isn’t the provider for you.
Bestow Customer Service
Users report excellent customer service from Bestow — if you have to actually get on the phone with someone. Before contacting customer care, you can probably find answers to most of your questions in the company’s comprehensive, easy-to-understand and even friendly FAQs.
If you need to speak with a human at any time with any questions about your application, insurance needs or policy, you can reach a Bestow customer care rep at 833-300-0603.
Is Bestow Life Insurance For Me?
A general rule for life insurance eligibility is that you need to be relatively young, relatively healthy; and absolutely not a racecar driver, skydiving enthusiast or a smoker.
Your application and Bestow’s tech wizardry will determine whether you qualify and how much you’ll pay, but the company lists these eligibility requirements up front:
- You’re between 18 and 60 years old.
- You’ve never been convicted of a felony.
- You haven’t been medically diagnosed or treated for cancer in the past 10 years.
Even if you meet these requirements, your application could still be denied based on other health factors, diagnoses, medical conditions or existing life insurance coverage.
If you’re asking, “Do I even need life insurance?”, here are some circumstances that should you make you consider getting covered:
- Anyone depends on your income for their basic needs, including a spouse, partner, parents of kids. Most people first buy life insurance when they get married or have kids.
- You have co-signed loans, a mortgage or private student loans, all debts that could fall on someone else after you die.
- You expect to have a pricy funeral, which could be a financial burden to your loved ones.
- You own a business with employees. If your business would fail or falter without you, you could name employees as beneficiaries to keep them afloat in case you die.
Life insurance could also help cover estate taxes for your heirs. But if you’re dealing with an estate large enough to trigger the tax, your life insurance needs may be more complicated and higher-dollar than Bestow covers, so this company probably isn’t the right fit.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media.