Shopping for term life insurance can seem intimidating. It’s time-consuming and you’re relying on your own judgment in an area where you may not feel comfortable.
Policygenius is a company that aims to provide solutions for both of those concerns.
In this review, I’ll explain what Policygenius is, how it can be useful and how it compares to companies that insure you directly.
Table of Contents
- Policygenius Review: Quick Look
- What Is Policygenius?
- Policygenius Review: Where It Shines
- Policygenius Review: Where It Falls Short
- Examining Policygenius’ Term Life Insurance Options
- Policygenius Also Offers These Insurance Products
Policygenius Review: Quick Look
|Company Type||Insurance comparison site or online broker|
|Key Features||Multiple quotes, consumer-friendly product, live help available|
|Downsides||Slow-moving process for a digital brand, limited number of partnerships|
|Best For||Price shopping and getting independent advice|
What Is Policygenius?
Two former McKinney employees founded Policygenius in 2014. They’d worked as marketing consultants to major insurance carriers.
Jennifer Fitzgerald, Francois de Lame and Policygenius have raised more than $161 million, including $100 million in January 2020. That makes it the most well-funded direct-to-consumer insurance startup ever.
The company calls itself a marketplace or online broker. I’d describe it as a place where consumers can price shop.
Policygenius partners with insurance companies but doesn’t underwrite policies. It is to the insurance industry as Expedia is to the travel industry.
Policygenius offers customers a range of price quotes through a relatively well-designed, easy-to-use online tool.
It also employs a team of independent, licensed to help you figure out which life insurance option is right for you — or whether you need it at all.
Though the agents don’t draw commissions, the company does earn commissions from insurance companies if you buy a policy through its website or app. But federal regulations ensure you won’t pay extra if you buy life insurance through Policygenius rather than straight from the carrier.
Unless you choose Policygenius’ relatively new accelerated underwriting product, the purchasing process will take days or weeks. The company says that’s natural when you’re making a decades-long financial decision that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. But there are much faster options in the digital marketplace.
Policygenius Review: Where It Shines
I tried out the Policygenius website and app, and I talked directly with company representatives. I came away with the impression that Policygenius arrived at everything within its ecosystem through careful consideration.
That results in a product with the following benefits:
- Competitive quotes. Policygenius representatives told me that the company has been intentional in choosing the insurers with which it partners. They say that’s to ensure you have a range of suitable options without being overwhelmed. It even offers to pay you $100 if you can find a lower rate elsewhere.
- Live help. Policygenius claims that 76% of life insurance customers feel more confident buying a policy after talking on the phone to a licensed agent. A company representative also told me that 84% of Policygenius customers say they need advice on length of policy terms, amount of coverage and deciding which company to pick.
- Help with hard-to-place cases. If you have pre-existing medical conditions (or some other challenge getting approved for life insurance), the Policygenius agents can help. They may be able to find a product that fits your situation or figure out how to get approval for you better than you could on your own just by using the website or app.
- Representatives don’t work on commission. There’s no incentive for the reps to upsell you on a product you might not need.
- No lead generation activity. Policygenius doesn’t take your information and sell it to insurance companies. That’s comforting. No one likes being bombarded by unsolicited sales calls.
- Consumer-friendly product. Easy to use? Help available? Educational material? Check, check and check.
- Strong coverage calculators. The company’s tools help you determine how much life insurance coverage you need and give you a fast, painless estimate on your monthly premium.
Policygenius Review: Where It Falls Short
Before I finished my research for this Policygenius review, I expected to find more detractors or at least to uncover more significant downsides.
Still, like every company, Policygenius isn’t perfect:
- Limited to partners it chooses. Policygenius tends to work with larger, recognizable brands. The company wants you to purchase a policy through its site since that’s how it makes money, so it doesn’t want to dilute your purchase options with lesser-known or niche brands. That said, I found their price quotes to be very competitive when you input information for a healthy individual.
- Slower process than some competitors. For a digital brand, Policygenius moves at an analog pace. It can take days to get the full scope of your quotes, and it averages four to six weeks to get approval. The website pushes you to go through a person. Although agents don’t earn commissions, the process isn’t as hassle-free as some of the other digital options.
- Small points of confusion within the customer flow. There are multiple entry points to get life insurance quotes from the website. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I found it a little disorienting. When I filled out my information via the app as opposed to the website, I didn’t get to see the companies making me the offers before I was prompted to give Policygenius my phone number.
- Some partners fail to meet Clark’s standard for long-term viability. Money expert Clark Howard recommends that you purchase life insurance only from companies with at least an A+ A.M. Best rating. And he says you should make sure the company has an A++ rating if you’re buying a policy with a term of more than 20 years. Some of the companies Policygenius partners with don’t meet that standard.
Examining Policygenius’ Term Life Insurance Options
|Gender/Age||Policy Amount||20-Year Term Life|
Policygenius offers quotes for terms of 10 to 40 years and coverage of $100,000 to $10 million.
In order to get quotes on its site, Policygenius asked me to provide the following information:
- Date of birth
- ZIP code
- Citizen/resident status
- Marital status
- Whether I use tobacco
- Whether I’ve had certain medical conditions
- Information about my recent driving record
Policygenius itself doesn’t have an A.M. Best rating since it doesn’t actually issue insurance policies. When I entered my personal information into the quote tool, it showed me prices from the following companies (A.M. Best rating in parentheses):
- AIG (A)
- Banner Life (A+)
- Brighthouse (A)
- Lincoln (A+)
- Mutual of Omaha (A+)
- Pacific Life (A+)
- Protective (A)
- Prudential (A+)
- SBLI (A-)
- Transamerica (A)
None of the companies that it quoted had A++ A.M. Best ratings, which Clark says is a requirement if you’re going to buy a policy with a term of more than 20 years.
If you isolate price, it’s hard to beat what Policygenius offers. That’s despite the company’s tendency to work with prominent brands. For example, a 35-year-old Florida female in excellent health wanting a 20-year term policy with $500,000 coverage would pay as little as $18 per month buying through Policygenius.
Although it wasn’t pushy or prominent, Policygenius also showed me a whole life product quote. Clark thinks whole life insurance is a bad idea for almost everyone.
Policygenius Also Offers These Insurance Products
My Policygenius review focused on the company’s traditional, slower application process. But Policygenius has developed a relatively new product called SimplySelect, which it offerd in collaboration with insurer Brighthouse Financial.
It’s an accelerated underwriting product attached to the equivalent of a telemedicine appointment. So although you can’t get a decision instantly — it typically takes three or four days to get an offer — you don’t have to submit to an in-person medical exam that involves blood and urine tests.
Brighthouse SimplySelect offers up to $2 million in coverage without the high rates typical of simplified term life insurance.
Policygenius focuses heavily on life, home and disability insurance. But it also offers quotes for these types of insurance:
- Long-term care
- Identity theft
Policygenius is well-funded. Its founders are savvy marketers. And the brand has a reputation for spending big on advertising.
That combination tends to make me skeptical of a company’s product quality. But it only took a few minutes to understand Policygenius has used its resources to keep customers, not just acquire them, by offering a variety of products, well-known brands and different levels of touchpoints based on customer research.
Using Policygenius doesn’t bypass Clark’s primary criterion for selecting a term life insurance company. You still need to make sure that the company from which you buy has an A++ A.M. Best rating.
Policygenius also wants you to go through a gatekeeper who advises you over the phone. It will take an average of four to six weeks before you get an actionable offer according to the company website. The whole purchasing process can take less than 15 minutes at a company such as Fabric.
But Policygenius can be a real time-saver when it comes to research and price shopping. You can get quotes from 20+ companies just by entering your information once.
Also, if you want a person to help you with your purchase decision, it’s better for it to be someone who won’t make more money by directing you toward a certain decision. Policygenius checks that box.