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National Western Life Insurance Review

Founded in 1956, National Life Insurance has made surprising inroads over the last six decades. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, the company’s reach now extends to Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Asia.
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National Western Life Insurance Review

Written by Brian Greenberg

Last updated: August 9th, 2022

Reviewed by Grant Desselle

Our take

Backed by strong financial ratings and armed with a wide assortment of products, National Western has become a great option for those who are looking for either term life insurance or a permanent option.

Perhaps their greatest strength lies in the diversity of options that don’t require a medical exam. It’s not unusual for companies to offer simplified-issue life insurance plans, but the death benefit tends to be so small the policies offer little more than burial insurance. National Western offers whole and universal life insurance options that provide cash value accumulation, investment options, and more.

While they are not known for being the most affordable life insurance provider on the market today, those who are looking for no-exam policies will love the diverse selection that National Western provides.

A.M Best RatingA
S&P RatingA-
BBB RatingA+
Customer Service Phone800-922-9422
Websitewww.nationalwesternlife.com/
AddressNational Western Life Insurance
10801 N Mopac Expressway
Austin, TX 78759

What we like

No Medical Exam

National Western offers both term and permanent life insurance products without a medical exam.

Wide Selection of Products

National Western offers a full range of life insurance products, including both term and permanent options.

Strong Financial Rating

The company has solid financial ratings from third-party consumer watch groups.

What we don’t like

No Online Quotes

The company website does not offer online quotes, funneling its customers to its agents.

High Premiums

National Western’s term life premiums are a bit higher than the industry average.

Unclear Benefits

While some policies offer riders at no additional cost, it’s not immediately clear what additional riders and options are available to customize these products.

National Western Life Insurance Products

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5.0/5
National Western offers a wide range of life insurance policies, offered with and without a medical exam requirement.

National Western provides a wider range of simple-issue life insurance products than other companies. For the purpose of our review, we’ll review these simple-issue plans separately.

Fully-Underwritten Term Life Insurance

National Western offers two term life insurance products that require a medical exam. Policies are available in 10, 15, 20, or 30-year increments. National Western does not specify minimum or maximum amounts for these policies, but the fact that their simple-issue term life policies offer coverage as high as $250,000 suggests that these policies would be significantly higher.

NWL Term

This is the most basic offer, providing term life coverage with no real frills.

NWL Secure Term

The NWL Secure Term provides the option to convert your policy to a permanent policy after the initial term expires.

Simple-Issue Term Life Insurance

National Western also offers simple-issue term products that do not require a medical exam. They are available in the same term lengths as their other term life products, though the death benefit varies by policy.

NWL Rapid Issue

This is the basic plan for applicants who forgo a medical exam. Coverage depends on your answer to a few medical questions. Approved applicants can receive coverage ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

NWL Graded Benefit

A graded benefit plan does not provide the full death benefit until after the graded period—in this case, three years. If you die within this period, your beneficiaries receive a graded benefit plan according to the following timetable:

  • Year 1: Death benefit is equal to refund of premiums plus 15% interest
  • Year 2: Death benefit is equal to 30% of the death benefit
  • Year 3: Death benefit is equal to 60% of the death benefit
  • Year 4: Full death benefit is now available

The maximum coverage for this plan is $150,000.

NWL Living Benefit Term

This policy comes with a living benefit at no additional cost, offering a payout in the event that you are diagnosed with a critical, chronic, or terminal illness.

Simple-Issue Whole Life Insurance

All of National Western’s whole life insurance products are available without a medical exam. There are three policies available.

NWL Rapid Issue

This policy offers level premiums, and coverage ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

NWL Graded Death Benefit

This policy offers the same graded benefit schedule as the term life product (see above).

NWL MAXWealth

This policy guarantees a 3% interest rate on the cash value of your policy, which allows you to borrow money from your policy to pay for late-life expenses.

Fully-Underwritten Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance provides permanent coverage, but allows for flexible premiums and an adjustable death benefit. Like whole life insurance, universal coverage provides cash value accumulation that can be added to the value of your policy.

National Western offers a product called NWL Life 100. The minimum death benefit for this plan is $25,000. It tends to be the most affordable universal plan that the company offers.

Fully-Underwritten Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed universal life insurance is a variation of traditional universal policies. In an indexed plan, the cash value of your policy can be invested in indexed markets, such as the S&P 500.

The NWL Lifetime Returns plan provides an indexed universal life policy with a traditional medical exam required prior to approval.

Simple-Issue Indexed Universal Life Insurance

National Western offers indexed universal life policies with no medical exam requirement. There are two options available:

NWL Lifetime Returns Select

This plan provides four interest crediting options. Policyholders can also choose from payment schedules ranging from 5 years, 10 years, or a single lump-sum payment.

NWL Lifetime Returns Solution

This policy offers three indexed interest options, and policyholders can choose from either the 5-pay or 10-pay payment plan.

Policy benefits

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3.0/5
While we appreciate that term life coverage is available with living benefits, we would prefer to see greater detail on other policy riders.

Riders

The NWL Living Benefit Term life insurance provides a living benefit rider at no additional cost. This rider will provide a lump-sum advance on the death benefit if you are diagnosed with a chronic, critical, or terminal illness.

Other riders are not advertised, so it’s not clear what options consumers have for further customization of their policy.

Annuities

National Western Life offers annuity options, which some customers may find appealing as they plan their future and retirement.

Cost

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3.0/5
National Western’s rates are not terribly competitive, even for simple-issue policies.

National Western does not provide online quotes for any of its policies. This might make it more challenging to compare rates across companies.

National Western Life’s rates are generally not that competitive for today’s market.

Higher Rates for Term Life Insurance

A 40-year-old non-smoking male can expect to pay over $30 per month for a 20-year, $250,000 policy. This is a bit more than industry averages, even for a simplified-issue policy.

Higher Rates for Simple-Issue Products

While the range of no-exam products is certainly attractive, they are only valuable to those who simply can’t get approval with a traditional medical exam. In other words, if you are healthy enough to receive approval with a traditional medical exam, you may find better options through other insurance providers.

Good Value for Permanent, No-Exam Insurance

The greatest value will be for those who are looking for permanent life insurance without a medical exam. If you have struggled to find approval through other providers, National Western’s simple-issue plans can offer you permanent coverage.

Performance

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5.0/5
National Western enjoys excellent financial ratings from the industry’s top review sites.

Financial ratings

National Western has solid financial strength, as indicated by third-party ratings from top industry watch groups:

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • S&P: A-
  • BBB: A+

These ratings indicate a solid financial standing. This is important, as it indicates how well the company can be relied upon to meet its financial obligations to its policyholders and beneficiaries. Ratings like these therefore generate strong consumer confidence in the company and its products.

Customer reviews

4.8 /5
Based on 16 reviews

Excellent
88%
Great
6%
Average
6%
Poor
0%
Bad
0%
Feb 18, 2021
She was nice helpful consistent. She explained she followed up with me. I can call her if need anything.
Linda Forbes
Agent: Jennifer Plisch
Sep 24, 2020
It was easy and knowledgeable.
Jennifer Rawle
Agent: Daniel Price
Aug 18, 2020
It was extremely user friendly and the process was very easy and efficient.
Roland Smith
Agent: Jennifer Plisch
Jul 09, 2020
Was great. All i had to do was answer questions to determines my rates. They do, do a background check. The rates are fair, no blood tests or pee tests were needed.
Jacari Taylor
Agent: Jennifer Plisch
Jul 02, 2020
Jen is a very polite respectable lady who knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Life Insurance she found the best deal possible for me she catered it to my needs and I am forever grateful.
Tawna Grisham
Agent: Jennifer Plisch
Apr 16, 2020
Excellent service, answered all my questions and gave me the best options to benefit my family.
Amiri Sanders
Agent: Cheryl Schlenkert

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