SBLI Life Insurance Review 2021

SBLI offers an extensive array of products and services, and their available riders make SBLI one of the most flexible life insurance companies in the industry.
Author: Ben Peetermans
Last updated: June 17, 2021

Our take on SBLI Life Insurance

The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts (SBLI) was founded in 1907, an era in which many Americans had lost faith in our nation’s financial institutions. Prior to becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis founded SBLI with a simple dream: to provide affordable life insurance to lower and middle-income families.

Today, SBLI has realized its founder’s dream by operating in all 48 of the continental United States. Customers can apply for insurance through a trusted agent, or through the company’s easy-to-use, mobile-friendly website. In many cases, life insurance can be obtained quickly with no medical exam required.

SBLI Life Insurance Company Details
A.M Best RatingA
S&P RatingA-
BBB RatingA+
Customer Service Phone888-630-5000
Websitewwww.sbli.com
AddressThe Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts
One Linscott RD
Woburn, MA 01801

What we like

SmartTerm 360

This policy provides a tiered approach to a term life insurance policy, reducing the death benefit and premiums over time to evolve with the customer’s changing needs.

Flexible Selection of Policies and Riders

SBLI offers a variety of term, whole, and final expense policies. Each of these can be further customized with additional riders. The available combinations allow customers to choose a policy that’s specific to their needs.

No Medical Exam

Applicants 60 and younger can obtain up to $750,000 coverage with no medical exam, and can receive approval in a week or less.

What we don’t like

Higher Premiums for Older Customers

Customers 50 and older can expect to pay premiums that are measurably higher than the industry standard.

Poor Track Record of Customer Service

Despite receiving good financial rankings, SBLI suffers from a large number of customer complaints.

SBLI Products

5.0/5
SBLI offers an impressive range of products and services, and their SmartTerm 360 plan offers customers flexibility they can’t find elsewhere.

Term

Smart Term 360

Many policyholders find that their financial obligations decrease with time. With children leaving the home and fewer remaining mortgage payments, policyholders may want a policy that evolves with their changing needs. The SmartTerm 360 plan is a type of laddering insurance policy, offering a series of tiered increments that provide descending death benefits and insurance premiums. For example, a 30-year term may be divided into three 10-year increments, with premiums and benefits dropping with each successive tier.

Flexible to Meet Your Needs

Positively, this means that insurance customers get what they need, when they need it. This type of policy isn’t unique to SBLI, but it’s relatively rare.

Requires Careful Planning

The downside is that this type of policy requires some planning and coordination to ensure your financial obligations align with the policy’s tiered step-down. Additionally, since premiums can fluctuate with age, health condition, and other factors, this policy isn’t a guaranteed path to savings.

Term Life Details
Length of Coverage10, 15, 20, and 30-year periods
Minimum Coverage:100k
Maximum Coverage:30,000,000 (some states cap at $20 million)
Estimated Time to Approval1 week or less
Product Features:· No Medical Exam for Select Policies
· Rapid Issue
· Riders Available

SBLI offers traditional term life insurance in a wide variety of options. Coverage ranges from $100,000 to $20 million. Policies are available in 10, 15, 20, and 30-year options.

Preferred Plus Option

Plans range from Preferred Plus to table-rated policies for those with high-risk needs. SBLI does not exclude anyone on the basis of pre-existing conditions, but bear in mind that medical conditions can dramatically increase monthly premiums.

Traditional Underwriting

A medical exam will be necessary for applicants 61 and older, as well as for applicants seeking policies exceeding $750,000.
Additionally, term life insurance is available only to applicants 74 and younger. Applicants 61 and older are limited to 15-year policies, and applicants 65 and older are limited to 10-year policies.

Accelerated Underwriting

Applicants 60 and under can obtain a $750,000 policy with no medical exam required. This also means that these applicants can expect a decision in a week or less.

Whole Life Insurance

SBLI also offers a standard whole life insurance option. Similar to their term life policies, no medical exam is necessary for applicants 60 and under seeking policies of $750,000 or less. These policies never expire, and SBLI offers level premiums so you can expect consistent rates throughout the policy.

Whole Life for Children

SBLI also provides whole life insurance for children. These policies range from $10,000 to $1 million and are available to children ranging from 15 days to 14 years of age.

Final expense

Final expense insurance is a type of whole life insurance designed to cover the cost of remaining financial debts, funeral expenses, medical bills, and other end-of-life expenses. Coverage amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000.

No medical exam required

This is an instant-decision policy, meaning that if you applyonline the policy goes into effect once you’re approved and you make your first payment. No medical exam is required.

LegacyShield Included at No Cost

As an added bonus, policyholders receive a lifetime subscription to SBLI’s LegacyShield service, an online tool that helps organize important documents and paperwork such as trusts and wills.

One-Year Non-Renewable Term

SBLI is among the few companies to offer a one-year policy. While this sounds unusual, it’s designed for those seeking the immediacy of life insurance, but aren’t sure which policy to get. The policy can later be converted into a term or whole policy.

Policy benefits

5.0/5
SBLI’s riders make it easy to customize your policy to your unique needs. The LegacyShield online tool can be an invaluable way to stay organized during an otherwise stressful time by keeping important files organized.

Conversion options

SBLI allows its customers to convert their term life policy into a permanent policy after their initial term expires. Those with a Premium Level Term can convert their policy at any time prior to age 70.

Riders

SBLI offers a variety of riders to customize your insurance plans. Some are available as part of the plan, while others are available at an additional cost. The common riders SBLI offers include:

  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider – If the policyholder is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given 12 months or less to live, this rider provides a portion of the death benefit to the insured to cover medical bills and end-of-life expenses. This rider comes at no charge with the SmartTerm 360, term, or whole policies, though there is a fee at the time the rider is exercised.
  • Accidental Death Benefit Rider – If the insured dies prior to age 70 and within 180 days of an accidental injury, this rider pays as much as two times the death benefit, to a maximum of $250,000.
  • Children’s Term Benefit Rider – Whole life policyholders can add children to their policy at the time of issue. Children must be at least 15 days old, and no older than 23 years.
  • Guaranteed Insurability Rider – Whole life policyholders can purchase additional coverage as they age. No medical exam is required, though their monthly premiums will increase in proportion to their additional coverage.
  • Waiver of Premium Rider – If you become completely disabled for 6 months or more, this waives premiums and prevents you from losing your insurance. This rider terminates when the insured turns 65.

Cost

3.0/5
SBLI offers affordable rates for younger customers, but customers over age 50 will be paying higher premiums than the industry standard.

SBLI’s premiums are highly competitive. A healthy, 35-year-old female can receive a 15-year, $250,000 plan for only $10 per month. Others can expect rates that are lower than current industry standards. The following chart offers some estimates for a 20-year, $500,000 policy for a non-smoking male:

AgeSBLI EstimateIndustry Average
20-29$25.00$28.00
30-39$29.00$32.00
40-49$61.00$61.00
50-59$169.00$152.00
60+$310.00$504.00

*Note: rounded to the nearest dollar. The above data is for illustrative purposes only. Individuals should consult SBLI for personalized estimates.

Competitive Rates for Younger Applicants

Applicants age 20-40 can expect rates that are very competitive with industry standards.

Price Increase at Age 50

Older customers can expect to pay prices that are increasingly higher than current industry standards. This is especially important because older customers can see their premiums increase with the increased medical needs that tend to accompany age.
While SBLI’s rider options add value, older customers may wish to explore other options when seeking coverage.

Performance

5.0/5
SBLI has some of the highest ratings in the industry.

Financial ratings

SBLI’s high ratings provide assurance that they can be trusted to provide the coverage you need. They are ranked as follows:

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

Having been around for over a century, SBLI has a proven track record of financial excellence.

Giving Back

SBLI supports the community by contributing to multiple non-profit organizations at both the national and local level. This includes the New England Center for Children, The Massachusetts Affordable Housing Alliance (MAHA), The American Heart Association, and many others.

Customer reviews

Customer ratings

Unfortunately, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has given SBLI a rating of 7.52. A score of 1.0 is average, while anything above that indicates higher numbers of customer complaints. SBLI’s high score indicates that they receive significantly more complaints than the industry average.

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About the author
Ben Peetermans author
Ben Peetermans
Life Insurance Expert
Ben Peetermans is a life insurance editor. He enjoys blogging about various topics, including finance. He has been writing about insurance since 2015. Ben has been featured in various press outlets including FOX, CBS, and NBC.