New York Life Insurance Review & Quotes

New York Life insurance reviews find the company with an outstanding A++ financial rating from A.M. Best and a strong A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. It's important to get life insurance quotes from reputable companies like New York Life.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent Rachael Brennan

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Apr 21, 2022

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New York Life Insurance Summary
Key New York Life Insurance InfoNew York Life Insurance Data
Year Founded1841
Current ExecutivesCEO – Ted Mathas
COO – Craig L. DeSanto
COO – Matthew M. Grove
Number of Employees11,388
Total Sales / Total Assets$43,425,300,000 / $311,449,300,000
HQ Address51 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10010
Phone Number1-800-225-5695
Premiums Written - Group Life / Individual Life$2,054,828,000 / $7,331,015,000
Financial Standing$880,000,000
Best ForStrong Financial Ratings, No Exam
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What is New York Life Insurance?

Life is full of financial obligations that can negatively affect your loved ones long after you’re gone. Fortunately, a life insurance policy can protect them against those hardships.

A life insurance policy can be the difference between financial security and financial disaster for those you leave behind. You owe them to explore your coverage options if you have a family.

New York Life Insurance Company is one of the country’s oldest and largest life insurers. Since 1845, they have provided families with peace of mind knowing they are prepared for any eventuality.

This review will give you a complete overview of the company and guide you through all its policy options to help you make the best decision.

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Table of Contents

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Are New York Life’s ratings positive?

The following third-party ratings give insight into New York Life’s financial strength, business practices, and quality of customer service.

A.M. Best

A.M. Best ratings measure an insurer’s financial strength and ability to pay all its policy obligations.

New York Life has the highest possible rating of A++ rating, meaning they have a superior ability to meet their financial obligations.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The Better Business Bureau assigns one of 13 letter grades based on time in business, open complaints, resolved complaints, and federal action against a company.

New York Life currently holds a perfect A+ rating.


Like A.M. Best, Moody’s long-term obligation ratings measure an insurer’s credit risk. New York Life holds a high-quality Aaa rating, the highest possible.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P)

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) ratings also measure an insurer’s credit risk. New York Life has a strong AA+ rating, the second-highest of 21 overall scores.

NAIC Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Complaint Index compares the number of complaints registered against an insurer each year with that of other companies.

The NAIC sets the index at an average score of 1.00. New York Life has a current score of 0.29, well below the industry standard.

J.D. Power

J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Life Insurance Study measures overall customer satisfaction in four areas: annual statement and billing, customer interaction, policy offerings, and price.

New York Life scored a four out of five in the 2018 study, with high marks in billing and policy offerings.

What is the company’s history?

New York Life was founded in 1841 as Nautilus Mutual Life, a company that sold life, fire, and marine insurance. In 1849, the company rebranded itself as the New York Life Insurance company and started focusing solely on life insurance.

Before the turn of the century, New York Life quickly established itself as a company of firsts.

It was the first to introduce the agent sales model, the first to sell policies to women at equal cost to men, insure people with disabilities and those in hazardous occupations, and one of the first to hire female agents.

Since that time, the company has continued to innovate and has grown to become one of the largest life insurers in the nation with no signs of slowing down.

New York Life is a mutual company. This means there are no shareholders. Instead, the company is owned by its customers. It’s the largest mutual insurer in the country in terms of revenue.

Among the benefits of a mutual company is that owners of participating policies are eligible for profit sharing. New York Life has paid dividends every year since 1854, with an estimated $1.9 billion in payments expected.

New York Life is licensed to sell policies in all 50 states.

What is New York Life’s market share?

As of 2018, New York Life is the third-largest writer of life insurance with a 5.2 percent market share, representing $7.3 billion in direct written premiums.

New York Life Insurance Direct Premiums Written and Market Share by Year
YearsNew York Life Insurance RankingDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
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The company saw a slight decrease in direct written premiums from 2017-to 2018, resulting in a 0.1 percent drop in market share and a drop in rank from second to third.

New York Life is also the fourth-largest writer of group life insurance with a 6.1 percent market share, representing $2.05 billion in direct written premiums.

New York Life Insurance Group Insurance Direct Premiums Written and Market Share by Year
YearsNew York Life Insurance RankingDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
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The company has seen a gradual increase in premiums over the past several years, which should continue.

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What is New York Life’s position for the future?

New York Life ranks number 71 on the Fortune 500 list. They have placed on the list consistently for the past 25 years, and there’s no reason to think they won’t continue to do so for another 25 years.

New York Life’s market share for individual life insurance has dropped slightly, but it is strong enough overall that it should maintain a top five position for years to come.

Meanwhile, their group life market share is set to increase significantly.

Fifth-largest group insurer Cigna announced in December 2019 that it is selling its group life and disability insurance business to New York Life for an estimated $6.3 billion.

Cigna currently has a 5 percent market share. The combined 11.1 percent market share of the two companies will position New York Life as the second-largest group life insurance provider.

Life Insurance Companies Direct Premiums Written and Market Share Comparison
RankingCompaniesDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
4New York Life$2,054,828,0006.1%
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Taking a look at the current market shares in the table above shows how much impact the acquisition of Cigna’s business will have on New York Life’s industry standing.

What is New York Life’s online presence?

New York Life offers the ability to pay your premiums and file a life insurance claim on its website.

They also have an active social media presence.

Their Facebook and Twitter pages are actively updated with information on the company and its offerings.

Their Facebook page also includes a chatbot to help answer any questions you have.

How are New York Life’s commercials?

New York Life’s current ad campaign focuses on love and the things we do to ensure the financial security of our loved ones.

The company is committed to making a statement in its commercials. But they also make a statement in their community as well.

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Does New York Life do work in the community?

New York Life is committed to giving back to the communities in which it operates. One of the main ways is through the New York Life Foundation.

Since 1979, the New York Life Foundation has donated more than $275 million to various non-profit organizations.

Last year alone, it provided the following:

  • $25 million in total philanthropic giving
  • $15 million in grants to education and bereavement partners
  • $2.8 million in matching gifts to schools and childhood bereavement organizations
  • $1.5 million in volunteer grants
  • $1.5 million in disaster relief grants
  • $812,500 in community impact grants
  • $249,000 in grief-sensitive schools grants
  • $238,000 to the New York Life Family Scholarship Fund

In addition to its charitable giving, the foundation is also one of the leading providers of childhood bereavement support. They have multiple programs that help educators, families, communities, and caregivers learn how to support children who have lost a parent or sibling.

Now, let’s take a look at New York Life’s employees.

Are New York Life’s employees happy?

New York Life currently employs about 11,000 people.

Glassdoor employee reviews for New York Life averaged 3.5/five stars based on nearly 3,000 reviews. A majority of 61 percent of current employees say they would recommend the job to a friend.

New York Life has also ranked on the following notable lists:

  • Number 18 – Forbes Best Employers for Diversity 2019
  • Number 160 – Forbes Best Employers for Women 2018
  • Number 364 – Forbes America’s Best Employers 2017

How can I shop for life insurance?

If you’re reading this guide, you’ve probably already realized the importance of owning a life insurance policy.

If you’re still on the fence, consider the following facts from the 2018 Insurance Barometer Study from Life Happens and LIMRA:

  • 35 percent of households would be financially affected within one month of the primary wage earner’s death
  • 90 percent agree that the primary wage earner should carry insurance
  • 60 percent of all people living in the United States have life insurance
  • 20 percent of those with a policy feel their coverage is insufficient

If you’re one of those without coverage, consider some things while you shop for a policy.

Life insurance should cover two types of obligations: immediate and future.

Immediate obligations are the things that need to be paid soon after your death. These include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills
  • Mortgage balances
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debt

Future obligations are all expenses you want to pay for after your death, those you expect and those you might not. They include:

  • Income replacement
  • Spouse’s retirement
  • Emergency savings fund
  • Children’s college tuition

A life insurance agent can help you determine exactly how much coverage you’ll need to meet all those obligations. For now, here is an example using a basic life insurance calculator.

A husband and father of two is the majority wage earner in his family, with a wife who works full time. He has an annual salary of $80,000.

The family has a remaining mortgage balance of $100,000, a $7,000 balance on a personal loan, and $5,000 in credit card debt.

The mortgage is the largest annual expense. When it’s paid, the wife will have less need for his income. Therefore, he plans to leave her only five years’ worth of her salary as an emergency savings fund.

The couple also plans on saving $35,000 to cover the average cost of four years of in-state tuition at a public university for their child.

After factoring in an average funeral cost of around $7,500, the man’s insurance needs are as follows:

  • Immediate need: $100,000 mortgage + $7,000 personal loan + $5,000 credit card + $7,500 funeral costs = $119,500
  • Future need: $400,000 income replacement + $35,000 college fund = $435,000
  • Total need: $554,500

That total means he should purchase a life insurance policy with a face value of about $550,000.

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What is the average New York Life male vs. female life insurance rates?

The following table illustrates how New York Life’s average annual rates on a 20-year, $100,000 policy in key demographics compare to the average of the top 10 insurers by market share.

Average Annual Life Insurance Rates by Age and Smoker Status
Age and Smoker StatusAverage Male Annual Life Insurance RatesVersus Average Top 10 InsurersAverage Female Annual Life Insurance RatesVersus Average Top 10 Insurers
25-Year-Old Non-Smoker$152.00-$26.54$158.00-$2.57
35-Year-Old Non-Smoker$160.00-$25.04$164.00-$1.91
45-Year-Old Non-Smoker$245.00-$22.89$262.00+$21.75
55-Year-Old Non-Smoker$696.00+$171.05$414.00+$7.06
65-Year-Old Non-Smoker$1,416.00+$142.88$924.00+$43.34
25-Year-Old Smoker$346.00+$24.24$210.00-$38.75
35-Year-Old Smoker$416.00+$55.77$252.00-$34.18
45-Year-Old Smoker$739.00+$101.49$464.00-$29.20
55-Year-Old Smoker$1,428.00+$63.91$864.00-$127.63
65-Year-Old Smoker$2,868.00-$377.05$1,884.00-$351.31
Average Non-Smoker$533.80+$47.89$384.40+$13.53
Average Smoker$1,159.40-$26.33$734.80-$116.21
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What types of insurance coverage are offered?

New York Life offers term, whole life, universal, and variable universal options to meet a variety of financial needs. You can also choose from multiple riders to further tailor your policy.

Life insurance policies fall into one of two general categories: term or whole.

Term life policies only pay if the death occurs within a set time frame, usually between 10 and 30 years.

Whole life policies have no term and pay whenever a death occurs, regardless of age. Some also build cash value by allocating a portion of your premiums into an interest-bearing account.

Whole policies have multiple variations: traditional whole life, universal life, guaranteed universal life, indexed universal life, and variable life.

Now, that you know the difference, let’s look at what New York Life offers.

Term Life Insurance

A term life insurance policy is payable only if the death of the insured occurs within a specified time period, usually between 10 and 30 years.

Once the term has passed, the insurer cancels the coverage. There are generally no refunds on the premiums paid. Most policies can also be converted to a whole policy before they expire.

New York Life offers two versions of its term life insurance policy.

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Yearly Convertible

This policy is for those who want temporary protection now but may want permanent coverage in the future. This policy has term lengths of a single year. At the end of each year, you can either convert to a whole policy or renew your temporary coverage for another year.

The premiums start low and gradually increase every year.

Level Premium Convertible

These policies have more traditional 10-, 20-, and 30-year term lengths, with level premiums locked in for the first 10 or 20 years, depending on which you choose.

After the level premium period, rates increase annually.

New York Life term policies can be customized with the following riders:

  • Spouses paid-up: In the event of your passing, your spouse can use the death benefit to buy their own policy without a medical exam.
  • Policy purchase: This rider allows you to convert to a whole policy at any time without an additional medical exam.
  • Disability waiver of premium: If you become disabled, your premiums will be waived for the duration of the disability or to the end of the policy term.

Whole Life Insurance

A traditional whole life policy is the most common form of permanent insurance. A portion of your annual premiums is placed in an account that grows at a fixed interest rate (typically around 3-8 percent).

That savings element means the policy has the potential to grow a tax-deferred cash value beyond the face value of the policy, payable to the policyholder.

The cash value can be used to pay premiums, added to the death benefit, or used as supplemental income during retirement.

Whole life is the least risky option when it comes to permanent insurance as you are guaranteed positive growth.

Cash accounts that are dependent on investments have the potential to lose money.

New York Life’s whole policy is customizable with the following riders:

  • Disability waiver of premium: If you become disabled, your premiums will be waived for the duration of the disability.
  • Chronic care: If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you can access up a portion of the policy death benefit up to a set maximum.
  • Living benefits: If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can access up a portion of the policy death benefit up to a set maximum.
  • Accidental death benefit: This rider pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s death benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries.
  • Option to purchase paid-up additions: You can contribute more to your plan at any time to increase your death benefit or build up your cash value.

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Universal Life Insurance

Universal policies offer the permanent coverage and cash value growth of a traditional whole plan, while also giving you the flexibility to adjust your monthly premiums, change coverage amounts, and make lump-sum payments to keep premiums low over time.

Your cash value grows at a fixed rate, similar to a traditional whole policy.

Universal policies offer more flexibility than the traditional whole option, but fewer investment options than other universal and variable policies.

New York Life universal policies come with two benefit options: fixed or increasing.

With a fixed death benefit, the policy premiums decrease over time as the cash value increases so that the payout is always equal to the initial face value.

With an increasing death benefit, the premiums and face value remain the same over time. As the cash value increases, the overall death benefit increases.

The policies can also be customized with the following riders:

  • Disability waiver of premium: If you become disabled, your premiums will be waived for the duration of the disability.
  • Chronic care: If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you can access up a portion of the policy death benefit up to a set maximum.
  • Living benefits: If you’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can access up a portion of the policy death benefit up to a set maximum.
  • Accidental death benefit: This rider pays an additional death benefit on top of the base policy’s death benefit if the death resulted from qualifying accidental injuries.
  • Money-back option: The company will refund a portion of your premiums if you decrease or cancel coverage in the future.

Variable Universal Insurance

Variable policies allow you to invest your cash value in stocks, bonds, and money market mutual funds, similar to an IRA or 401(k).

These policies come with the greatest risk. Depending on how the stock market performs, you could lose a significant portion of your cash value and possibly even see your face value decrease.

Variable universal policies combine the benefits of universal and variable insurance. You get the flexibility of adjustable premiums and face values, plus the potential for significant growth.

New York Life’s variable universal policies can be customized with the following riders:

  • Monthly deduction waiver: Waives certain monthly fees if you become disabled
  • Waiver of specified premium: Covers your policy premiums for a limited period if you’re unable to pay them
  • Guaranteed minimum accumulation benefit: Protects you from market fluctuation by guaranteeing that your return rate doesn’t drop below a specified level

What factors affect your rate?

Anything that increases your risk of an early death increases the chances the insurer will have to pay out on your policy. That higher risk classification will result in a higher premium.

Continue reading for a look at some of the most common factors that affect your life insurance costs.


Several demographics can have a big impact on your life insurance premium.

Age: Age is one of the most important factors in determining insurability. The older you are, the closer you are to death, and the more likely an insurer will have to pay a benefit Rates will likely climb higher with each year you wait to purchase a policy. Some insurers also limit coverage amounts for people over certain ages.

Gender: Gender also plays a major role. Statistically, women live longer than men. For that reason, men in the same risk classification almost always pay higher premiums than women.

Current Health & Family Medical History

Anything can happen, but in general, healthy people have longer life expectancies.

To determine your overall health, insurers will require you to fill out a health questionnaire and may request access to your medical records. Some may require a complete medical exam and bloodwork.

Some key health measures they look for are obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, chronic diseases, and drug use.

Even if a policy doesn’t require a medical exam, underwriters still have access to public prescription and Medical Information Bureau (MIB) records.

It’s important to be honest on the application. If the underwriter discovers that you lied about your health, your application will likely be denied.

Most insurers will also examine the health history of your immediate family to identify any potential hereditary medical issues such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.

High-Risk Occupations

Some jobs are more dangerous than others.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries shows that police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and the like have higher incidences of accidental death than most.

A risky job could result in higher premiums.

High-Risk Habits

Similarly, high-risk habits outside of work can also result in more expensive life insurance.

The most common high-risk habit that insurers look for is tobacco use. Smokers almost universally pay higher rates than their non-smoking counterparts in every demographic.

For example, the average 35-year-old male non-smoker pays around $160 per year for a 20-year, $100,000 policy with New York Life. A 35-year-old smoker pays $416 for the same policy. That’s an extra $5,120 paid over the life of the plan.

In addition to smoking, insurers will also ask about any other high-risk hobbies, such as mountain climbing, skydiving, or any other activity that has a high potential for injury.

A single experience won’t result in a higher rate, but a regular hobby could.

Veteran or Active Military Status

Military status falls under the category of high-risk occupations. Most insurers charge higher rates to active duty military service members, and some don’t sell them policies at all.

How can I get the best rate with New York Life?

Your risk classification determines whether an insurer will raise your price from their base premiums. Those base premiums are generally based on three factors: mortality, interest, and company expenses.

Insurers use statistical mortality tables to estimate how many people in every demographic are likely to die each year. If they insure people in demographics with a high likelihood of death, they’ll raise their rates on them to minimize losses.

Premiums are also influenced by current interest rates.

Insurers increase their profits by investing the premiums you pay in bonds, stocks, and mortgages. A low expected return on those investments could result in higher premiums.

They also factor in all their operating expenses. The more a company spends maintaining their business, the more of that cost they pass onto their policyholders.

Rates can also vary from state to state, though the NAIC is currently encouraging states to adopt laws that would provide more uniformity nationwide.

With so many variables affecting premiums, the question becomes: how can you ensure the lowest possible rates?

You can’t control your gender or family medical history, and it isn’t always possible to switch to a safer career. The best thing to do is to change what you can so you don’t need to shop for life insurance with a medical condition:

Make healthy changes: Blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol are key measures on a medical exam. They can be improved through diet and exercise.

Also, research the medical exam process, so you know what to expect.

If you do smoke, stop. Not only should you quit, but you should quit as soon as you can.

Most insurers require you to be tobacco-free for a year before you can claim a non-smoking rate.

Buy early: The longer you wait to buy a life insurance policy, the older you’ll be once you finally apply. As discussed, older people pay higher premiums.

For example, the average 20-year, $100,000 policy for a 45-year-old male non-smoker at New York Life is around $245 per year.

That same policy for a 55-year-old costs $696. That 10-year jump increases the price by 184 percent Pay your premiums on time: Like any bill, late payments result in costly penalties and could lead to the cancellation of your policy.

If you have a policy canceled for non-payment, you can expect additional fees to get it reinstated, or higher rates at the next insurer.

Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates by Age
AgeAverage Monthly Rates for a Male, $100,000 PolicyAverage Monthly Rates for a Female, $100,000 PolicyAverage Monthly Rates for a Male, $250,000 PolicyAverage Monthly Rates for a Female, $250,000 PolicyAverage Monthly Rates for a Male, $500,000 PolicyAverage Monthly Rates for a Female, $500,000 Policy
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Above, we’ve compiled a list of average monthly sample rates for a 10-Year term for non-smokers at key ages from the top 10 insurers to give you an idea of how much a term life policy might cost.

What are New York Life’s programs?

New York Life has little in the way of additional life insurance resources on its website.

They offer a single, brief guide to life insurance and a basic life insurance need calculator.

How do I cancel my policy?

If you need to cancel your policy completely, you can do so at any time.

There are generally no refunds on premiums when you cancel your life insurance unless you purchase a special rider on some permanent policies.

For a term policy, you would only receive a refund on prepaid premiums for an upcoming period.

How to Cancel

The only way to cancel a New York Life insurance policy is to contact your sales agent or call customer service at 1-800-225-5695.

How do I make a claim?

The overall process of filing a death benefit claim with New York Life follows general industry-standard steps:

  • Initiate a claim
  • Fill out company-specific paperwork
  • Submit the paperwork along with a death certificate and any other requested documents
  • Choose a disbursement method
  • Receive the benefits

To initiate a claim with New York Life, either call customer service at 1-800-225-5695 or use their simple online claim form. You can also use the claims page to search for a policy or locate any unclaimed funds.

When initiating a claim, you’ll be asked to provide a policy number, the insured’s date of death, and a death certificate. If the insurer requires any other documentation, it will be listed in the claim package.

How can I get a quote online?

New York Life does not give quotes online. Instead, all their policy pages lead to an agent locator tool, which will direct you to a sales agent in your area.

The agent can give you a complete overview of all of New York Life’s policy offerings and estimated premiums.

Is the design of the website good?

The New York Life website is well designed and simple to navigate but light on information. Most pages are designed to preview policy options and guide you to an agent for more details.

New York Life doesn’t currently have an app for managing your policy, but its website is optimized for mobile viewing.

What are the pros & cons of a New York Life insurance product?

There are pros and cons to shopping with New York Life as with any company. Here are some of the biggest.


  • Excellent financial ratings
  • High customer satisfaction scores
  • Multiple coverage options
  • Pays dividends on qualifying policies


  • No online quotes
  • Above-average rates
  • Limited additional resources

What’s the bottom line?

New York Life is one of the country’s oldest, largest, and most financially secure life insurers. No matter your financial goals, New York Life has the policy to help you meet them.

Their rates can be slightly above average compared to some of their competitors, but they make up for it in quality, as evidenced by their excellent customer satisfaction scores.

If you need life insurance coverage, New York Life’s tenure and reputation alone make it worth contacting an agent for more information.

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New York Life’s FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about New York Life and its policy offerings.

Does New York Life offer a no-exam life insurance policy?

The AARP offers life insurance policies issued by New York Life to its members, several of which are no-exam policies. Some group plans issued by New York Life are also no-exam. However, all individual policies purchased directly from New York Life require a medical exam.

Does New York Life offer any supplemental coverage?

Yes. New York Life offers supplemental long-term care coverage, which can be combined with a traditional life insurance policy.

Can I change my face value?

New York Life allows you to adjust your face value during specified periods on whole policies. The face values on yearly convertible plans can be adjusted during each renewal period but will result in higher premiums.

Can I change my term length?

You can’t change the term length on New York Life’s Level Premium Convertible term policy, but the yearly convertible policy allows you to set your own length by renewing in one-year increments.

Does New York Life offer group life insurance?

Yes. New York Life is one of the largest group insurers in the country, offering term life, whole life, and short-term and long-term disability insurance options.

How do I make a payment on my New York Life premiums?

You can have your payments automatically debited from your checking account every month by filling out an authorization form or making electronic payments from a savings or checking account online.

Can I make withdrawals on my New York Life insurance policy?

New York Life’s permanent insurance policies allow you to take out loans against your cash value. Loans must be paid back with interest, or you risk decreasing or forfeiting your death benefit.

How easy is it to change my beneficiary?

You’ll need to fill out a beneficiary change form, which can be filled out and submitted directly online or by mail. You can also request a beneficiary change through your sales agent.

How long does it take for New York Life to pay death benefits on a life insurance policy?

Death benefits are typically paid within 30 days of processing the completed claim packet.

Are the life insurance benefits taxable?

Life insurance benefits are non-taxable when paid directly to a beneficiary, such as a spouse or a child. However, if you name your estate as the beneficiary, the benefits are subject to estate taxes.

Are all New York Life insurance policies available in all states?

Yes. New York Life is licensed to sell all of its policies in every state.

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