Principal Life Insurance Review: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future

(Money Under 30 Rating)

Ranking

8/10

If you’re looking for a life insurance provider with a long history and strong financial ratings then Principal might be the right fit for you.

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Financial ratings

8/10

User experience

8/10

Quick quote process

9/10

Insurance options

7/10



Best for:

 

  • Strong financials
  • No medical exam options
  • Survivorship insurance

Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

If you’re questioning whether or not you need life insurance, then it’s definitely worth looking into. My husband and I started having this conversation when we found out we were expecting our first child. We instantly went into mama and papa bear mode and wanted to do everything we could to protect our child and his future. Now, two children later, we feel like we can rest easier because we know that our kids will be taken care of financially if anything were to happen to us. 

Once you’ve decided whether or not life insurance is necessary for you it’s then a matter of determining what kind of insurance and which insurance provider is the right fit. One option for your insurance needs is Principal – a long-time, trusted insurer with plenty of options. 

What is Principal?

Principal is a global Fortune 500 company that is focused on financial investment and management. The company was founded in 1879 in Des Moines, Iowa, and this continues to be the location of its headquarters. Principal’s goal is to help people and companies from all over the world to protect their financial well-being.

With over 32 million customers and a total of $701 billion in total assets under management, Principal is a big-time player in the field of investments and insurance. When it comes to their products, Principal offers everything from retirement accounts, investment products, and insurance for individuals, as well as services like employee benefits and 401(k), and group benefit plans for employers. 

How does Principal Life Insurance work?

If you’re interested in checking out Principal’s life insurance benefits it’s pretty easy to do. 

First, head to Principal’s website. You can then choose from a number of options on the top toolbar. To get to the life insurance options click on “Individuals,” this is the option right next to the Principal icon. 

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - Individuals icon

Next, click on the “Insure” tab to open up the different insurance options. From here you will need to choose which type of life insurance you’re interested in – term insurance or permanent life insurance

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - Insurance options

I chose to navigate to the term insurance page. From here, there is an option to get a quote, see the “Get my quote” button on the right side of the screen. 

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - Get my quote

In order to get my quote I had to fill out some personal information, nothing crazy, these were the usual suspects when it comes to insurance:

  • Date of birth.
  • Gender.
  • State.
  • Height.
  • Weight.
  • Whether I’ve used nicotine or tobacco products in the last five years.

Then, voila, your quote is generated. I was given my term insurance cost for coverage based on 10, 20, and 30-year terms, and I was able to select the amount of coverage I wanted ranging from $200,000 to $5 million. 

One thing that I found really helpful was the calculator they had available to help you determine how much coverage you need. This is a question my husband and I struggled with, we knew we needed life insurance but we weren’t exactly sure how much we really needed. 

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - Life insurance quote
On this page, you are also presented with some options for the next steps. You can schedule a call with an insurance professional, call them immediately, or find a financial professional in your area. 

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - Next steps

If you want to “schedule a call” or “find a financial professional,” you will have to fill out an online form with your name, phone number, and availability. 

Principal pricing

The cost of Principal’s life insurance policies will vary depending on the type of coverage you want (term or permanent), your age, gender, as well as your health and lifestyle decisions (e.g. smoking or non-smoking). However, by answering a few simple questions about yourself you will be presented with an online quote for term insurance in a matter of minutes. 

From here, you can play around with the pricing by adjusting your coverage length and your coverage amount. It really depends on your individual circumstances and insurance requirements. 

Principal’s features

Principal offers two different categories of life insurance – term and permanent.

A variety of insurance options

Principal targets the following groups of people with their term policies:

  • Young people who can benefit from lower age-based rates.
  • Growing families who are on a budget.
  • People who are purchasing life insurance for the first time and want a short term solution until they can afford something else.
  • People who already have life insurance but want to supplement their coverage (e.g. maybe you have some coverage at work but want a bit more).

They also target people who want flexibility as their term insurance policies offer 10, 15, 20, and 30-year term lengths. For those who need a super short term solution, Principal also offers a one-year term policy plan. 

For permanent life insurance, Principal offers the following:

  • Universal life insurance.
  • Indexed universal life insurance.
  • Variable universal life insurance.
  • Survivorship insurance.

A permanent life insurance plan is not necessarily right for everyone. However, if you are the sole bread earner and you have a lot of people relying on you for their financial well-being, then perhaps it’s right for you. 

No medical exam for healthy people

If you don’t want to take a medical exam to obtain coverage and you’re in good health, then you might be in luck. If you meet the criteria to be classified by Principal as being in the “preferred health class,” then you can likely forgo the pesky medical exam that often accompanies an application for life insurance. 

The helpful insurance calculator

Okay, so my husband and I knew we needed life insurance when we found out we were expecting BUT, we had no idea how much insurance we actually needed. Principal does a great job of anticipating this problem and offers a super helpful calculator right under the “select your coverage amount” section of the quote.

You simply answer a few additional questions about your insurance needs. For example, what do you want your life insurance to cover? Do you want it to replace your income, cover any debt, or even fund the future education of your children?

Based on how you answer these questions, you will provide some additional info and then they give you an estimate of the amount of coverage you’ll need to achieve your life insurance needs. Even better, they give you a mathematical breakdown of how they arrived at the estimated amount. I’m sure there are some people who won’t get excited about this but I was very happy to see the details!

My experience researching Principal

My experience using Principal is limited to interacting with their website and getting an online life insurance quote. Their website was pretty easy to navigate and my quote was generated in a matter of minutes. There were hardly any personal questions and I like that I didn’t have to provide my phone number or email address in order to get a quote. 

When it comes to my experience researching Principal life insurance I found that Principal appears to be a solid company with a solid financial backing and a pretty good reputation. Here are a few of the positive things I uncovered in my research. 

They have strong financial strength ratings

What did I find when I really started to research Principal insurance? Well, according to financial strength ratings listed on their website, they have received consistently high financial ratings from a number of rating agencies, including:

  • A+, superior from A.M. Best Company (as of Feb 2020).
  • AA-, very strong, from Fitch Ratings (as of May 2020).
  • A+, Strong, from S&P Global (as of April 2020).

So, what does all of this mean? It means that Principal has a low risk of defaulting on its ability to pay out future claims. It means that you can sleep easily if you purchase insurance with Principal.  

Solid rating with the Better Business Bureau

Principal Financial Group headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa (the headquarter location) has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has been accredited with the BBB since 1948. 

What does the BBB’s A+ rating really mean? Well, this is the BBB’s opinion of how Principal is likely to interact with its customers. They base their rating on information that they’ve obtained about the company, including any complaints that have been put forward by customers and the public.

While an A+ BBB rating does not guarantee how a business will perform or respond to their customers, it’s a nice bode of confidence. 

Forbes rated Principal as America’s Best Employers for Women

Principal Financial Group rated in the top five on Forbes’ 2019 rating of America’s best employers for women. While this is not a direct testament to the value or quality of their life insurance, it says a lot about the company and how they treat their employees, specifically their female employees. 

Who is this brand best for?

Couples

Principal insurance offers a life insurance option called “survivorship insurance.” This is one of their permanent life insurance options and it covers the lives of two people with death benefits that are payable when the second person passes away.

You might be thinking, what’s the point of getting insurance if both my partner and I have to die in order to see any money? Well, the point of survivorship insurance is to assist future generations (i.e. your kids) as opposed to a form of income replacement. It can also be used to help pay for things like estate taxes. 

The benefit of survivorship insurance is that the policies are often cheaper and easier to qualify for than single-insured life insurance. 

Healthy people who don’t want to take an exam

If you are in good health (according to Principal’s criteria) you might be able to skip the medical exam. Principal does not have a “no-exam” product, instead, they offer “accelerated underwriting” if you are categorized as in good health.

In order to determine your health standing you have to meet some specific criteria and then speak with an advisor at Principal who will interview you and ask some health and family history based questions. 

Who shouldn’t use this brand?

People who want whole life insurance

If you are specifically looking for whole life insurance the Principal is likely not the right fit for you. While they offer a number of different life insurance products, whole life insurance is not in their repertoire. 

What is the difference between whole life insurance and universal life insurance? First of all, these are both categorized as forms of permanent life insurance, meaning they provide lifetime coverage. The difference between the two is based on the flexibility of the insurance. While a whole life policy offers consistency, your premiums are usually the same for the lifetime of the policy, a universal policy provides flexible premiums and death benefits. 

Young people who want an awesome, high-tech user experience

Let’s be honest, Principal is a bit of a dinosaur. It’s been around since 1879. And while longevity is definitely one of its strengths, its traditional approach is also obvious in the site’s user experience.

Again, there’s nothing inherently wrong with how things work. It’s easy to navigate and you can get a quote really quickly. However, when you compare Principal’s site to some of its newer, more tech-savvy competitors, you can see that it’s lagging a little behind. 

Pros & cons

Pros

  • Offers survivorship insurance — They offer couples the opportunity to take out survivorship insurance which can be easier and cheaper to obtain than some individual policies. Not all insurance providers offer this option.
  • Lots of options to choose from — Principal offers their customers five different life insurance options to choose from as well as a number of rider options (child term rider, chronic disease rider).
  • You might not have to take an exam — If you qualify as a super health person based on Principal’s criteria then you might not have to take an exam to qualify for insurance.
  • Strong financial strength ratings — Principal received strong financial ratings from some of the top rating agencies.

Cons

  • There is no whole life option — If you are looking for the consistency that comes with a whole life insurance policy then you will have to go elsewhere.
  • No comparison shopping — Principal is not a comparison site. You will only see the life insurance products that they offer. If you want to compare other providers you will need to do your own homework.
  • User experience — Compared to some of the life insurance competitors out there, the Principal website feels a bit outdated. They provide everything you need to obtain life insurance but it isn’t as sleek and modern as some of the other providers.

Principal vs. their competitors

 PrincipalPolicygeniusSproutt
Online quotesYesYesYes
Products offeredTerm and permanent, no whole life insuranceTerm and whole life insuranceTerm and whole life insurance
Access to multiple insurers?NoYesYes
No medical exam optionsYesYesYes

Policygenius

Principal Life Insurance Review: Tried And True Insurance - PolicygeniusPolicygenius is an online marketplace for insurance. They offer a wide variety of insurance including life, homeowners, renters, auto, disability, pet, health, and more. Policygenius wants to make the process of buying insurance easier. They offer all of the top life insurance companies on their site so you don’t have to go elsewhere to comparison shop.

They provide fast, easy, and accurate quotes without asking for any of your contact information. They also provide a ton of easy to digest content on their site so you can better understand all of your insurance questions. They even offer insurance reviews, and, as an interesting aside, guess who they rated as the best life insurance company…..Principal! 

Sproutt

Principal Life Insurance: Tried And True Insurance To Protect Your Loved One's Future - SprouttSproutt touts themselves as “a new kind of life insurance company.” They are an independent insurance broker that doesn’t work for any specific insurance company. Instead, they have access to a large number of different insurance companies that they review and rate without bias. 

They believe that life is the greatest gift and they are on a mission to inspire people to live a better life. They provide a ton of tools and useful content on how to live your best life, from foods that boost your immune system to tips on how to take care of your skin. They provide coverage based on your specific lifestyle, preferences, and needs.  

Summary

If you’re in the market for life insurance, Principal is definitely a company that’s worth checking out. They have a long history, strong financials, and an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

These are all great features. However, with insurance, it is always wise to do your homework. Don’t settle for the first insurance quote you find. Compare a number of different insurance providers and products until you find one that suits the needs of your and your family. 

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About the author

Jessica Martel picture
Total Articles: 37
Jessica Martel is a freelance writer, professional researcher, and mother of two rambunctious little boys. She’s interested in all things related to personal finance, psychology, and parenting. You can connect with Jessica at The Financial Graduate or Twitter.
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