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Reviewed by:  Chris Lalor | Last Modified: 11/20/2020

Reviews and complaints about Colonial Life Insurance - BBB review

Overview:  Colonial Life has one of the oldest reputations in the supplemental benefits industry. They offer life, accident, and illness policies to complement your health insurance plan. These plans offer a safety net in the event you're sick, hurt or have a limited life expectancy.

Here’s What You Need to Know About Colonial Life

Colonial Life Insurance company is a well-known voluntary benefits company. They offer life insurance and other supplemental benefits through the workplace.

  • pros & cons

  • insurance types

  • who is a good fit?

pros & cons of colonial life insurance


  • Online claim filing and access to policies
  • Strong financial stability
  • Multiple policy options available for life insurance, accident and illness
  • Ability to take your policy with you if you leave your job


  • No online quoting system
  • May have to submit to a medical exam for some policies
  • May not be able to cancel easily based on customer reviews
  • Employer-sponsored life insurance can be more expensive than individual life insurance
  • Universal life insurance is not available.
  • No life insurance riders are listed as available on their website.

How is Colonial Life Different?

Colonial Life got an early start in the supplemental benefits industry with no signs of slowing down. They were ranked at the top of America’s Best Companies for Customer Service for 2019 by Newsweek magazine. They pride themselves on their “one-to-one benefits counseling” and offer virtual enrollment opportunities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though there are other voluntary benefits companies, Colonial Life has one of the longest histories in the industry. Colonial Life has also partnered with the Governing Institute to provide guidance and support in building the future public workforce.

What types of insurance can you purchase from Colonial Life?

Life Insurance Products Offered through Colonial Life:

There are two types of life insurance products offered through Colonial Life: term and whole life. The biggest difference between the two types of life insurance coverage is that the term only lasts for a specific amount of time while whole life insurance is permanent coverage.

Did you know?

In many cases it is much cheaper to buy life insurance on your own rather than through your employer.  Plus, if you leave your job, you don't lose your coverage!


While the company’s name is Colonial Life, life insurance isn’t the only type of policies they offer. Through your employer, you may also be eligible for:

  • Accident insurance
  • Cancer insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Critical Illness insurance
  • Dental & Vision insurance
  • Hospital confinement indemnity insurance

If you’re interested in any of these supplemental insurance plans, contact your Human Resources administrator to learn more.

a brief history of Colonial Life

Edwin F. Averyt and J. Clifton Judy had a vision for Mutual Accident Company in 1937. Now known as Colonial Life & Accident Insurance, the company was founded to focus on a specific need - to help employees financially when the unexpected happens.  

Financial devastation is a very real fear for the majority of America’s workers. Many live paycheck to paycheck and are just one accident or illness away from losing everything they’ve worked hard to obtain. In fact, over 500,000 families file for bankruptcy each year after an illness, according to the American Journal of Public Health.

Colonial Life Insurance - Helping America's Workers with Financial Protection Since 1939

While the numbers may have changed since the 1930s, the need for supplemental benefits like accident and life insurance is still high. The founders knew this, continuing to evolve over time with new product offerings, as employees’ needs changed. They have always been ahead of the game with technology and were one of the first to offer payroll deduction in 1955.

The company is a subsidiary of Unum Group, but the company’s philosophy has not changed. They now have over 10,000 sales representatives offering benefits through more than 90,000 companies in the United States. Colonial Life has over 3.7 million policyholders and dependents with more than $1.5 billion in annual premiums.

Americans are terrible at this one thing...

recent study found that more than half of Americans overestimate the cost of term life insurance by three times.  If you've never gotten a personalized quote or only seen quotes from one company, you likely have no idea how inexpensive life insurance really is!

Colonial Life Insurance Products

To make it easier for employees, Colonial Life only offers two types of life insurance: whole life and term.

To determine which policy fits you best, think about what the life insurance benefits would be used for if you were to pass away:

  • Student loan debt
  • Pay off the mortgage
  • Pay off other debt
  • Put money away for the kid’s college fund
  • Allow your spouse to stay home from work to raise the kids alone
  • Funeral expenses

Now, which of these needs are temporary and which are permanent? You may find that debt is temporary but funeral and spousal support is permanent. Now, you have a better idea of what your life insurance needs are, so you can determine which policy works best for your family.

Colonial Life coverage details and guidelines

Read on to find out who issues Colonial Life's policies, how to get an online quote, and how to get a low rate.

Who Issues Their Policies?

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company located in Columbia, SC underwrites and issues the life insurance policies. In other words, once the policies are submitted for underwriting approval, the rest of the process is handled internally by Colonial Life company.

How Do I Get An Online Quote Through Colonial Life?

There is no current way to get an online quote through this company. Colonial Life policies are issued as a supplemental benefit through an employee’s workplace. 

The best way to get a quote is to contact your Human Resources department to ask about the life insurance benefit. They will be able to direct you to the agent contracted through Colonial life who can then provide a quote to you.

How do I get a low rate?

There are a few things you can do to get a low rate on supplemental life insurance. With these types of policies, there are base rates determined by the industry and type of job you do. From there, your age and the amount of coverage you need will determine your out-of-pocket cost.

Find Your Perfect Life Insurance Plan!

Click below to search for life insurance by company, coverage amount, and policy type.

Shortcut:  Our #1 choice for life insurance with health issues is AIG Direct.  If you have any history of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, or obesity, click here for a free quote.

WHO is Colonial Life for?

Colonial Life is for anyone who doesn’t already have life insurance but needs it. Most people need some amount of life insurance, even if it’s just to cover funeral expenses.

Getting a supplemental life insurance policy can be an affordable and easy way to get life insurance. Depending on the policy and amount of coverage, you may not have to submit to a medical exam or even answer health questions. 

For someone without life insurance in place, Colonial Life supplemental life insurance may be a good fit. Colonial life insurance is portable, so if you leave your employer, you can take it with you at the same rate you were approved for.

However, if you are in good health, you may get a better rate and premium with individual life insurance. Because employer-sponsored life insurance uses a group rating, it’s not always the best rate for healthy people.

Who is the ideal colonial life applicant?

The ideal Colonial Life applicant is someone who has not reached retirement age and is in good health. Depending on the plan and coverage, even smokers can get decent rates with Colonial Life.

what if i'm not perfectly healthy?

Even if you’re not perfectly healthy, you should consider applying with Colonial Life if you need life insurance coverage. You might have to answer some basic health questions, but as long as you haven’t had any major medical issues in the last five years, you should still be able to get guaranteed life insurance at a good rate.

Some plans and coverage amounts require a medical exam. If you’re concerned about your health and getting approved for life insurance, ask the sales representative when a medical exam is required and if your specific health concerns will disqualify you from coverage.

Our Favorite Life Insurance Companies

We've worked with and reviewed dozens of companies.  Here are our faves.

Ladder Life Insurance Logo

Ladder Life Insurance

Best for:  No-Exam Plans Up to Age 60

Ladder is known for a quick and easy online application with no medical exam required in many cases.  They have 10, 20, and 30 year plans.  They offer the most coverage without an exam in the industry. Coverage amounts start at $100,000 and go as high as $8 million.

AIG Direct Life Insurance Logo

AIG Direct

Best for:  Lowest Rates or Health Conditions

AIG Direct offers a range of custom term plans up to 35-year term as well as return of premium, and permanent plans that build guaranteed cash value.  Their rates will beat just about anyone if you take an exam.  They're also terrific if you take medication or have health issues.

Bestow Life Insurance

Best for:  Convenient and Simple Plans

Bestow is known for their simple, straight-forward 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 year term plans up to $1.5 million.  They never require a medical exam (ever) and have great rates.  Rates start as low as $8 per month.

how to apply for life insurance with Colonial Life?

The only way to apply for life insurance with Colonial Life is to have it offered as a voluntary benefit through your workplace. While this limits the number of people who can apply, it allows the company to keep plan costs lower than if they were offering them to the general public.

signing up for colonial life

Your employer will designate a time for open enrollment for benefits, including voluntary supplement benefits like life insurance. A representative for Colonial Life typically comes to your workplace to speak with each eligible employee to discuss their individual needs for life insurance and other policies.

how does the application process with colonial life work?

Once you’ve selected your life insurance policy and the coverage amount, you’ll answer health questions if required. The Colonial Life representative will fill in your application as you answer the questions, which will then be submitted to the company for underwriting approval.

If a medical exam is required, they will coordinate with the exam company for you to complete the exam. Once all documentation is received by Colonial Life, they will then proceed to issue or decline the policy.

colonial life financial strength and bbb ratings

Colonial Life has strong financial stability, meaning they should not have a problem with paying out claims when the time comes. Their financial strength also means they are not likely to default on their obligations or file for bankruptcy.

Here is a list of the rating companies and their scores for Colonial Life:

  • Better Business Bureau: A+
  • Fitch Ratings: A-
  • Moody’s Rating: A3
  • A.M Best Rating: A


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Colonial Life reviews and complaints

As a company in the insurance industry, Colonial Life has a National Complaint Index Report under the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The National Complaint Index standard is 1.00 with the Colonial Life index being 0.58. This means that Colonial Life’s complaint index is less than half as expected in the market.

Colonial Life has had 68 complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the last three years with 15 complaints closed in the last year. Forty-six of the complaints are related to a problem with the product and 13 have to do with billing issues.

Reviews and complaints about Colonial Life Insurance - BBB review

Consumer Affairs has 135 ratings for Colonial Life with an overall satisfaction rate of 1.5 out of 5 stars. Most complaints are about the paperwork needed and time for claims to be paid and the frustration with trying to cancel policies.

Compare Colonial Life VS New York Life Insurance

The biggest difference when you compare Colonial Life vs New York Life Insurance is the ease of access. Colonial Life is only offered through an employer while New York Life Insurance is direct-to-consumer (though you will have to speak directly with an agent to get a quote and coverage).

New York Life has stronger financial ratings than Colonial Life and a very low complaint ratio. They also have a broader life insurance offering than Colonial Life does. 

However, their policies may require more health questions and lower coverage amounts for a medical exam. Because you have to qualify individually, your rate is based on your own health, which could mean you get approved at a higher premium.

How to Compare Companies:

Insurance companies are NOT all the same.  Some are more lenient on certain health issues, some focus on a no-hassle application without an exam, some are financially stronger than others, and their pricing varies a LOT!  The smartest move is to get quotes from two or three companies and compare the pros & cons of each.

Colonial Life Insurance Alternative

Most all of the following companies have better products and cheaper prices versus Colonial Life Insurance.  Some even offer no medical exam policies.

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AAA Life Insurance Review

Term, whole & universal life insurance are three types of life insurance products offered through AAA Life.


AIG Direct Life Insurance Review

AIG Direct offers online quotes, works with healthy people (plus people in less-than-perfect health), and provides options for coverage you may not find elsewhere.

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Banner Life Insurance Review

Banner Life Insurance company is part of Legal & General Group, a London-based multinational financial services company founded in 1836.  Banner likes to keep their life insurance offerings simple with just term and universal life insurance. 

Bestow Life Insurance Review

Bestow Insurance offers term life insurance for people between the ages of 18 and 60, and in generally good health.  You can get coverage online in about 10 minutes starting at $10 a month.

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Ethos is not a life insurance company.  They are a licensed producer and third party administrator.  Founded in 2017, Ethos has developed an online platform that allows you to apply for life insurance and possibly get instant approval. 

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Fabric Life Insurance Review

Fabric Life offers affordable life insurance with easy, online quotes and application available 24/7.  The company uses algorithms to speed up the underwriting process, with well-qualified applicants getting approved without a medical exam.

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GEICO offers life insurance products through its partner, provides access to dozens of life insurance carriers which makes it easy to get a quote for term, universal or whole life insurance. 

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Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MassMutual and offers an easy and fast online quoting and application process for term life insurance. 

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Health IQ Life Insurance Review

Health IQ rewards healthy lifestyle choices by offering lower rates for people who take care of their health. 

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Ladder Life Insurance Review

Ladder has developed an online platform that allows you to apply for life insurance and possibly get instant approval.  They have teamed up with Fidelity Security Life in 49 states and in New York with Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York.

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Lemonade Life Insurance Review

Using AI technology and chatbots, Lemonade offers a completely online experience and lightning fast claims processing through its mobile app.  


Matrix Direct Life Insurance Review

Matrix Direct Life Insurance, now AIG Direct, is a life insurance company offering coverage through American General Life Insurance and The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York.  Most policies require a medical exam, but certain term and whole life products can be purchased without one.

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Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Review

Mutual of Omaha Living Promise Whole Life Insurance has both level and graded benefit plans. Underwriting is simplified issued –  and does not require a medical exam.

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Nerdwallet Life Insurance Review

When you request a quote from Nerdwallet Life Insurance you will be redirected to another website called Quotacy.  Quotacy is backed by Hallett Financial Group, Inc.  Hallett Financial Group, Inc is a full service multi-carrier independent insurance brokerage agency.

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Pacific Life Insurance Review

Pacific Life is very competitive in the term life insurance and the guaranteed universal life insurance market.  Most of the time in the Top 3 when compared to other leading carriers in the life insurance market.

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Protective Life Insurance Review

Protective Life's vast number of products which offer some of the most competitive prices in the market is what sets them apart from the competition.  For example, they have a competitively priced 35 and 40 year level term that most companies don't offer.

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Prudential Life Insurance Review

Prudential Life Insurance is one of the largest life insurance companies in the US.  They offer term life and universal life insurance policies that let you add extra features to customize your coverage.

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Sagicor Life Insurance Review

Sagicor is a full-service life insurance company, offering term, whole life, and universal life through SagicorNow Accelewriting no medical exam underwriting for qualified applicants.

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Since 1985, SelectQuote has saturated the advertising market with multiple TV, radio, & print adds per day.  This is the reason they are the #1 direct to consumer insurance agency.  BUT....

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Transamerica Life Insurance Review

Transamerica Life Insurance Company is a leader in the life insurance industry.  They offer a variety of competitively priced life insurance products and riders so you can customize your policy

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TruStage Life Insurance Review

TruStage is convenient and is a solid company, but is a lot more expensive compared to other online life insurance providers, limits coverage to $100,000, and only offers 5-year terms.

For more company information, please visit our Life Insurance Company Reviews Page.   If you’re searching for life insurance by term length or dollar amount, please visit this page


Colonial Life is a voluntary benefits company offering life insurance and other supplemental plans for life accident and illness coverage. They are financially strong and have been in business for over 100 years in the United States.

They have a low complaint index with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. They have consumer complaints through the BBB and Consumer Affairs, mainly due to length of claim payout, paperwork needed, and inability to cancel plans in place.

Colonial Life has been a subsidiary of the Unum Group since the 1990s. They offer comprehensive and competitive supplemental benefits through employers at group rates for employees to protect themselves financially if they or a covered family member are sick, injured or pass away.

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Written by:  Chris Lalor

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