As an insurance buyer, you want to make sure you're getting the best coverage for your money. That's why it's important to do your research and compare different policies before making a decision.
In this article, we'll take a look at Assurant life insurance and see how it compares to other policies on the market. Keep reading to learn more!
Who is Assurant Life Insurance?
Assurant Life Insurance from Canada specializes in funeral insurance and currently is the biggest provider of pre-need funeral insurance plans in the country. Their parent company, Assurant Inc., sells pre-need plans in the U.S. through American Memorial Life Insurance.
Besides, their pre-need plan, Assurant also sells two other types of end-of-life insurance policies in Canada: Final Expense Insurance, and Executor Protection.
Assurant sells their funeral insurance plans through as many as 3,000 Canadian funeral homes.
Assurant Facts & Financial Information
Founded in 1892
Headquartered at North York, ON
$2 billion in Financial Assets
AM Best Financial Strength Rating: A-
Assurant Insurance Reviews
Assurant Insurance does not have many reviews in Canada but we can consider their U.S. reviews for a fuller picture. Unfortunately, Assurant rates quite low across a number of review sites like Google Reviews and Better Business Bureau. They average about 1-2 our of 5 stars. Complaints generally centre around a poor claims process. Do keep in mind that research shows only 2% of consumers leave an online review about a service or product they have used. For that reason, online reviews shouldn’t be the only factor when choosing an insurer.
Products and Features
Assurant specializes in funeral insurance. They offer three products designed to help you cover end-of-life expenses: Assurant Pre-need Funeral Insurance, Assurant Final Expense Insurance, and Assurant Executor Protection.
Funeral insurance is a good option for everyone who does not want to burden their loved ones with the end-of-life expenses after they are gone. Planning ahead ensures your family knows what arrangements have to be made and how much the funeral or burial will cost, helping them deal with their loss rather than worry about what to do next and how to meet funeral or burial expenses.
You may come across different names for funeral insurance, such as:
- Final expense insurance
- Burial insurance
- End-of-life insurance
However, all of them are one and the same thing. There is no difference. No matter the name, they have only one purpose — to help your loved ones pay off your end-of-life expenses.
Funeral insurance is a permanent life plan, meaning the coverage lasts your lifetime. The payout is small — usually anywhere between $5,000 and $25,000.
Other features typically associated with funeral insurance are:
- Guaranteed level premiums. Your premium rate will not change
- Death benefit amount never decreases
- You do not have to undergo a medical examination to prove insurability, though you may have to answer a few health questions
- Your policy stays active throughout your lifetime, provided you pay the premiums
Assurant Pre-need Funeral Insurance
With the Assurant pre-need funeral insurance, you can design and specify the exact type of service you would like and cover all associated costs, so that your family does not have to make those decisions later or worry about shouldering the expenses.
If you want to buy the pre-need funeral insurance policy, you will first pick a funeral provider and then sign a Funeral Goods and Services contract with them. The plan will fund this contract and lock in the cost of services you have bought. This, in turn, will help you protect yourself against inflation.
For example, if you make a pre-arrangement for $9,221, your pre-need funeral insurance policy will be for this amount. That is, the death benefit amount will equal the cost of services you purchased. If you wish, you can add riders (like the final document service or executioner protection) for more comprehensive coverage, but your original plan will always match up to your Funeral Goods and Services contract.
There are multiple payment options with the pre-need plan. If you want, you can pay the policy in full upfront. Alternatively, you can pay the policy amount over a specific period, such as 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. You can pay premiums monthly, quarterly, or annually.
As mentioned earlier, if you purchase pre-need funeral insurance, you will be entering into a Funeral Goods and Services contract. The document contains the following three important pieces of information:
- The funeral home selected by you
- The policy owner (which is likely to be you)
- The total cost of your funeral arrangements
Your Assurant policy will fund this contract. If you are in good health, the plan will cover the entire funeral cost from the word go.
For instance, an applicant who is healthy and of 70 years, pays roughly $96 a month over 15 years for a burial plan worth $8,000. If the applicant dies after making six monthly premiums, Assurant will issue the full death benefit amount.
Preferred or Guaranteed Issue
Before we look at the main differences between the two, it is necessary to understand a few keywords.
- Waiting period – In life insurance parlance, a waiting period is the amount of time an insured must wait before the coverage comes into effect. For example, many funeral life insurance policies have a waiting period of two years. That means the insurer will pay the coverage amount to the beneficiary only if the insured dies after two years of the issuing date. If death occurs within the first two policy years, the provider will return the premiums paid plus interest.
- Guaranteed issue – Acceptance is guaranteed in such plans, as long as you are in the right age group. If you meet the age criterion, the carrier cannot reject you, even if you have a serious health condition. As you may guess, there are no medical exams to take or health questions to answer to prove eligibility. Guaranteed issue plans are designed for people who do not qualify for traditional plans because of age or poor health or both. Such plans are costlier than comparable, fully-underwritten policies.
A preferred plan covers you for the entire policy amount from the moment the policy becomes active. That is, it does not include a waiting period. By contrast, guaranteed issue plans have a waiting period of 2 years. Your loved ones receive the death benefit only if you pass away after two years of the issue date.
If you are wondering why some life insurance plans insurers include a waiting period, the answer is to mitigate the risk of insuring people with health issues.
It helps create a win-win situation. It allows applicants with medical conditions to get coverage that otherwise would not be available to them. At the same time, it ensures life insurers are able to avoid undue risk while offering life insurance to such individuals.
The Pre-need Life Insurance application contains five questions. If you reply “no” to all of them, you are eligible for the preferred issue. On the other hand, if you answer “yes” to one or more questions, you are rated as higher risk. Consequently, you will have to settle with a guaranteed issue, which includes a waiting period of 2 years.
Assurant Final Expense Insurance
A final expense insurance policy helps create and fund an end-of-life plan. It outlines your wishes but leaves the details to your family. Your loved ones can use the payout to cover the expenses of your funeral, though there is no law saying it cannot be used for other purposes.
The Assurant final expense insurance differs from the pre-need funeral insurance in two ways:
- When you buy a final expense insurance policy, you neither need to first pick a funeral home nor enter a Funeral Goods & Services contract. Whereas, a pre-need funeral insurance policy goes into effect only if you have signed the contract with a funeral home.
- In the case of a final expense plan, your beneficiary receives the payout. They can use the death benefit to pay the funeral home or cover other expenses. That is, they are free to use the payout however they want. By contrast, with the pre-need funeral insurance, the payout is used for funding the Funeral Goods and Services contract that you have signed with the funeral home.
Since a final expense insurance plan does not lock in the funeral or burial costs, it is important that you factor in the inflation when deciding the coverage amount. For example, a burial that costs $10,000 today will cost $14,859 20 years down the line if the yearly inflation rate is 2%.
Like in the case of pre-need funeral insurance, there are multiple payment options with final expense insurance. You have the option of paying the policy in full upfront. Alternatively, you can pay the policy over a set period, such as 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. Similarly, you can purchase a preferred plan (if you are in good health) or a guaranteed plan (which comes with a 2-year waiting period).
Assurant Executor Protection
The Assurant executor protection plan lightens the burden of the loved one whom you have appointed as the executor of your state. Your executor will get the death benefit amount immediately after your death, helping them cover immediate estate costs even if your bank accounts are frozen.
Why We Like Assurant
One stop solution
Assurant underwrites most pre-need funeral insurance policies sold through Canadian funeral homes. Thanks to this relationship, you can not only plan your funeral down to the smallest detail but also prefund it. When the time comes, the funeral home will honor your wishes, knowing that the payout from the insurer is guaranteed. Such an arrangement allows your family to deal with their grief instead of worrying about what to do next.
Strong financially strength
Assurant is on a solid footing financially as reflected by their A- (Excellent) AM Best rating — an independent agency that rates insurance companies on the basis of their financial strength. Moreover, they have been in the business since 1925 — and that is saying something. Any company that has survived the Great Depression and the Second World War surely must know their business well. On top of all this, Assurant is the largest provider of insurance-funded funeral planning solutions.
The long and short of all this is Assurant’s financial strength is solid and you can rest easy knowing your investment is in safe hands.
More than one Assurant Life Insurance review states that the insurer processes claims without unnecessary delays or probate. That means your loved ones will receive the payout immediately and not have to worry about funeral expenses.
Low coverage amounts available
With Assurant, you can purchase a funeral policy with a death benefit amount as low as $400. By comparison, most insurance companies do not offer coverage lower than $5,000.
Assurant is a niche provider
The insurance does one thing — funeral insurance — and does it exceedingly well. In Canada, most funeral homes offer pre-need funeral insurance plans underwritten by Assurant.
What We Did Not Like About Assurant
Assurant offers both pre-need funeral insurance (which pays the insurance amount directly to the funeral home) and regular funeral insurance (which pays the death benefit to one or more persons selected by you).
There are not many life insurance companies in Canada that offer pre-need funeral insurance plans. So comparing Assurant’s pre-need funeral insurance with a traditional life insurance policy is like comparing apples to oranges.
If you want to plan and pre-fund your funeral and money is not an issue, Assurant is a great option.
However, if you want a funeral insurance policy that pays the death benefit to your loved ones, you may want to compare quotes from different providers. You are likely to get a better with a traditional life insurer.
Assurant does not offer better rates to women, healthy seniors, and non-smokers
If you are a woman, non-smoker, or healthy individual, Assurant is not likely to give you the best bang for your buck.
- Assurant charges women the same rates as men
- Non-smokers pay as much as smokers
- Healthy seniors receive the same premiums as someone who has had coronary artery bypass surgery six months ago.
With other companies, that is generally not the case.
Research shows women pay up to 30% less for life insurance than men because they live longer. Likewise, healthy seniors receive better rates than someone with a serious underlying condition and non-smokers pay up to 40% less than smokers.
Lack of flexibility
As useful as Assurant’s pre-need plans are, flexibility is not one of their strengths.
It is quite possible that your needs may change over time. However, since you are locked into a contract with a funeral home, changing the plan can be extremely difficult. Also, since the payout directly goes to the funeral home, your loved ones cannot use the funds to pay off other bills. Plus, if the funeral home you picked goes out of business, you may lose coverage.
Conclusion — Is Assurant Insurance Right for You?
Assurant is financially strong and has a long, impressive history of selling pre-need funeral insurance solutions. As a matter of fact, they underwrite more pre-need plans in Canada than any other life insurer.
If you are looking for a pre-need plan and money is not an issue, Assurant is a solid option. There are no two ways about it.
They are also a great option for seniors who are over 70 and have major health issues. These seniors are not likely to qualify for an affordable final expense plan with traditional life insurers. Signing up a contract with a funeral home and purchasing a pre-need plan from Assurant is probably their best bet to buy final expense coverage.
But if you are on a budget or want a set-it-forget-it funeral insurance plan, Assurant might not be the best option for you.