About Seniors United Insurance
At some point in your life, you’re probably going to consider buying life insurance.
Seniors United Life Insurance is one such provider that you may come across in your research. Their life insurance products are geared toward seniors and they promise that U.S. residents between the ages of 45 and 79 are guaranteed a policy.
In fact, they guarantee your premiums (monthly payments) will never go up and your coverage will never change, no matter how sick you get.
The company is based in Marina Del Rey, Ca., and the loans they offer are underwritten (a.k.a. approved, crafted, funded) by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company.
It can be easy to stop by their page, read through their bullet-point and sign up, but with matters like life insurance, it’s important to vet the company you choose and to do research on your own.
You’ll ultimately decide the company you want, but, in the meantime, we’ve done the research on Seniors United so you can be informed when decision time comes along.
As with every insurance provider, it’s important to be crystal clear on what type of insurance policies they provide, the exclusions to those policies and the opinions of past customers.
What Types of Insurance Policies Does Seniors United Provide?
Life insurance policies can be divided into two main categories: term and whole-life. Term, as the name implies, covers death during the term of the policy, which is usually 30 years.
Whole-life policies cover you your entire life. Within this category of life insurance, there are three sub-categories: traditional, universal and variable.
Seniors United offers traditional whole life insurance, which, according to the Insurance Information Institute, means, you are agreeing to pay a certain amount in premiums on a regular basis for a specific death benefit.
These whole-life, traditional policies range from $2,000 to $25,000. Policies go up in price in $500 increments, and individuals are covered until they’re 120 years old.
Unlike other companies who require blood tests and ask you a series of health questions, a Seniors United representative told us you don’t have to answer any health questions and everything can be done over the phone.
We talked with the representative to get a sense of what a monthly premium would cost. Here’s what they told us we’d pay if we were a 56-year-old male living in San Diego, Ca.:
- $68/month for a $15,000 policy
- $102/month for a $20,000 policy
- $135/month for a $25,000 policy
Seniors United also offers an accident death benefit rider, which is a fancy way of saying an extra policy added on to the one you already have.
Adding the accidental death rider to your existing policy costs an additional $7.50 to your policy.
Seniors United’s policy information is pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exclusions, which are situations that would keep your beneficiary (the person who receives the money when you die) from getting your life insurance payout.
What are the Exclusions?
Because there are two different types of insurance offered on their site – whole-life and the accidental death rider – there are two sets of exclusions you need to know.
If you buy a whole-life insurance policy with Seniors United, you’ll face two exclusions:
- If you commit suicide in the first two years, your beneficiary will receive only the premiums you’ve paid.
- If you die of any other cause in the first two years, the payout is 110% of the premiums you paid.
Once the first two years pass, your beneficiary will get the full face value of your policy. This two-year buffer is called a “graded death benefit”.
There are more exclusions for the accidental death rider, which makes sense, considering the policy is worth twice as much ($50K) as the most expensive whole-life plan ($25K). If any of the following things happen, your beneficiary won’t get any money:
- Suicide, whether you were sane or insane. The only exception here is that your policy pays out if you were insane and committed suicide in Missouri, Colorado or Montana.
- A disease or sickness in your body.
- Any air travel aside from a commercial flight. Skydiving is part of the exception.
- Accidental bodily injury as the result of serving in the Armed Forces.
How Do Seniors United’s Prices Compare to Other Companies?
To get an idea of how the company’s prices compare to more well-known providers, we talked with an insurance agent whose name and location will remain anonymous.*
Our insurance source told us that his or her company, a major life insurance provider, can offer a $25,000 whole-life policy for $92 a month (more than $40 cheaper than Seniors United). Why the big discrepancy between what Seniors United offers and what our insurance source told us?
A lot of that has to do with the purpose behind the Seniors United site. As our source told us, Seniors United isn’t actually an insurance company. It’s more like a website that generates leads for insurance agents across the country who sign you up for a Fidelity life insurance plan.
The purpose of the site is to catch people who are desperate to find insurance quick. In many cases, our source told us, someone comes to a site like this because a friend died suddenly, prompting them to realize they need life insurance.
Knowing that people who visit their site are probably making an emotional, somewhat hasty decision, a site like Seniors United feeds your urgency by making it as easy as possible to sign up for a plan: name, age, birthdate and zip code...that’s it. And, they point out, you don’t need blood work or a medical exam.
But the fact that no background health information is needed explains why their monthly premium on a $25K plan is so expensive compared to other companies. They charge you as much as they can, essentially asking you to pay what a really sick person would pay.
And to cover themselves from paying out to people who are terminally ill, they have their first-two-years clause. If you die within the first two years of the policy, your beneficiary only gets 110% of the premiums you paid.
*We afforded our source anonymity, because, in his or her words, if someone associated with Seniors United doesn’t like what is said, they could launch a legal attack.
What Are Other People Saying About Seniors United?
We could find no online feedback about Seniors United, and this is because the site is pretty new. We checked several state insurance records (Maine, District of Columbia) and found that the site and Fidelity Securities most likely launched earlier this year.
Neither Seniors United or Fidelity Securities has a Better Business Bureau page.
It is worth noting the underwriter, Fidelity Securities Life Insurance, is not related in any way to the investment company called Fidelity. Don’t make the mistake of believing that your underwriter is a well-known, reputable firm. This doesn’t mean that Fidelity Securities is a bad company, though.
What does this all mean for you? We’ll lay it out in the final section of our review.
Is Seniors United a Needed Lifesaver or an Overpriced Last-Resort?
Seniors United, as we pointed out, is not a real insurance company. It’s a website intended to get you to call in and sign up for a Fidelity Securities life insurance policy.
Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and here’s why … some people are sick and either get rejected for a life insurance policy or are quoted super-high rates.
So, if you find yourself in that position, Seniors United may very well be a good last-resort option for you.
However, whether you’re healthy or sick, we suggest you go to a reputable life insurance company to get a quote. Chances are, the price you’ll pay for your plan will be much cheaper than what you’d get at Seniors United.
Another advantage to signing up with a reputable company? They’re more likely to offer you a plan that doesn’t have the two-year, graded death benefit clause. Our source told us the plan he or she offers starts the day you make the first payment and, “if you die tomorrow, your beneficiary gets the full amount of your policy.”
If you don’t feel like buying insurance through Seniors United is the right fit for you, we recommend taking a look at State Farm, Northwestern Mutual, Allstate, Nationwide, or Mutual of Omaha. These companies were the top five in J.D. Power’s 2015 life insurance rankings.
The rankings are based on the opinions of actual customers in five areas: overall satisfaction, billing and payment, price, policy offerings and interactions with the company.
Also, if you want to supplement your insurance knowledge, read an article we wrote about how to identify insurance fraud. We’ll help you get a sense of how big the problem is and what to look for as you shop around for auto, homeowner’s and medical insurance, as well as what to be wary of when you by insurance online.