Choosing life insurance is a decision many people tend to put off. But it's absolutely vital – and the earlier you get it, the less you'll pay. That being said, getting life insurance is a big decision, and not one you should make lightly.
As a company that has been around for over 100 years, Pacific Life Insurance is a well-known brand name. But what's in a name? We take a deeper look into common concerns, questions and reviews about Pacific Life to help you make a more informed decision when choosing your life insurance carrier. Here's what we found out:
What is Pacific Life Insurance?
Founded in 1868 as Pacific Mutual Life, the company originally only offered life insurance policies, but added accident policies in 1885. They've survived a number of national catastrophes, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the Great Depression in the 1930s.
They underwent a name change back in 1997, from Pacific Mutual Life to Pacific Life Insurance due to corporate restructuring. As a mutual holding company, they are owned by policyholders, not shareholders. Currently, they are the fourth largest insurance company in total life insurance sales. They are also one of the few companies to offer policies in all 50 states.
What are the products/services offered by Pacific Life Insurance
Pacific Life offers three major types of products: Life insurance, mutual funds and annuities. For the purposes of this review, we'll be focusing exclusively on the different types of life insurance the company offers.
What is the most sought out Pacific Life product/service?
Their most sought-after product, and the one which is rated highest in terms of sales is their universal life insurance policies. Universal life is a highly popular alternative to traditional term and whole life insurance. See more details about each type of life insurance offered by Pacific Life below:
Pacific Life Insurance
The backbone of the company's offerings and what it's most commonly known for, Pacific Life insurance comes with a variety of options depending on your lifestyle and goals.
With term life insurance, you purchase coverage that lasts for a set period of time. You make monthly premium payments and have a guaranteed payout in case you die during that timeframe.
In order to be eligible for a Pacific Life term insurance policy, you must be between the ages of 20-75. Annual fees are $100 and you can choose to pay monthly or annually. There are a number of riders, or supplemental features that can be added to your term life insurance policy, including the ability to waive your premium, an accidental death benefit, financial protection for your children, and more. The minimum death benefit offered through Pacific's term life insurance is $500,000.
Whole life insurance is permanent insurance where you pay a monthly premium that goes toward building cash value based on how the company invests it. It pays a fixed amount to you upon death. It costs more than term life but also builds up cash.
Universal life insurance is a kind of hybrid insurance between term and whole life. Like whole life, it is permanent but it combines term insurance with money market investments. There may be a return, but no specific rate is guaranteed.
With universal life insurance, you must be between the ages of 0-80. There's no upfront fee, but there is an annual fee of $90 charged to Pacific Life universal life insurance policy holders. A universal life insurance policy from Pacific Life offers a minimum death benefit of $25,000 and the guaranteed minimum interest rate on this type of policy from Pacific Life is 3%.
There are also other optional riders, such as an accidental death benefit, child financial protection, disability option and much more.
Variable Universal Life
This is a type of permanent life insurance product that includes an investment fund which is tied to stock or bond mutual fund investment. There are no guaranteed returns. In order to purchase variable universal life insurance from Pacific Life, you must be between the ages of 0-100. It, too, offers a minimum death benefit of $25,000 and has an annual fee of $90/year.
Unlike universal life, there is no guaranteed minimum interest rate and there is no "surrender fee" in order to withdraw funds from the accrued value of the policy.
What are the rates?
The rate for your Pacific Life Insurance premium will depend on a number of factors, including your age, gender, health, whether or not you are a smoker/use tobacco, how long you want your (Term) insurance to run and how much insurance you want to purchase, as well as the state you live in. In order to get an accurate rate quote for life insurance from Pacific Life, it's a good idea to get an online quote and comparison shop between life insurance providers for the best deal that also gives you the benefits you want.
Pacific Life Insurance add-ons
Depending on the insurance type you choose, you may be able to add on different features, such as a disability benefit, or added financial protection for your children in the event of your death. Not all add-ons are available for all types of policies, so it's a good idea to decide which type of life insurance you want first, and then determine if the benefits of add-ons outweigh the costs.
Canceling your Pacific Life Insurance Policy
If you want to cancel your Pacific Life Insurance policy, you'll need to contact an agent directly. Fortunately, Pacific Life works with agents nationwide, so there's likely one near you.
Can you cancel it at any time?
You can cancel your life insurance plan beyond the initial period (usually 30 days) where you can cancel at no charge with no penalty. Otherwise, you can generally cancel at any time without cost – but you will not be refunded the monthly premiums you've paid so far. It also may be more difficult to get insurance again in the future when you've grown older (or potentially developed other health conditions).
You may need to write Pacific Life Insurance or call directly to cancel. Here are the most common numbers and addresses where you can reach them for various insurance products.
Pacific Life Insurance Strengths
Considering its long history and well-known brand name, Pacific Life has a great deal of strengths that make it worth considering, namely:
No medical exams required for amounts that go up to $249,999
For insurance up to $249,999, there's no medical exam required. Even tobacco users have found that Pacific Life is more affordable for their specific situation.
Living Needs Benefit policy
Also known as the "accelerated death benefit rider", the Living Benefits rider lets you access your death benefit in the event of a chronic illness. You can use the proceeds for medical or non-medical expenses. This can help give peace of mind in times where financial and medical uncertainties arise.
Application is shorter than other places
The application process with Pacific Life has been as streamlined as possible to make it easy for you to get life insurance quickly and hassle-free. In order to get a quote, simply fill out some basic information including your name, gender, whether or not you use tobacco, age, state you live in and your email address. If you want life insurance under $249,999, no medical exam is necessary. This makes it easy for you to enjoy greater financial security and peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.
You can even get your application approved in as little as 20 days and have your policy delivered to you by email if you wish.
Pacific Life insurance operates in all 50 states. In New York, life insurance policies are issued by Pacific Life & Annuity Company, whereas in the other 49, they are issued by Pacific Life Insurance Company.
Pacific Life Insurance Weaknesses
Of course, not all life insurance companies are without their drawbacks and Pacific Life in no exception. Fortunately, the strengths in this case outweigh the weaknesses.
No direct email service
If you need to contact customer service, good luck finding an email address. There is no broad "general questions" email to send to should you have any concerns. Instead, you'll likely need to call your local agent or contact Pacific Life's customer service by phone.
Third party seller
When you buy a policy from Pacific Life, you cannot purchase it directly. Instead, you must go through a third-party life insurance agent. Oftentimes, Pacific Life works directly with banks or similar agencies. This may make some optional riders unavailable.
How to file a life insurance claim with Pacific Life
In order to file an insurance claim with Pacific Life, you'll want to contact the Life Insurance division at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time. Should you need to change ownership of a policy, change the beneficiary or change the name on the policy, customer service can direct you to the appropriate form.
Customer satisfaction and customer feedback on the services offered
Generally, customers are very satisfied with their life insurance policies through Pacific Life. They feel that customer service is very attentive and compassionate about the consumer's needs during a very difficult time. Consumers who use tobacco have found the company's policies to be a bit more forgiving in terms of affordability and coverage. Customers also appreciate the speed at which applications are approved and policies are sent out.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAICS) collects complaint data about life insurance providers. It calculates the number of complaints made about an insurer relative to the company's size. Currently, Pacific Life has a NAICS complaint rating (5/5) which is better than most other life insurance providers scored.
What are the most common complaints about Pacific Life Insurance?
Many of the most common processes can be handled online through Pacific Life's website. However, you cannot change your payment details online or your address. Updating beneficiaries or canceling your policy also requires a paper form. This can seem cumbersome and unwieldly if you're used to handling things digitally, but it also provides an extra layer of security.
Do products/services offered differ from state to state?
Yes. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have access to certain features or policy riders. Because Pacific Life insurance is sold by third parties, there may be some restrictions or exclusions from one state to another. However, it is worth noting that unlike most insurance agencies, Pacific Life insurance policies are available in all 50 states.
When considering life insurance, it's common to have many questions. Although you're in the midst of a difficult time when having to deal with life insurance, there are many things that the company can do to help ease your mind and any financial burdens you may suddenly find yourself dealing with. Here are the most common questions about Pacific Life insurance.
How many days will it take for the company to offer money for funeral services?
It's not something many of us like to think about, however, getting claims paid quickly and thoroughly is one of the hallmarks of a good life insurance company. When you submit a claim, you'll need to provide proper documentation and any other supplemental documents requested. For more information, you should contact the life insurance division of Pacific Life directly at1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time.
How can I claim funeral services if I am the beneficiary??
If you are the beneficiary of a Pacific Life insurance policy and wish to file a claim, you should contact customer service directly at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time. They can provide you with the necessary forms and instructions on how best to proceed.
Can I switch from one policy to another?
You may be able to switch, for example, from a term life to a whole life policy, but there are additional fees and charges involved in doing so. For any questions you may have, we recommend contacting Pacific Life's customer service at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time. They can tell you if you're able to switch policies or add to your policy accordingly.
Does Pacific Life Insurance use credit scores?
Pacific Life uses credit scores – although not in the way traditional insurers like health insurance and car insurance do. A low credit score won't necessarily keep you from getting life insurance coverage, but it may affect the premium you pay. What life insurance companies like Pacific Life look at is your "insurance credit score". This is a score that is built from in-house data and is not publicly available.
So while life insurers can view your credit (and they have to tell you by law if they do), as long as there's nothing that would involve necessitating a closer look, they likely won't. As an example, if you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they may ask when you filed.
Rather than focus on your finances, life insurers are more interested in your potential lifespan. Most insurers are members of the Medical Information Bureau, which is a clearinghouse of recent health and life insurance applicants. If you lie on your insurance application with one insurer, and try to re-do the process with another, the second insurer will know through the data found in the MIB. If you'd like, you can request a copy of your MIB report by clicking here.
What are Pacific Life Insurance's financial strengths?
Because Pacific Life is owned by policyholders and not shareholders, they are not a publicly traded company and therefore do not have to take stock price performance into consideration when considering financial stability. Their ratings are as follows:
A.M. Best – A+ (Superior)
Standard & Poor's – AA- (Very Strong)
Fitch Ratings Ltd. – A+ (Strong)
Moody's Investors Service – AI (Good)
These ratings don't apply to the performance or safety of the accounts which fund Pacific Life variable products – only Pacific Life's claims-paying ability. They are also not a guarantee of future performance.
Ratings like these are designed to help reflect the financial strength of the company and their responsiveness in fulfilling claims submissions.
How can I claim my annuity once I retire? How many days will it take for my annuity request to get approved?
Although this guide is primarily focused on Pacific Life's insurance policies, you can find out information about annuities by clicking here.
Can I withdraw cash amounts on my policy?
With permanent (whole) life insurance, the policy builds cash value over time (several years). You can borrow against this money even if you don't have good credit. For example, you can use the cash earned by your whole life insurance policy to purchase an annuity, which will provide extra income for a specific period of time – most often done during retirement.
What is Pacific Life's BBB accreditation?
Pacific Life is not currently accredited by the BBB. Keep in mind that the Better Business Bureau is not a government agency or organization but rather a third party which compiles complaints and reviews of companies according to its standards. For a more comprehensive review of insurance company ratings, you should check out the NAICS – the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, who compile data on the ratings/reviews of insurance providers. Currently, Pacific Life enjoys a 5/5 NAICS raiting, the highest possible.
What is the maximum loan amount that I can take out on my policy?
This will depend on the cash value you have build up in the policy. For more information about your specific policy, including the amount of cash that you can borrow, please contact Pacific Life customer service at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time.
Where can I edit the beneficiaries to my policy?
You will need to contact customer service at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time in order to receive the form which allows you to change beneficiaries.
How to change beneficiary on my life insurance policy?
If you'd like to change the beneficiary on your life insurance policy, please contact Pacific Life customer support at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time. You'll be given the appropriate form as well as more information when you call.
Is there a service fee on monthly auto-payments?
There are no additional fees in order to make monthly online payments automatically. Going paperless also helps ensure your payment is completed on time – and saves on stamps!
Can I cash in my life insurance policy?
With whole (permanent) life insurance, you can cancel the policy (known as "surrendering") and receive the cash value you've accrued thus far as a lump sum. Keep in mind that you will pay taxes on the value that exceeds how much you've paid in premiums.
How long does it take to payout life insurance?
The payout period for life insurance depends on a number of factors, as well as how quickly supporting documentation is received. Since each case is different, it's a good idea to contact customer service at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time to inquire about your specific claim.
Can I borrow against my Pacific Life 's insurance policy?
If you have a whole life insurance policy with Pacific Life, it will build cash value over time that you can borrow against.
How to surrender a Pacific Life insurance policy?
If you have a whole life policy and want to surrender it, you'll receive the cash value in one lump sum. You'd pay taxes on the amount that exceeds what you've paid in premiums. In order to surrender your policy, you should contact Pacific Life's insurance division at 1-800-347-7787, 5am to 5pm Monday-Friday, Pacific time
What should I do if the company has lost my policy and is not willing to compensate me?
Specific questions about your particular policy should be directed to Pacific Life's insurance customer service at the number above.
Why are my payments still being withdrawn when my policy has lapsed?
If your policy has lapsed, this generally means a premium payment has been missed, or the cash surrender value has been exhausted on the life insurance policy. There is a grace period where the insurance company will typically still provide coverage (usually 30 days). Fortunately, most policies can be reinstated. You will want to contact customer service if you need to reinstate your policy. Depending on the time that has passed during the reinstatement period, you may not have to undergo any (or little) medical underwriting. In cases where premiums are still withdrawn after a policy lapse, it's likely that the company is withdrawing the premium previously missed. If you have specific concerns about the billing process, you are encouraged to contact customer service.
Can I check the progress of my claim online? What should I do if Pacific Life does not acknowledge the claim I make as a beneficiary?
In order to check the progress of a claim, it's best to contact your local agent or customer support. If Pacific Life does not acknowledge your claim, you may need to provide additional supporting documentation to prove your status as a beneficiary.
What are the exclusions, exceptions and limitations with Pacific life?
Specific exclusions, exceptions and limitations will depend on a number of individual factors, such as whether or not you have any major or chronic health conditions, whether or not you're a tobacco user, what state you live in, your gender, and much more. Of course, it never hurts to comparison shop and it's always a good idea to get a quote – since there's no cost and no obligation.
Thinking of going with Pacific Life Insurance? Our verdict:
As a company that has been around for over 100 years, Pacific Life has built up a stalwart brand that's backed by strong finances. The promptness with which they handle claims, along with attentive customer service, makes them a worthwhile choice to consider when evaluating life insurance companies.
Because life insurance is the primary product and focus of the company, you never get the impression that they've "spread themselves too thin" in trying to be all things to all people. And because their main focus is life insurance, you can be assured that customer service is both compassionate and knowledgeable in the field.
One of the main reasons to consider Pacific Life is the fact that they operate in all 50 states. So if you move and your term life insurance expires, and you want to re-up your coverage, with some insurance companies, you're out of luck. But because Pacific Life is nationwide, you can feel comfortable that wherever you go, your life insurance will travel with you (although it is worth noting that not all features and benefits are available in all states).
What's more, there are number of additional riders that can be purchased and added onto your life insurance policy, so that you have added protection and peace of mind for yourself and your family. It's worth noting that Pacific Life does offer a number of types of life insurance, so you'll want to consider the pros and cons of each one carefully with regard to your life and your financial goals. There is no "one size fits all" policy that works for everyone.
Overall, Pacific Life is a strong contender among life insurance companies, and in our view, it's definitely worth getting a free, no obligation quote to help ease any financial burdens and provide a legacy that backed by the financial strength and solidarity of a company with over a century of experience.