Best Life Insurance Rates in California

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With the largest population of farmworkers proportionally of any state, it’s no wonder that California has the highest agricultural production in the US. California has 19 professional sports teams, much more than any other state. And, it’s low rates of smoking, cancer, and death by firearm may affect the cost of life insurance in the most populous US state.

California Life Insurance Quotes

If you want to get the best life insurance policy for your bucks, you should shop around and compare life insurance rates in California from multiple companies.

Let QuoteWizard help with this. We’ll connect you with a number of insurers so you can quickly and easily figure out which offers the best rates in CA.

Life Insurance Rate Factors in California

Age - Age is one of the largest factors affecting life insurance rates. The younger you are when you purchase a policy, the less likely it is that it will pay out. So the lower your rates will be, other things being equal. So, it’s best to get life insurance while you’re young.

Life expectancy at birth in California is 78.5 years. This is about the same as the life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. What if you purchase a 30-year term life policy in California at age 54? You'd be more likely than not to pass away before 84 years of age, the end of the term.

What if you're 35 years old and purchase a 30-year term life policy? you'd be well under California’s life expectancy of 78.5 years when the policy term ended. You’d be a much lower risk to insure and would therefore pay much lower rates than the person in the former example.

Driving Record - Car accidents are incredibly common. They kill more than 30,000 people per year. If someone has a driving record littered with moving violations, they are at an increased risk of a premature demise. The result is higher rates.

Firearm Deaths - Places that have higher rates of accidental or premature death generally have higher rates. A significant part of these untimely deaths comes from firearm injuries, which account for about 33,000 deaths in the US every year. In California, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 7.7 per 100,000 deaths, the ninth-lowest rate in the country. Nationwide, the average firearm death rate is 10.4 per 100,000.

Gender - Women live longer than men on average. So they pay less for insurance than a similar man would. In California, the percentage of the population that’s male is 49.7%. And the percentage that’s female is 50.3%. In the US as a whole, women are 50.8% of the population. And men are 49.2% of the population.

Gender of California residents that used QuoteWizard last year.


Health History - Most of us have one or two minor health issues. But if you have a serious illness, or a family history of such illnesses, it can affect your rates.

Some conditions can make your premiums much higher if you have them or a family history of them. Some of these conditions are: heart disease or certain kinds of cancers. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible altogether. This is why it’s important to get life insurance before something serious happens.

Percentage of QuoteWizard users in California that indicated whether they where healthy or had minor or major health issues.


Lifestyle & Hobbies - People who engage in adventure sports or who have potentially dangerous hobbies will pay more for insurance. This is especially relevant in California, where surfing and snowboarding are very popular.

Marital Status - Research shows that on average, married people live longer and are healthier than single people. So, if you’re married, you can get a modest discount on life insurance. The US Census shows that, in California in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 36.6 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 16.9 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 9.7 per 1,000 people.

Marriage status of California residents that used QuoteWizard last year.


Occupation - People with hazardous jobs like logging and fishing will pay more for insurance than someone with a less dangerous office job. The most common job in California is a farmworker.

Tobacco Use - Tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users. So, tobacco users pay much more for life insurance. Tobacco use is associated with a number of health complications. They include: heart disease, stroke, and COPD, any of which may cause higher rates and an earlier death.

As of 2013, the national average rate of smoking was 19%. To compare to the most recent data available, in 2013, approximately 12.5% of California adults smoked cigarettes – about 3,600,000 adults.

Percentage of QuoteWizard users in California that indicated that they smoke last year.

91%Don't Smoke


Travel - Do you travel to developing countries, particularly countries on the US State Department’s Warning List. If so, you'll pay more for insurance than a traveler who sticks to first world nations.

Value of Policy - The largest contributing factor, to a policy’s premiums is the value of the policy. As with anything, you get what you pay for; the more protection that you purchase, the more you pay.

Weight -  Obesity has surpassed smoking to become America’s largest public health cost and problem. Like tobacco use, obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy. This means an increased probability of their policy being paid out. Obesity increases the likelihood of health problems like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. So, overweight and obese individuals can expect to pay higher rates.

As of 2013, the adult obesity rate in California was 24.1%. This makes California the #46 most obese state. California’s obesity rate is much lower than the average obesity rate in the US, which is 34.9%.

While each of these factors plays a big role in the cost of your policy, some aspects of life insurance are entirely individual. Insurance companies calculate your rates based on your own health, habits, and lifestyle. That’s why shopping around and comparing quotes is so important–to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.

Leading Causes of Death US vs. California - 2013

Source: US Centers for Disease Control
Rank Cause of Death Total Deaths Death Rate State Rank US Death Rate*
1 Heart Disease 60,299 151.8 32nd 169.8
2 Cancer 57,714 147.0 45th (tie) 163.2
3 Lower Respiratory Disease 13,598 35.3 42nd 42.1
4 Accidents 11,538 29.2 48th 39.4
5 Stroke 13,698 34.9 33rd 36.2
6 Alzheimer's Disease 11,891 30.0 10th (tie) 23.5
7 Diabetes 8,057 20.6 26th 21.2
8 Influenza/Pneumonia 6,551 16.6 21st (tie) 15.9
9 Kidney Disease 2,840 7.2 45th 13.2
10 Suicide 4,025 10.2 44th 12.6
*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000

California Life Insurance Market Share – 2013

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
Rank Company Direct Premiums Written (in thousands) Market Share
1 Prudential Financial Inc. $4,101,159 8.9%
2 AEGON $2,599,275 5.7%
3 Jackson National Life Group $2,500,310 5.4%
4 Manulife Financial Corp. $2,313,530 5.0%
5 Lincoln National Corp. $2,229,132 4.8%
6 New York Life Insurance Group $2,228,865 4.8%
7 MetLife Inc. $2,214,453 4.8%
8 American International Group $2,211,396 4.8%
9 Voya Financial Inc. $1,499,032 3.3%
10 Principal Financial Group Inc. $1,365,152 3.0%

Financial Strength Ratings of Top California Life/Health Insurers

Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/28/2015)

  • Prudential Financial Corp: A+
  • AEGON: A+
  • Jackson National Life Group: A+
  • Manulife Financial Corp.: NR
  • Lincoln National Corp.: A+
  • New York Life Insurance Group: A++
  • Metlife Inc.: A+
  • American International Group: A
  • Voya Financial Inc.: A
  • Principal Financial Group Inc.: A+
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Rating Guide

California Life Insurance Regulations

Insurance in California is governed by the laws defined by Divisions 1 - 5 of the General Provisions of the California Insurance Code, as outlined by the California State Government.

This legislature contains 48 chapters, used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to California consumers, for example:

Article of Exemption: California Insurance Code dictates in Chapter 2, Article 3 that lottery, gaming, and wagers are uninsurable, and a policy executed this way is void. This is to protect both consumers and insurance companies.

Grace Period: As of 2103, any life insurance policyholder in California is entitled to a 30-day “grace period.” This is to make up a missed payment without punishment or file a death claim after the missed payment. This is to prohibit the insurance company from withholding a claim or cancelling a policy because of a slightly late payment.

These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, California insurers may challenge any information in your insurance application for up to two years from the policy’s effective date. If they find any evidence of fraud, they can terminate your policy immediately.

California Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association

This organization assists the customers of any insurance company that is found to be insolvent. If you have concerns about the financial well-being of your carrier, you should contact the CLHIGA. Their contact info is below:

(907) 243-- 2311
California Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association
10780 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 401
Los Angeles, CA 90025

California Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Insurance Commissioner:
Dave Jones
Insurance Hotline:
(800) 927 – 4357 (HELP)
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
File a Consumer Insurance Complaint
Complaint Page

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