American National Life Insurance Review

American National did not make our list of top-rated life insurers. Check out our Best Life Insurance Companies roundup to see which companies made the cut.

Pros Explained

  • Variety of policy types available: Unlike other companies that offer only term or whole life insurance policies, American National sells many different types of insurance products, including term, whole, universal, indexed universal, and guaranteed issue whole life insurance. 
  • Several riders available: American National has a wide range of riders available for purchase, including several accelerated death benefit riders. These living benefits allow you to access your death benefit before you pass away. 
  • Dividend-paying whole life options: Some companies pay a portion of their profits, called dividends, to whole life insurance policyholders. Though they aren’t guaranteed, American National has a long history of paying dividends. 
  • Well-priced term policies: Compared to other insurance companies we researched, American National had lower than average premium costs for term coverage.

Cons Explained

  • Online claims are not available: Some insurance companies allow you to file a life insurance claim online, but American National doesn’t. You’ll need to call an agent. 
  • Limited policy information is available online: American National publishes only basic information about its policies online. It doesn’t provide any information about its coverage limits or maximum age limits. Moreover, the company has few educational materials online to help inform its policyholders. 
  • Higher-than-average number of complaints: American National received more complaints than were expected for a company of its size over the last three years.

Complaint Index

American National received somewhat more complaints than expected for its life insurance business over the last three years. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) calculates a complaint index that measures how many complaints a company receives relative to its size. If a company receives more complaints than expected, its complaint index is greater than 1.00. American National had a ratio of 1.24, averaged over the last three years, indicating that it received slightly more complaints than were expected.

Not all insurance products offered by American National have a high complaint rating. As a company, its overall complaint index averaged over three years is 0.41. This indicates that the company, as a whole, received fewer complaints than expected.

Third-Party Ratings

AM Best, a company that rates insurers, has given American National a financial strength rating of A u (Excellent). The A rating shows that AM Best found this company to have a strong financial position and the ability to pay their policies. However, the lowercase u following the A indicates that American National is currently under review by AM Best. Typically this happens due to a sudden change in the company or its financial status. 

It means that AM Best needs to do more investigation before they remove the “u”. At that point, the A rating could go up, stay the same, or go down. 

Policies Available 

American National has a range of life insurance products to help you meet your needs. 

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is a temporary life insurance product. If a policyholder dies during the term of the policy, the beneficiary is guaranteed the stated death benefit. American National offers terms up to 30 years. This type of policy doesn’t have a savings component, unlike permanent life insurance. 

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance provides a permanent death benefit for the life of the policyholder, as long as premiums are paid. This type of life insurance consists of two parts, the death benefit and the cash value, which is a savings component. 

Universal Life Insurance

Another type of permanent life insurance offered by American National is universal life (UL) insurance. Like whole life, universal policies have a death benefit and a cash value. However, universal policies are more flexible. You can change your premium amount if needed, though doing so could mean you have to increase premiums later on. 

Indexed Universal Life Insurance

Indexed UL policies are a type of permanent life insurance that credits your cash value based on the performance of a stock market index. If the index gains in value, your cash value will grow. If the index falls, however, your cash value will not lose value, because indexed policies are not directly invested in the stock market. Indexed policies are complicated and riskier than regular UL policies, but not as risky as variable life insurance. 

Final Expense or Burial Insurance

Guaranteed issue whole life is a type of small life insurance policy that gives you permanent insurance to cover your final expenses. With American Life, you can pay extra to build up a cash accumulation. Note that these policies have a graded death benefit. If you die within the first two years from natural causes, your beneficiaries will receive 110% of the premiums you paid instead of the full death benefit. If you die in year three or by an accident at any time, your beneficiaries will receive the full benefit.

Available Riders

Riders, or insurance endorsements, allow you to customize your life insurance coverage. The following riders are available through American National. 

Child Rider 

A child rider extends your life insurance policy to your children until they reach a certain age. If they pass away before then, you’ll get a small death benefit. Once your child ages out of the rider, they typically have the option to convert it into a permanent policy. 

Waiver of Premium 

If you become permanently disabled or can no longer work due to a severe injury or illness, you may have trouble making your premium payments. If that happens, a waiver of premium rider can help you keep your life insurance. It exempts you from having to pay premiums until you’ve recovered and able to work again. 

Guaranteed Cash-Out Rider

Sometimes your need for life insurance changes over time. If you get to the point where you no longer need this coverage, American National’s guaranteed cash-out rider allows you to surrender your policy and receive the amount you paid in premiums in cash. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Terminal Illness Rider

Accelerated death benefits allow you to access a portion of your death benefit while you’re still alive if you meet certain qualifying conditions. For the terminal illness rider, the insured must have a condition that’s expected to result in their death within 24 months. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Chronic Illness Rider

A chronic illness impacts your ability to perform essential daily living tasks. Those tasks include eating, bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. If you have a condition that affects at least two of the six areas for at least 90 days, you may qualify to access a portion of the death benefit early. 

Accelerated Death Benefit: Critical Illness Rider

Heart attacks, strokes, aggressive cancers, paralysis, end-stage renal failure, and major multi-system trauma are some of the critical illnesses that can make you eligible for this rider. 

With American National, you can access between $25,000 and $2 million in accelerated death benefits, depending on your policy, rider, and age. 

Paid-Up Additions Rider

A paid-up addition rider allows policyholders to purchase paid-up whole life insurance with a one-time payment or through scheduled payments, up until they’re 85. 

Customer Service

While the American National website has some information, you’ll need to contact an agent to get specific details about life insurance policies. You can call customer support at (800) 899-6806. Agents are available weekdays from 7 a.m. through 6 p.m. CST.

In addition, American National’s website features a virtual assistant automated bot chat feature. However, the chat isn’t a live chat with a human, so it’s only able to provide answers to basic questions. 

Our Methodology: How We Review Life Insurance Carriers

We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.

In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.

To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.