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Guardian Life Insurance review

A large and well-established provider that gets most things right

Our Verdict

A good menu of personal insurance options and cash accumulation products make Guardian a serious contender.

For

  • A wide range of insurance options
  • More options for cash value accumulation than many competitors
  • Good website

Against

  • Decent customer satisfaction but not the best
  • Information hub not the most comprehensive

 Guardian Life: What you need to know 

“Everyone deserves a Guardian,” says Guardian Life, and the company has been providing life insurance for more than 150 years. Guardian is a mutual company, so if you buy a policy you effectively become an owner, and eligible customers can share in an annual dividend if the business has done well enough that year.

It’s reassuring to know that Guardian has paid a dividend every year since the 1860s. This year it will pay $978 million to its policyholders.

Guardian is one of the largest mutual insurance companies in the country, boasting some serious financial strength. That’s important because it reflects an insurance provider’s ability to cover its financial responsibilities. There are no worries with Guardian in this regard.

 Guardian Life: Features 

  • A wide range of life and health insurance products
  • Good choice of cash value plans
Key Features

Information support: Online information hub
Customer support: Telephone, email and social media
Interface: Browser

Guardian offers a full menu of personal insurance products, from dental, vision and accident insurance to hospital indemnity insurance. It is something of a one stop shop for personal insurance. It also offers wealth management and annuities, and solutions for business.

As far as life insurance goes, the company offers term life plans of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, which are an affordable way to provide life insurance protection for a limited period of time. 

Guardian also offers whole, universal and variable universal life insurance. Its survivorship policy means you can insure two people on one policy. Policyholders can add more coverage in the early years of the policy. The company also offers policies to people living with HIV. 

If you’re looking to accumulate cash value, Guardian is worth a look. It offers eight different cash value options, more than many other providers. 

 Guardian Life: Interface and usability 

  • Very well designed website 
  • Simple quote tool

 The first thing you notice about Guardian Life’s website is that it is not like all the others. There are no smiling family stock shots here. Its cartoony illustrations are a breath of fresh air, immediately singling Guardian Life out as a different and innovative provider. 

The advice section is a little different too, with snippets of information and advice interspersed with illustrative video case studies. This is a simple and effective structure, though the advice is not especially comprehensive. Guardian Life has advice on avoiding gum disease, for instance, but you’d be far better getting that sort of information elsewhere. It is stronger on information related to insurance and its own policies.

You can purchase a range of health insurance options online, but life insurance has to be bought through a company advisor. However, you can get an estimated quote for life insurance on the website. It is a very simple tool with just four inputs so the monthly premium you receive is likely to be a best guess more than anything, but it will at least give you a rough idea of the kind of monthly cost you are likely to have to pay.

Guardian Life: Quality of product

  • Decent - and improving - customer satisfaction scores
  • Very strong financials 

Guardian Life ranked 7th out of 24 providers in the most recent JD Power customer satisfaction survey. This is a decent placing, but just as importantly it represents improvement. Guardian ranked 12 in 2018, so the company has leapt five places in 12 months. 

Its overall satisfaction score is a good four out of five stars, which in JD Power’s terms puts it in the ‘better than most’ category. It scores particularly highly for ‘interaction’ and ‘application and orientation’, with four stars for both. This means its products are relatively easy to apply for and get to know, and that interactions with the company (through advisor, website or call centre) are usually positive. 

Guardian life does less well in other categories like ‘price’ and ‘product offerings’ but never scores below three stars. It can’t match Northwestern Mutual or State Farm in JD Power terms, but it’s a pretty good result.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners calculates that Guardian Life attracts fewer complaints to state regulators than the median for the industry. Its A++ rating from A.M. Best is the highest possible rating for financial strength.

Guardian Life: Verdict

Guardian Life is a large mutual provider with a wide range of personal insurance products. It offers all the life insurance options most of us could wish for, and is particularly strong when it comes to products that let you accumulate cash value. 

It also boasts one of the best websites in the sector, at least in terms of how it looks and how easy it is to use. You can also buy some products online and get online life insurance quotes, which isn’t the case with all providers.

Guardian’s JD Power scores aren’t the best, but are reasonably good. Encouragingly, it is on an upward trajectory when it comes to customer satisfaction, leaping five places since 2018. Overall, if it offers a product that suits your needs you are unlikely to go too far wrong with Guardian Life.