Great Western Life Insurance Review

great western life insurance review

If you have read any of our other life insurance company reviews, then you know that we are continually looking for any advantage we can provide you.  There are thousands of life insurance companies in the United States, but we only will broker the cream of the crop.

In order for us to recommend a life insurance company, they got to bring something to the table that no one else does.  Great Western is one of those companies that has carved out a slice of the life insurance market and absolutely dominated it. Please continue to read our Great Western Life Insurance Review to learn if they are the right company for you.

However, we always recommend that if you are trying to save time that you should stick to comparing rates and quotes with all life insurance companies.

You can do this easily below using our instant life insurance quotes rate engine to compare rates with 50 of the top rated life insurance companies.

Great Western Life Insurance will even be one of the options for the rates displayed that you can view depending on the parameters and coverage amount you are searching for.

You can do this easily by using our rate engine directly below.

Great Western Life Insurance Company History

The Great Western Life Insurance Company was founded in 1983 in Ogden, UT by John E. Lindquist.  John was the owner of a mortuary and cemetery business that goes back five generations long.

With such a strong legacy in the funeral profession, it should be no shock to anyone that Great Western’s core focus was in burial insurance and pre-arranged funeral plans. That insight in how funeral parlors operate was invaluable allowing Great Western to efficiently serve the needs of their policyholders in planning for burial and final expenses.

In 2018, Great Western was sold to the American Enterprise Group.  This acquisition will move Great Western forward in the final expense market. While relatively new to the industry compared to the life insurance giants with over 100 years of history behind them, Great Western has grown into an organization with over $2.4 billion in assets under management.

Great Western Credit Rating and Financial Strength

Recently, Great Western was upgraded by A.M. Best to A- (Excellent) from B++ (Good).  A.M. Best Company is a non-government independent third-party company that provides their opinion on the financial strength of insurance companies.

While Great Western does not post their company financial statements online, receiving an upgrade to A- (Excellent) from A.M. Best is a solid indicator of their financial wellbeing.  It is the 4th highest of 15 possible ratings that A.M. Best grants. Great Western’s rating of A- (Excellent) is considered investment grade and indicates that Great Western has a strong ability to make good on their promises financially.

The Great Western Life Insurance Company is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  However, the Great Western Life Insurance Company has been awarded a B by the BBB currently.  There were a few disputes regarding their pre-need burial plans, which is different than Great Western’s guaranteed whole life insurance plan.

While no life insurance company is perfect, in our experience Great Western has been reliable and offered great customer service to its policyholders. However, we will continue to monitor this situation and update our review if matters change.

Great Western Life Insurance Options

The Great Western Insurance company only offers two life insurance solutions to its customers.  Both final expense insurance plans are designed to cover your funeral costs and final expenses.

Great Western Pre-need Funeral Insurance

Pre-need funeral insurance is a niche life insurance product, and its purpose is to pay for your funeral unsurprisingly.  Pre-need funeral insurance is usually an agreement between you and your funeral parlor. The funeral home will total the costs of your funeral and use that to calculate the cost of your pre-need funeral plan.

As time goes by, inflations will most likely cause your funeral costs to increase. Pre-need funeral insurance helps offset the inflationary costs of prepaying your funeral arrangements. Pre-need funeral insurance also allows you to price out and prearrange every detail of your burial.  Purchasing a pre-need funeral plan ensures that you will get the memorial service that you want and takes the pressure off your heirs to plan the perfect service while grieving.

Great Western Pre-need Funeral Insurance Features:

  • Lifelong coverage
  • Level premiums that can never go up
  • First-day coverage or Graded Death Benefit
  • 30-day free look period
  • Portable to a different funeral home
  • Multiple payment plans ranging from Single-pay to Ten-pay

Great Western Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance

Unlike pre-need funeral insurance, final expense insurance does not eliminate the need for planning the funeral.  However, it does provide the funds directly to your beneficiary to pay for it.

Final expense life insurance, also called burial insurance, is merely a small whole life insurance plan.  One of the advantages of burial insurance is that the death benefits can be used for anything.  That means if there is money left over after your final expense have been paid your beneficiaries can keep it!

Great Western’s burial insurance plan is simple, affordable, and easy.  You are guaranteed burial insurance coverage with absolutely no underwriting with guaranteed whole life insurance.  That means no medical exam, no prescription background check to worry about, and no waiting on medical records.

Instead of medical underwriting, Great Western burial insurance is issued with a modified death benefit in the first 24 months of the policy.

The way the modified death benefit works is as follows:    

  • If at any time a death occurs by accident as defined in the policy, the full death benefit will be paid.
  • If a death occurs in the first two policy years that is not an accidental death, the benefit paid will be 110 percent of the premiums paid to date.
  • Beyond the first two policy years, the full death benefit is paid for accidental and non-accidental deaths.

One unique feature that separates Great Western’s policy from AIG guaranteed issue life insurance companies is that they are willing to offer coverage to people between the ages of 40-50.  This is a huge advantage.  Where other life insurance companies say no, Great Western says yes.

Another cool feature of the Great Western guaranteed issue whole life insurance policy is a bonus death benefit for people who qualify.  If you can answer no to 3-4 health question dependent on the state that you live in, you may be eligible for an additional 25% of death benefits with no exam required whatsoever starting on day one.

Getting a bonus death benefit is a nice feature, but we not everyone always qualifies for it.  Most guaranteed issue companies that are on the market will cap their death benefits at $25,000.  However, Great Western will allow a client to go up to $40,000 of death benefits guaranteed regardless of health for life.

Speaking of bonus death benefits, Great Western Life Insurance Company also incentivizes married couples who apply for coverage together.  If each spouse applies for a $10,000 or greater policy under either guaranteed assurance plan or the assurance plus plan (not pre-need funeral insurance), the Great Western Life Insurance Company will add the spousal bonus rider to your policies at no additional cost.

The spousal bonus rider provides an extra $1,000 death benefit upon the death of the first spouse as long as both policies are in force at that time and the death occurs outside of the modified death benefit period on the guaranteed issue plan.  The spousal bonus rider is a nice feature to have, but not a deal breaker in our opinion.

The Great Western guaranteed issue life insurance plan also includes an accelerated death benefit rider at no additional premium.  This rider provides you with a one-time death benefit acceleration for a chronic or critical illness diagnosis. This acceleration can come in handy to cover medical bills and other expenses.

Additionally, for an extra dollar a month, you can protect your family with the dependent child and grandchild rider.  This optional benefit will pay $2,500 on the first death of a dependent child or grandchild.  This cash can be used for anything from burial expenses to outstanding debts.

Finally, you can enjoy the same protections of whole life insurance with your guaranteed death benefit final expense policy. Your monthly premiums will never go up, you can never outlive your coverage, and you are guaranteed cash value buildup over time. If you decide to cancel your policy, you will receive whatever the surrender value is of the policy from Great Western, or you can borrow against it with a tax-advantaged loan.

Great Western Life Insurance Rates

We have included some sample Great Western life insurance quotes below.  Remember these rates for Great Western’s guaranteed issue whole life final expenses policy and not for the Great Western pre-need funeral insurance plan.  If you are interested in pre-need funeral insurance, you would need to request a quote from a participating funeral home.

Sample Great Western Life Insurance Quote: Guaranteed Issue (Age 55)

Death BenefitMaleFemale
$ 7,000$ 46.08$ 40.25
$ 10,000$ 64.58$ 56.25
$ 15,000$ 95.42$ 82.92

Please note that these Great Western Life Insurance quotes are for the guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

Final Thoughts: Is Great Western Life Insurance Right for You?

Thank you for reading our Great Western life insurance review. Many families are completely shocked by the cost of a funeral, which averages around $7,000 depending on your local market and final wishes. For a beneficiary to come up with a four or five figure sum of money at a moment’s notice can be tough these days.

Many of our clients do not want their loved ones to have to be burdened with the cost of their final expenses.  Great Western offers two solutions to cover the costs of your burial so your children don’t have to, pre-need funeral insurance and final expense insurance.

We cannot comment on the pre-need funeral plan from experience since that plan is sold by funeral homes.  However, we can say that we have had nothing but positive experiences with Great Western’s guaranteed whole life insurance plan.

Great Western’s guaranteed issue whole life plan usually will come within the top three companies for competitive rates with their sweet spot being between the ages of 40-50. This extension of guaranteed whole life insurance to people in their forties has earned Great Western a spot on our brokerage shelf.

If you feel that Great Western guaranteed whole life insurance may be the right choice for you, request a quote or give one of our agents a call.  Sometimes people think they are out of options for burial insurance coverage, but they just have not found the right company.  If there is better coverage out there, we will find it for you.


Resources: Great Western – BBB