Pros and Cons of Equitable Life Insurance 2024

Last Updated July 12, 2024

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     Equitable Life Insurance company run by Equitable Holdings, Inc has been around for over 150 years providing financial products. However, in 2020 the company underwent several changes and completely rebranded itself from the old AXA Equitable Life to just Equitable Holdings. How do these changes impact you as a potential customer? We look into their policies to determine what the new Equitable Life Insurance Company has to offer. 

History of Equitable Life Insurance Company

     Founded in 1859 by Henry B. Hyde, Equitable Life Insurance has been a presence within the life insurance world for over a century. Like many of the financial company giants that have lasted this long, it has survived both World Wars as well as economic turmoil. But in 1991, a French life insurance company bought the majority of the company and it has undergone a series of rebranding before unveiling its revamped branding including its logo as the Greek Goddess Athena. 

Coverage Options with Equitable Life Insurance

Equitable Term Life Insurance

      Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that does not last your whole lifetime and instead has a set time limit that is set to end. Like most term insurances, Equitable Life Insurance Life term insurance policy has no value outside of the death benefit and has no saving component like with whole life insurance policies. Coverage lengths are typically 10, 15, 20, and 30-year periods, but the coverage options are limited with Equitable Life Insurance. You can renew annually or only go up to a 20-year coverage period. Equitable Life Insurance offers fixed premiums throughout the policy’s life. Their renewal system, however, means you will have to pay a higher premium each time to renew your policy.

     The way Equitable Term Life Insurance is set up, the cost of life insurance can be on the higher end of a term insurance policy since their minimum face amount is $1,000,000. Their Annual Renewable Term (ART) plan offers guaranteed premiums within the first three years but afterward, your premiums increase over time. The only option with a lower face amount, and therefore a cheaper premium rate, is their TermOne. Equitable’s TermOne policy allows for a single annual premium for nonrenewable coverage at the end of one year with a minimum face amount of $25,000

Equitable Permanent Life Insurance

      What is whole life insurance? Whole, or permanent life insurance, is a long-term insurance option for those looking to protect themselves and their loved ones. When you pass away with whole life coverage, the people you named as your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit. This death benefit is a sum of money that you have been paying with your monthly premiums that can go towards final expenses. Any loans or outstanding debts will be dedicated from the time you claim your death benefit, so keep that in mind.

Indexed Universal Life: Brightlife Grow    

     Equitable Life Insurance offers a type of universal life insurance, known as indexed universal life insurance. This is a type of permanent life insurance that uses an investment-saving model with lower monthly premiums. Unlike Equitable Life Insurance’s Term Insurance, their universal life insurance accumulated a cash value over time. This cash value growth of your policy allows you to earn interest based on stock performance. When the stock goes up, so does your cash value but that is also true during difficult economic downturns within the stock market.  

     While most folks who are financially savvy may use an indexed universal life insurance plan as a tax-free retirement option, they may not get that with Equitable Life. They specify that this option is tax-deferred rather than tax-free. What is the difference between tax-deferred and tax-free? Something that is tax-free, like most other life insurance options, means you will never have to pay taxes on it. With Equitable Index Universal Life Insurance, however, will need to see some kind of tax payment eventually. 

     Who are the prospective clients for Equitable’s indexed universal life insurance plan? If you are older than 60, this may not be the right fit for you. Equitable Life Insurance Company looks to offer this investment-style life insurance to people between the ages of 18-85 but lists their expected clients as younger than 60.

Variable Universal Life   

     Equitable Life Insurance’s Variable Universal Life insurance functions similarly to a piece of stock within the stock market. These types of Equitable Life Insurance policies tend to be on the riskier side since the policy’s cash value fluctuates based on stock market performance. Equitable Life Insurance actually offers serval different versions of variable life insurance policies, six to be exact.  Each of Equitable’s variable universal life insurance offers different perks but only one is advertised to offer full permanent protection. 

     Their VUL Legacy life insurance plan offers standard whole life insurance features like a lifetime death benefit but with indexing options of other investment products. Investment options for the VUL Legacy plan range from more conservative to aggressive depending on the policyholder’s needs. If you are looking for ways to use your cash value, be warned. Loans and withdrawals decrease the death benefit and cash value and may be subject to policy limitations and income tax. In addition to that, there are a number of fees including a 15-year surrender, investment management fees, expense risk charges, transaction charges, and monthly administration fees.

Rider Options with Equitable Life Insurance

     Insurance riders are add-ons one can pay extra for additional coverage and protection. Each rider is different and helps with different aspects of life insurance and can cover additional people. Equitable Life Insurance offers a number of insurance riders for policyholders and they all vary by the type of policy you choose. Below are some of the riders that Equitable offers.  Most come with an additional cost but, depending on your policy type, there are a number of included riders at no extra cost aside from administrative fees. 

Accelerated Benefits Rider: Terminal Illness

    Should you get diagnosed with a terminal illness and are expected to live for less than 24 months, this rider will allow you to withdraw either 90% or $ 1 million dollars. Whichever is less. This rider can be added to your insurance policy at no additional premium cost.

Additional Insurance Rider

  Taking this rider with Equitable National Life allows you to buy more life insurance later in life without needing a medical exam. However, there is an age limit on this rider and you must be younger than 40 in order to get it. If you wait too long this rider option will expire and you will be unable to purchase it later.

Cash Value Plus

   Equitable Life Insurance offers a rider that provides a surrender charge reduction if an insurance policy is surrendered within the first eight years. It also provides a premium charge refund if the policy is surrendered during the first three years. 

Charitable Legacy Rider

     If you have this rider and experience a medical emergency, you can claim up to 25% of your death benefit in order to pay for things like medical bills. You have to file a claim within one year of the diagnosis and it must be considered a qualifying critical illness or emergency.

Child Rider

    A child rider provides supplemental life insurance for children for an additional cost. These riders allow your child to change this term coverage into a whole life insurance policy of their own once they reach adulthood.

Disability Premium Waiver & Disability Premium Monthly Deductions Waiver

  With this rider under Equitable National Life Insurance, should you become totally disabled, all of your premiums due are waived completely. On the other side of this policy, show you become disabled for at least six months, the rider credits the monthly No Lapse Guarantee premium. 

Long-Term Care Services

     With this rider, the policyholder may become eligible for an accelerated death benefit that can be used for long-term care expenses. This can help with any chronic illness and get the qualified long-term care services required in accordance with a plan of care. Benefits that are paid under the Long-Term Care rider are treated as a lien against the policy and do not accrue interest. 

Where is Equitable Life Insurance Standard Whole Life Option?

     As you probably tell by reading the above, Equitable Life Insurance is missing your typical whole life insurance policy. You will not be able to buy a standard whole life insurance policy or a standard universal policy with Equitable Life. 

Best $10,000 Burial Insurance Companies

     These $10,000 coverage policies have steady and affordable premiums for the life of the policy. If you are looking for great coverage with low monthly premiums, we recommend these top carriers for all of your final expense needs. This is Final Expense Benefits’ best $10,000 insurance policies for seniors.

Company 50 y/o Male 50 y/o Female 60 y/o Male 60 y/o Female 70 y/o Male 70 y/o Female

These figures were obtained from the NFDA and are estimates only. For a detailed quote, please contact an agent. 

Equitable Life Insurance Pros and Cons


  • Many Riders to Choose From

    Equitable Life Insurance allows for many different rider options, several of which come with only an additional administrative fee and no extra premium fee. This can be very useful should you require extra protection for yourself or your family.

  • Low Number of Customer Complaints 
    The low NAIC score is certainly a plus when trying to determine your customer service experience with an insurance company. 


  • No Online Quote Tools
    All of their life insurance policies require you to call an agent for a quote and submit to a medical exam.
  • Limited Policy Types

    If you are in the market to find insurance policies that rely heavily on the stock market, then you may be in luck. However, standard whole life insurance policies without that stock variable component are non-existent. 

  • Strict Underwriting Requirements
    If you are someone with moderate to severe health issues you will get denied coverage by Equitable Life Insurance. Their strict underwriting requirements make it very hard for the average American to find coverage for themselves.

Ratings for Credit and Customer Service Satisfaction

AM Best Rating

     AM Best can best be described as a rating agency focused on the creditworthiness of insurance companies worldwide. Their grading system is similar to the education system where they go from A+ to F. They measure the likelihood of a company defaulting on its financial obligations to its consumers. Equitable Life Insurance received an A rating which is excellent. This means Midland National is in an excellent position to meet all of its financial obligations.

JD Power Rating

     JD Power uses customer data and AI (artificial intelligence) to understand complex consumer behavior. They are committed to providing unbiased information and embody the highest ethical and professional standards.  According to a press release dated October 2022, JD Power remarked how customer satisfaction for companies sinks year after year. Equitable Life was no exception to this as they ranked the lowest in the industry average for customer satisfaction as opposed to companies like Mutual of Omaha which has ranked in the top 3 of customer satisfaction.

NAIC Rating

      The National Complaint Index (NAIC) records complaint trends for companies every year. At Final Expense Insurance, we noticed that Equitable Life Insurance had an NAIC score of 0.51 which is far below the average of 1 showing a lower trend of complaints towards the company.

Equitable Life Insurance Reviews

Absolutely terrible, unethical company. Helping my wife roll over her 403b account and it honestly feels like they are doing everything they legally can do to make this process impossible. Equitable was caught being predatory at my wife's public school by cold emailing teaching pretending to be officially affiliated with the school district, which they were not. Warning emails were sent from the administration to not trust Equitable and that they were misrepresenting themselves as being employer-sanctioned, but really found the email addresses of unsuspecting teachers online and tried to take advantage of them not knowing. I have a lot of experience working with financial institutions, but Equitable is astonishingly unhelpful and purposely buries the process of how to get your money deep inside layers of red tape. I can't express enough how much you should stay far, far away from this company at all costs. Dishonest, extremely difficult to work with - STAY AWAY!
Angry bearded handsome middle aged man
Ryan S. ✓
Waco, TX ⭐
Horrible customer service. Can not reach them by phone. You stay on perpetual hold. If you opt for a call back, good luck. They do not call back. Their website goes down, you can't access your account and cannot reach anyone. Very disturbing. After days and hours of trying to get a resolution, still no resolution.
Happy african senior woman smiling on camera
Anita H. ✓
Sparks, NV ⭐
Hung up on repeatedly. Lied to repeatedly. Only want your money, never intend to pay the deceased claim. Don't care what happens to their customers as long as they get their money! Can't understand the people who answer the phone. I paid this company for over 30 years, and when I need them they just lie and hang up. The policy was always paid. I was told that I needed to change policies, so then the price went up four times! I would not waste money buying anything from this hoax of a company. Equitable will never take care of its customers. Equitable is a total scam of a company.
Elderly Woman Portrait
Ann F. ✓
Milford, CT ⭐

Our Review and Final Thoughts

If you are looking for investment opportunities while you protect your family, then you might benefit from one of the six variable life insurance policies that Equitable offers. However, if you are looking to buy standard life insurance to protect yourself or senior final expense insurance just to cover funeral costs, then you may want to reconsider. It is clear that Equitable Life Insurance company has a specific kind of policyholder in mind for its financial products. For this reason, we recommend looking at another carrier should you need whole life insurance or senior final expense insurance.

     Final Expense Benefits partners with over 20 carriers with customer satisfaction guaranteed. They offer no medical exam options at much more affordable rates that fit your needs.  Some of our highly-rated carriers include:


     If you are looking for trusted and affordable final expense insurance, the experts at Final Expense Benefits have got you covered. Call one of our talented agents today at 1 (866) 311-4338 to get an affordable quote with one of our highly-rated insurance carriers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to Equitable Life Insurance company?

In 1991, a French insurance firm acquired majority control over The Equitable. There had been rumors of the business being near bankruptcy beforehand. 

What is final expense life insurance?

Final expense insurance, also known as burial insurance or funeral insurance, is a type of life insurance policy that specifically assists with end-of-life expenses. From funeral services to final medical bills, these fixed-rate policies last as long as the insured lives.

What is Universal Life Insurance?

Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance where a portion of your premium covers the insurance cost and the other portion accumulates interest. It allows you flexible payment options and to adjust your face amount.

What is Whole Life Insurance?

Unlike term, whole life insurance is a type of policy that lasts for as long as you pay the premiums. Usually, the policy has a clause to end if you live over 100 years old. Whole life insurance also has a cash value that grows over the lifetime of the policy.

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