American General Review

I’m here to fill you in on the dark side of American General Life Insurance. 

YES…of course they’re an awesome life insurer with a great reputation, but I am going to show you why they may NOT be for you!

Let’s take a deep dive to see how they stack up against their competitors.

I’m gonna reveal some little known insider information about American General Life Insurance underwriting that will show you when they are NOT a fit. 

Looking for some quick answers? Check out these links to save some time:

Table of Contents:

American General Life Insurance Company

american general life companies logo

American General life insurance is a fantastic company!

Yep, you heard me right – and this may sound a little strange after my introduction – BUT American General has a strong financial foundation as we will show you below and:

  • they’ve got ​160 Years of experience in the life insurance arena
  • some of the most reasonable rates
  • we’ve sold hundred of their policies and know the ins and outs of their underwriting
  • they have some amazing underwriting niches!

That’s GREAT – so American General is the company for me! … well, not necessarily.

99 times out of 100, the company with the best deal for you is NOT the one with the lowest quote, but the company who approves you at the best health rating.”

In a nutshell, this means that American General may be the right insurer for you – OR there may be a better fit for your particular circumstances. 

The secret to getting the lowest rates is working with an independent agency, such as Huntley Wealth. We will find the best life insurance company for your particular needs – which means you will enjoy the cheapest premiums possible!

American General Excels At:

  • Select a Term
  • Diabetes
  • Certain heart issues
  • Sleep apnea
  • Medical & recreational marijuana use
  • Living benefits riders
  • Pilots
  • Travel
  • Cigars

RELATED: 5 Critical Tips You Must Know Before Buying Life Insurance

Where American General Is Usually Not the Best:

  • If you have incomplete tests and procedures
  • Drug & Alcohol Treatment (past 24 months)
  • Multiple DUI’s (past 5 years)
  • Mental disorders
  • Gastric bypass
  • Military deployment in specific regions
  • Recent bankruptcy (less than 2 years)
  • Smoking (other than cigars & marijuana)

American General Company Ratings

What American General Life insurance review would be complete without taking a look at their ratings?

  • A.M. Best Financial Strength: A
  • A.M. Best Issuer Credit: a+
  • Standard & Poor’s Financial Strength: A+
  • S&P Issuer Credit: A+
  • Fitch Overall: A+
  • Moody’s Overall: A2

Please always remember name recognition and financial ratings aren’t necessarily synonymous.

Before you decide to make a long term investment with any company, you need to know if they’re financially stable.

Why do you care?

Well, I will tell you why! If they aren’t, they may not be able to make good on your beneficiaries claim when you die.

The good news is EVERY life insurer is assessed by financial rating companies.

This means with a little homework you can easily ascertain the financial integrity of the institution you are considering purchasing a policy from.

Before you sign on the dotted line make sure the life insurance company you select is at the top of the heap.

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Will Your Insurer Be Able to Pay Out When the Time Comes?

Each company is graded according to the strength of how it manages its assets. This will give you some idea of how the insurer is managed and if they will be able to maintain their financial stability for the immediate future.

The concept of using rating agencies to assess the level of risk associated with a debt arose around the beginning of the 20th century when three major credit rating agencies were formed. Although additional rating agencies were formed in subsequent years, the original rating agencies – Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s – are the most prominent. History of Credit Rating Agencies and How They Work, Kalen Smith, Money Crashers

NOTE:  You may be aware that American General has gone through some difficult financial times. In 2008 they had a liquidity crisis and received a bailout from the government to the tune of $180 billion! NOW that seems like a warning. Thankfully they paid back their loans and are on terrific financial footing. No worries here!

American General Sample Quotes

I imagine the main reason you’re looking for an American General Life Insurance review is to ascertain if they are your best bet money-wise.

So how does American General life insurance compare?

One of the most important considerations for families is affordability, so I am going to explore this with you in greater detail.

But before I do, I would like to warn you – most companies don’t give out sample quotes.

The truth be known, they would like to get their hands on your personal information.

I don’t agree with this approach. Everyone should be able to get a ballpark quote without speaking with an agent.  With this in mind, I’m going to share some real-time rates with you from American General and two of their competitors.

Please note, these quotes are simply for your reference, they’re not an offer of insurance.

RELATED: Check Sample Life Insurance Rates by Age (No Personal Info Required)

Your Premiums Will Be Based on YOUR Personal Circumstances

Unfortunately, I see a lot of people putting too much stock in the rates they find online. Always remember, to get the listed rates you need to fill out an application and take a medical exam (typically) to see what you qualify for based on your personal circumstances.

Using Banner Life and Protective for comparison, I generated quotes for a 40-year-old of both genders seeking 30 Year Term life insurance for $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 and $1Mil in coverage with various health categorizations.

This will give you some insight into how much you’ll pay for life insurance AND how much your personal circumstances will bump up your premiums!

Term Life Insurance Quotes Banner Life Insurance

Age $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1 Million
40 Year Old Male Smoker, Standard $64.57 $146.34 $280.00 $551.25
40 Year Old Female Smoker, Standard $53.11 $106.88 $205.62 $399.00
40 Year Old Female, Preferred $16.89 $29.95 $52.94 $95.81
40 Year Old Male, Preferred $21.61 $35.22 $63.00 $120.75
40 Year Old Female, Preferred Plus $14.87 $25.59 $44.63 $80.94
40 Year Old Male, Preferred Plus $18.20 $30.41 $55.26 $105.27

(Life Insurance Quotes based for 30 Year Guaranteed Level Term, as of 6/21/17, subject to change)

Term Life Insurance Quotes American General

Age $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1 Million
40 Year Old Male Smoker, Standard $77.59 $155.40 $278.44 $550.49
40 Year Old Female Smoker, Standard $57.44 $105.66 $203.62 $396.52
40 Year Old Female, Preferred $18.25 $29.97 $53.11 $96.36
40 Year Old Male, Preferred $22.84 $36.46 $65.65 $124.04
40 Year Old Female, Preferred Plus $16.69 $25.43 $45.33 $83.39
40 Year Old Male, Preferred Plus $20.33 $30.40 $55.27 $102.42

(Life Insurance Quotes based for 30 Year Guaranteed Level Term, as of 6/21/17, subject to change)

Term Life Insurance Quotes Protective

Age $100,000 $250,000 $500,000 $1 Million
40 Year Old Male Smoker, Standard $77.61 $$163.41 $321.61 $635.43
40 Year Old Female Smoker, Standard $58.65 $127.57 $249.66 $491.15
40 Year Old Female, Preferred $17.93 $31.08 $52.59 $97.87
40 Year Old Male, Preferred $21.69 $37.62 $65.41 $121.66
40 Year Old Female, Preferred Plus $16.41 $25.36 $44.25 $80.42
40 Year Old Male, Preferred Plus $18.91 $30.48 $53.14 $101.70

(Life Insurance Quotes based for 30 Year Guaranteed Level Term, as of 6/21/17, subject to change)

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How Does American General Compare?

When it comes to term, American General life Insurance has some of the most competitive rates in the industry. This company consistently ranks in the top 10 for lowest prices in relation to term life insurance for both males and females.

…BUT remember, American General Life Insurance doesn’t beat the competition for a number of medical and circumstantial conditions. 

That being said, let’s take a look at some examples of the price differences between these three fantastic carriers now:

Male Smoker in Average Health – $500K​ Coverage (Per Month)

  • American General – $278.44
  • Banner – $280.00
  • Protective – $321.61

Male Non-Smoker Preferred – $500K Coverage (Per Month)

  • American General – $65.65
  • Banner – $63.00
  • Protective – $65.41

Male Non-Smoker Preferred Plus – $500K in Coverage (Per Month)

  • American General – $55.27
  • Banner – $55.26
  • Protective – $53.14

American May or May NOT be Right for YOU!

Hmm as you can see the prices aren’t that different when it comes to American General Life Insurance, Banner & Protective!

You may have noted that Protective penalizes smokers, so you won’t be considering them if you do, but other than that prices are very close.

Aha! It looks like American General is a GREAT fit – what’s a few pennies on the dollar?

Not so fast buster! What if American General rates you preferred at $65.65 per month and Banner rates you preferred plus at $55.26 per month?

Well then, the difference of $3,740.40 over your 30-year term is well worth doing some homework – and the savings could be MUCH more than this.

Most of your savings rely on your agent knowing the underwriting strengths and weaknesses of the companies he or she is dealing with.

…And Don’t Forget! Gender COUNTS

  • AIG: Female Smoker in Standard Health – $396.52 Per Month – $1 MIL Coverage
  • AIG: Male Smoker in Standard Health – $550.49 Per Month – $1 MIL Coverage

Male Pays $55429.20 More Over 30 Year Term

So as you can see, underwriting is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the life insurance process when it comes down to your wallet. Your premiums radically change with your rating.

The interesting part is, each life insurance company has its own guidelines and they vary significantly. That’s why it’s so important to:

Utilize your agent’s expertise and ability to shop around for the best policy. The key is to make sure you get quotes from several companies, not just one. This is especially important for high-risk cases, because health impairments may be reviewed differently from one carrier to the next. 7 Tips for Buying Life Insurance with a Pre-Existing Condition, Nerd Wallet for NASDAQ

American General (vs. Banner vs. Protective) Underwriting

For this example I’m going to compare Banner Life & Protective with American General using the following 5 factors:

American General Life Insurance

  • Height / Weight Ratio: A male who is 5’ 10″ tall can weigh between 130 – 205 pounds. 
  • Tobacco Use: No tobacco use for 5 years.
  • Blood Pressure: From ages 0 – 60 blood pressure not greater than 135/85, from ages 61 + blood pressure not greater than 140/85.
  • Cholesterol HDL Ratio: If the ratio is less than 5, 215 cholesterol level, If ratio less than 4.5, 290 cholesterol level.
  • Family History: There must be no coronary artery disease or cancer prior to age 60 (Parents only).

Banner Life Insurance

  • Height/Weight Ratio: A 5’ 11″ male cannot have a weight greater than 201 pounds.
  • Tobacco Use: No use of nicotine or nicotine-based products based in the last 36 months. One cigar allowed per month with HO specimen negative for cotinine.
  • Blood Pressure: Must be well controlled with or without treatment with average readings in the past 2 years not greater than 136/86.
  • Cholesterol: 120-300 with or without treatment. May not exceed 4.5 with or without treatment.
  • Family History: No cardiovascular disease in either parent or siblings before the age of 60. CAD is disregarded for applicants over age 70 that do not use tobacco. Cancer is no longer a factor preventing consideration for preferred classes.


  • Height Weight Chart: 5”11”: 201 pounds maximum weight
  • Tobacco Use: No nicotine use for the past 5 years (urine nicotine negative). Will allow up to 6 celebratory cigars over the past 12 months if usage is admitted on the application and/or medical examination and current urine specimen is negative for nicotine.
  • Blood Pressure: Average from current medical exam and history reading within the last year do not exceed 135/85 through age 60 or 140/85 for ages 61 – 70. Treated blood pressure must have been controlled for 1 year with favorable APS readings throughout the year.
  • Cholesterol: Total cholesterol not greater than 275 including treated cholesterol and cholesterol/HDL ratio is 4.5 or less.
  • Family History: No history of or death from cancer*, heart disease or any cardiac-related condition, of either natural parent or sibling prior to age 60. Waived if the applicant is age 60 or older unless both natural parents died from one of the same prevailing impairments prior to age 60.

* Family history cancers are limited to those types that clearly demonstrate a genetic predisposition i.e. Breast, colon, prostate, ovarian, melanoma, lung cancer

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Summary Of American General Life Underwriting

The good news is American General Life Insurance is a competitive company for the following areas:

  • If you smoke the occasional cigar this is the company for you. They won’t penalize occasion enjoyment.
  • They’re known for being more lenient in regard to medical and recreational marijuana smokers.
  • Do you have type 2 diabetes? We’ve found they work well for clients who have this issue under control.
  • Are you a pilot or do you travel a lot? Well then, AIG is worth some consideration as they are lenient in this area.

Stay away from this carrier if you:

  • Smoke cigarettes – your rates will be higher with this carrier
  • Have uncontrolled diabetes
  • Received a DUI recently
  • Have a mental disorder
  • Had a gastric bypass

In conclusion, American General is a solid company with many positive underwriting niches…

…but this brief assessment only just scratches the surface. There are so many other conditions and situations where American General MAY NOT be the carrier for you.

This is why you should always consult an independent life insurance agent. Contact Huntley Wealth to find the best life insurance fit for your particular health situation.

What Products Does American General Offer?

  • Term
  • Quality of Life Products
  • Guaranteed Issue Whole Life
  • Universal Life
  • Variable Universal Life
  • Accident & Health

Let’s take some time to review American General’s life insurance products in more detail:

American General Term Offerings

If you’re not familiar with term life insurance, then let me just say it’s the most affordable form of life insurance available. Term provides death benefits only, so elimination of the cash value accumulation feature really cuts down the cost.

Here is AIG’s offering!

AG Select-A-Term

American General is different from most other life insurers because they provide you with the option to select a specific term! This is a truly customizable life insurance offering my friends.

The days of paying for life insurance you don’t need are over.

This is a product that really shines because most companies offer specific term periods such as 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. But AIG offers 17 term durations that will allow you to truly customize your plan.

AG Return On Premium (ROP) Select –A–Term

This policy is, in essence, the same as the select a term offering with a bonus! If you survive until the end of the policy you have the option to get the premiums back tax-free.

Yes, you heard me right. This option is called Return of Premium” or “ROP.

AIG Quality of Life Insurance Products

AIG’s Quality of Life Products are unique, in that they provide you with an array of options outside of traditional death benefits.

Chronic and critical illness will be a reality for many of us, requiring funds for living needs. This policy takes all of this into consideration including future medical expenses, retirement, and other various life events.

Quality of Life Insurance Guarantee Plus GUL II

It’s valuable guaranteed life insurance that can help meet your needs wherever you are in your life journey.

With QoL Guarantee Plus GUL II, the death benefit is guaranteed — regardless of the policy’s cash value — assuming the required premiums have been paid.

QoL SelectChoice II Accelerated Benefit Riders can also provide an advance of your policy’s death benefit to help cover the costs of care, recoup lost income or any other purpose should you suffer a qualifying chronic, critical, or terminal illness or condition.

They also guarantee a minimum accelerated benefit based upon your policy and condition.

Quality of Life Performer Plus

An affordable universal life insurance policy that can provide a guaranteed death benefit for 25 years or up to age 80 — whichever comes sooner — plus the opportunity for cash accumulation.

The flexibility allows you to make changes to the policy if your needs change in the future. Optional features and benefits also allow you to tailor the policy to fit your specific needs.

Quality of Life Flex Term

Differs from many other term products in that it offers built-in, no-cost Accelerated Benefit Riders that can assist financially in the event of a qualifying chronic, critical or terminal illness.

QoL Flex Term is an attractive value when purchased as a stand-alone policy; however, you may also combine a QoL Flex Term policy with a qualifying UL policy to strengthen your protection.

Should you choose to “bundle” these policies, you will qualify for the QoL Advantage program. This program gives you lower premiums and fee reductions on qualifying Universal Life policies.

Quality of Life Max Accumulator

QoL Max Accumulator+ builds cash value that you can access in a number of ways. Its cash accumulation potential is typically greater than a traditional universal life policy, but safeguarded against market downtowns.

That’s because an IUL policy offers the potential to credit interest based in part on the upward movement of a stock market index.1

QoL Max Accumulator+ also includes built-in accelerated benefit riders in the event of a qualifying chronic, critical or terminal illness, plus an optional rider for additional resources for qualifying chronic illness.*

AIG Universal Life Insurance Products

American General Life also provides an impressive array of Universal life insurance products.

Clients can choose a host of options for a variety of personal and business situations that include:

AG Secure Survivor GUL II®

Qualifying adults ages 50 to 75 can help protect their assets and businesses from estate taxes with AG Secure Survivor GUL II.

The policy features guaranteed death-benefit protection and flexibility to make partial withdrawals while maintaining pro-rated benefits.

Elite Global Plus II®

Elite Global Plus II offers death-benefit protection along with the opportunity to build cash value based in part on the performance of global indices, including S&P 500, EURO STOXX 50 (Western Europe) and Hang Seng (Hong Kong) Index.

Secure Lifetime GUL 3®

Secure Lifetime GUL 3 enables you to maintain guaranteed death benefits while building cash value.

You get the flexibility to adjust benefits and premiums or terminate coverage for cash value, depending upon your needs.

Elite Index II®

Qualifying adults ages 50 to 75 can help protect their assets and businesses from estate taxes with AG Secure Survivor GUL II.

The policy features guaranteed death-benefit protection and flexibility to make partial withdrawals while maintaining pro-rated benefits.

Asset Protector®

Available on Secure Lifetime GUL 3 policies, Asset Protector provides a package of living benefit riders, including access to death benefits.

This suite features Accelerated Access Solution, which allows access to death benefits for diagnosed chronic illness, and Lifestyle Income Solution, which allows access to death benefits for any reason after age 85.

Value + Indexed Universal Life

Value+ IUL insurance is a unique and flexible new protection-focused product designed to help serve long-term needs for personal and business financial security.

Elite Survivor Index II®

Elite Survivor Index II offers many of the same benefits as traditional universal life insurance with the flexibility to choose among three interest-crediting accounts that fit your needs.

American General Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance provides permanent protection mixed with the opportunity to accumulate cash value through various, separate account options.

American General Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance

A simple and affordable life insurance policy with no medical exam and no health questions.

Designed to cover expenses like medical bills, credit card debt or funeral costs, and can help protect your loved ones from future financial burdens.

Is American General The Best Provider for Your Needs?

Are you shopping for affordable rates? AIG may or may not be the right fit for you. 

Your personal medical history will determine which life insurance company you should pick.

Sure American General is a fantastic insurer, but there may be another company that suits your unique needs better.

We have access to over 50 of the best life insurance companies in the industry and will find you the lowest possible rates.

*While we make every effort to keep our site updated, please be aware that “timely” information on this page, such as quote estimates, or pertinent details about companies, may only be accurate as of its last edit day. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.