With the promise of a fast application process and no medical underwriting, Bestow’s goal is to make buying term life insurance policies simpler than it’s ever been.
Does this faster, more efficient way of buying life insurance have its drawbacks? We think there are certainly a few you need to be aware of.
In this Bestow review, we’ll go over those drawbacks and discuss who stands to benefit the most (and least) from buying a life insurance policy from the company.
Bestow offers term life insurance with no medical exams and a 100% online application process. It also relies heavily on third-party data when calculating rates and making approval decisions. That fact means it's worth getting a quote from the company when you're shopping for insurance, as with Bestow there is a chance you can forego the lengthy application process and have a life insurance policy done and paid for within minutes.
- Quick online application process.
- No medical exam required.
- Offers term life insurance only.
- Age limitations start at 45.
- Max length of 20 years.
- Max coverage of $1 million.
Life Insurance Products Offered
Bestow Life Insurance offers two term life insurance products:
- 10-year term policy, up to $1 million starting at $8 monthly premium
- 20-year term policy, up to $1 million starting at $8 monthly premium
None of Bestow’s products require medical examinations.
It’s quick and easy to get a quote through Bestow’s website. You don’t even need to create an account. Just enter your gender, birth date, height, weight, state of residence, and whether you use nicotine products.
You can fill out the application completely via the online platform and be done in 10 minutes (which means no face-to-face interactions or high-pressure salespeople).
Here are a few examples of what life insurance premiums with Bestow look like for two hypothetical individuals:
- Male, 01/01/1979 (40 years old), 6 feet tall, 175 lbs, from California who does not use nicotine products:
- Cost: $42.50/mo for 20-year term $500,000 coverage policy
- Cost: $81.66/mo for 20-year term $1 million coverage policy.
- Female, 01/01/1979 (40 years old), 6 feet tall, 175 lbs, from California who does not use nicotine products:
- Cost: $33.75/mo for 20-year term $500,000 coverage policy
- Cost: $64.16/mo for 20-year term $1 million coverage policy
The smallest amount of coverage that you can qualify for is $50,000, which is available in two, 10, and 20-year terms.
You’re also able to “set it and forget it.” The two-year plan is for those in transition, or who are wanting to try out the policy.
There are also a few age limitations with Bestow:
- 20-year policy — eligible ages are 21 to 45
- Two or 10-year policies — eligible ages are 21 to 45.
Other Rate/Approval Factors
Besides your age and health, other factors that might come into play during the application process are your income, occupation, and existing insurance coverage.
These questions are common among providers, as they want to make sure the amount of insurance you need is justified based on your income and other life insurance coverage.
In addition, they want to check whether your career increases your risk of death (which is the case with certain career types).
Bestow is a licensed life insurance agent that uses technology to approve or decline applicants for term life insurance policies. This puts Bestow into a category known as “insurtech,” which are insurance companies utilizing technology to interact with customers and complete daily operational tasks.
Specifically for Bestow, that means they use a proprietary algorithmic underwriting engine, or predictive analytics, to determine risk. This process gives consumers immediate access to comprehensive life insurance solutions without the involvement of an insurance agent.
As Bestow co-founder Melbourne O’Banion said in a recent interview:
“It’s clear there is a gap for consumers between the demand for life insurance protection and their ability to navigate the friction typically involved in getting covered. […]
We’ve built an entirely new model, essentially eliminating many of the principal pain points associated with researching and buying life insurance. Using advanced technology, we’ve developed an affordable, quick, and easy-to-use solution that allows people to obtain coverage in a matter of minutes without having to talk to an agent or get a medical exam.”
Bestow self-funded itself in the early days. It received seed funding in 2017, led by global VC firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA). In 2018, the company closed a $15 million Series A investment led by New York-based Valar Ventures.
Bestow’s products are provided by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®. North American Company is an insurance carrier rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best.
Bestow has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and has been a member of the BBB since 2017.
What Does the Buying Process Look Like?
One great aspect of getting a quote from Bestow is that you’re able to get rates up-front, without submitting any personal information.
Here’s what shows up after I enter my gender, DOB, height, weight, state, and nicotine usage:
If you decide to proceed, you’ll have to answer basic questions about yourself and your health history.
Behind the scenes is where Bestow’s process is materially different. Yes, the questions you answer play a role in whether you’re accepted. But Bestow relies heavily on third-party data to help make decisions, which is uncommon in the life insurance industry (but a growing trend among businesses in general).
As the company explains:
“We check your social security number, address, and other publicly available data to make sure you’re you. We’ll also get information about your prescriptions and other health data through a variety of sources, like MIB.
Like other types of insurance (car, home, etc.), we’ll look at things like your driving history, professional licenses, criminal history, and financial information to determine your level of risk.”
Policies from Bestow are not guaranteed renewable policies, meaning that at the end of the policy period (e.g., two, 10 or 20 years) you’d have to reapply for coverage.
Getting a quote with Bestow does not affect your credit score. Nor does completing an application. Bestow doesn’t look at your credit score. Instead, it looks at information contained in your credit report.
Is Bestow Right For You?
At the end of the day, that’s the real question: does Bestow provide enough value for you to choose it over the many other life insurance companies in the marketplace?
The first question you need to answer is whether the limitations to the coverage amount (i.e., the death benefit paid to your beneficiaries) and insurance policy length allow for you to be properly covered.
However, if I were planning to purchase life insurance, I would shop around and also get quotes from a large comparison site like Policygenius to see estimated rates for buying life insurance the traditional way (with a medical underwriting process).
In some cases, Bestow may be cheaper than going with the lowest rate provider you’d find at Policygenius. Combine that with the fact that you’re avoiding medical underwriting, and you stand to save a lot of time and hassle buying through a company like Bestow.