Thanks for checking out our PolicyGenius review. Full disclosure, we at I&E are a direct competitor to PolicyGenius, representing many of the same best life insurance companies. With that in mind, we did our best to present the following information about PolicyGenius as unbiased as possible.
Table of Contents:
- What is Policygenius?
- What Services Does Policygenius Provide?
- What Types of Insurance are Available?
- How Does the Application Process Work?
- What Life Insurance Companies Does Policygenius work with?
- Policygenius’s Strengths
- Policygenius’s Weaknesses
Launched in 2014 by two former McKinsey consultants, Manhattan-based Policy Genius is Wall Street’s take on an independent insurance agency.
As an independent broker, Policy Genius partners with a network of carriers to market life, home, auto, and a few other types of policies to the public.
On the Policy Genius website, consumers can compare preliminary premium rates from partnered insurers after providing a little basic information.
Policy Genius’ business model focuses on marketing to internet-age consumers who prefer to transact business online. The company’s promotional efforts, the website itself, and the insurance products it brokers are geared toward a younger demographic.
And Policy Genius’ advertising presence is largely online or in media more popular with young adult audiences—such as podcasts.
The company founders’ pedigrees helped land a sizeable infusion of early investment capital, allowing Policy Genius to commit considerable resources toward development of its impressive platform.
Propelled by a user-friendly, attractive interface and a hardy marketing budget, Policy Genius has achieved impressive growth since its inception.
Though the business remains young, Policy Genius seems to have firmly established itself in the consumer insurance market.
The company boasts one million site visitors per month and $45 billion worth of insurance coverage sold thus far. Policy Genius sells policies in every U.S. state and Washington, D.C.
Most Reviews are Simply Affiliate Marketing
While researching Policy Genius for this review, we soon realized that many of the online reviews available for Policy Genius are from partnering companies trying to send visitors to the Policy Genius website.
Predictably, those reviewers were quite fond of Policy Genius. Perhaps giving away the game, one reviewer even emphasized how great of a company Policy Genius is to work for. Though without question a crafty marketing strategy, this does not seem like a recipe for an impartial assessment.
Policy Genius is an independent agency and therefore doesn’t issue or underwrite any insurance policies itself. If you purchase coverage through Policy Genius, you won’t make your premium payments to Policy Genius, and it won’t be Policy Genius paying claims if a policy is triggered.
Instead, Policy Genius acts as an intermediary between insurance companies and consumers. The site’s network includes multiple carriers, which lets Policy Genius provide prospective purchasers with several rate quotes from different insurers.
The idea behind this approach is that it lets you conveniently compare life insurance products and premiums rates from several companies, so you can choose the best fit.
You won’t find any individual policy cheaper through Policy Genius than through another agent, but you will get to see multiple rates and try to find the best deal.
By contrast, a captive agent works with only a single insurance company and can only show you rates from that one company.
Policy Genius offers a lot of resources for consumers—some of which are helpful. But, ultimately, its job is to bring customers to its insurance company partners.
Policy Genius does that by first convincing consumers to visit the company’s website and click the “Get Quotes” button.
From there, Policy Genius wants to make submitting an application as quick and easy as possible so that potential future policyholders don’t get discouraged or distracted during the sometimes-tedious life insurance application process.
Policy Genius’ income is derived from agent commissions built into the premiums for insurance policies sold through the site. So, consumers don’t directly pay Policy Genius anything for using the service or seeing quotes.
The company gets paid by the insurance provider if and when a policy is issued. Importantly, commissions can be a little different between insurers, but the amounts received by agents for selling the same policies are almost always identical.
So, Policy Genius gets the same commission that an agent with a brick-and-mortar office in your town would receive for selling the same policy.
Likewise, rates are generally the same whether you purchase through an online broker, a local independent agent, or directly from a carrier.
Though this review focuses on life insurance, it’s worth noting that Policy Genius markets quite a few other types of coverage. In fact, the site features a pretty impressive array, including (along with life insurance)
- Homeowners Insurance and Renters Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance
- Disability Insurance and Long-Term Care Insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Identity Theft Insurance
- Jewelry Insurance
- Pet Insurance
If you’re shopping for life insurance, you can purchase term, whole, or universal life coverage through Policy Genius, though the company and its business model have a strong preference for term insurance.
Permanent coverage is deemphasized on the website, and it’s more difficult to find quotes for whole life and universal life—but they are notionally available.
Consumers can purchase fully underwritten and simplified-issue no exam term policies through Policy Genius. The varieties of whole and universal life available through the site are less clear.
Policy Genius’ life insurance partners include Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, AIG, Brighthouse Financial, Prudential, Lincoln Financial, Banner Life, Protective, SBLI, and Transamerica. Brighthouse offers a simplified-issue term policy that is “exclusive to Policy Genius,” suggesting a cozy relationship with the MetLife spinoff.
To start, Policy Genius asks for some basic demographic information—age, gender, marital and citizenship status, and ZIP code. Then, you’ll need to provide a little more detail about your health history and lifestyle, followed by the type and amount of coverage you have in mind.
At that point, Policy Genius provides preliminary term life insurance rate quotes from several carriers. The options are organized by premium, with lower-priced policies prioritized. Policy Genius emphasizes that it doesn’t favor any of its carriers when displaying rates or recommending coverage.
- BrightHouse Financial
- Lincoln Financial
- Mutual of Omaha
- Pacific Life
- Protective Life
You can check out reviews of each of these companies and more by going to our life insurance reviews page.
If you see a rate and company that you like, you can select the policy. Then, you enter your name, contact info, home address, and some financial data to submit the application.
From there, a Policy Genius representative reviews and processes the application and then submits it to the insurance company for approval.
Depending on the company and policy, the insurer will respond within the next few hours, days, or weeks with an offer including firm premium rates.
Or, in some cases, you’ll need to answer a few more questions and/or undergo a medical examination before receiving the formal offer.
Once you have a formal offer of insurance in hand, you decide whether to purchase the policy or keep looking.
If you buy the coverage, Policy Genius receives its broker’s fee.
From then on, the interaction will be with the insurance company. You pay your premiums to the insurer and, if the policy is triggered, a claim is submitted to the insurance company—not to Policy Genius.
Well-Designed Website and User Interface.
Policy Genius presents consumers with a slick, attractive site and a user-friendly interface. The layout is fairly intuitive, so it’s pretty easy and convenient to apply for coverage on the website or do some introductory research on life insurance (though the site would benefit from adding a search function). The design works well whether you are visiting on a phone, tablet, or desktop.
The Policy Genius site also features a live chat option, so you can communicate with a company representative in real-time if you encounter any problems. And, if you apply, you’ll set up a user account that lets you stay abreast of the application’s status.
Independent Agency with a Network of Solid Companies.
Just being an independent agency (as opposed to a captive agency) is a plus. Independent agents can help applicants find better rates and more suitable policies by comparing prices and products from multiple companies.
Because life insurers’ underwriting standards can vary significantly from company to company, the carrier with the best rates won’t be the same for everyone.
Generally, the more carriers an agent works with, the better chance you have of finding the optimal policy for your specific situation.
The insurers in Policy Genius’ network are solid, well-regarded companies, all with strong financial ratings from A.M. Best.
However, as expounded upon below, Policy Genius could stand to add a few more companies to its network.
Preliminary Term Life Rates without Inputting Contact Information.
You can’t get life insurance—or even get reliable estimates—without providing detailed information. That’s just the way it goes.
But, before you input personally identifiable information, the Policy Genius website lets you get a decent approximation of what coverage will cost for someone in your general position.
This can be a nice feature if you’re not yet set on buying a policy and just want to see what’s available from the various online brokers in the industry.
And it also makes it easy to see how adjusting things like term length and coverage amount will impact premium rates.
So, if you’re understandably leery of providing detailed personal information to a bunch of different websites, Policy Genius can help you do some early research before you commit to entering contact info.
Remember, though, you can’t get precise premium rates anywhere without giving the insurer enough data to do its underwriting.
No rates are set in stone until you’ve gone through the application process, completed any necessary medical exam, and received a formal offer of coverage from the insurance provider.
Small Carrier Network.
Considering Policy Genius’ corporate bona fides, it has a surprisingly small network of carriers. This may be partially due to the company’s only working with insurers rated A or better by A.M. Best. In itself, that’s not such a bad thing, but there are also plenty of other highly rated carriers not in Policy Genius’s network.
Policy Genius brokers for big, prestigious insurance companies. For some consumers, particularly those with imperfect medical histories, limiting the search to white-shoe companies can result in higher premiums.
Insurance companies can differ considerably in how they rate certain conditions. A smaller, less-well-known insurer not in Policy Genius’s network might have notably better rates in a given consumer’s situation.
Policy Genius’ small network somewhat reduces the value derived from working with an independent agent.
All things being equal, the more companies, policies, and rates you compare, the more likely you are to find the perfect fit.
Considering that there are other online brokers in the life insurance market with substantially larger carrier networks (such as the team here at I&E), Policy Genius’ small network is a weakness that can potentially lead to higher premiums for the consumer.
Not the Place for Whole Life and Universal Life.
After navigating around the website for a while, you may discover that Policy Genius does broker permanent policies.
But whole life and universal life premium estimates are not nearly as easy to find, and you won’t be able to see any company options without scheduling a teleconference with a Policy Genius representative where they will most likely do their best to recommend you buy term and invest the difference.
It’s generally a good thing that Policy Genius (unlike many online brokers) makes permanent coverage theoretically available.
While term policies are the best fit for many consumers, there are also plenty who are better-served by permanent coverage. But Policy Genius makes inquiring about permanent policies decidedly more difficult.
Indeed, Policy Genius has an impressive amount of information on its site about term coverage, but the permanent insurance articles provide only a vague picture of how the policies work.
The emphasis on term makes sense because term life is simpler, cheaper, and takes a lot less time and effort to sell.
Policy Genius’ business model is built around automation and efficiency, and it doesn’t translate well to more complex policies with more variables.
So, if whole life or universal life is what you need or want, you will probably be better off using another broker.
Policy Genius’ disregard of permanent coverage can be an especially big problem for seniors who aren’t eligible for term (or who would have to pay exorbitant rates for it).
Final expense insurance is a type of relatively low-coverage whole life designed to be affordable for older insureds. But it doesn’t seem to be an option from Policy Genius—perhaps because the site’s target audience is young adults.
Little Room for Personalization.
The automized application process employed by Policy Genius is convenient and efficient. But it also limits your ability to customize a policy to your individual needs.
While riders add to the cost of a policy, they can also significantly increase the value of the coverage. Of course, not all riders make sense for everyone—and some people are best off with no riders on their policies. For some people, though, the extra cost for an appropriate rider can pay off tremendously in the long run.
The website’s “Learn Center” seems to suggest that at least some riders can be added to policies purchased through Policy Genius. However, you don’t get to see what riders are offered with which policies before selecting the policy you want to apply for. And it’s unclear where in the process you can inquire about adding riders.
As with permanent coverage, policy enhancements don’t mesh well with Policy Genius’ model and are therefore deemphasized. If you want a rider that
- accelerates death benefits,
- waives premium payments if you are disabled,
- increases coverage for accidental death,
- provides long term care or chronic illness benefits,
- provides supplemental coverage for your spouse or children,
- provides the option to convert term coverage into a permanent policy, or
- any of the other policy enhancements on the market
—or if you just want to talk to someone who can tell you what optional riders are available—you should consider an independent agency that can offer more personalized attention to individual consumers.
Thanks for reading our Policygenius review. While you are here, why not get a quote from us as well. You will find we work with the same companies (and more) and can help you make the best decision on the right policy for you, whether that is term or permanent coverage.