LAST UPDATED: October 8th, 2019
Farm Bureau was founded in 1946 with the goal to provide their members with competitive life insurance policies. Their company and agents have helped people through the years during all sorts of economic cycles and natural disasters. Their agents are trained to help clients identify the policy that best suits their needs. Service is available in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
- Buffet of policies and benefits
With the goal of providing Family Bureau members with competitive products and superior customer service, Farm Bureau has developed a reputation of getting people the coverage they need for their current situation. Other benefits include:
Buffet of Policies and Benefits
Farm Bureau has a nice array of life insurance policy types, with term, whole, variable and universal options. Consequently, they should be able to meet the life insurance needs of most people. The website contains a handy chart that spells out what the basic benefits are for each type of insurance, so at a glance, customers can see which one is best suited for the specific situation. For example, coverage options for children are available with term, whole and universal life, but not with variable universal life, and only whole life offers guaranteed coverage for life. The chart is a great idea and allows the most uninformed customers to get a quick and important overview without having to click through multiple pages.
Whole, universal and variable insurance policies offer a good array of optional riders and added benefits, including some popular choices like disability and long-term care, accelerated death benefits and a no-lapse guarantee. There is also a survivorship option for those who want their policy to cover two people, such as parents or spouses.
Their First Step Children's Life program allows parents to provide life insurance for their kids, which is something that not every life insurance company will do. Although nobody really likes to think about the need for life insurance coverage on their children, it is good to have the option. No minimum age is listed, so presumably, children of any age can be covered.
- Lack of transparency
- Limited availability
- Poor customer service
It must be pointed out that tracking down specific financial information about insurance policies without actually meeting with an insurance agent proved to be quite difficult. Even when contacting the company, one is simply directed to find and talk to a local agent. Limitations to the platform include:
Lack of Transparency
Presumably, life insurance rates from Farm Bureau are not all that affordable. Otherwise, it would be more of a selling point. Even checking third party websites didn't help in locating this information. The fact of the matter is customers generally don't like having to meet with an agent--where the hard sell begins--before they get some concrete information about what to expect from monthly payments. In general, it is always better for a company to be upfront about the financials. This makes customers feel better about what they're getting into.
The same goes for policy exclusions. They offer a disclaimer which says, "products, coverages, terms, and discounts may vary by state and exclusions may apply." However, specific information about exclusions are not listed on the website, and again, when contacting the company, customers are advised to locate and meet with a local agent. To be fair to Farm Bureau, this is an industry-wide problem, though some of their competitors do provide more information. Detailed information provided up front always speaks well of a company and protects customers from disappointments down the road.
While whole, universal and variable life policies provide a good array of added benefits and optional riders, term life policies are somewhat skimpy in terms of what they offer. The only ones mentioned for term policies are a return of premium and waiver of premium. Popular optional riders like living benefits, long-term care, and disability insurance are not available for term life.
Farm Bureau is just not widely available across the country. In fact, the only states where they currently operate are Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The most populous states, such as New York, California, and Texas are missing from the list. Consequently, Farm Bureau is simply not an option for most people.
Poor Customer Service
Finally, customer service options are lacking. Basically, customers who want to contact the company are encouraged to do so by phone or through an online form. However, the office hours for the toll-free phone number are limited to Monday through Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm, Central. For people who work a regular 40-hour week, this makes calling them a challenge. No early morning or evening hours and no weekend hours. Also, a direct email address option is always nice. It seems Farm Bureau would rather that customers work with their local agent, but sometimes people want to speak directly with customer service. More ways to do that would be nice.
The Bottom Line
Farm Bureau gets a hesitant recommendation because it does offer a good array of life insurance options and types. It should be able to meet the needs of most people looking for life insurance. However, the hesitation comes from the frustration in trying to track down concrete financial numbers without having to sit through a sales pitch with a local agent. Clearly, they are not among the most affordable life insurance companies on the market, or this information would be readily available. More information about exclusions and limitations would be nice. Ultimately, though, Farm Bureau is simply not available in the most populous states, and that is the biggest hesitation in recommending them. Despite that, they do offer what appear to be good products to cover most life insurance needs, so they are worth considering for those who are shopping around.
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