American General Life Insurance

American General Life InsuranceAmerican General Life Insurance was established in 1826. Not only are they over 100 years old, but they also have an excellent grade, an “A” from A.M. Best. This means you can shop with confidence if you decide to buy a plan from American General.

But what makes them different from the competition? What does AIG have to offer, and what can you expect for policies, pricing, and from them as a provider?

In this article, we will be reviewing AIG’s life insurance policies, and give you our professional opinion of their policy options. But first, let’s talk a bit about American General’s history.

The American General Story

In 2001 AIG acquired American General. If you are familiar with financial products, then you know AIG. AIG was founded in Shanghai, China in 191 and moved to New York City in 1939 due to Japanese invasion of China during World War II. In 1923, the founder’s wife, Nelle Vaner Starr, ws installed as the leader of the company, and became one of the first woman executives in the insurance industry and corporate life. Then in 1969, AIG became a publicly traded stock company.

After the acquisition of American General, AIG moved all of it’s life products underneath the American General name. Only in the last few years, has AIG rebranded American General into AIG Life.

Is American General A Reliable Life Insurance Company?

A common question that’s raised with our clients is regarding the bailout and if American General Life Insurance in 2008 and if American General is a reliable company. In short, American General and all their policyholders are in great hands. American General Life Insurance Company is a separate entity with a different set of financials than AIG. Industry laws require a set amount of reserves to pay claims and they can’t be commingled with any other entities. If AIG went down, American General would still be fine.

AIG is ranked among the top ten life insurance companies and one of the most financially stable insurance companies in the United States. AM Best rates AIG as an A (Excellent). Standard and Poor’s rates them as A+ (Strong) and Moody’s Investor Service as an A2 (Good).

What Type of Life Insurance Does American General Offer?

American General / AIG currently offers term life insurance, universal life insurance, variable universal life insurance, index universal life insurance and whole life insurance. Let’s review several of these categories and the benefits each policy provides.

  • Term Life
  • Universal Life
  • Variable Life
  • Whole Life
  • Accidental Death Insurance

American General Term Life Insurance

Term Life is temporary insurance designed to protect you and your family. You purchase the coverage amount for a period of time, usually 10, 20, or 30 years. Because it is temporary, term tends to be the most affordable life product.

AG Select-A-Term

This is a unique term product. Rather than selecting a 10, 20, or 30 year term, Select-A-Term allows you be very specific based on your needs. Terms start at 10 years, jump to 15, and then you can choose yearly increments all the way to 30 years. You could buy a 19 or 27 year term.

Here’s the reason, many people use term to protect mortgage debt or education expense for children. Once those expenses are gone, the term policy is no longer needed. If you knew your mortgage would be paid off in 18 along with all college expenses, why extend a life policy to a 20 year or 30 year term.

Other features:

  • Convertible into one of AIG’s permanent policies until you turn 70
  • Broad coverage options from $50,000 up to $10 million
  • Once purchased, premiums will not increase throughout the policy term
  • You can keep it after the term ends. Renew it one year increments until you are 95

Some people and financial planners will recommend laddering your insurance coverage. Talk to one of our insurance advisors and they can walk you through this financial strategy. Basically you buy multiple term policies for to protect different portions of your life.

Here’s how it works. To cover your mortgage your debt, you could buy a $250,000 20 year term policy. Your mortgage will be paid off prior to your kids heading off to college. You need to protect this potential college debt, so you could buy a $100,000 for 25-30 years.

AG ROP Select-A-Term

ROP is a term policy that give your premium back to you if you survive the policy period and they will not pay out any death benefit.

  • It is available from 18 up to age 55
  • The minimum coverage you can buy is $100,000
  • It will cost more than regular term (2-3x in most cases)
  • Like permanent insurance it builds cash value.
  • Unlike most term policies, you can surrender for cash
  • You can quit paying premiums and keep coverage. Once you have enough cash value you can stop paying, but there will be a death benefit decrease.

American General Universal Life Insurance

Universal Life is a type of permanent insurance just like variable or whole life. There is no expiration date like there is in a term policy. A permanent policy will build cash value. The policy can be surrendered for its cash value. You can also borrow against the cash value as well.

AG Secure Lifetime GUL 3

GUL is an abbreviation for Guaranteed Universal Life. The cash value in this policy is tied to a money market account. It is a much more conservative investment vehicle, but there is a guaranteed rate of return.

Here are some features:

  • Conservative Investment Strategy
  • Can be purchased from ages 18 to 80
  • The minimum coverage that can be purchased is 100,000
  • Once purchased premiums are fixed and won’t increase. However you can overpay premium building the cash value quicker.
  • You can can your coverage. Over the life of the policy, you can increase or decrease coverage with underwriting approval.

AG Secure Survivor GUL 2

A survivor policy covers 2 people instead of one. It is not designed to protect the financial obligation of a surviving spouse. It is used to leave money to heirs or charity. The death benefit is triggered only when both people die. It is cheaper than buying two separate policies. You can buy between ages 50-75.

Elite Index II and Survivor Index II

These two policies are similar to the AG Secure products except the cash value is tied into an index fund rather than a money market fund. The index fund follows the S&P 500.

You can choose between 3 different index funds and adjust the cap rate. The cap rate is the guaranteed return percentage on the cash value. If you choose to borrow against a portion of the cash value. The remaining cash will continue to accumulate in the fund.

There is a chronic illness benefit call the accelerated access solution. You can receive a portion of the coverage as a monthly income if you qualify.

Max Accumulator

The Max Accumulator is designed for those with pre-existing medical conditions. The minimum coverage amount on this Universal Life product is $50,000 and can be purchased between ages 18-80. This is a “no-exam” policy and you can buy up to $500,000 if you are under 50 years of age.

American General Variable Life Insurance

AG Platinum Choice VUL

This is their variable life product. A variable life is permanent insurance, but the cash value portion of the policy is structured differently. Variable life policies connect the cash portion to a true stock based investment account like a mutual fund. Like any stock fund, you have choices in the degree of investment appetite. You can pick highly aggressive funds or very conservative funds. Obviously, the more aggressive the more risky but also there is the potential for a bigger return on your cash value.

Basic Features:

  • 3 Different Funds are available based on your particular risk tolerance.
  • The is no cap on growth rate
  • Available for ages 18-80
  • $100,000 minimum coverage

American General Whole Life

Guaranteed Issue Whole Life

The Guaranteed Issue Whole is for people with health issues. Pre-existing conditions can make it difficult to buy life insurance. If you have high risk health issues such as diabetes or heart disease, this product is for you. Even former substance abusers can be covered under this plan.


  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: Guaranteed issue whole life policies are graded. A graded policy means that the full death benefit is not available in the first couple years of the policy. The coverage is graded. With this policy the death benefit for the first two years is 110% of the premiums paid. This is very generous compared to most Guaranteed Issue policies.
  • Maximum Coverage: $25,000.
  • Chronic Illness Rider: This optional add-on provides a benefit if the policyholder is diagnosed with a chronic illness such severe cognitive. 50% of premiums paid will be returned.
  • Terminal Illness Rider: This add-on provides 50% of death benefit if the insured is diagnosed with terminal condition.
  • Age Availability: 50-85

American General Accidental Death Insurance

Accidental death insurance is similar to the guaranteed whole life. It is designed for people with serious medical conditions who do not want to be subject to a medical exam. It is more restrictive in coverage than a whole life policy. The death benefit is triggered only if death occurs from accidental injuries.

This is a great stop gap coverage for those with health insurance. Many times, they will purchase this policy while waiting to be approved for a broader policy.

Finding the Best Life Insurance Company for Your Needs

We understand that it can be intimidating to search out life insurance for those that need affordable coverage but may have health problems or habits that increase rates, such as:

Life Insurance for smokers
Life insurance with diabetes
Affordable no medical exam life insurance policy

But rest assured, you don’t have to choose alone.

At we are appointed and licensed to offer American General life insurance products, we only have good things to say about them. They are very fair and I would go so far as to say very lenient with their underwriting guidelines. Their service is impeccable and they have some of the best sub-standard rates on the market.

We have talked to a lot of clients who are confused and frustrated with the life insurance search. Luckily, they came to us. We were able to help them make those tough decisions and connect with the perfect company with an affordable premium.
Do you want to spend hours talking to companies about your death? We’re guessing not. Don’t make 60 calls, make one single phone call and talk to an expert today.

For instant life insurance quotes from American General, or other amazing life insurance companies, use our free online quoting tool, or contact us today. For those interested in learning more about other life insurance companies, check out some of our other life insurance company reviews:

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About Jeff Root

is the owner of He's an independent life insurance agent who has helped 1,000's of consumers purchase life insurance online and over the phone.

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