A Guide to Life Insurance in California (CA)

When looking to get California Life Insurance Quotes that are not only competitive, but also offer the level of cover and the terms and conditions that you need, then it is essential to shop around and really explore your options.

In this article I am going to explore those options, point out the areas that you MUST consider, and discuss how life insurance fits into the Californian economy.

(If you would like to check out the best available California Life Insurance deals right now, then simply put your zip code in the box above and click 'Start -->' to see our selection that you can click on to check out.)

California Life Insurance - The Facts...

According to the US Census Bureau California has a population of approximately 37.2 million people, and is responsible for 13% of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States.  To get that into perspective, if California was a country it would have the 8th biggest economy in the world (according to the World Bank), ahead of Brazil and Spain and just behind Italy and the United Kingdom.

And in terms of Life Insurance California is just as important.

According to the American Council of Life Insurers, California employs over 71,000 in the Insurance industry, and its residents have death benefit cover of over $3 Trillion dollars.

The average life insurance policy holder in California has $190,000 of cover.

This means several things for the average consumer who is looking to get a Life Insurance Policy in California.

Firstly, that there is an enormous amount of competition in California when it comes to getting people to sign up for a life policy.  There are over 450 insurers who are licensed to sell Life Insurance in California, and the industry is estimated to support 100,000 non-insurance jobs in the state through re-investment, property, mortgages on farms and finance.

So this competition means that California Life Insurance is amongst the fastest moving in terms of providing consumers with more choice about who they insure with, and having a great incentive to provide top notch services for their customers.

There is also new legislation that is constantly being considered in California with regards to insurance. For example on October 11th 2009 a new life settlement bill was introduced which has now made it a legal requirement to get a licence in order to carry out life settlements in California.

California Life Insurance remains the same as many other States of course in terms of common sense approaches to choosing your life insurance.

  • These would include shopping around for many different California Life Insurance Quotes before finally committing to buy a policy.

  • Making sure that whoever is selling the Life Insurance to you in California is qualified and properly regulated to do so.

  • Making sure that you have a clear idea about how much life insurance you really need.

  • Thinking through how long you want to take out the policy for, and if there are any special requirements (such as medical exclusions for example) that you need to make your California Life Insurance Company aware of prior to taking out the policy (otherwise it may end up being invalidated).

  • Assessing how much you can afford to pay for Life Insurance. It would be great to have a million dollars of life cover, but if you really don’t need that much, then you are simply throwing money away.

  • On the flip side though, don't get too little cover. Otherwise you will leave your dependants struggling.

  • Be sure to read through any policy documents carefully, and if you aren’t sure about anything, then be sure to phone up the company, or your agent and get it clarified. If you still aren’t happy, then don’t be afraid to cancel. California Life Insurance comes normally with at least ten days after the policy has been purchased where you can cancel it without a penalty. So make sure that you do all your due diligence BEFORE this period has expired.

California Life Insurance – The Details

In addition to the above it is worth noting that the specifics of the way that insurance is dealt with in California is laid down in the State Insurance Code of California.

There is a nice website here - https://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html - Where you can search the California Law. If you click on ‘Insurance Code’ and then do a search for ‘Life’ then you will get a whole range of documents relating to insurance legislation in California.

It isn’t necessarily light reading though, so be warned!

California Life Insurance Resources

California Department of Insurance

As you might expect from the biggest State in the US, the California Department of Insurance is a very comprehensive site that highlights all manner of issues as they relate to insurance in California.

The site is split up so that it has sections for consumers, insurers, agents and brokers, and various online filing services.
It also has a nice news section that is regularly updated about the latest California Insurance News.


California Life Insurance Companies Search

There is a really nice search facility on the California Department of Insurance that allows you to show a list of companies who provide specific types of insurance in California.


This can be really useful say if you want to check on the size of a company, or how much life business it actually does.

Under ‘Select Type of Insurance’ choose ‘Life’, and then under ‘Sort By’ you can choose to display the results either alphabetically, or by market share.

So, for example, as of March 2011, the top ten life insurance companies in California based on market share were as follows:

1/ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
2/ New York Life Insurance Company
3/ John Hancock Life Insurance Company
4/ Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
5/ Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
6/ American General Life Insurance Company
7/ Pacific Life Insurance Company
8/ Prudential Insurance Company of America
9/ Transamerica Life Insurance Company
10/ State Farm Life Insurance Company

You can also look at details, financial ratings etc. So although the tool looks a little Spartan, it is actually quite useful.

If you really want to delve deep into any of these companies, then try using the ‘Market Conduct Examination Reports’ page in conjunction with the above facility.

Doing a search on a California Life Insurance Company name will generally bring up quite a detailed report about that company.

California Life Insurance – Life Series

There are also a nice series of guides about Life Insurance in California and what you can expect on the California Department of Insurance website here:


These cover such topics as annuities, life insurance California wide, and an interesting Life Insurance Complaint study which talks about the companies in California that have the largest amount of consumer complaints.

You can find the complaints list here:



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