If you like to stay ahead of things, burial and final expense insurance might be the best thing you invest in if you wish to protect your loved ones upon your demise.
Essentially, the death benefits for this policy are paid off hours or a few days after your demise, and the named beneficiaries will access the benefits to pay for the funeral and burial costs (as per your wishes) and maybe even pay for medical bills and other expenses.
For the best deal in terms of burial and final expense insurance options, the first important step to consider is the company to get the insurance product from.
There are tens of companies you might want to consider, but the Great Western Life Insurance Company is just one of the companies you might be interested in.
This is an in-depth review of Great Western and their Burial and Final Expense Insurance Company to determine its suitability for you. In it, we’ll be able to determine if this company is an ideal brand for you or not.
So, let’s get started!
Overview of Great Western Company
Established in 1983 and headquartered in Ogden, Utah, Great Western Insurance Company is one of the top pre-need insurance companies on the market offering final expense insurance products. This insurance carrier boasts an impressive level of financial stability that reflects its high level of surplus-to-liability ratio.
The burial & final expense insurance product offered by Great Western is called the Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance product, which means that the insurance product is issued to all its applicants, their current health status notwithstanding.
Guaranteed Life insurance coverage (GI) means that the insurance company will not turn you away. This makes GI one of the best final expense life insurance products that you may interest in.
Great Western offers the best of annuities and life insurance products, and their final expense insurance product is designed to cover the pre-arranged funeral plans, meaning that if you are looking for the best guidance on funeral planning, it would be a good idea to work with a company like Great Western.
Interestingly, this company business has been run as a family-run business for five generations of its founder, John E. Lindquist. The family owns and runs Lindquist Mortuaries & Cemeteries, and it is their experience and background in running funeral homes that makes them one of the best insurance companies to work within your search for an insurance company for funeral planning.
This insurer offers great insights into some of the simplest, most effective insurance policies for its clients, and they also provide the best pre-need support. You can access the products offered by Great Western in 46 states, including the Washington District of Columbia.
Thanks to their dedication and focus on the funeral profession and their remarkable financial strength, this insurer is highly rated, and you wouldn’t have to worry about them covering the funeral costs when the time comes.
They pride themselves in their professionally-managed investments under their conservative and diversified guidelines, as well as their remarkable surplus to liability ratio.
With all these taken into consideration, the Great Western is one of the top 25 largest insurance companies offering life insurance products.
As mentioned above, Great Western boasts an impressive portfolio with a huge surplus to liabilities ratio. This means that the company can pay off its claims in full and on time.
To give you an idea of their financial strength, Great Western boasts an impressive A- Financial Strength Rating from A.M. Best Rating. This points to the strength of this financial carrier and the fact that this pre-need final expense and funeral planning expense insurance carrier is capable of meeting its financial obligations.
So, which are the specific products that are offered by this insurance carrier?
The most prominent insurance product offered by Great Western is the Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance, which is a type of life insurance that is approved for all applicants within the specified age range, their health status notwithstanding.
The insurance carrier will approve your application for this product, and it is one of their best final expense life insurance product.
However, this product might not be an ideal option for you, which is why Great Western offers these two options to its clients – the Guaranteed Assurance and Assurance Plus.
Guaranteed Assurance Final Expense Life Insurance
As mentioned above, this insurance policy offers final insurance coverage, even if you have health issues when applying. It’s also approved with zero underwritings, meaning that the policy’s approval is guaranteed, and you won’t have to answer any health questions.
However, you should know that this insurance product comes with a 2-year waiting period attached to it, which means that beyond the permanent coverage and the fact that the policy builds cash value, the full death benefit is only paid if your death occurs after the 2-year waiting period or in the event of accidental death.
What does the 2-year waiting period mean? If death happens within the 2 years waiting period, the payout structure offered by Great Western will see to it that your loved ones received all the paid premiums and an additional 10% during the first year; this is also the case in the second year.
After the 2nd year ends, the death benefits paid will be equal to the face value of the insurance cover. As mentioned above, however, accidental death would change things, and beneficiaries would receive the full death benefits in such cases.
Assurance Plus Final Expense Life Insurance
This is a unique policy that offers you full coverage from day one of the application. It promises a payout of 125% of the face value of the selected insurance product upon the death of the policyholder.
The catch is that there are some simple health questions that you must answer for the policy to be approved.
The main features of the Guaranteed Assurance Plus plan include:
A restricted age group of between 40 and 80 years. This is considered a winning feature of Great Western’s Final Expense products because most insurance carriers offering life insurance do not provide guaranteed life insurance products to applicants below 50 or in the 40 to 49 range.
The face value of the policy ranges from $1,000 to $40,000. If you have been comparing products from different final expense life insurance carriers, you may have noticed that most of them offer maximum policy covers that would be considered a little conservative as they range from $5,000 to $25,000, for example, AIG or Gerber’s Guaranteed Issue policies.
Great Western $1000 minimum cover also makes them a great choice for persons on shoestring budgets. Keep in mind that the policies offered by Great Western are meant to cover accrued medical bills at the time of passing, funeral expenses, and small debts.
As mentioned above, no medical exam is done to determine your suitability for the product. In other words, there are no nurses involved, needs, or liquid body samples. So, whether you are afraid of needles or if you worry that your application would be rejected once they confirm that you suffer from a specific illness, Great Western is an ideal carrier to work with.
The other features of the Assurance Plus policy include
- Immediate coverage – this means that you will receive full death benefits coverage for the purchased policy from day one. The only caveat is the few health questions that you’d have to answer.
- Accelerated death benefits rider – this rider is offered at no extra cost, and the policyholder would have access to up to 90% of the value of the insurance policy, in case of diagnosis with a qualifying medical condition, for example, a terminal illness (Expected death in 12 months or less, or chronic illness where the policyholder cannot do any of the 5 basic living activities like eating, dressing, bathing, transferring, or toileting.
125% Policy’s face value for the death benefits
While Great Western offers no rates or policies for smokers, their premium rates are reasonable and also comparable to the rates charged by the bigger insurance companies.
For starters, the Guaranteed Assurance plan charges a monthly premium of $46.25 and $55.42 for females and males who buy the $10,000 policy at the age of 45. For 80-year-olds, the premiums payable for the same policy are $190 and $227, respectively.
If you choose the Guaranteed Assurance Plus policy (this is the one with simple health questions and immediate coverage from the first day of application approval), the rates would be as follows:
For a $12,500 policy, Females and males aged 45 pay $46 and $55, respectively, and $190 and $227 for 80-year-old females and males. Essentially, these rates are the same as what’s payable by persons with the Guaranteed Assurance Plan, but there is a $2,500 difference in the value of the insurance policy.
The amount paid in claims depends on the type of policy purchased. For the Guaranteed Assurance plan with no medical exams or health questions, there is a 100% payout after the 2-year waiting period and 10% extra plus premiums paid if death occurs within the first two years.
For the Assurance Plus plan, the payable benefits will be 125% of the policy’s value, which immediately takes effect. The only catch is that you have to answer the health questions.
Final Expense Coverage benefits
The primary benefits of the final expense insurance covers by Great Western include:
- The insurance coverage will never be terminated, and the death benefits will not decrease throughout the course/ life of the policy, as long as the premiums are paid.
- Fixed prices – the premiums payable are fixed, and they will never increase, which is a great win for seniors on a fixed income. There will be no unexpected changes in prices.
- The policies build cash value – this is not something that you often see with final expense insurance products. So, with every premium payment you make, a portion of your premium will go into building the cash value of the policy. This amount will grow over time, and you can borrow from it.
Pros & Cons
- No medical exams
- Guaranteed application approval
- Applicable to persons aged 40-80 years
- Pre-need funeral planning options offered by Great Western Insurance Company
- The rates are reasonable.
- Immediate coverage offered for buyers of the Assurance Plus plan
- The policies build a cash value over time
- Fixed premiums forever
- The coverage will not be terminated by the insurance carrier as long as the premiums are paid.
- No ratings/ options for tobacco smokers
- Health questions must be answered for the Assurance Plus Plan.
What Are the Knockout Questions?
The knockout questions are an important part of the Great Western Assurance Plus Health questions, and they are referred to as knockout questions because answering Yes to any of these questions would mean instant disqualification. So, you must answer No to all these questions to qualify for the policy.
What Are the Health Questions Asked for a Whole Life Policy?
These are the important questions asked for the Guaranteed Plus Health Questions.
- Have you, in the past 24 months, been confined to a hospital bed, receive care at a hospice, or been at a hospital or even a nursing home for at least 5 days?
- Do you need help or supervision to carry out daily tasks like toileting, eating, bathing, dressing, or transferring to and from the bed?
- Have you, in the past 24 months, received or asked for medical consultation from a licensed member of the medical profession? Have you been diagnosed, treated for, or prescribed medication for the following:
- Diabetes (needing insulin, diabetic complications, or need at least 3 medications)?
- Internal cancer, Hodgkin’s Disease, leukemia, malignant melanoma, or lymphoma(s)?
- Heart surgery of any form like angioplasty, bypass surgery, and stent placement, or have you suffered a heart attack, congestive heart failure, aneurysm, peripheral vascular disease, or a stroke?
- Kidney failure or needed kidney dialysis
- COPD, Oxygen use, or emphysema
- Liver disease, cirrhosis, or chronic hepatitis
- Organ transplant
- Drug or alcohol use
- Dementia, Schizophrenia, or Alzheimer’s Disease
The other questions include
- Whether you’ve been diagnosed with AIDS or HIV or tested positive for the virus? If you’ve received treatment for the same (from a registered medical professional) in the past 24 months?
Some of the main underwriting advantages associated with the Great Western and their Policies are as follows:
- No need for a weight height chart
- There are no tobacco ratings for you to grapple with
- The insurer will accept all forms of payments, except the monthly direct bills
- No errors or omissions required
- There is a 2-year lookback on major illnesses and conditions such as cardiac events or cancer
- The company offers terms that are friendly to agents on their charge-back policy for the Guaranteed Assurance plan.
- Applicants with diabetic neuropathy but no insulin use are accepted in the level coverage.
How Much Does Final Expense Life Insurance with Great Western Cost?
Well, the cost of the Guaranteed Issue or the Final Expense Insurance is not the cheapest on the market, and across insurance companies, which is the case because the insurers take huge risks in offering these insurance products – after all, you could die at any time!
So, while you will pay lower premiums when you get a $10,000 cover, for example, it wouldn’t be the cheapest insurance product that you will buy. The minimum payable monthly premium for the $10,000 policy for males and females aged 40 is $49.58 and $40.42, respectively.
At 80 years, the amount payable is $227.92 for males and $190.42 for females, and these prices are subject to change.
Great Western Offers Additional Riders
Great Western Insurance offers three important riders that you could add to your insurance plan. These riders include:
- The spousal rider (Bonus) is regarded as a first-to-die rider in that the insurer will pay an extra $1,000 upon the death of any of the spouses if the spouses apply for the policy at the same time. For this rider, each spouse should buy the $10,000 policy.
Also, the death shouldn’t take place during the graded period for the Guarantee Assurance place, and finally, both insurance policies must be in effect when the first death occurs.
- The Accelerated Death Benefits rider – this is a free rider enjoyed by Assurance Plus plan policyholders. This rider will pay up the full present value of the death benefits if the policyholder is diagnosed with a terminal illness where they only have a maximum of 12 months to live, or if diagnosed with a chronic illness that calls for assistance with what’s called the Activities for Daily Living (at least 2 of these activities)
- The dependent Grandchild or Child Rider – You qualify for this rider by paying $1 monthly. This rider will pay $2,500 in case of the death of a child or the policyholder’s grandchild.
Is a Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policy Right for You?
This insurance plan would be a good option for you if:
- You cannot get life insurance elsewhere
- If you are not in great health
- If you are looking for a modest policy to cover medical bills, living expenses or debt after your death
How to Apply for Life Insurance with Great Western
To apply for the insurance coverage, you’d have to work with an independent insurance agent to access the best rates and for multiple quotes.
You also need to be ready for the application to ensure the fast processing of the application.
Great Western offers the best insurance options to its policyholders, and the cash value that is built over time makes the policy a great option for most people.
Just beware of the graded benefits for the Guaranteed Assurance plan. The company also offers a 30-day free-look period!