Business and Life Insurance: Top California Banks in 2024

California is home to 129 financial institutions, accounting for nearly $560 billion in total assets, the U.S. government agency that insures bank deposits.

The FDIC says the state’s largest deposit markets lie within California’s biggest metropolitan areas:

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
  • San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario

National banks have large footprints within the Golden State. Big financial institutions Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America lead the banking charge within California, operating the most branches statewide.

The Best Banks in California for Customer Service

Customer service is often just as important as attractive rates and few to no bank fees when you’re shopping for the best bank.

The following banks are the best at taking care of their California customers, according to J.D. Power’s 2024 Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

California Life Insurance Regulations 

California has state-specific mandates and regulations that apply to provisions of life insurance contracts:

  • Nonpayment grace period: California’s grace period for missing a premium payment is 60 days. Your insurance company cannot terminate your coverage for nonpayment of your policy premium during the grace period. 
  • Contestability period: California’s contestability period is two years. That means your provider can void your coverage or deny a claim to your loved ones if it discovers you lied or misrepresented yourself on the application.
  • Protection if your provider becomes insolvent: California’s Life and Health Guarantee Association protects policyholders whose insurance company cannot meet its financial obligations. The state covers up to 80% of what the company would owe up to a maximum of $250,000. 
  • Free look policy: California residents have a “free look” period of 10 to 30 days. This refers to the amount of time you can review your policy, cancel and receive a full refund of your initial premium. The minimum period is 10 days, and the free look period for California residents aged 65 and up is 30 days. 
  • Paying death benefits: Life insurance providers in California must make payout within 30 days of the policyholder’s death. After 30 days pass without payment, companies are charged interest on the death benefit to your beneficiaries. 

Compare Life Insurance Companies in California

We made our picks for the top providers in California after reviewing 26 companies operating in the state. According to our survey, more California policyholders obtained coverage by speaking with an agent over the phone (35%) than by purchasing online (31%) or visiting a life insurance office (24%). Our table compares each provider we selected. 

CompanyBBB RatingBest ForMonthly Cost
EthosA+Our pick for online no-exam coverage$18-$36
Bestow Life InsuranceN/ABest for online term policies$16-$34
Fidelity LifeA+Best for seniors$21-$40
State FarmA+Best for customer satisfactionN/A

How We Rank Life Insurance Providers

Life insurance is one of the few forms of insurance in which rates aren’t affected by where you live. Although we considered cost, we also factored in financial strength, ease of application process and types of coverage as we ranked our picks for the top California life insurance companies. 



ProsApplicants can skip medical exam for most policiesFeatures a seamless digital application processOffers guaranteed-issue coverage for seniorsConsCannot meet with an in-person agentDoes not offer live chat

Why We Chose Ethos

Ethos is our top pick for life insurance providers in California because it provides an easy online application that you can complete from your digital device. Unlike traditional providers such as Fidelity Life and State Farm, the company is a digital agency that partners with life insurance carriers such as TruStage, Mutual of Omaha and Ameritas to offer term and whole life policies. Ethos’s partner companies hold a combined financial strength score of ‘A’ from credit rating agency AM Best, indicating sufficient cash flow to pay claims.

The company’s convenient online application process has widespread appeal, according to our research. When we conducted a Pollfish survey of 1,000 life insurance policyholders nationwide in February 2024, more than 35% of respondents said they bought their policy online.

Applicants aged 20 to 65 can apply for its term policies that range between 10- and 30-year periods, and opt for coverage amounts ranging from $20,000 to $2 million. Senior applicants between ages 66 and 88 qualify for guaranteed-issue whole life insurance without a medical exam. Like Ethos’s term policies, the application is quick, though the maximum whole life benefit of $30,000 is lower than some competitors we reviewed.


Ethos offers the following types of life insurance policies in Texas:

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance
  • No-exam life insurance


These rates are based on a 20-year, $250,000 term policy for a nonsmoking, preferred applicant in good health. We calculated the average male and female premiums to get the prices below:

  • 35-year-old: $17
  • 45-year-old: $32
  • 55-year-old: $75


Bestow Life Insurance

ProsOffers a streamlined online application with quick decisionsProvides five term length optionsNo exam required for its policiesConsCan only reach customer service via phone on weekdaysDoesn’t offer permanent life policies

Why We Chose Bestow

Founded in 2017, Bestow is our pick for offering term life insurance coverage via a digital application that can often provide decisions instantly. Like Ethos, Bestow is a third-party company that partners with a longstanding provider, North American Company for Life and Health, that handles the underwriting and issuing of its policies.

If you get stuck on your application, Bestow has licensed agents ready to respond by phone and live chat. Bestow offers five term lengths for its policies, which don’t require a medical exam. On the downside, Bestow doesn’t carry any permanent life insurance plans. If you’d prefer coverage for your entire life, you’ll need to look at other providers.

Available Coverage Options

Bestow offers the following types of life insurance policies in New York:

  • Term life insurance
  • No-exam life insurance


To get a monthly cost estimate for coverage with Bestow, we averaged the premiums for male and female applicants with a preferred health rating seeking a 20-year term life insurance policy with $250,000 in coverage. We received Bestow’s quote through its partner, North American Company for Life and Health, which underwrites and issues its plans.

  • 35-year-old: $17
  • 45-year-old: $31
  • 55-year-old: $68


Fidelity Life

ProsTerm policies offer lower rates than some competitors we reviewedFeatures a variety of policies available with no medical examOffers accidental death rider up to $300,000 in coverageConsLimits coverage to $2 million, lower than some providers we reviewedCustomers cannot convert term policies into permanent coverage

Why We Chose Fidelity Life

We picked Fidelity Life as a top California life insurance provider for its accidental death rider, which offers coverage between $50,000 and $300,000 to policyholders between 20 and 65. The company offers a variety of simplified issue permanent life policies with minimal health questions and no medical exam, providing convenience to applicants. The company could be a good fit if you’ve been turned down for term life insurance before or if accidental death is a concern. Nearly 40% of Fidelity Life policyholders who responded to our survey purchased whole life coverage from the company.

Fidelity Life’s financial strength is affirmed by its A- rating with AM Best, an “excellent” score according to the credit-rating agency. Strong financial stability scores correlate to having the fiscal solvency to pay out claims to a policyholder’s beneficiaries. As we researched Fidelity Life, we found the company has fewer rider options and its maximum coverage amount of $2 million is lower than some competitors we reviewed. Additionally, you cannot convert a term policy into permanent coverage with the company.

Available Coverage Options

Fidelity Life offers these types of policies to residents of California:

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance


These sample nonsmoker rates for Fidelity Life are based on a 20-year, $250,000 term life policy for male and female residents of California with a preferred health rating.

  • 35-year-old: $22
  • 45-year-old: $37
  • 55-year-old: $80


State Farm

ProsRates No. 1 in JD Power’s 2023 customer satisfaction surveyHolds the highest possible financial strength score from AM BestCustomers can bundle life policy with home and auto coverageConsCustomers cannot complete the application onlineMust contact customer service by phone

Why We Chose State Farm

State Farm earned its place in our review for having an enduring reputation for customer satisfaction, affirmed by ranking No. 1 among life insurance companies in J.D. Power’s 2023 survey. The company also bolsters its brand trust among consumers by holding an A++ AM Best rating for financial strength, giving confidence to customers that their loved ones have financial security. State Farm also earned points in our review for its discounts to policyholders bundling their home and auto insurance with a life policy.

The company offers comprehensive coverage options to match the strong customer experience it provides. Term plans are renewable up to age 95, a higher age limit than most providers we reviewed. According to our survey, more State Farm policyholders in California purchased whole life plans (29%) with a cash value component than other options. Rounding out the company’s range of coverage choices are universal life and a guaranteed issue final expense plan for applicants aged 45 to 80.

Available Coverage Options

State Farm offers the following types of life insurance policies:

  • Term life insurance
  • Whole life insurance
  • Universal life insurance
  • No-exam final expense life insurance


We were unable to obtain cost information for State Farm. Contact the company directly for more details on pricing.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Comprehensive Financial Services: Leading banks in California offer a robust suite of services, including tailored business support and comprehensive life insurance options. These services cater to the diverse needs of businesses and individuals alike.
  2. Personalized Solutions: Banks prioritize personalized solutions that meet the specific requirements of businesses, ensuring they have access to financial tools and expertise to support growth and stability.
  3. Risk Management: Life insurance offerings from these banks provide essential protection for individuals and families, helping to mitigate financial risks and provide peace of mind in uncertain times.
  4. Accessibility and Convenience: With branches and digital platforms across California, these banks ensure accessibility and convenience for clients seeking both business support and life insurance solutions.
  5. Financial Planning: Integrating business support with life insurance underscores a commitment to holistic financial planning, empowering clients to manage their financial futures with confidence.

Conclusion on the Best Life Insurance in California

To determine the type and how much life insurance you need, spend some time figuring out how much financial protection your dependents would need in the event of your absence. We chose Ethos as the top pick for California residents for its easy application process and partnerships with established, financially stable insurance providers.