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Colonial Life Insurance Review & Complaints: Life & Health Insurance

Colonial Life provides coverage to more than 3.7 million people with their suite of Colonial Life insurance products, including supplemental health policies. Colonial Life only offers its policies through employers, and rates are not provided online. Use our free comparison tool to compare online insurance quotes now.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 21, 2020

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Colonial Life Insurance is a South Carolina-based insurance company offering life insurance as well as a selection of supplemental health insurance policies. They are a nationwide company with a focus on voluntary employee benefits.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company was founded in 1937 as Mutual Accident Company in Columbia, South Carolina. They sold accidental death policies through a team of mostly female sales representatives. Two years after the company’s founding, the name was changed to Colonial Life and Accident Insurance Company.

Moving into the employee benefits market, the company began offering payroll deduction services for voluntary insurance products. They continued to grow over the following decades and are a large employee benefits insurer today.

Colonial Life operates as a subsidiary of Unum Group and serves more than 3.7 million policyholders at more than 90,000 companies and organizations. Policies are sold across the country through brokers and consultants.

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Colonial Life Products

All of the company’s products are voluntary employer benefits, which means they are available only through an employer that has selected them as part of an optional package to offer to employees. Products are not available on an individual basis.

Employers looking to put together a voluntary benefits package can choose from life, supplemental health including disability, dental, and vision.

Life Insurance

Although there are no details listed about the company’s policies, they do offer an overview of all three types of life insurance that are available.

Colonial Life writes term life insurance, universal life insurance, and whole life insurance policies. Employers can choose to offer one or more of these options as a group policy to their employees, making it more affordable than if they purchased it individually.

Colonial’s life insurance policies, although offered through employers, are portable, so the policy can be continued if the employee changes jobs.

Disability Insurance

Colonial Life offers short-term disability insurance which pays out monthly for up to two years in the event of an accident or illness. These plans are also portable, so they can be continued after a job change.

Colonial Life does not currently offer long-term disability insurance.

Supplemental Health Policies

There are several options for supplemental health insurance policies that provide a payout in the event of the specific medical need they are designed to cover.

Accident insurance is a lump-sum benefit that pays out a set amount based on the type of injury. This plan covers both at-work and off-the-job coverage and is also available for spouses and dependents.

Hospital Indemnity insurance is available at a variety of benefit levels that can be selected by the policyholder. This plan will pay out in the event of a covered hospitalization and can be used to pay bills that are not covered by major medical insurance.

Critical Illness policies are also a lump-sum benefit coverage that pays out directly to the policyholder in the event of a covered illness. The list of covered conditions includes things like heart attack, stroke, and end-stage renal disease. The benefit can be used for any need, including medical bills, child care, rehabilitation, and more.

Cancer Insurance is designed specifically to assist with a cancer diagnosis. The benefits can be used to pay medical bills, travel costs, childcare, and more. Also included are benefits like cancer screenings.

Dental and Vision

Both dental and vision plans are offered that include coverage for the employee as well as spouse and dependents.

These plans cover in-network providers for routine care as well as providing a range of additional benefits including eyewear.

Rates

Because Colonial Life only offers its policies through employers, rates are not offered online. One of the benefits of group coverage is that the rates are generally lower than if you purchased the coverage individually.

The cost will, of course, depend on what options an employer chooses to offer, and from there what options the employee elects.

Claims

Claims can be filed online, or the forms can be downloaded, printed, and returned by mail. The site does not offer any sort of claims phone number. There is a customer service number where questions can be directed, and in most cases, a phone number is provided with policy information for this type of coverage.

Company HR departments can also assist with the claims process. In the case of dental and vision policies, claims are usually handled directly with providers.

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Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Colonial Life is not rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for their home office location; the file states complaints are handled by another BBB. As usual, the BBB does not offer a link or any information to what that location might be. It is possible that they are handled through the parent company, Unum Group.

We did find 104 ratings on Consumer Affairs, most of which are negative. Most of the complaints are in regards to claims problems, although some also cite poor customer service. Given the size of this company the number of complaints is not high and the content similar to what we see for other life and accident insurance companies.

The Bottom Line

Colonial Life is a big company, and there are no red flags to be found in their reputation. Employers may want to consider them for their employee benefits packages, and employees are likely to find good value in the products if they choose to enroll.

For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.

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Review Information

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Colonial Life
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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

27 Comments

  1. I signed up for a life insurance policy thru my work in 2000.

    When I retired in 2002, I continued to pay my monthly premium.

    The policy was a small one, $5,000.00 and the monthly payment was only $17.80.

    I have continued to pay, by bank draft, each month since. In the 19 years, I have paid over $4,000.00.

    I recently received notice if I wished to keep the policy at $5,000.00 my monthly premium will go up by 80%.

    Or, I can keep the premiums at the same monthly amount and have a policy value of $3,615.00.

    Or, I can cancel this policy and receive $1,739.58.

    I am almost 80 years of age, a widow on a very fixed income and can not afford the higher monthly fees.

    As I stated above, I have already paid more than 4,000.00.

    I do not believe this is fair, but, at my age, I do still need insurance.

    I have requested the payout of $1,739.58 and will purchase insurance elsewhere.

    I do not understand the term “universal policy”

    And I do not recall ever being told this policy would not pay the total amount upon my death.

    Sincerely

    Reply
  2. I work with Colonial Life Insurance Company.

    I do everything I can to help employers and their employees understand their benefits and how Colonial Lie can help.

    I always ask my clients to call me if they are to need anything at all.

    I also check up on them quite often. Unfortunately, there are always people in any kind of business that do the bare minimum.

    I am so sorry to all of you that have had these problems with Colonial Life.

    I would make sure to take care of each question you have and call the home office for you.

    I joined Colonial Life to help people in their time of need.

    One thing to remember with any Insurance company, there are limitations and pre-existing conditions clauses.

    I hope that whichever company you choose to get your benefits with next will take the time to help you understand what your benefits are and what is not covered.

    I am terribly sad to hear all of the unfortunate things that have happened.

    My condolences to you and your family!

    Reply
  3. A horrible company. I have to wait till May to cancel my policy but I promise I’m going to! Has been a waste of money and nothing but a runaround!

    Reply
  4. You are never done enrolling. I enrolled through my company, and then I followed the instructions to go to their site to set up my account. I did that right away so that if I had a claim, I wouldn’t have the hassle. However, I didn’t “add” my spouse, because my account was already set up. I gave all my spouse’s information when I enrolled with a Colonial Life Representative at work. I didn’t want to add another dependent. It made no sense. So now 4 months later, I have a claim. So I try to make a claim, and they still haven’t added my spouse. So I added him. Good thing it wasn’t an accident, because it takes them two days to get the spouse activated. Why? He’s already on my account. If it was for accident coverage, you have to put a claim in within 72 hours. THEN they sent me an email that I had to set up a secure email account. I’ve already received emails from them. They should have used the message center email! I believe this is a stalling technique. I still can’t put my claim in! Ridiculous!

    Reply
  5. Well, I used to managed 2 gyms in Washington State and while I was managing we had a rep from Colonial Life come in to sell me and attempt to sell all my current members policies. The gentleman was great at his job and I gave him the opportunity to sit with me which by the end thought that “This accident policy is a no-brainer” and purchased it for very little money per month that came directly from my paychecks.. I also allowed him to leave his brochure and card for our current members to look at if they so choose to…. Fast forward 4 months later….. I was in a severe ATV accident where I had lacerations to my face, shattered my nose, Tore my trapezius muscle and partial shoulder. Not only did I have to go through all of the Xrays, MRI’s, Sewing my lip back together much more pain than one should go through but I also had to miss weeks of work for obvious reasons.
    When I finally got released from the Hospital and was on bed rest I remembered I had this policy which would be able to help me with my medical bills that were not covered under my actual insurance. I gave them a call and was told Multiple Times that my policy is still active and that I needed to update my billing address and information before we could submit a new claim…. I was sent a Digital Sign link with the information they requested. After I signed and filled out and sent it back the Docusigns, I proceeded to follow everything they asked such as asking for every medical bill to photos of the Accident. Was told multiple times throughout three week waiting period that it was procedure and I would get approved….Well, I didn’t….The reasoning behind the rejection was that “the billing information from before the incident was not updated”(which my account was still paid up to current)…..Obviously, I was frustrated and did speak to multiple sources of Management that just reinforced that it was not updated. I eventually had enough and said I just want it canceled right now and will figure out these problems on my own…..Well, let’s fast forward 3 months later… I just received a letter in the mail stating I own them $70 for the last three months…I’ve worked in a call center, sales, insurance, management and now own my own business and will say that this should never be the level of professionalism given by any company let alone a company that is supposed to be in your corner when in great life struggle…. I’m not saying to “buy them or not to buy them” but I hope by this actual recent event makes you think very very hard before doing so.

    Reply
  6. It is extremely unfortunate to find out that Colonial Life refuses to to pay out on a Short Term Disability claim after it was determined that spinal surgery will be required after an MRI revealed that damage to my spine was far worse than anticipated. The reason for their determination was that I had sought the advice of a medical professional to the extent of damage and advisement for surgery. This surgery was a necessity but the effort for the Colonial Life representatives to gather, complete and submit this claim at the local level was completed and submitted expeditiously, but at the HQ level, this final determination was also made expeditiously. It was apparent that the fine details were left out until after the fact. In summation, the Short Term Disability policy that Colonial Life offers has certain hidden stipulations, but they are extremely helpful, kind and cooperative until this benefit is needed, absolutely not worth the paper the policy is written on. “BEWARE!!” Signed; “A Valued Customer!!” The answer that was received from Colonial Life is a what I expected, the very standard, “we’re sorry”
    Too bad, they continue to receive your monthly premium but when it comes to a need, “Oh, you should have read the entire policy, I should have brought an attorney to decipher the “fine print.” This just solidifies the overall insurance industry, not excluding Colonial Life, that their ranking should be placed at what is found at the bottom of an ocean! This policy will be terminated ASAP, and will be marked up as a poor experience, and will recommend to others to think twice before signing the bottom line, or bring an attorney! The Colonial Life rating is so poor it is impossible to even rate them.

    Reply
    • They are useless.

      Reply
  7. I signed up for Colonial Life with the impression that they pay for all injuries and surgeries. Also that the representative that sold it to me said I could claim wellness check twice a year. I just recently received carpal tunnel release and when I went to claim that Colonial Life said that according to their policy that isn’t an injury. Even though most doctors would disagree and by definition that I have read it is, in fact, an injury. The Colonial Life policy is wrong and the lawyers they have writing this stuff must not have any medical knowledge. So I tried claiming my lab work and that is when they told me I can only have one wellness claim. So basically Colonial Life is nothing but a big con to steal money from people so they can just get richer and the working class can get poorer. I would not recommend this company to anyone, I hear Aflac pays more and also pays for sickness.

    Reply
  8. Every year since 2009 my husband and I have received the wellness and cancer checks and my son has most years. Colonial has paid within the 10-14 days; for a dog bite (2012), knee ACL (2016), laceration (2017), shoulder check (2017), knee LCL (2017), and Back (2017-18). In all of this I have spoken to maybe 5 that weren’t helpful or nice and I left negative reviews in the survey at the end of the call.

    Reply
  9. I had a horrible experience with Colonial Life insurance or benefits. I was very specific about what I wanted and I told the rep there is no need for flirting and she insisted on a lot of things that I wasn’t interested in. Her name was [Redacted]. I won’t say the whole last name. To my surprise she signed me up for those things anyway. And without my final authorization or signature, she insisted she had my best interests in her heart and I have nothing to worry about. She signed me up for everything I found out after a while when I looked closer attention to what was being deducted she insisted that my son was gonna break his leg she insisted I was gonna have a heart attack and I did not physically sign approving anything she conned me in to simply trusting her. I went to the insurance and I was able to talk to somebody that seemed to be an important person and assured me that he would get things taken care of and refund me the money. This lady also told me she was a physician who was able to prescribe medicine and given me some medication to help me save money because it was a very expensive medication she said she can get it cheaper because of who she was. (I found out later she was in medical field but could not legally do that) Immediately after that, it was like I scratch your back you scratch mine she had an emergency and asked me for money, not a lot of money she showed me and proved to me that she was getting a big bonus check from her work. I felt a little-obligated cause she helped me about a month later when the money was due back I did not see a penny she then asked me if I would buy her a Mercedes. I knew now what I was dealing with somebody that was crazy. I still need to take this lady to court to get the money that I had lent her meanwhile she is threatening to spread rumors of me being a junkie and threatening my employment. Now this is still somebody representing Colonial life insurance. Again after realizing that she had signed me up for as much as she could to benefit her own bonus. After I saw this I brought it to her attention that she did what I did not want her to do and she replied Oh well let’s fix it what would you like me to remove. I told her no you don’t understand I want my money and I want my policy canceled and all of my money returned you are an absolute crook. She then threatens to call the police on me for harassment. I told this horrible story to her boss or who she answers to. He assured me that this is not the way they do business and that they would make things right with me. I just recently received a check for a 100 and something dollars and I asked for all of it back which I think was closer to 4 or 5 hundred. I was told initially that things would be made right and instead they gave me the lowest amount back. Then explained to me that she doesn’t actually work for them, she is self-employed and they cannot be responsible for her activities. I have emailed this person back telling him I’m not happy with not getting all my money back again remember I haven’t signed a thing. This gentleman that I talked to was very nice and I felt so assured that he was going to make things right with me. It never happened. If there happens to be a check in the mail I apologize for this message but it has been several months and if this is the way it’s gonna end I would urge everybody go the other way avoid this company. I believe in the golden rule and I believe in integrity and trust and if this is the way things are left with me I cannot say that this company has any of those qualities of life I’m sorry to say.

    Reply
  10. We had a rep for Colonial Life just leave our office. [Redacted] was very unprofessional. First, she lied and said (name of owner) called her last month to set up a meeting to go over supplemental benefits for our Company. We informed her that (name of owner) has been deceased since 2014. Then she back tracks and says that is when she started working for Colonial Life and it must of been back then (name of owner) told her to check in with us from time to time. Second lie. Even tho he died in 2014, he was basically a silent owner since 2010. She stammered and we told her that we were not interested. Then, she accuses us of not caring for our employees, that if people who work at McDonald’s could afford their coverage than we could too!! Very disrespectful. If we were on the fence about Colonial Life, she surely gave us a push over to the side of we will never ever ever go with them for our insurance needs.

    Reply
  11. I signed up for colonial for life insurance.

    50K for me and 50K for my wife.

    They magically put us under a 100K plan each without my authorization.

    I only caught it after they cancelled my wifes for no reason.

    It took two calls to cancel because these crooks could not cancel the first time.

    Now I need to call in again cause they are still taking $$$ out of my check one week past they said they would.

    I highly recommend for everyone to NOT DO BUSINESS with Colonial.

    How can a company like this get away with taking advantage of it’s customers?

    Reply
    • I dealt with Colonial some years ago. I tried everything I could to get them to pay a claim and tried to sue them. Only thing is I could not find an attorney to take them on. Several attorneys told me that this company just throws so much paper at the attorney firms that the payout for short-term disability is eaten up in attorney fees and they can make no money suing them. They do not fall under the Department of Insurance because it is a short-term disability instead of long-term. So they are free to do whatever they want. I wrote my Congressman with no help. Finally, they went too far and accused me of forgery of the doctor’s documents and the Department of Insurance did step in to help and they paid my claim. I just never gave up. But it was a full-time job almost for about six months to get my money. Rip off experts is what they are.

      Reply
  12. I have been a Colonial Rep for 33 years and it has been my experience to tell ee’s to contact me in the event of a problem.
    When an ee signs up for a Colonial program, get the reps info. All of my insured’s get my business card with contact info on it.
    Claims that were originally denied have been reopened and resolved.
    Sometimes it takes a little extra effort form the person who sold the insurance.

    Reply
    • I had been paying premiums long after there was a representative to contact. After so many complaints about Colonial the county dumped them and did not offer Colonial only I did not know that as I no longer worked for the County. After I had been paying premiums for over twenty-five years, I thought they would treat me right. After all, I had kept up my end of the bargain. I was on long-term disability the 2nd time I went to use them. They said to go ahead and keep paying premiums and I could keep my short term disability should I have another surgery. They said nothing about it not paying if it was the same section of the body as the last surgery. That’s right the same section, not even the same body part. They first paid me for a torn rotator cuff after nine months of wrangling with them. Then I had a neck fusion that had nothing to do with the torn rotator cuff. I promptly got a staph infection and could not even get out of bed for months. They said it was a pre-existing condition and kept trying to tell me the second surgery did not apply since I was not working. But they knew very well that I was not working when they talked me into keeping the policy. I even pretended I was asking them for the first time if they would pay for a subsequent surgery if I kept paying premiums from the sales department after fighting with them for months about my claim. They assured me that should I have another surgery they would pay for the disability. I asked them if there were any circumstances they would not pay and they assured me there was not. I asked them to send me a copy of their guidelines for when they pay and when they do not. They just sent me another copy of the policy. That policy is written out of order and worded in such a way no one could predict they wouldn’t pay as I went over it until I knew it by heart. They finally said they would pay for two weeks worth of disability even though I had been incapacitated for months and months. They would not even let me fax them a letter, it had to go through the postal system with a stamp. I pointed out to them that federal guidelines for Hippa provided for a faxed copy so they finally let me do that. But then they had to respond by mail. Everything took at least a month to go back and forth and they never answered the questions I asked after all that. It was the most excruciating time in my life as I needed the money badly and could do nothing about it because I was still weak from the staph infection. As I said in my prior complaint, they finally accused me of forgery. Then I finally got footing. I could prove I had not forged my doctors signature and they knew it. Although they would spend money for a private investigator but not on paying my claim. Finally, I had beaten them and it took 10 months after my six months of recuperating. This company should not be in business anymore and the people that run it are pure evil.

      Reply
  13. Wow I work for the company and if i had read these reviews first i wouldn’t have joined them. I will say to all you scoffers and anti-colonial life people. Sounds like to me they hired some half wits with very little knowledge and not a very good work ethic. The complaints are individual reps for the company the reps are the ones creating a bad name for Colonial. So maybe they should change their criteria when deciding on a potential candidate for a contract. Anyone can sell , well not anyone but if you’re not going to service what you sell and do your job right then find something else to do. And for anyone not satisfied call the 1800 number and speak to a csr at the home office and ask for another rep in your area.

    Reply
    • No matter how much you want to believe it’s not the company, it is the company. I did not have a rep so I was calling the company directly. They put me on a merry go around the likes I have ever seen. So it had nothing to do with the people that sold me the policy as they were long gone. But Colonial sure kept taking my premiums. I had a contract with them and they had no intention of paying me my money. I had been paying them for twenty-five years. Even if they had paid me only my premiums back I would have been happy. I finally got the Department of Insurance involved and even though they do not look after short-term disability (which is part of the problem), they helped me. If not for her I would have never ever been paid.

      Reply
  14. I file a claim with them and they payed off .I think that they are a good company.

    Reply
  15. I was a approached by Colonial Life to offer their Voluntary Benefits to my employees. Based on several negative reviews I’ve read, they don’t seem to be an insurance company with integrity. The last thing I want are for my employees to be unhappy with the volunteer insurance provider I make available to them.

    If they are not recommended, then what insurance carriers are recommended and have a good track record of client satisfaction?

    Reply
    • Hi J,

      Check out Metlife. I have heard good things about their programs.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  16. I would not recommend this company for life insurance for my pet. All there insurance rep has done is lie to my family since we signed up with the company. They are trying not to pay my grandmother’s life insurance, she has no pre-existing diagnosis, and she just so happen passed away from stage 4 cancer, that we did not know she had because her drs did not diagnosis her properly. They have been giving my family the run around, and it’s sad that in a time of grief an insurance company does not even care enough to do what they promise. We paid her insurance policy up for a year, so they received their money honestly and they can not even treat us in a proper way. I am very very very disappointed, I will be contacting the better business bureau as well as the department of insurance, to file an official complaint. I do not understand why they are still in business, they must be shut down.

    Reply
    • If her cancer was determined to be a pre-existing condition, and within the first 2 yrs. of the policy issue date, the claim can be rightly denied, with all premiums paid returned. So sorry, but it’s not the insurance Co. fault.

      Reply
  17. Colonial Life is terrible. I bought through work a short term disability policy. Recently I got hurt at work and I inquired if this is covered and they said no, I checked my policy and they were correct. The agent told me they try to steer people away from buying short term disability for workplace injuries (???because they have to pay???). I called today to add ST disability for injuries at work and they told me no, because I don’t get it deducted at work from payroll, and almost everybody else there switched to AFLEC so I’m the stray thinking Colonial was worth staying with? They will not sell me a policy to add ST disability for work related accidents, even though their agents came to my place of employment and I bought it there. HUH???
    Also I was told it would take 2 days to let me know if I can have my overpayment back, they never got back to me.

    Reply
    • Hi, most Colonial Life reps do not sell on the job disability because you have state mandated on-job disibility coverage through your workplace. I am sorry that you thought otherwise.

      Reply
  18. This company’s representative is dishonest. One of their represetnative [Redacted] came to our office to sell their products. When she was asked if her company was offering us a special rate because we are as needed employees, she replied yes. She also stated that this is a “Group Rate” and that we would not find similar rates in the market. After I talked to her, I asked my co-worker who asked the same question to the other representative who came with her. His answer is no. She could not even be honest about “rates”, what else is there to trust for this company.

    Reply
  19. I signed up for a life insurance and cancer protection plan three years ago.. My experience with this company is the same as every other forum I have found via internet…. No One is happy with colonial life… endless complaints that they claim to never received faxes, mail or any documents to process claims. Endless run around for needed information to process claims. Web site isn’t helpful or updated often enough to keep track of claim status.. Horrible company and I too will do what I read that other unhappy customers of colonial life are doing… every time there is an opportunity to post my opinion of them I will let others know that this is not a good company to help protect your family. They are nothing but a misleading insurance scam that just hasn’t been shut down yet.

    Reply
    • Hi, you can follow the status of your claim via email or even by text. I am sorry you were unhappy with your experience. Please contact your HR person or Colonial Life sales person to elevate your concerns.

      Reply

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