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Colonial Penn Insurance Review

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UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018

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With Jeopardy host Alex Trebek as the spokesperson, Colonial Penn is one of the better-known names in life insurance. They focus on guaranteed-acceptance plans aimed at the senior market, but also offer other plans.

About Colonial Penn

Colonial Penn was founded in 1968 by AARP co-founder Leonard Davis, which makes it not at all surprising that the retired and senior market has always been the company’s main target audience. The company was purchased by Conseco, now known as CNO Financial, in 1997. For a brief time period, it operated under the name Conseco Direct Life before returning to the more recognizable brand.

Colonial Penn directs much of its advertising at the 50 plus market, using a series of paid celebrity endorsers that have included Ed McMahon and Joe Theismann. Alex Trebek is the current face of Colonial Penn. In addition to their simplified issue policies for the over 50 market, the company also offers whole life insurance and term life insurance plans to a wider age range.

The company’s headquarters is in Philadelphia, PA, and they remain true to their roots as a direct market insurance company. They have moved into the new age, however, offering online services in addition to their phone and direct mail approaches.

Colonial Penn Products

Keeping things simple, Colonial Penn has only three life insurance options to choose from, including their best-known guaranteed acceptance option. All of the company’s plans come with a 30-day money-back cancellation period.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life

This whole life insurance plan is offered to those between the ages of 50 and 85. While it has no medical exam or questions, there is a period of two years from issue during which benefits are limited. The plan, as the name implies, guarantees issue regardless of what medical conditions may exist.

Guaranteed Acceptance Life offers flexible payments, from monthly to annually, and a range of benefit amounts. The site does not list the available benefit amounts but states that benefits can be seen when running a quote, this is because benefit amounts are determined based on applicant information. Our quote returned a maximum death benefit amount of $14,288, and we explain this odd amount and how Colonial Penn determines it in further detail in the rates section below.

Whole Life

The basic whole life plan from Colonial Penn can be taken out a little younger, starting at age 40. While this plan also has no medical exam, some medical questions will be taken into account during underwriting.

Like all whole life plans, Colonial Penn offers a cash accumulation benefit along with the chosen death benefit. The maximum coverage amount for this policy is $50,000.

Term Life

Colonial Penn’s renewable term life product can be issued between the ages of 18 and 75 and can be renewed up to age 90. Unlike the other plans, this product does see an increase in rates over time as the policy is renewed at an older age.

Benefit amounts for the term product are available up to $50,000.

Rates

We ran a quick quote for the Guaranteed Acceptance product with a male from California aged 50 years. The plan returned a range of rates based on units of coverage.

One unit came out to $1,786, somewhat of an awkward number. The reason being is because Colonial Penn’s rates are determined in the opposite way from how most insurance companies determine their rates – the rates are set at intervals starting at $9.95 for one unit, and what one unit will be, depends on the applicant.

Thus, a different applicant would receive a different amount of coverage for the same premium. The maximum premium on this quote came out of $79.60 a month with a death benefit of $14,288.

This allows Colonial Penn to advertise that anyone can get coverage for $9.95 a month – which they can – but not everyone will get the same amount of coverage. A 70-year-old male, according to our quote, gets on $717 worth of coverage at the $9.95 a month rate; that same person would get only $5,736 at the top $79.50 a month rate. Although it’s all in the fine print, it’s a bit deceiving to the average insurance shopper.

By comparison, we ran the same sample age (50) through Colonial Penn’s standard whole life and returned $10,000 in coverage for $29.65 a month and the maximum of $50,000 for $133.24 a month. That makes the latter a better value for those who do not have concerns about eligibility and thus do not need to go the guaranteed acceptance route.

In the interest of comparing Colonial Penn to our standard sample at a younger issue age, we also ran quotes for a 30-year-old male. At this age, only the term life policy is offered.

The quote came back at $5.99 for $10,000 in coverage and $23.96 for $50,000 in coverage. These numbers are on the high side; we have seen double the coverage for a lower monthly premium elsewhere – it is also important to note that these premiums will go up as the policy is renewed over time.

Claims

Colonial Penn has an informative claims section that provides all of the details needed to file a claim as well as helping information in regards to the process.

Claims can be filed only through the mail, but assistance is offered via a toll-free number. Claims forms can be downloaded from the website, or they can be sent out to the beneficiary by request.

While the claims process does not utilize online services as much as we like to see, it is in line with companies who focus on the senior market.

Ratings and Consumer Reviews

Colonial Penn has an A- with the Better Business Bureau, docked according to the page for the five complaints against the company in the past three years, though only one was closed it the past 12 months. Considering the size and reach of this company, the complaint volume here is quite low.

Oddly for such a well-known company, we were unable to find much in the way of consumer reviews of Colonial Penn. Certainly a lack of complaints can generally be construed as a good thing.

The Bottom Line

Colonial Penn has the star power to sell its products, but it does not offer the best value in life insurance. The unit system for the guaranteed acceptance plan makes the rates look appealing, but the practice is at best confusing and at worst deceptive. Although the rates for the standard plans are a better value, be sure and do the approrpaite homeowork and rate comparisons to ensure you are getting the rate best suited to you.

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

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Review Information

Summary
Review Date
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Colonial Penn
Author Rating
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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.

46 Comments

  1. So I would like it to b better either way it is very good

    Reply
  2. Colonial Penn life Insurance and Alex Trebeck are a bunch of lies.

    Their commercial says no one gets turned down, yet I was denied coverage due to certain medication I take.

    They state just the opposite on their commercial which makes them liars.

    They will deny you depending upon what drugs you are currently taking

    Reply
    • I’m disappointed that Alec would come out with two lies at once.

      Said they will never ask health question, that was one.

      And the next one is, you can never be turned down.

      Don’t you think they should be held accountable for false advertising?

      I was asked questions and turned down.

      Reply
  3. I wonder if the “low volume of complaints” might have something to do with the fact that a dead policy holder would not be likely to file a complaint, and the beneficiaries might not have been made aware of the policy.

    Reply
  4. I applied for their insurance and they say they don’t ask health questions and you can’t get turned down for health reasons. Total fraud. I haven’t figured what to do yet. I got a letter turning me down because within 3 years I had cancer. Alex Tribeck is endorsing a fraudulent company.FM

    Reply
    • I am on disability with too many problems for reg ins but colonial pen guaranteed acceptance got me what I needed at the right price and they will pay you till your 110

      and my wife’s dad had this and they paid him just fine, no problems with them I finally am covered with good no questions asked.

      Reply
  5. I am looking for the best policy to insure my mother age 72 in general good health. Where can you direct me to find a reputable company?

    Reply
    • You will have to search but I would not use Colonial Penn. They have a tv ad that makes the viewer think they can get great coverage for only $9.95 per month, but that only represents $450 in coverage. You have to pay the $9.95 for 12 months before it takes effect for total payments of $119.40. That leaves a net of only $330.60. Plus, if you live for another 12 months, it will cost $119.40 again leaving you with $211.20 into the policy. Many people spend $211.20 for a restaurant dinner. That company could easily say that $9.95 represents only $450 coverage. They are dishonest in my opinion.

      Reply
  6. My wife applied for Colonial Penn’s “No one is turned down” coverage. She got a rejection letter stating that Colonial Penn uses a third party company to obtain her prescriptions she uses. The letter stated she could write Colonial Penn for further. She wrote to both Colonial Penn and the other company. Neither responded. Very dishonest company. So much for “you won’t be turned down…”

    Reply
    • I am not surprised. Celebrity endorsements usually only “benefit” the celebrity. They have a very misleading commercial as you WILL pay more for more coverage if they are benevolent to come through at the end.

      Reply
  7. Do your research. Simply go to Google and type in what it is you are looking for. Then type in keywords,” Reviews, complaints”. Take things with a grain of salt. From both sides. But never forget the human aspect. If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is.

    Reply
  8. This company sure looks like a total scam. I get robo calls from them (I am on the national Do Not Call list) and have called to complain several times, but I always get the run-around and don’t get taken off their call list.

    Reply
    • I was charged by this company after canceling over a month before my card was due to be charged. I am now dealing with delays in resolving this matter. I won’t be using them in the future.

      Reply
  9. Thanks so much to everyone that shared your experience. I DEFINITIVELY WON’T BE USING THEIR SERVICE!

    Reply
  10. Hmmmm I just applied for a policy through colonial penn now Im thinking maybe I should have went with another company I have not paid them can I get out of the policy if I have not received it yet?

    Reply
    • Hi Connie,

      Typically, yes. Just call the agent that is processing the application and tell them you want to hold off and not bind it right now.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
  11. I should have checked the reviews before having a rep. call my mother today 7/28/17. My mother said she simply asked the rep. if they could send her the information and an application by mail because she doesn’t like giving out private information over the phone and the rep. hung up on her. My mother called to tell me what happened and I must say that unprofessional thus we’ll be looking at other companies.

    Reply
    • They are the worst company, one of their representatives visited me at home and try to sell me insurance plan, and I gave him a photocopy of my checking bank account , I refused to sign the contract, two days later I found out that they withdraw from my account 134$ as a monthly payment and send me a contract with a fake signature of me, I think they took an advantage that I am senior citizens, they fog my signature, they refund my money and they apologized but I still think that what they did is a crime

      Reply
      • I was charged by this company after cancelling over a month before my card was due to be charged. I am now dealing with delays in resolving this matter. I won’t be using them in the future.

        Reply
      • My mother purchased a policy for the $9.95 a month in 2006. After several payment increases over the years, in the end, costing $99.50 a month, they dropped her automatically at age 90. They should tell you that regardless of what amount your policy is, you will be dropped at age 90! Every time I see Alex on TV, I want to punch his face in. They prey on the elderly! Shame on them for this scam!!!!

        Reply
  12. My dad called about their policy recently for himself. VERY pushy sales presentation. He asked for enough for cremation, & they tried to push him in to getting over 7,000 worth of insurance. They then pushed several times to get him to pay immediately, using scare tactics.

    Terrible way of doing business!

    Reply
  13. Glad I reviewed this page and it’s like so many other’s,,, “it’s hard to believe they can sell insurance that cheap”. Ol Alex should be ashamed but he doesn’t care because he’ll be taken care of just as the people doing the commercials, and buy the way Alex is Canadian … Stick with a company that has a good reputation . It might cost a bit more but in the long run you’ll be better off. I even had Met-Life and my account got forged and they called and ask when was I going to make a payment ? For what ? They said for the money you withdrew… After over a year of fighting them and the forgery dept. I was beating a dead horse. I canceled and they did send my stocks which I didn’t know I had until a letter came in the mail (must have been a mistake) but I did manage to get SOME $$$ back.

    Reply
  14. Wow! My late husband had a policy for $5000 to help cover expenses as he had a terminal illness. When the time came Colonial Penn paid. I am glad I’ve reviewed your comments because I was thinking about getting a policy for me. Don’t think I’ll do that after reviewing your comments. THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  15. I have paid hundreds of dollars into this insurance. I moved and lost track of Colonial Penn…after maybe 8-10 months. I finally thought about Colonial Penn and decided to give them a call. My first thought was…”well…they should still have a record atleast of my years (YEARS!!) of paying into their system.” Hah! I called them and my name was no where to be found. After all the dollars I invested in Colonial Penn…I no longer existed. They have had years of collected payments from me, and claimed they couldn’t find my name, or date of birth or address. That was very hurtful. I’m retired, in my 60’s, fixed income…I thought they would still have my “nest” there and just put my egg back on it!! The money I invested… should still have been there. BUT…Nope! I lost everything. They claimed I was nowhere in their system. Colonial Penn…you are a dirty lowdown company. You have no clue how distraught this act [Redacted] left me.

    Reply
    • Call your state insurance department.

      Reply
  16. Im about ready to cancel my mom’s policy, I called to make a payment and the guy who answered the phone was so RUDE!! I called because I knew her payment was late and his comment was “she owes for Oct and Nov you do know that right, the way he said it was so unprofessional.!! They are not going to get another dime as soon as I can talk me mom to find someone else!! And you can thank [Redacted] at your office Colonial Penn!!

    Reply
  17. Alex Trebek should be ashamed of himself for being the ‘spokesman’ of this insanity. He should be hold responsible to everyone who has been mistreated by Colonial Penn. Person join due to his endorsement. I’m about to cancel my insurance with them in fear that my family will suffer a hardship after my passing.

    Reply
    • I agree. I just started with them decided to cancel and been having a bunch of issues to get my refund.

      They intentionally withhold your paperwork to let their 30-day refund policy kick-in then try telling you that you cannot get a refund.

      They are HORRIBLE and I would never encourage anyone to sign on with them.

      The TV advertisement makes it sound so great and Alex needs to be ashamed of himself.

      It is nothing but a bunch of fraudulent activities going on and Alex has the nerve to have his voice recording supporting this.

      Reply
  18. I cancelled a supplemental health insurance policy with them in November of 2015. I recently realized that they have continued to remove the premium money each month from my bank account. This amounts to over $1000. I would appreciate any advice on how to deal with them over this.

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      I would get confirmation of your cancellation (hopefully you received a letter) and give them a call. If everything is in order, I would imagine they would refund the overages.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply
      • My mother had the same thing happen to her two years back. She switched from Bankers supplemental to another company. In mid December she sent a letter to Bankers telling them to cancel at 11:59 pm on December 31st. They continued to to take payments. Her new agent (who was also worthless) said he did all he could. I recently found out she was out of over 300.00 and called the company. They said they never received her letter until April at which point they then canceled. I find that hard to believe, but still they said if we sent proof that she had other insurance beginning January 1, they would refund her the money. She just got a letter stating there is no law saying she couldn’t have 2 insurances and they will not be refunding here money. While $300.00 may not seem a lot to some people, for an elderly senior citizen it is a lot and it’s absolutely unfair. I will be pushing this issue with the state insurance commission and our local TV station who goes after unfairness like this.

        Reply
      • Not so fast! I have had this argument with them and they say, no way will they refund my money!

        Reply
        • Hi Lyn,

          If you have proof of the cancellation, I would take them to small claims court. Their clerical error does not entitle them to your money.

          Best,
          Eric Stauffer

          Reply
    • My wife and I applied for colonial penn life insurance in early 2016.I was accepted and my wife was denied for unknown reasons.I am 5 years older than my wife with more health problems.Colonial penn lied and stated no one can be turned down.The representative could not understand why I cancelled my policy.But I will never buy insurance with an unreliable company that false advertise.

      Reply
  19. I have reported you the the national do not call list company. In the past two weeks I have received at least one call a day from your company. One day I received three. I am 80 and beg you to stop these calls.

    Reply
    • If you call for information, the Do Not Call registry doesn’t apply.

      Reply
  20. They false advertise on TV less than $0.35 a day only gives you about $1,000 coverage. That’s not even close to funeral arrangements.

    Reply
    • Commercials for insurance companies are approved by state insurance departments. The commercial does NOT say you’ll be able to pay for a funeral for .35/day (or any price). You can get insurance for that much though.

      At 9.95/mo, it’d take over 80 years for them to break even on a 10,000 policy.

      Reply
    • Just a scamming tactic to get you to call. Another way to reap off the poor and middle class to make the rich get richer. Congress create rules and regulations to permit the so call State insurance Department create the commercial to pry on the needy. To fix this problem we need to contact our state representatives!

      Reply
  21. When my dad passed, I filled a claim with Colonial Penn. After a delay I finally received a response claiming that my dad had not made his payments and they were not obligated to pay. After a lengthy correspondence and providing then with all the receipts of payments that I made for my dad, they finally, but reluctantly paid his funeral costs. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS. I would NOT recommend Colonial Penn. Dealing with them at the time of the loss of my dad was a miserable experience.

    Reply
  22. Guaranteed acceptance, you cannot be turned down. I was turned down because I am on medical retirement. So much for your promises. But, after reading the comments, I’m sure it was for the best. FALSE ADVERTISING!

    Reply
  23. Conseco Bankers Life (NYS) – has continually used delaying tactics to avoid paying a claim against my mother’s policy. When you call for status reports all they will tell you is “by law we have 30 business days to send the disbursement” – they will not answer any questions about where they are in the process of actually sending a check. After holding my check up for over a month after my mom’s death, they sent a verification of address for my sister stating she must now fill out this form in order to receive her share of the disbursement. When I called they stated ” we can wait another 30 days by law to send payment” . I would not recommend this company to anyone. When you call many times the wait is 10 to 15 minutes to speak to someone – their customer service is terrible! I wished there was some way to warn other consumers to beware of Conseco Bankers Life (otherwise know as Colonial Penn)_

    Reply
  24. I want you to either return my money or half what I sent. I called several times asking when I was going to get a statement to let me know when my premium was due. I was told, yes, I would be getting a statement. I kept getting mail asking me to enroll. I had already enrolled and had even sent my first payment $111.00. I never received a statement. Yesterday, I rec’d a past due notice. I want you to either return $111.00 or $55.50. How dare you send me a statement when it was past due? The statement was attached to the past due notice. How dare you!!! Either I get my money or half, I will contact the BBB and report you. You can’t treat people like this. My account is: [Redacted]. I expect to hear from you within the next 10 days, or take my complaint to the proper authorities. Do not doubt me.

    Reply
  25. I APPLIED FOR THE INSURANCE. PAID FIRST PREMIUM. DID NOT LIKE THE POLICY AND TRIED TO CANCEL. THE PERSON DID NOT CANCEL THE POLICY WHEN I CALLED. I HAVE TRIED FOR OVER FOUR MONTHS TO GET MY PREMIUM BACK TO NO AVAIL. I AM GLAD I READ ALL OF THE POLICY. IF I HAVE THIS MUCH PROBLEM TO REJECT THE POLICY, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE THE PROBLEMS MY FAMILY WOULD GO THROUGH TO FILE A CLAIM.

    Reply
    • COLONIAL PENN IS HARD TO CONTACT AND GET ANY RESULTS.

      Reply
      • Which company isn’t a scam and pays out quickly for burial services?

        Reply

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