With its roots in its namesake city, Baltimore Life started out as a mutual aid society and has grown to be a national life insurance provider. They’ve existed for more than 135 years and offer final expense protection among their product lineup.
About Baltimore Life
Baltimore Life was founded as the Baltimore Mutual Aid Society of Baltimore City in 1882. It was created by a group of businessmen in the city to provide a life insurance option for families looking to provide for funeral expenses – a product they still offer today.
In 1900, the words “Mutual Aid Society” were exchanged for “Life Insurance Company”, later shortened to simply Baltimore Life. The company expanded to serve 49 states and the District of Columbia and has also expanded its product lineup over the years to include a variety of life insurance products, retirement savings plans, and workplace benefits.
Baltimore Life products are sold through local agents across the country, and the company’s headquarters is located in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Baltimore Life Final Expense
Baltimore Life’s final expense product is called Silver Guard and is available in three forms, two of which are graded benefit policies.
All of the Silver Guard products are simplified issue, meaning there are no medical exams, but they do require some health history. They are whole life insurance policies with a guaranteed level premium, cash accumulation account, and cannot be canceled as long as premiums are paid.
Silver Guard I is the level death benefit plan, which pays out the entire death benefit from the first day of issue. This plan includes a $1,000 cash draft form that allows the beneficiary to draft up to $1,000 of the death benefit immediately as long as the policy is in force and before the claim has been processed. The remaining benefit amount will be paid out after the company completes the claims process.
An accidental death rider can be added to Silver Guard I, which increases the death benefit in the event of accidental death.
Silver Guard II and III are both graded death benefit plans available to those who do not qualify for Silver Guard I, usually due to medical history. These plans pay out 25% of the face value of the policy if death occurs in the first year, 50% in the second year, and 100% in the third year and thereafter. The policy pays out 100% of the face value from the day of issue for accidental death.
Baltimore Life offers either a 10-pay (10 years of premium payments) of a Life Pay choice on all of the Silver Guard policies. Issue age is between 50 and 80 years old. The site does not provide information on the minimum or maximum death benefit amounts.
Baltimore Life does not offer online quoting, which is common for agent-driven life insurance companies. Visitors to the site are directed to either use an agent locator to find assistance nearby or fill out a short form to have an agent contact them for more information.
Final expense life is generally sold with a lower face value in order to make it more affordable since life insurance issued to seniors can be very costly. Rates are only really comparable to other similar policies, since a whole life policy issued at a younger age with a much higher death benefit may have a lower or similar rate.
Baltimore Life does not offer online claims filing nor do they have a dedicated claims phone number. Beneficiaries can contact the main customer service line through a toll-free number, or use the provided email address to have the forms sent to them. The forms do not appear to be available for download from the website, which would be a simple addition and would be far more convenient to the beneficiary.
Completed forms can be either mailed, faxed or emailed back to the company along with the required documentation, which is listed on the website. For claims with a death benefit of more than $10,000, the company requires that all forms be mailed and will not accept scanned or faxed documents.
The site states that checks are mailed approximately 10 business days from the time they receive all of the documentation. Death benefits can also be paid directly to a funeral home of choice.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives Baltimore Life an A+ rating and has only three complaints on file in the past three years. There are two negative reviews on the page, both of which are in regards to policy issues.
There is an overall 3-star rating on Google based on 13 reviews. The reviews do not include a lot of detail, although there are some complaints about customer service. A few complaints appear to be from former employees.
There are three negative reviews on Yelp, with a few complaints about a slow and non-responsive claims process.
Overall, the complaint volume for this company is quite low.
The Bottom Line
Baltimore Life has solid products with a few extra benefits, like the $1,000 cash draft option. Without rates, however, we are unable to compare them on value. With that said, we found nothing of concern and a generally, they seem to have a good reputation that makes them worth a closer look.