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About Knights of Columbus Insurance
Like many faith-based fraternal societies, the Knights of Columbus was created in response to the financial hardships experienced by members of a local parish and a desire to provide assistance. The group was created in 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut by the parish priest at St. Mary’s Church and a group of men from the parish. A big part of the goal of the Knights of Columbus was to create a pool of resources that could be used to help members in times of need – specifically the death of a breadwinner in the household.
The group expanded over the years and today has nearly 2 million members throughout North America. They are the largest and best known Catholic fraternal society in the world, referring to themselves as the “Church’s right arm”, and are active in charitable activities in addition to insurance.
The group remains a membership society open only to practicing Catholic men over the age of 18, but insurance products are available to both members and their families. Products are sold through agents, all of whom are members of the Knights as well. Membership has an annual fee of $30 a year, and it comes with a variety of benefits including survivor assistance following the death of a member.
The Knights of Columbus offer a handful of basic insurance policies aimed at reducing financial burdens in times of illness or death. Life, long-term care, and disability insurance are the main products; they also offer annuities.
There are both permanent and term life insurance options available.
Whole life insurance is available in either single premium or monthly payment premium versions, allowing policyholders to pay in whatever way is best for their needs. The listed payment options are:
- Single premium
- 10-pay, in which premiums are spread out over 10 years
- 20-pay, in which premiums are spread out over 20 years
- Paid up at 65, a plan that allows the premiums to paid in full by age 65
- Paid up at 100, which is essentially a standard monthly payment plan. The plan is paid up at age 100, but since not many live to that age it can be considered a lifetime premium plan
- Graded premium, which starts with lower premiums that increase over time and eventually level off.
Term life is offered as an annual renewable policy or in 10, 15, or 20-year terms. The Accelerator Term plan allows the death benefit to increase over time by 25% in order to keep up with inflation.
There is also a Young Adult product aimed at those 18-29. This is a low-cost annual renewable plan.
Long-term care insurance is available with a variety of options to choose from and includes a 30% discount when a member and spouse apply for coverage together.
Coverage can be either comprehensive or facilities-only. Benefit period options are 3, 5, or 10-year, and a daily benefit amount can be selected by the policyholder. Plans can have an elimination period (time before benefits kick in) of either 30, 90, or 180 days. This is a lifetime period.
Disability income insurance is available with benefit period of two or five years, or the option to extend benefits to age 67, providing income until retirement. Again, a monthly benefit amount can be selected by the policyholder. Elimination periods are the same options as the long-term care product.
The Knights of Columbus offers a variety of annuity options, including single premium and flexible premium, to provide income assistance in retirement. Traditional annuities, Roth annuities, and Tax Sheltered Annuities are among the choices.
The company’s website does not offer rates, and quotes are only available from a Knights of Columbus agent. It is not clear whether you need to be a member to get a quote from an agent, but since you do have to be a member to buy a policy it seems likely that they focus their sales efforts on existing members or on those considering membership.
The $30 a year membership fee is not a large amount, but it does need to be added to the calculations when comparing cost. If you are already a member or looking to become a member regardless of the insurance aspect, it’s likely a non-issue.
We were unable to find any claims information on the Knights of Columbus website. There is a sign in area for members, which may be where claims information is located, and it is, of course, likely handed out with the policy when issued.
It is unusual to see a life insurance company that does not mention claims at all, not even to provide a claims phone number on the website. Even the contact page does not offer a phone number, only a contact form that can be filled out and submitted.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Knights of Columbus Insurance has been Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited since 2002 and has an A+ rating. There are no complaints or reviews listed on the site.
There are 16 reviews on Pissed Consumer, most of which are in regards to insurance but a few of which seem to be directed at the order in general. One, in fact, is a complaint about an incident at a Knights of Columbus bingo hall. Complaints in regards to insurance are generally about claims issues, but there are also two reviews from former agents. All of the comments are negative. Taking out the reviews that are not about insurance, however, we are left with a low complaint volume.
The Bottom Line
Insurance through the Knights of Columbus might be worth a look for those that are already members of the order or are inclined to become members. The products themselves are not likely to be the impetus for joining. We do not have rates for comparison, but we do recommend shopping around if the best policy at the best price is of greater importance to you than the source of the policy being associated with the Catholic Church.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.