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MetLife Insurance Review

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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: Nov 30, 2018

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As a huge international insurance company with the kind of warm, American feel you can only get from having Snoopy as your mascot, MetLife has been around for over 150 years. The company dates back to the Civil War, and today writes policies in 60 countries with a wide range of insurance and financial services available.

With the exclusive rights to the use of Peanuts characters as their “spokestoons”, MetLife has firmly established itself as a highly recognizable brand in the insurance game. Providing all of the basics of personal insurance, MetLife also offers a range of financial products. They’re a popular choice for companies offering life insurance and other products to employees, and write a lot of group life products. Today, MetLife ranks among the largest life insurance companies worldwide.

MetLife Overview

MetLife has a very long history, going all the way back to Civil War-era America. The National Union Life and Limb Insurance Company was founded in New York City in 1863. The original product was insurance against injury and disability for Union soldiers in the war. In 1968, the company changed its name to Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and focused on life insurance.

As financial times became tough, MetLife started offering what were known as “workingman’s policies”, providing small benefit amounts in return for small weekly premiums. By 1909 the strategy raised MetLife to a position as America’s largest life insurance company.

The 1990s and 2000s saw many acquisitions and mergers with other companies and an expansion into more financial services. In 2000, MetLife made the move from a mutual company to a for-profit company, a process that led to a lawsuit from policyholders (who received some stock in return for the loss of mutual status) over information that was misrepresented or left out. The lawsuit ended with a $50 million settlement in 2009.

MetLife added the banking business to its roster for a few years, but sold MetLife Bank in 2012 under pressure from the government – MetLife had failed a test to prove financial stability in the event of a recession. The company also sold its mortgage-servicing branch that same year, turning the focus back towards insurance products.

Today, MetLife writes a large range of products including personal property & casualty coverage, dental and disability (usually through employers), annuities and other retirement and savings products, and of course life insurance.

In 1987, MetLife started using an already recognizable American icon, Snoopy, in their advertising. They continued to use the Peanuts gang as their mascots, and in 2002 signed a deal giving them exclusive rights to use Peanuts characters.

MetLife’s headquarters remain in New York. Their products are sold directly as well as through local advisors, and through employers offering benefits. Some products can be purchased online, but most require a representative to finalize the application and submit it to underwriting.

As of 2015, Insure.com ranks MetLife as the 14th largest auto insurance provider by market share in the U.S. That places them just above Mercury Insurance in the rankings.

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Products

MetLife’s main product is, of course, life. In addition to their flagship product, they round out personal insurance offerings with the rest of the big three – auto and home – with a range of specialty products as well. They’ve also got a variety of health and care plans and provide financial services.

Life Insurance

MetLife is no longer offering individual life polices through in person agents, however they are still providing support and claims services to existing policies. They have transferred some policies over to Brighthouse Financial and some will remain as part of MetLife.

Term Life
These policies are offered only through the workplace in three ways:

  • Basic Term Life – An employer-paid coverage for a set amount of time providing beneficiaries with financial protection.
  • Supplemental Term Life – An employer-paid coverage that allows you to purchase additional coverage as needed.
  • Dependant Term Life – Provides coverage for spouse, partner, or eligible children.

MetLife also offers their MetLife Rapid Term Life Insurance for individuals. Rapid Term provides coverage up to $500,000, no medical exams, and terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.

Whole Life
The company’s website does not offer much information regarding their whole life policies.

MetLife offers whole life insurance as a workplace benefit through Texas Life Insurance Company. With whole life you can take your coverage with you when you change jobs.

Universal Life
MetLife writes two types of Universal Life:

  • Universal Life, the basic type of this policy that offers flexible premiums, a cash accumulation account, and a guaranteed death benefit.
  • Group Variable Universal Life, which offers the benefits of regular UL with added investment options.
  • Survivorship Life, which covers two people on one policy and pays on the death of the second person.

Please Note – anyone looking to purchase life insurance should understand the cost and benefit differences between term and whole life insurance. Please see our write up regarding these products for more information.

Auto Insurance

MetLife also writes personal auto insurance, but provides little information on their website regarding the specifics of the program.

From what they do show, MetLife offers all of the standard coverage as well as some options, some of which are listed on the website and include things like new car replacement and major parts replacement. They also offer discounts, including an auto-home discount for insuring both with MetLife.

MetLife also has a program for Group Auto, which allows a group discount available through an employer. While the policy has to be started while working for the employer, coverage can be continued even if you change jobs. The group affiliation discount can be calculated as part of an online quote to see immediate savings.

Other Vehicles

MetLife offers specialty insurance policies for other types of vehicle. Coverage is available for boats, RVs, and motorcycles.

The company also offers their GrandProtect plan, and basic Combo plan, which can save you money when bundling your auto and home, or auto, home, personal property, specialty vehicles, rental properties, and more together.

Home Insurance

MetLife offers several types of home insurance to cover different home types. These policies cover structures, personal property, and liability as required by the type of dwelling, along with other features and benefits.

Available options are:

  • Homeowner’s Insurance, designed for single-family dwellings that are owner occupied. These policies provide replacement for the home itself as well as personal property coverage and personal liability
  • Condominium Owner’s Insurance, which provides specific structure coverage for only that portion of the building that falls under the owner’s responsibility
  • Renter’s Insurance, which covers personal property and liability for renters
  • Mobile Home Insurance, designed for the specific needs of mobile home owners
  • Landlord Insurance, which covers the specific risks of owning a rental home

Additional Products

Disability Insurance

MetLife no longer offers individual disability policies through agents, as of March 6, 2017.

The company offers Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability policies through employers. Short Term Disability can include weekly payments, and rehab incentives. Long Term Disability can include direct monthly payments and essential living expenses.

Employee Benefits

MetLife is big in the employee benefits market, offering a selection of group benefits that businesses can offer to their employees.

  • Dental Insurance – Available with two options: Preferred Network (PPO) and Managed plans, depending on the state.
  • Disability Insurance – These plans are available as Short-Term and Long-Term Disability, offering income replacement and other features for employees should they become disabled.
  • Accident & Health – In this category MetLife offers a variety of plans. Available to choose from are Accident, Cancer Care, Critical Illness, and Hospital
  • Vision Insurance – This plan provides coverage for eye exams as well as eyeglasses or contacts.
  • Other Specialty Products – MetLife also offers Legal Services and MetLife Defender, which protects against Internet threats.

Financial Planning Products

MetLife also offer a variety of basic financial planning products. These are mainly aimed at retirement savings, but also include college and general savings.

  • Annuities – MetLife offers a wide variety of annuity options, including fixed, indexed, variable, and income annuities.
  • Mutual Funds & Investments – MetLife’s saving options include Mutual Funds, 529 College Savings, IRAs, and Brokerage Accounts

Prices and Premiums

Although MetLife is no longer offering individual life insurance through in person agents, and since MetLife’s flagship product is life insurance, we will leave our previous quote from our last review below. Without having a quote available from Brightside Financial, these numbers might be comparable.

For a 30-year-old male living in California, a non-smoker, a 30-year term policy with $250,000 in coverage can be had for $30.99 pre month, assuming good health. That’s an excellent rate that comes in below average, but is dependent on the insured being in excellent health. As with all life insurance quotes, lifestyle and health factors can have a major impact on rates, so we suggest getting a more specific quote unless you’re going for a Simplified Life plan.

Speaking of which, we ran the same sample at the $100,000 level, the maximum for a simplified term policy, and came back with a rate of $21.99 per month. That’s very reasonable for a no health exam policy, but if you’re healthy you can get more than twice the coverage for less than twice the price, so it’s probably better to take the medical exam and get a better value for your insurance dollar.

The quoting system was incredibly fast, requiring only a few basic questions and a single screen to get a number. That makes it easy to do price comparisons,

MetLife doesn’t offer online quoting for any of their permanent life insurance plans.

As for auto, MetLife is definitely living up to their promise of big savings. A test quote using our standard sample came in with very impressive rates, 30% below the average rate.

And that’s not even as good as it gets with MetLife, which offers group discounts for many employers – if yours qualifies, you could see even lower rates. Add in an auto/home discount for insuring your home as well, and MetLife’s rates can be a seriously good deal.

MetLife’s online quoting system for auto, however, requires a lot of information.. It’s worth it for the end result, but could definitely be streamlined and cleaned up a bit for a better user experience. Users have to scroll through several screens to find the correct make of their vehicle, and are required to provide information about current or previous insurance. Additionally, enough contact information is required that it could possibly be a breeding ground for junk mail and spam.

Overall, MetLife offers really competitive rates all around, although the rates in the case of auto are a little hard to access.

Claims

MetLife offers three main options for the filing of auto claims:

  • 1-800-854-6011 to be filed by phone
  • Online using the form on the company’s website
  • MetLife’s mobile app – available for both iPhone and Android

The app offers not only the option to submit a claim, but also to upload photos directly and record the details of the accident, allowing you to get all of the information up quickly while it’s all still fresh in your mind.

There is a separate online location where glass claims can be filed, and also a different place for towing & labor claims. Glass claims go through popular glass service Safelite, while towing claims are filed by logging into your MetLife customer account.

MetLife offers their CARE program, which stands for Concierge Auto Repair Experience, intended to make the process of dealing with a claim easier. The program offers “Drop & Go” rental car service, provided by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which provides a rental car delivered to you wherever you need it, such as at the repair shop when you drop off your car.

The CARE program also includes MetLife’s network of guaranteed repair shops. Work that is done in these shops will be guaranteed for as long as you own the car. Policyholders also have the option to choose their own repair shop, but won’t be offered the guarantee, nor any other perks of the CARE program.

The website does not offer any details in terms of the claims process, but it is likely a standard procedure, with an adjuster being assigned to the newly filed claim and then investigating, checking benefits, and offering a settlement.

There are also no direct instructions for tracking a claim, and the site doesn’t state whether that’s part of the app or the customer account portal.

MetLife did not rank as well on the 2016 J.D. Power Auto Claims Satisfaction survey, earning a 3 out of 5 ranking that equates to average service. The only category where they were given a 4 out of 5 star rating was in the Rental Care Experience. The rest, including Appraisal, Settlement, and Service Interaction were a 3.

Certainly this survey isn’t the final word on claims service, but it’s always a matter of concern when a major company like MetLife doesn’t perform well in the area of claims, and of course claims are where any insurance company shows its true mettle. Below-average claims satisfaction from a company with low rates begs the question of whether paying less than what is worth it when the time comes to use your insurance policy.

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Consumer Feedback and Reviews

MetLife has a B- rating with the BBB and 462 complaints in the past three years, 159 of which were closed in the past 12 months. Their next largest competitor by market share in the auto industry is Mercury, with only 122 complaints in that time period – but that’s only half the story. Mercury isn’t nearly the size of MetLife when you take into account all of their other lines of business, and the BBB doesn’t differentiate, so these complaints include all of their customers in all lines. Overall, this number is not that high for a company this big.

The BBB has dropped MetLife down to a B- as a result of the company failing to respond to six complaints filed against them.

MetLife ranks as average in the 2017 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Shopping Survey, a 3 out of 5 rating. Pricing was given a 4 out of 5 star rating.

MetLife reviews are generally split between auto and life, although some sites lump them together and in other cases reviews are placed in the wrong category.

In both categories a large number of the complaints found on the internet focus on claims being denied. This is a difficult area to judge in terms of how much concern this should raise, as it’s hard to judge the validity of claim with a one-sided Internet complaint explaining it. There are also a lot of complaints in regards to customer service – repeated comments that they are difficult to reach and “rude” at times.

There are also a few positive review here, which is always encouraging to see, since few people bother to write reviews when they are pleased with service – far more are quick to write a review to complain. That gives more weight to the positive reviews.

Overall, the reviews seem to match up to the J.D. Power studies. MetLife isn’t exactly leading the pack in terms of service, but they aren’t the worst either. Because MetLife is such a huge company, and the number of complaints isn’t particularly high, it isn’t a huge red flag. It’s enough, however, to suggest that MetLife has some work to do in these departments.

Bottom Line

MetLife is a huge company that has been around for a very long time and is likely to be around for many more years to come. They have stability and history behind them, which is always a good thing for an insurance company.

MetLife has a strong lineup of policies. MetLife also has a good lineup of personal lines products that include auto and home. Add to that their financial products, and most people can take care of insurance and retirement planning right here.

MetLife offers really good prices, placing them ahead of the pack for value, but falters a little in terms of customer satisfaction. Low rates are only half the battle; MetLife needs to pick things up a bit, particularly in the claims department. At the end of the day though, the complaints aren’t serious enough to suggest skipping MetLife, particularly if it’s being offered through your employer. The company’s policies are popular for a reason, and even more affordable when purchased with group rates.

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

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Review Information

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Metlife
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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.

16 Comments

  1. Have a complaint against Metlife.

    Per phone call to customer service, I requested that my policy be paid by my yearly dividend.

    That was March 2020. In April payment was still not paid. Received papers to apply dividends for payment.

    Filled out papers & mailed them in April. C.S. said they would take care of it in April.

    called C.S. again in May. Was told that papers were on file & they would take care of it.

    Sound like a cover job!? NOW, in June, received Policy Lapsed papers!

    Called June 10th, 2020. Asked C.S. to straighten this out.

    Got fed up with the run around told C.S. to cash out policy. Requested check to be sent.

    Really, I would like to keep the policy. What kind of people do Metlife have working for them??

    Stupid idiots! This account is a 20 yr+policy. Want to keep policy if I can. Straighten this out!

    Reply
  2. I’d like to nominate MetLife for censure.

    We cancelled our Auto/Home policies after they raised the auto rates 20%+ for a 2nd year.

    Gave me the option of taking my wife off the policy if I wanted to keep my present rate.

    (Wife had no chargeable accidents for 3 years or more).

    Don’t make the mistake of telling them where you are taking your business.

    Had the same problem with a universal life policy with Genworth as mentioned by Deborah in her complaint-(7 prior complaints).

    I’m surprised that the weak insurance commissioners have no real ability other than to slap them on their wrists.

    Class action suits are filed and no one ever hears what happened to the money they didn’t give back to their wronged policyholders.

    The cases are sealed! If I could retaliate I would….too old!

    Reply
  3. Paid for Hospital Indemnity Insurance for years.

    We had to use it in July 2019 when my wife had surgery ended up on life support in ICU.

    The claim to pay within 15 to 30 days per policy.

    My wife is a claims specialist so we had form filed out before we left the hospital with medical records even doctor filled out page 6 of the form & sign which is their form.

    For 6 weeks they held claim up wanting the doctor’s name with my wife telling them it was their claim form page 6 & all the information was there.

    Then it was for hospital records which we submitted with the original claim.

    They received the transmission for requested records they pay then the hospital transmitted.

    No Metlife decide it was too costly & reduced the request which tied us up anther month. 4 months they have been giving us the same info when we call.

    Waiting on Hospital records wife said what are you requesting they said admit summary & discharge summary. This was submitted with claim 27 pages.

    These people will never pay & laugh at my wife for trying to expedite process herself.

    Cancel policy & posted on my job about my experience where 10,000 employees could read review & most are canceling.

    DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH METLIFE. ( THIS IS THOUSANDS THEY OWE US) fighting back let me know if you want to join……

    Reply
  4. My husband took out a term life insurance policy! I his wife the beneficiary was in complete shock over my husband’s sudden death we had 2 children and I knew of this policy, however, considering my husband passed away in my arms I was traumatized not knowing which way was up and completely forgotten or blocked out the fact he had this policy. However, over time as I came back into reality so to speak, I remembered this policy when SSI notified MetLife they contacted me or “ONE MAIN” which the original policy was with spring leaf. When I was contacted they would NOT release the copies of the original policy they would not tell me the amount of the policy. I know the policy was a substantial amount however they claim it was NOT. I want to speak with the original company SPRING LEAF! I signed on this policy when it was taken out and I have the rights to this information. I am seeking legal counsel this is by far the worst company with no companionship for the young widow of only thirty-five years old left with two children to raise while suffering from PTSD, Major depression, and Extreme Anxiety Disorder

    Reply
  5. Worst insurance company and customer service ever! It is almost impossible to speak with anyone. If you are lucky enough to get a person on the phone, they are unable to help you and keep transferring you to different numbers where you just end up to someone’s voicemail who never calls back. I tried to cancel my insurance for over two months but couldn’t because nobody called me back or answered my emails so they just kept charging me and I already had insurance elsewhere. I’m going on four months and haven’t gotten a response, just bills in the mail.

    Reply
    • The same thing happened to me. I called and canceled the insurance and told them the new company I had, and they turned it into my registration. So that got canceled on me and I also got charged for extra months. They tried to say I didn’t have car insurance and it cost me a lot of money, not to mention every month my bill went up from my quoted rate for no reason at all. I started at a quote of $300 a month and by the time they were done, I was up to $400 a month for a $10,000 car that I was paying less for the car payment. Now I’m dealing with collections because in just a few weeks of the bill coming out they sent it right to collections, a great company right here.

      Reply
    • This is the worst insurance policy. I insured my moped with them and oh lord help me. A complete night mare to get a proof of insurance to show at the DMV to change the title of the moped. They took the money and can’t even send an email confirming the policy. No policy card……
      People, please stay awayyyyyy. Worst customer service ever.

      Reply
  6. Metlife
    Is literally the worst insurance company, every time I call to check on my insurance I get 3 different answers, concerning my amount I’m paying to if I’m set up on autopay it’s ridiculous. No one knows what their doing. After the last payment I am done with met life

    Reply
  7. Hi. I became disabled back in Dec 2012. Fell down some stairs and hurt back. Unable to work afterward. I had disability coverage thru my last employer. They declined my claim, I then contested it and it was declined again. However, I also had my own personal disability insurance policy thru MassMutual. I submitted my paperwork to them the same time I did with Metlife. MassMutual approved me within 30 days. I also was approved thru Soc Sec Disability in record time. After some time passed, I sent a complaint letter to the president of MetLife. They looked at my claim again and decline it again. I contested it and they declined again. I’ve heard many horror stories from friends and family friends in the past about Metlife. Just wondered if any of you have?

    Reply
    • I have been battling MetLife for the last 30 years. Thru a family member my husband and I obtained our first homeowners policy as well as two individual universal life insurance policies. We paid on our homeowners policy for several years before having to file a claim that was small in dollar amount and MetLife tried to cancel the policy. I filed a complaint with our state insurance commissioner who intervened and made them reinstate our policy. Approximately ten years later we had to file a second claim for water damage in our kitchen from a pipe that burst under the kitchen sink. MetLife paid the claim but once again canceled our homeowners insurance. Once again our state insurance commissioner made them reinstate our policy. We switched to State Farm when our policy came up for renewal.

      The universal life policies were no problem until my husband and I reached our mid fifties. MetLife started sending notices that there was not enough money in our accounts to cover the premiums for the policies. My husband had a variable investment policy but no matter how good the economy was the policy never earned enough to cover the premium and suffers a loss every year. We are now paying approximately $250 every other month for a $50,000 death benefit. My policy was a fixed interest policy with a death benefit of $100,000 until they started sending notices every other month on mine as well where I usually owe around $300 to keep the policy in force. They will not allow us to pay these policies on line and we can have monthly automatic withdraws for the premiums from our checking account which results in an additional charge around $20 as a processing fee. Most companies give you a discount for automatic withdraw but not MetLife. I also found out they changed my fixed policy to a variable during one of the many times they have tried to cancel our policies in the last seven years. They love to say they didn’t get the premiums in time so I had to resort to sending the premiums by registered mail with return receipt to verify they did receive the premiums on time which is not cheap. I have had to have the insurance commissioner intervene on my policy three times and once on my husband’s when they tried to cancel on us. Thank God we have a very pro consumer insurance commissioner ‘s office in our state.

      It appears that due to the fact that the odds on having to pay out on our policies increase with each passing year MetLife has doubled down on trying to cancel the policies. Due to our age there is no way to replace them at this point and because of the animosity they have generated in my husband and I we have no desire to decrease the coverage even though the death benefits are no longer needed. Because of Metlife’s unethical behavior we are determined to hold onto those policies until they are forced to pay out on them upon our exiting this good earth. I admit that we will probably pay more into the policies than what they will pay out but we will take great satisfaction in forcing them to pay. Not logical I know but greed and unethical business practices by a company like MetLife can do that to you.

      Reply
      • Thanks for responding, Deborah. Looks like you have been mistreated also. I’ve heard horror stories from family friends, acquaintances, etc over the past number of years. Normally it’s with declined disability claims, but others were with life ins, etc. I had my own personal, private disability policy with MassMutual. They had similar paperwork as MetLife. I mailed both of them in together in June 2013, I got MassMutual approval in less than 45 days. They were a great company to deal with. MetLife, on the other hand, declined me a total of 4 times over a couple years. Some have told me the type of MetLife policy I had thru my employer is a little different than the one I had with MassMutual. Possibly true, however, it seems odd to me that both MassMutual and Soc Sec Disability approved me in record time. I was told by my legal representative that an official decision thru Soc Sec Disability can take several weeks. Mine only took about 12 days!!!! Record time I was told. So, why is MetLife being suck a hardass? Who knows? Anyway, if anyone out there is looking for a good personal disability ins policy to supplement one they may have thru work, give MassMutual a try. I think some investigative reporter should should look into this issue and see if there is statistically larger number of denials thru MetLife or not.

        Reply
    • Yes, and I am one of them as well. No need to tell my story as it is the same as everyone else’s.

      Reply
  8. THIS IS THE WORST INSURANCE COMPANY! They appear to prey on people and when they get ill it seems as if they count on them being too sick to fight for their rights!

    Reply
  9. WORST INSURANCE I HAVE DEALT WITH!!!!!!! I got hit in a parking lot. I was pulling in as their insurer backed right into me, it damaged the rear end of my car. The cop on scene said it’s obvious who is at fault since I had the right away and if the insurance company has any questions, to contact him. I am going on 3 WEEKS of trying to get them to pay for the damage. They ALL have been very, very RUDE they also said the cops word doesn’t mean anything since he wasn’t a witness. I do not recommend this insurance company to anyone!!!!!!

    Reply
  10. This is the worse insurance. When you need them to pay you (what is entitled to you) they make it IMPOSSIBLE!!

    Reply
  11. Eric, thank you so much for this article. You have shed light on and exposed the truths about whole life insurance…all I could do was smile as I read your article and responses I could just hug you right now. Keep doing as you said and I quote “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.” Thanks again for your help and confirmations.

    Reply

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