UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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Royal Neighbors of America is a by women, for-women membership society that offers a range of services including life insurance. They operate through chapters located across the United States.
About Royal Neighbors
Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895 with the purpose of aiding women and children who lacked access to financial products. Originally founded in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the group moved its home office to Rock Island, Illinois in 1927.
Named to represent the noble act of taking care of others, they were among the first to offer life insurance to women and to children. Royal Neighbors operates as a fraternal benefit society, with requirements for membership and a list of benefits that come with being a member. Buying a product makes you a member of the society automatically, but membership is also available with an annual fee instead. Our full review of this group including membership details can be read here.
Life insurance is this group’s main product, although they do also offer annuities. They write whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and term life insurance. Products are available to all ages and genders in spite of the company’s history of insuring women and children.
Royal Neighbors Final Expense
While there is no policy that is specifically called a final expense plan among the products, the Simplified Issue Whole Life is described as being a product meant mainly to pay final expenses.
This plan is issued with fewer underwriting requirements but also has a lower death benefit amount. There is no information listed, however, on the maximum available death benefit for this policy, nor does the site offer information on issue age or underwriting requirements.
The website has a life insurance needs calculator that can help with determining how much insurance to buy, but those in the market for final expense insurance likely won’t find it useful, since this type of policy is generally intended only for funeral and related expenses and not to provide much in the way of financial support to dependents left behind.
While the website says it has an interactive quoting tool, we were not able to access it. The link took us to make to the website’s home page, where we saw no method of obtaining a rate quote.
The site does have a loose estimate that suggests a $25,000 policy can be purchased for about $25 a month. This is based on a whole life policy for a 30-year-old female and does not appear to be the Simplified version of the whole life policy. This is very general rate information and is not particularly helpful for comparison to other companies.
A toll-free line is provided through which accurate quotes can likely be obtained.
The website provides an online claim form to report the death of a Royal Neighbors member. It can be submitted directly or printed and sent it via regular mail.
There is no specific phone number given for claims questions or reporting, so we assume that the main toll-free number listed at the top of the website would be the appropriate one for calling in regards to claims.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Royal Neighbors of America has been Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited since 1986 and currently has an A+ rating. There are nine complaints on file in the past three years. The reviews on the BBB page are mixed with a few positive and a few negative. One of the positive reviews is from an agent, which is less useful from a consumer opinion standpoint.
Google has 11 reviews with an overall 3.6-star rating. Most of the reviews contain little or no useful comments, although a few do cite difficulty with claims processing.
In general, complaints seem similar to those we see with other life insurance companies, including a lack of understanding of common claims processes. We saw no red flags in the comments.
The Bottom Line
Royal Neighbors may be a good choice for final expense insurance if you are looking for a company that provides some added benefits and a sense of community. Without much plan detail or rate information, however, we are unable to compare them to the other options out there. Bottom line – if this kind of society membership appeals to you, it might be worth calling them for a quote. Otherwise, you might want to look elsewhere.