UPDATED: Mar 18, 2020
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TruStage is the brand name of a credit union-focused insurance program from CUNA Mutual Insurance. CUNA traces its roots back to 1935 when credit unions were first formed to help average Americans with finances. The insurance branch was created to provide additional financial solutions that were previously out of the reach of the general public, such as life insurance.
While TruStage is generally marketed through credit unions, their policies are actually available to anyone; credit union membership is not required, but the site does push visitors to consider joining one.
TruStage is a brand and an agency service rather than an insurer. The company operates as a subsidiary of CMFG Life, which underwrites their products, and partners with other insurance companies to provide products they do not underwrite directly. Auto insurance is offered through both Esurance and Liberty Mutual, and home insurance through the latter. The company also partners with GoHealth to help customers shop for health insurance. Life insurance and AD&D coverage are both underwritten by CMFG.
The company’s headquarters is located in Madison, Wisconsin, and they also have branch offices in Waverly, Iowa and Fort Worth, Texas. Policies are sold directly through representatives over the phone.
As mentioned above, auto and home insurance products through TruStage are underwritten by Esurance and Liberty Mutual, and as these products have been covered in our reviews of those companies, we will not describe them here. This review will focus on the products that are underwritten by TruStage’s parent company, CMFG Life.
Term life is available with death benefit amounts starting at $5,000 and going up to $300,000. Issue age is between 18 and 69.
The policy is renewable up to age 80 and is priced based on age bands that are five years each (25, 30, 35, 40, etc.) When the insured hits a new age band, the premium goes up accordingly. Changes to health status do not affect the premiums as long as the policy is kept in force.
Whole life is available death benefit amounts ranging from $1,000 up to $100,000. Issue age is between 18 and 85. This is a traditional whole life policy with a guaranteed death benefit as well as a cash accumulation account, and level premiums for the duration of the policy.
There is also a guaranteed acceptance version of the whole life that requires no medical questions at all. Because of this, the death benefit amounts available are lower, between $1,000 and $25,000, making this a likely choice for a final expenses plan. This plan can be issued between 45 and 80 years old, and again the premium is level for the duration of the policy as long as premiums are paid.
The TruStage AD&D policy is available at no cost from participating credit union members, which may choose to offer their members between $1,000 and $5,000 in coverage as a benefit of membership.
Those whose credit unions do not offer any coverage can still purchase the product, and those who do have base coverage at no cost can add on additional coverage to increase the benefits. Every two years the benefit increases by 5% at no additional cost, and the premium stays the same over the years. The maximum coverage available is $300,000.
There are no health questions for this product and acceptance is guaranteed – this makes sense since AD&D only pays out for accidents and not on illnesses.
It is highly likely that accepting the free coverage through your credit union will result in solicitation attempts as TruStage looks to sell you a higher level of coverage as well as other products.
TruStage makes it very easy to determine how much your coverage will cost, with online quoting as well as a rate chart available for the term life product.
We ran a quote for a 30-year-old male for term life insurance. Our rate quote came back at $42.50 a month for $100,000 in coverage, which matches the rate shown in the chart for that age band.
This is a pretty expensive quote, even considering that the coverage is simplified issue with no medical exam. It is also important to take a look at the chart and see how the coverage increases in cost over time. By the age of 50, after 20 years of coverage, this policy will cost the same person $114.50.
By comparison, we ran a whole life quote for the same amount and the same death benefit and came back with a rate of $83.00. That is lower, but it should be noted that this premium stays the same for the duration while the term starts lower. It is important to look at how long you want the coverage to last and how much you’ll pay over the duration of coverage. If you are looking for coverage to last into your senior years, whole will probably cost less in the long run.
We also looked at the guaranteed acceptance life, bumping our sample age up to 45 to meet the minimum issue age. A policy with $10,000 in coverage came back at $50.00 a month.
All of these rates are higher than what we have seen elsewhere for similar coverage, even with simplified or guaranteed issue options. It is also worth noting that the company does charge a tobacco use surcharge on term policies with a face value above $100,000.
Claims can be filed Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. by calling the toll-free number found in the claims FAQ section of the website. An email address and mailing address are also provided.
Claims are handled through CUNA Mutual Group, of which parent company and underwriter CMFG is a part. As an agency and consumer-facing brand, TruStage itself does not administer policies or handle claims.
After all documentation is received, the insured can expect the settlement to be send via check within 1-3 business days. That is a quick turnaround time if accurate; of course, contestable claims will take longer to review.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
TruStage has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with 18 complaints on file and nine reviews left on the page for an overall rating of just under two stars. There are several people who appear to believe that the AD&D coverage offered through TruStage and their credit union is a scam, and were not happy the credit union shared their contact information. A few complaints address billing and claims issues.
We also looked at the CMFG Life Insurance BBB page, which also shows an A+ rating. There are 28 complaints filed here, and two reviews. Both are negative and are in regards to billing.
TruStage has an incredible 811 reviews on Google with an overall 4.8-star rating. This is remarkable given the fact that we have seen larger and better-known insurers with a fraction of this number of reviews. A scroll through the comments shows a lot of people remarking on the ease of application but little in the way of experience with claims.
The Bottom Line
TruStage markets through credit unions, which is how most people are likely to find them, and draws customers in with the free basic AD&D offer after which they will attempt to upsell to more coverage. Their policies are pricey based on what we have seen for similar coverage elsewhere. They do have a remarkable reputation based on the Google reviews, however, so if you prefer to pay a little more for a reputable company, they might be worth a closer look.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.