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Colonial Penn Burial Insurance ($9.95 Plan Review)

Rikin Shah | Licensed Life & Health Insurance Agent

The 60-Second Summary
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Colonial Penn’s Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance Policy is the most popular burial insurance policy on the market. Its well-advertised $9.95 plan, however, is not as affordable as it seems.

Colonial Penn Pros

Colonial Penn Cons

Colonial Penn Burial Insurance Reviews (3rd-Party)

Full Review Below.

I called Colonial Penn at the above number to request their free information.  An agent picked up right away and took my name and information.  The call lasted ~90 seconds and the materials arrived in 6 business days.

Who Is Colonial Penn?

Founded in 1957, Colonial Penn is a life insurance company based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.  The company offers life insurance products to consumers primarily through direct mail and television (an advertisement for the well-known Colonial Penn 995 per month plan is shown above).

Company 101
TypeLife Insurance Carrier
Websitehttps://colonialpenn.com
EmailN/A
Phone(800) 523-9100
Address399 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
BBB RatingA+
A.M. Best RatingA-

In 1968, Colonial Penn became one of the first life insurance companies to offer a guaranteed acceptance plan for those 50 and over.  It is currently the largest provider of burial insurance coverage in the United States, competing with companies like Globe Life, Mutual of Omaha, and AARP.

This review will focus on Colonial Penn’s burial insurance plan (i.e., the Colonial Penn 9.95 plan).

Burial Insurance Policy Comparison

Below is a comparison of burial insurance plans from Colonial Penn and its three major competitors (listed above).

Burial Insurance 101

If you’re new to burial insurance or could use a refresher, this section will provide a quick primer on burial insurance.

What Is Burial Insurance?

Burial insurance is an informal name for whole life insurance policies with death benefits sized to help with burial and funeral costs (typically under $25,000).

People refer to these policies as “burial insurance” because of the typical use of funds (to cover final expenses and ease the financial burden on the next generation).  These include burial or cremation costs, embalming services, or paying outstanding medical bills.

Burial insurance policies do NOT restrict how you use the funds.

If your beneficiary wants to use the funds on vacation for her family, nothing stops her from doing so.

Finally, note that policies like these are also called “funeral insurance” or “final expense insurance”; we will use these names interchangeably throughout this review.

Burial Insurance = Whole Life Insurance

Burial insurance is nothing more than whole life insurance.

You are purchasing a payout when you die (similar to all life insurance).  If you have a $100,000 policy, your life insurance company will pay your beneficiary $100,000 when you die.

Whole life insurance policies provide you lifetime coverage (i.e., your whole life).  This differs from term life insurance, which covers you for a pre-determined period of time (called the “term”), usually between 10 and 30 years.

Colonial Penn Whole Life Insurance

Before we dive into the Company’s well-advertised $9.95 guaranteed acceptance plan, let’s review Colonial Penn’s standard whole life insurance offering. 

See below a summary of the policy’s features.

Colonial Penn Logo
Whole Life Insurance

Eligibility & Coverage Period

Regarding eligibility, any U.S. resident ages 40-75 can buy a policy (50-75 years old in New York).

As suggested by its name, whole life insurance provides coverage for your entire lifetime (as long as you keep paying your premiums, of course).

Your benefits will never terminate, no matter how old you are.

Underwriting Standards

Most burial insurance policies do not require medical exams, and this holds for Colonial Penn as well.

There are health questions, though, which is how Colonial Penn decides whether or not to approve you.

Because this policy has health-based underwriting, these policies do not have a waiting period.

Colonial Penn Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

The most popular Colonial Penn life insurance product is its guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance policy.

See below a summary of the policy’s features:

Colonial Penn Logo
Guaranteed Issue Whole Life

Eligibility & Coverage Period

Regarding eligibility, any U.S. resident ages 50-85 can buy a policy (50-75 years old in New York).

As stated above, because burial insurance is a whole life policy, coverage lasts for your entire lifetime (as long as you keep making your life insurance payments).

Guaranteed Acceptance (No Underwriting)

The key draw of this product is its “guaranteed acceptance” feature.  No matter what, you cannot be denied coverage for health-related reasons.​

Colonial Penn life insurance = NO medical exam or health questions.

Two-Year Waiting Period

If you wondered how a life insurance company could afford to guarantee acceptance to everyone, regardless of medical history, and remain profitable, you’re right that something is missing.

Colonial Penn can guarantee approval because of a two-year limited benefit period (or “waiting period”).  Only after this two-year waiting period is the full death benefit paid.

Suppose the insured person dies (in a non-accidental death) during the first two years of coverage.  In that case, the beneficiary receives a limited death benefit (the premiums paid to that point, plus 7% interest).

If this non-accidental death occurs after the two-year waiting period, the beneficiary receives the full payout.  Note that this goes for death from any cause (including suicide and drug overdose).

This protects Colonial Penn from fraudsters who might buy a policy knowing that they will die soon.  Otherwise, these individuals could receive the full life insurance benefit for only a few months’ worth of premium payments.

Note that accidental death always receives the full death benefit, regardless of when it occurs.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance $9.95 Per Month

Colonial Penn life insurance commercials are among the most recognizable (and frequent) examples of final expense insurance marketing you’ll encounter.  And their promise to offer you coverage for only $9.95 in monthly premiums is always featured front and center.

Is this too good to be true?  Why would Colonial Penn quote everyone the same life insurance rates?

A Fixed Price For Variable Amounts Of Coverage

Colonial Penn isn’t afraid to buck the trend when selling burial insurance coverage.

A typical life insurance provider lets you choose how much insurance coverage you want.  They then tell you the monthly premium price they can offer you.

Colonial Penn’s life insurance does it in reverse.  They allow you to choose your monthly payments (in multiples of $9.95 per month) and then let you know how much coverage they can offer you.

$9.95 always buys you one “unit” of coverage.

Table: Life Insurance Benefit Amount Available For $9.95

AgeMenWomen
50$1,669$2,000
55$1,420$1,761
60$1,167$1,515
65$896$1,258
70$689$1,000
75$549$762
80$426$608
85$418$468

How much coverage does that one unit buy you?  That depends on your age and gender.  Feel free to use Colonial Penn’s quote form to find out the exact amount you would be offered!

Colonial Penn “Coverage Quote”  Calculator

Colonial Penn 995 Plan Quote Form

How Much Does Colonial Penn Burial Insurance Cost?

Colonial Penn approaches life insurance pricing differently from its competitors.  Most life insurers will ask you how much coverage you want and then quote you a price when purchasing life insurance.

Colonial Penn looks at it the other way.  They assume that customers want to leave their families with as much money as they can afford.

With Colonial Penn, you choose your monthly premium payment.  Then, they tell you how much life insurance coverage you can buy for that price.

$9.95 always buys you one “unit” of this Colonial Penn Guaranteed Acceptance policy, and customers can buy up to 8 units.

Colonial Penn Pricing: An Example

An example may make it easier to understand.

Let’s say the customer is a 55-year-old male named Derek who lives in California.  Derek wants to buy a policy so his end-of-life costs won’t burden his family.

He wants a simple direct cremation, so he doesn’t need a large policy.  He selects the option for “one unit” of insurance (at $9.95 per unit).  Colonial Penn then lets him know that he can buy $1,560 of coverage at this price.  

If this is enough coverage for Derek, he can fill out a short, one-page application, make his first payment, and Derek will have life insurance.  If this is NOT enough coverage:

He can buy up to eight units at the same rate.  E.g., if he need 5 times the coverage ($7,800), he can buy this for 5 times the $9.95 price ($49.75).

How many units should you buy?  That depends greatly on your state, as average funeral expenses vary by geography.  Check out our full article on funeral costs to hear more on this topic. 

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Policy Application

The application for Colonial Penn’s funeral insurance product could not be more simple.

How To Apply For Colonial Penn Burial Insurance

Below, we'll walk through how to buy burial insurance through Colonial Penn.

Total Time Needed: 10 minutes

Required Tools:

- A computer (or mobile phone)
- An internet connection
- Your bank information or credit card

Application Steps

Navigate to Colonial Penn's page on its Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance policy. (Click the step title above.). Fill out the short form on that page and click "Get My Quote"
Colonial Penn 995 Plan Quote Form 1
Step 2: Complete the Quote Form
Fill out the remaining fields on this page. In total, Colonial Penn asks for your name, address, birth date, gender, email address, and phone number.
Cp Quote Form
Step 3: View Quote Results
You will now be shown how much life insurance coverage that Colonial Penn can offer you for $9.95, based on your age and gender. (Because this is a Guaranteed Acceptance policy, there is very minimal underwriting and no need for Colonial to ask health questions.
Cp Quote Results
Step 4: Choose Accidental Death Benefit Coverage
Towards the bottom of the page, as you'll see in the screenshot for Step 2, you'll find a section on the policy's accidental death benefit rider. You can buy up to $10,000 of coverage for 20 cents per $1,000 of coverage. Select the amount that you would like and then click the "Update My Quote" button.
Cp Quote_Choosing A Rider
Step 5: Accept or Decline Price Quote
Your policy quote will now show the amount of coverage you are buying and the associated monthly premium, as shown in the screenshot below. If this price and coverage work for you, click "Apply Today" to continue.
Cp Final Quote Screen
Step 6: Name Your Beneficiary
After your personal information on the next page, you will arrive at a page that asks you to name your beneficiary (or beneficiaries).
Cp Application_Choosing Beneficiary
Step 7: Enter Payment Information & Purchase
And that's it! Just submit your payment information, and you will be all set!
Cp Payment Screen

The Paper Application

If you prefer to apply by mail, it may take longer to get your policy, but the application shouldn’t be too hard…

Colonial Penn’s burial insurance application is just one page.

Colonial Penn Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance Application

Third-Party Colonial Penn 995 Plan Reviews

When you can’t find many of them, it’s tough to know how much weight to give customer reviews.  Unfortunately, this was the place we found ourselves in when it came to third-party Colonial Penn reviews.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review (TrustPilot)

On TrustPilot, a third-party site that aggregates customer reviews, Colonial Penn has an average rating of 2.9 from 2 reviews.

You can find screenshots of these reviews at the top of the page.

Concerns raised include: poor customer service, a pushy sales experience, and difficulty getting a refund during the 30-day no-obligation period.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating & Reviews​

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company, a member of the Better Business Bureau since 1985, currently holds an A+ BBB rating.  (To understand how this rating was determined, see the BBB’s ratings elements page.)

Over the past three years, Colonial Penn has had 161 customer complaints filed with the BBB, with 98 of these closed in the last 12 months.

Colonial Penn Better Business Bureau Complaints

Financial Strength Ratings

Colonial Penn has strong financial strength ratings, which indicate that they are almost sure to have the funds to pay out on your life insurance claim, regardless of the economic environment.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company currently holds the following ratings:

  • A.M. Best:  A-
  • S&P:  A-
  • Moody’s:  A3
  • Fitch:  A-

Colonial Penn FAQs

Yes, there is a two-year waiting period.  If the insured dies of a non-accidental cause within the first two years, Colonial Penn will simply pay you back your premiums (with 7% interest).  Without this waiting period, they would not be able to guarantee approval.

Colonial Penn allows you to choose your monthly price for life insurance. Based on your age and gender, Colonial Penn will tell you how much coverage you can get for $9.95. This amount ranges between $500 and $2,000.

Colonial Penn sells burial insurance in two varieties: standard whole life insurance and guaranteed issue whole life. The guaranteed issue policy involves no medical exam and no health questions. The standard whole life policy involves “simplified underwriting.”  In other words, no medical exam, but you WILL have to answer a handful of health questions.

Conclusion & Key Takeaways

Colonial Penn is a brand-name insurance company with a smooth application process and a strong history of paying out on claims.

While the promise of $9.95 life insurance may be tempting, you get very little coverage for this amount ($500 to $2,000).

Is Colonial Penn Burial Insurance Worth It For You?

Offering life insurance policies of this size ($500 to $2,000) is a competitive advantage, as most life insurance companies sell coverage starting at $5,000.

If you want direct cremation (which costs only $1,500), Colonial Penn’s burial insurance product should work for you.

With Colonial Penn, you have access to smaller policies, so you won’t pay for coverage you don’t need.

However, if you want a traditional burial and funeral service, you’ll need a large payout.  While you can scale down the extravagance of the funeral service, you cannot buy half a casket or half a headstone; in other words, there is a minimum amount you need to spend.  For larger policies ($5,000+), Colonial Penn is definitely not the most affordable option.

No matter what you decide, keep in mind that you can cancel your policy at any time without a penalty.  And if you cancel within the first 30 days (during Colonial’s “try it on” period), they will even refund your first premium payment.

So if you’re currently without coverage, it can’t hurt to buy a small Colonial Penn burial insurance plan now and cancel it when you find a better deal in the future.

If you have any questions that we haven’t answered, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email at hello@getsure.org.  We’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours!

Warm Regards,
The GetSure Team

  1. TrustPilot. 

    (n.d.). 

    Colonial Penn Reviews. 

  2. Colonial Penn. 

    (n.d.). 

    Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance. 

  3. Colonial Penn. 

    (n.d.). 

    Permanent Whole Life Insurance. 

2 thoughts on “Colonial Penn Burial Insurance ($9.95 Plan Review)”

  1. Is this $9.95 Colonial Penn life insurance policy available in Canada . I had a plan with Norwich Union but they sold their policies to BMO Canada
    Thank you
    Donald Brown

    1. Hi Donald — unfortunately, Colonial Penn policies are not available in Canada. If you’re looking for a final expense policy, Foresters Financial and Equitable Life are two U.S. carriers I can vouch for that also offer policies in Canada. If you want to understand your options more broadly, take a look at this page (https://lsminsurance.ca/canadian-life-insurance-companies/) from LSM Insurance, an independent, Canadian insurance agency. Hope this helps!

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