Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review: Analyzing the $9.95 Plan

Written by Kim Wilhelm

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Last Updated 21 May 2024

We’ve all seen those very compelling commercials selling an incredible $9.95 life insurance on television.

“For just $9.95 a month…less than 35 cents a day…the benefit never ends…premiums won’t go up…”

The offer comes from the Colonial Penn Life Insurance Company (which most people just refer to as Colonial Penn).

They are an American life insurance company based in Philadelphia that was founded by well-known philanthropist Leonard Davis. 

But while the ads give you the impression that a $9.95 policy will have you well and truly covered, your loved ones aren’t going to receive a large benefit. If you are a 73-year-old woman, the death benefit will only be around $846.

A 70-year old man will probably get around $689. And the commercial doesn’t warn you that the policy comes with a 2-year waiting period before you’re even covered. 

While $9,95 sounds dirt cheap, once you dig into the fine print, you’ll realize that some of their competitors offer far better policies - at lower prices! 

Let’s find out why the Colonial Penn life insurance for seniors $9.95 a unit policy is not your best option and may be one of your worst options to prepare for when the good Lord calls you home.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Review 

Let’s just say it upfront: Colonial Penn Life Insurance is a legitimate company, but the coverage you get is subpar compared to some of the others on the market.

You can get more coverage at a great price from a different provider. 

The company offers two types of no-medical-exam permanent life insurance policies.

The one you see on TV is the $9.95 plan, a guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy available to seniors aged 50-85. 

Guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance life insurance is a life insurance policy that lets you skip health questions and a medical exam.

Acceptance is guaranteed, no matter your health. 

Here’s the catch: because it’s a guaranteed acceptance policy, if you die in the first two years, you’ll receive a refund of your premiums and a small amount of interest.

In other words, if you pass away one year after the policy ends, your loved ones will receive around $119.40 plus some interest.

The full benefit will only pay out if you pass away after two years. 

Pros and cons of Colonial Penn Life Insurance’s $9.95 plan

Pros:

  • The plan is suitable for seniors because seniors up to age 85 can apply without a medical exam (e.g. it’s a guaranteed acceptance life insurance option). 

  • Colonial Penn has a strong financial rating (A - A.M. Best rating) and offers coverage in all states. 

  • You can apply for insurance online (no need to call!) 

  • There is an option to add death benefit riders for cancer, stroke or heart attack. 

  • You can conveniently pay via bank, credit card, or mail-in monthly payments. 

Cons:

  • The ads are deceptive - it makes it seem as though you’ll only pay $9.95 for full coverage. In actual fact, the company is overpriced when compared to competitors. 

  • There is a waiting period, regardless of your age, and if you are under 50 or 85, there aren’t any options for you. There also aren’t any term or universal life insurance options. 

  • The unit system is very confusing and lots of customers have complained online.

Understanding Colonial Penn Units

When you buy life insurance from a reputable life insurance company, you purchase a death benefit, not a life insurance unit.

For example, let’s say you want to pay for funeral and other end of life expenses so you want coverage for $25,000.

With a life insurance company, you can buy that amount of coverage. With Colonial Penn, you can only buy a unit, with a maximum of 15 units available. 

When insurance is sold by the unit, it means that the coverage is offered in specific increments or units rather than a fixed monetary amount.

Each unit represents a predetermined portion of coverage, and the policyholder can choose the number of units they want to purchase based on their needs.

Your age and gender will determine how much of a death benefit you can get per unit. 

Here’s what the unit system looks like in practice: 

Age

1 male Unit ($9.95)

1 Female Unit ($9.95)

50

51

52

53

54

55

56

57

58

59

$1,669

$1,620

$1,565

$1,515

$1,460

$1,420

$1,370

$1,313

$1,258

$1,200

$2,000

$1,942

$1,890

$1,845

$1,802

$1,761

$1,719

$1,669

$1,620

$1,565

60

61

62

63

64

65

66

67

68

69

$1,167

$1,112

$1,057

$1,000

$949

$896

$846

$802

$762

$724

$1,515

$1,460

$1,420

$1,370

$1,313

$1,258

$1,200

$1,167

$1,112

$1,057

70

71

72

73

74

75

76

77

78

79

$689

$657

$627

$608

$578

$549

$521

$493

$468

$441

$1,000

$949

$896

$846

$802

$762

$724

$689

$657

$627

80

81

82

83

84

85

$426

$424

$423

$421

$420

$418

$608

$578

$549

$521

$493

$468

Let’s say you’re a 68-year-old man living in Houston. You call Colonial Penn to get a quote for $15,000 in coverage and they tell you they can’t do that– you have to buy units.

They ask for your information to plug into their system to give you a quote:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

For a 68 year-old-male, 1 unit at $9.95 a month qualifies you for a total of $792 in life insurance coverage.

Yes, $792 per $9.95 each month for one unit. Now, you wanted $15,000 in coverage, right? Unfortunately, the maximum number of units you can purchase through Colonial Penn is 15.

This means the maximum a 68-year-old male can purchase is $11,880 in life insurance coverage with a monthly premium of $149.25

 Colonial Penn will be happy to get that coverage in place today without answering any health questions or taking a medical exam.

Just complete the application, submit payment, and you think that you are fully covered by the amount you qualified for.

The Problem With The Colonial Penn $9.95 Life Insurance Plan 

While it seems as though you can get $10,000 for just $9.95, nothing could be further from the truth when you actually crunch the numbers. 

Units are a bit strange because as you get older the amount of death benefit you are entitled to goes down while the price of the units stay the same.

A 57-year old man can get around $1,313 coverage per unit. 

If they wanted to get around $10,000 in coverage, he would have to buy eight units for $79.60 per month.

A 77-year old man will only get $493 in coverage per unit. To get $10,000 in coverage, he would have to buy 21 units.

Of course, you can only buy 15 at $149.25 per month, so the point is moot. 

What Colonial Penn doesn’t tell you is most seniors will qualify for a plan with day-1 coverage, and with lower pricing from other companies.

However, in addition to not getting as much coverage as you initially wanted, there are other reasons why these policies aren’t always the best choice; especially for seniors with average health.

Guaranteed Acceptance plans like these have a 2-year waiting period for death by natural causes.

Meaning, if you die from an illness or pre-existing health condition during the first two years, you don’t receive your full benefit amount.

Final Express Direct can usually find a policy that costs you less money per month, pays a larger death benefit AND you will be immediately covered in full from day 1!

You won’t have to wait two years for your policy to start protecting your family.

It Is Important to Understand Guaranteed Issue Colonial Penn Life Insurance

Life insurance coverage without any health or medical questions is called guaranteed issue life insurance because you’re guaranteed coverage no matter what.

Sounds great, right?

Not exactly. If you die during the first two years of the policy you will only get what is called a graded death benefit, which means Colonial Penn will pay back the premiums you paid, plus interest. That’s it.

So while the commercial seems to trying to sell you some cheap, guaranteed issue life insurance, Colonial Penn doesn’t want you to know what’s in that fine print.

Lucky for you, we’ve got a much better solution for you.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Reviews

At the end of the day everyone just wants an insurance company that is going to do what they say for a fair price. 

I think you will see in this Colonial Penn Life Insurance Reviews section that we try to answer these questions. 

If you were to review the major things you want in a life insurance company you'd think:

  • Ability to pay the claim
  • Cost of life insurance
  • Customer service

And probably in that order of important importance, too. 

No one is doubting Colonial Penn's ability to pay it's claims, they have been around for a long time and are a financially sound company. 

However, their cost of life insurance is quite a bit more than their competitors.

They have just figured out a way to package it in $9.95 units but, don't be fooled, Colonial Penn life insurance is much more expensive, give us a call and we can better explain.

Dial 1-800-217-0014, and you will be connected immediately to a professional life insurance agent in your state that can answer all of your questions. 

Last, after reading countless Colonial Penn Life Insurance reviews, I can tell you that their customer service is not highly rated.

In fact, it is probably the most complained about out of everything. 

Do you really want to pay too much for life insurance and then have your family spend weeks or months fighting with that company to get the money you planned for them to have upon your passing? 

Let Final Expense Direct help you find the least expensive final expense insurance with the best customer service for your family today.

We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and over 1,700 5-star Google reviews with an average rating of 4.9 out of 5.

Feel free to click here and see what real customers are saying – we get new reviews from satisfied seniors every single day.

Colonial Penn Life Insurance BBB (Better Business Bureau) Reviews & Complaints

colonial penn life insurance reviews better business bureau bbb

The Better Business Bureau is an independent agency that tracks interactions between US businesses and US customers, such as yourself.

It is a well respected organization that allow customers to use a third party to register their feelings about their past experiences. 

For these reasons we at Final Expense Direct, highly value the company ratings from BBB and their customer reviews. 

Colonial Penn Life Insurance Reviews at the BBB, Better Business Bureau, are pretty bad. They show a customer review average rating as of 6/19/2022, of 1.09 out of 5.0. 

colonial penn life insurance customer reviews of 995 policy negative complaints

Customers complain regularly about the $9.95 per unit life insurance policies Colonial Life Insurance sells seniors. 

Greg S. on 5/30/2022, gave reviewed Colonial Penn 995 Plan as a 1 star, saying that they took advantage of his parents and was very disappointed Alex Trebeck was affiliated with them. 

colonial penn life insurance customer complaints

The complaints about Colonial Penn's life insurance department customer service go on and on. Like Sharon B.'s review on 6/13/2022 where she details multiple calls to customer service to try and get the life insurance their mother paid on for 24 years.

One problem after another and none of the departments ever seem to know what the other one is doing. Sharon's Colonial Penn Life Insurance review and complaint above is very similar to many of the others. 

There definitely is a pattern here... buyer beware, as Sharon B. suggests, 'buyer beware' indeed. 

But, don't believe me, you can do your own research and look into Colonial Penn Life Insurance Reviews at the Better Business Bureau here

A Better Life Insurance Solution

At Final Expense Direct, we work directly with a long list of life insurance carriers to offer you one product:

Final expense life insurance.

You get:

  • Locked in premiums for life
  • Benefits that never decrease
  • No medical exam required
  • Coverage from some of the best final expense companies

And the best part - the full death benefit is available from day 1! If you purchase a final expense life insurance policy through FED and you die the next day, your beneficiary gets the full death benefit, whether it’s $10,000 or $100,000.

Now, we do ask you a few health questions, which we know Colonial Penn doesn’t do. But the reason we ask those health questions is because it helps us find you the best coverage for the cheapest price.

We won’t be offering you $7,456 in coverage for $79.60 a month. 

We think you’re worth more for far less cost each month.

While Colonial Penn mostly wants to deal with you through the mail, we’re available on the phone right now. You don’t have to jump through hoops when you call us either.

Just pick up the phone, dial 1-800-217-0014, and you get through right away to a live person on the other end.

At FED, we have over 35 years of experience working with people just like you, the backbone of America. You’ve worked hard your entire life, and we want you to keep as much money as possible while also getting as much life insurance as you can to protect your family when you're gone.

After you answer a few health questions, we can help you pick the best life insurance plan available. We complete the application right over the phone and get you approved before you hang up.

Just one phone call to Final Expense Direct and you’ll hang up with a whole life insurance policy. You also get accidental death coverage, which means your beneficiary gets paid even more if you die in an accident - which is much more likely to happen if you aren’t terminally ill already.

At Final Expense Direct, we offer more than just life insurance, we offer peace of mind. 

While watching Alex Trebek in the Colonial Penn commercials can bring back a bit of nostalgia, don’t fall for that silver foxes well intentioned words. 

Instead, speak with a FED agent so we can help you find the best life insurance coverage for your family, and not what Alex Trebek got paid to advertise.  

Why pay more when you don’t have to? Answer a few simple health questions to unlock a whole life insurance policy that works for you from the day you buy it.

No gimmicks. No fine print. Just affordable coverage that’s there when you need it most. To protect your family after you’re gone.

Get peace of mind with one phone call to Final Expense Direct today, dial 1-800-217-0014, and you get through right away to a live person on the other end.

Recapping the 995 plan from Colonial Penn

$9.95 will buy one unit of insurance coverage.

If you are a 50-year old man, that means your policy will pay out a death benefit of $1,669 when you pass away (if you pass away after two years).

If you are a female, your unit will pay out $2,000 in death benefits if you pass away after two years.

If you are an 85-year old man, that same unit will only pay out $418 if you pass away after two years.

If you are an 85-year old woman, the death benefit will go up to $468. Should you pass away within 2 years of taking out the plan, you will only receive your premiums back plus a little interest, and no death benefit whatsoever. 

The ads for the Colonial Penn $9.95 plan are extremely deceptive because although it seems that you can obtain $10,000 in life insurance for just $9.95 per month, the actual death benefit will be much lower.

The older you are, the lower the death benefit you are entitled to, despite paying the same unit price as others. 

The payout depends on your gender and age, as well as the number of units you’ve purchased.

For example, a 63-year old man’s beneficiaries will receive $1,000 in death benefits upon their passing for each unit they’ve purchased.

A 66-year old woman who purchased 10 units is entitled to a $12,000 payout as each unit pays out $1,200. 

Colonial Penn has been criticized for using highly deceptive advertisements, which may mislead potential customers.

Their coverage has been reported to be significantly overpriced compared to other insurance carriers, potentially making it less affordable for some individuals.

Seniors aged 75 or older face a waiting period before their coverage becomes effective. 

The company also has limited options available for individuals below age 40 or above 85.

They have strict underwriting for their whole life coverage, including health questions that can result in denials for common health issues.

The unit system used by Colonial Penn to determine coverage amounts can be confusing for policyholders. 

While you cannot get $50,000 in life insurance death benefits with the $9.95 plan, you can buy a whole life permanent insurance policy with a maximum death benefit of $50,000 from Colonial Penn. 


The coverage cost will depend on your age and type of insurance. 


A 40-year female will pay around $62.08 for $50,000 in coverage per month, and a 40-year man will pay around $76.04 per month.

Find the Right Policy For You with Final Expense Direct

Don’t be fooled by plans that look like a deal and end up being a steal. Speak to Final Expense Direct. We provide affordable life insurance options that provide you with complete peace of mind.

Simply call 1-800-217-0014 to speak to a live agent about your options. They will guide you directly to the best possible plan according to your needs and budget.

You’ll receive approval over the phone and can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of after you pass away.

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