2023 Great Western Burial Insurance Review – Pros & Cons

Our Great Western burial insurance review will look at the three products sold by the company.

One product is good, but we don’t recommend the two.

Keep reading to know if their burial insurance products are right for you.

Table of Contents

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What to Ask Before Buying Great Western Life Insurance

What life insurance products does Great Western offer?

Great Western offers three burial insurance products.

#1 – Great Assurance Plan – Level benefit plan with first-day coverage.
#2 – Graded Benefit Plan – Death benefit is phased in for the first two years.
#3 – Guaranteed Assurance Plan – This is a 2-year waiting period plan.

#1 – GREAT ASSURANCE – Level Benefit Plan with first-day coverage

Great Assurance is a simplified issue plan with no medical exam. You will only need to answer three health questions on the application. To qualify for this plan, you must respond “NO” to all the health questions.

Great Assurance provides first-day coverage without waiting for the death benefit to kick in. Great Assurance will pay 100% of the death benefit when you pass away.

This product also offers additional value by increasing the death benefit by 120%. If you bought $10,000 coverage, your death benefit would be $12,000 when you pass away.

Issue ages50 to 85
Face amount available$1,000–$40,000
Simplified issueNo medical exam required
Guaranteed death benefit The benefit will never decrease
Cash value builds up Accumulates over time
Level premiumGuaranteed never to increase
Additional benefit Up to 120% of the face amount
Accelerated death benefit at no additional cost

#2 – GRADED BENEFIT PLAN – First-day benefit

The Graded Benefit Plan is designed for people who will not qualify for the Great Assurance plan because of health issues. Your death benefit will be phased in if you qualify for this plan.

Your beneficiary will receive 30% of the death benefit if you die within the first year. 70% within the second year and 100% if you die in the third year.

Issue ages50 to 85
Face amount available$1,000–$40,000
Simplified issueNo medical exam required
Guaranteed death benefit The benefit will never decrease
Cash value builds up Accumulates over time
Level premiumGuaranteed never to increase
Additional benefit Up to 120% of the face amount
Death benefitPhased in Year 1- 30% Year 2 - 70% Year 3 - 100%

(Not available in A.K. HI, NY, and WA)

#3 – GUARANTEED ASSURANCE – 2-Year waiting period

The Guaranteed Assurance plan has a two-year waiting period. Great Western will pay the full death benefit if death occurs by accident.

For natural causes of death during the first two years, the death benefit will be 110% of the premiums paid to date.

After the first two years, 100% of the death benefit will be paid for accidental and natural causes.

Issue Ages40-80
Face Amount$1,000–$40,000
Simplified issueNo exam required
Level premiumPremium never goes up
Cash value build-upAccumulates over the years

How is Great Western life insurance good for Seniors?

All Great Western burial insurance plans are whole life insurance policies.

Waiting period policies are never good, and first-day coverage policies are always preferred.

Unlike pre-need funeral insurance, burial insurance provides the funds directly to your beneficiary to cover your funeral cost and other end-of-life expenses. The beneficiary can keep any money left over after paying the final expenses.

Most burial insurance companies cap their death benefit amount at $25,000. However, Great Western offers up to $40,000 in death benefits for Great Assurance and Guaranteed Assurance plans.

If you want more coverage to leave to your family, buying Great Western burial insurance is an option.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Great Western Insurance?

#1 – Great Assurance


  • Lifetime coverage, you will stay protected till age 121
  • Easy application and approval over the phone with an agent
  • First-day coverage and protection that starts on your first payment date


  • Strict underwriting where only people in good health qualify
  • Fewer applications are approved for people with moderate to severe health issues
  • Expensive rates compared with other insurance companies offering first-day coverage plan

#2 – Graded Benefit


  • Easy phone application and approval within minutes
  • Cash value builds over time which you can borrow or use for premium payments
  • First-day benefit and protection begins on the first day, but benefits are phased in over time


  • Not available in all states
  • Expensive rates compared with other insurance companies

#3 – Guaranteed Assurance


  • You can buy a small coverage amount
  • No medical exam or health questions to answer
  • Everyone gets approved regardless of health or medical condition


  • Guaranteed assurance has a mandatory 2-year waiting period
  • Expensive premium compared with other insurance companies
  • The maximum age to qualify is 80. If you are over age 80, you are out of luck.

Are There Any Riders Or Other Benefits With Great Western Life Insurance?

Great Western Riders1

Life insurance riders can be added to the policy to enhance or customize their benefits. Great Western offers three riders:

  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider: “Included at no additional cost. The benefit is paid as a lump-sum payment based on the present value of the death benefit.
  • Accelerated Terminal Illness: “Life expectancy is 12 months or less”
  • Accelerated Chronic Illness: “Cannot perform activities of daily living (ADLs) for at least 90 days or requires substantial supervision
  • Accidental Death Rider: “Optional rider that pays out the full face amount, in addition to the policy’s benefit.”
  • Child or Grandchild Protection Rider: “Optional coverage that the applicant can purchase at the time of application or during a qualifying event for only $1 per month on policies with a face amount of $5,000 or more. This rider will pay $2,500 on the death of a dependent child or grandchild.”

Great Western Other Benefits

Policy Loans: “Available when policy has cash surrender value at 8% in arrears.”

How Do I Get Approved By Great Western?

The great Western application process is fairly simple…unless you don’t qualify.

What Are Great Western’s Application Questions?


1. In the last two years, has the applicant been a patient in hospice, a hospital, or nursing home for five or more days? (Yes – No)

2. Is the applicant unable to perform routine activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring to or from the bed or chair? (Yes – No)

3. In the last two years, has the applicant been diagnosed with, been prescribed medication for, or treated by healthcare provider for any of the following diseases:

a) diabetes requiring insulin, with complications, or requiring 3 or more medications (Yes – No)

b) Internal Cancer, malignant melanoma, leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, or lymphoma (Yes – No)

c) heart surgery including bypass, angioplasty or stent placement, congestive heart failure, heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, or aneurysm; (Yes – No)

d) emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or oxygen use (Yes – No)

e) a neuromuscular disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s, or Multiple Sclerosis (Yes – No)

f) kidney failure or dialysis (Yes – No)

g) liver disease such as chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis (Yes – No)

h) dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or schizophrenia (Yes – No)

i) alcohol or drug abuse (Yes – No)

j) organ transplant (Yes – No)

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome-Related Complex (ARC), (Yes – No)

If all health questions are answered “NO,” you will be eligible for Great Assurance with a level death benefit.

If any health questions are answered “YES” or are not answered, Great Western will offer you a Graded Benefit plan or Guaranteed Assurance plan with a two-year graded death benefit period.

When Should I Consider Great Western Life Insurance?

You can also consider Great Western to get a higher death benefit. Great Western offers up to $40,000 in death benefits for their Great Assurance and Graded Benefit plan.

Does Great Western Have A Same Day Approval Process?

Great Western has a same-day approval process using an online electronic application tool with an agent over the phone.

How Can I Get Great Western Life Insurance Pricing?

Great Western life insurance rates are based on your age, gender, health, coverage amount, and the state you live in at the time of application.


If you are open to looking at better insurance companies with better rates, we can offer you some help!

Common Great Western Company Questions

What Is Great Western’s Operational History

Great Western Insurance Company (GWIC) was established in 1983 in Ogden, Utah. It was founded by John E. Lindquist, the owner of Lindquist Mortuaries and Cemeteries, a family business spanning five generations.

From the start, Great Western writes life insurance and annuities specifically intended to fund pre-arranged funeral funds. Great Western Insurance is licensed in 46 states and the District of Columbia.

After operating independently for over three decades, Great Western was acquired by the American Enterprise Group in 2018.

While relatively new to the life insurance industry compared to other companies with over 100 years of operation, Great Western has grown into a company with over $2.4 billion in assets.

Company Address
1851 Miehe Drive
Grimes, IA 50111-6627

Website: https://gwic.com
Customer Service: (515) 247-2435
Email: fecustomerservice@gwic.com

What Is Great Western’s Financial Rating?

Great Western was awarded an “A-” or excellent rating from A.M. Best which is a reliable indicator of their financial well-being.

A.M. Best is a non-government independent third-party agency that provides its ranking on the financial strength of insurance companies.

Does Great Western Have Any Consumer Complaints?

Great Western has six complaints filed with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2021. These complaints concern premiums, billing, surrender problems, delays, policy delivery, and premium refund.

What Should You Know Before Buying Great Western Life Insurance?

What is Great Western’s Sales Process?

Great Western is not a “Captive Carrier.”

Independent insurance agencies like Funeral Funds of America can sell Great Western insurance products.

Some agencies only sell Great Western products and never tell you about other companies’ lower rates.

Informed buyers know that almost all other life insurance companies offer better coverage and rates, and most come with no waiting period.

Are Any Health Conditions Not Accepted By Great Western?

These health issues are not accepted for the Great Assurance first-day coverage plan:

  • Activities Of Daily Living (ADLs)
  • Alzheimer’s or Dementia
  • AIDs, HIV, ARC
  • Current Cancer
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Dementia
  • Dialysis
  • Diabetic Amputation
  • End-stage Renal Disease
  • Hospice
  • Nursing Home Confinement
  • Organ or Tissue Transplant
  • Oxygen Use
  • Terminal Illness

If you have any of these health issues, you will be offered a Guaranteed Assurance plan with a two-year waiting period.

How Can I Get Pricing Help Today?

Use our quoting software below to see how Great Western pricing compares to other companies.

  • $10,000 to 15,000 is often appropriate for burial needs
  • $3,000 to $7,000 is often appropriate for cremation needs

What Are The Top 10 Questions About Great Western

Do you need a medical exam to qualify for Great Western life insurance? You don’t need a medical exam to qualify for Great Western life insurance.
Does Great Western life insurance accumulate cash value? Great Western burial insurance plans accumulate cash value over time.
Does Great Western life insurance expire? Great Western burial insurance plans never expire. They will remain active throughout your life if you continue paying your premiums on time.
How can I find a replacement for my Great Western policy? You can find a replacement for your Great Western policy by working with an independent life insurance agent who can price shop for you and recommend the best insurance policy with the lowest pricing.
How do I cancel my Great Western life insurance policy? You can cancel your Great Western life insurance by providing a signed written request via email, mail, or fax. You can also call customer care at (800) 733-5454 to immediately cancel your automatic draft request.
Who owns Great Western life insurance? The American Enterprise Group acquired great Western Life insurance in 2018.
How long has Great Western been in business? Great Western has been in the insurance business for more than 38 years.
How can I get a Great Western life insurance quote? Get a free quote from Great Western by filling in the quote form on this page.
How old do you have to be to apply for Great Western insurance coverage? You must be 40-80 years old to apply for Great Western life insurance coverage.
What are the common terms used when searching for Great Western Insurance?
    Here are some common terms people use when searching for, or describing COMPANYXXX life insurance Products:
  • Great Western Burial Insurance
  • Great Western Cremation Insurance
  • Great Western Final Expense Insurance
  • Great Western Funeral Insurance
  • Great Western Term Life Insurance
  • Great Western Universal Life Insurance
  • Great Western Whole Life Insurance

Sources Cited In This Article
1 Great Western. “Final Expense Highlight Sheet.” Accessessed November 11, 2022. https://online.fliphtml5.com/yuyfg/uuxv/#p=2

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