Guarantee Trust Life Burial Insurance Review: 10 Key Facts

Guarantee Trust Life Burial Insurance Review
Guarantee Trust Life Burial Insurance Review: 10 Key Facts

Black and white GTL logo

Planning for the end of one’s life is never the easiest thing to discuss or research. It can be an emotional but extremely necessary discussion.

Whether you are looking into this for you, a parent, or loved one it is crucial to understand the facts of Burial Insurance and which carriers may be best for your specific health condition.

Guarantee Trust Life Burial Insurance Review

Guarantee Trust Life was established in 1936 and has a long history of providing families and individuals with insurance products. You may hear this company referred to as GTL, this is just an abbreviated version of the legal full name.

As a 3rd generation family-run mutual company GTL has a deep history of doing what is best for the policyholders. Richard S. Holson III is currently the President, CEO, and Chairman of the board.

He followed his father and grandfather who held the same positions.

GTL offers many different product types but with this specific review, we will be digging into the Heritage Plan that is meant for seniors to pay for their end of life expenses.

Company Details

  • Established: 1936
  • Financial Rating: A-
  • Headquarters: Glenview, IL

The Heritage Whole Life Plan

Heritage Whole Life Plan

Quick facts about this plan

  • Available in 48 states (CA, NY not included)
  • Age Eligibility: 40 – 90
  • 5 Simple Health Questions
  • No Medical Exam
  • Coverage Amount: $2,500-$25,000
  • Premiums Never Increase
  • Coverage is Locked and Never Changes
  • Favorable Waiting Period Death Benefit
  • Builds Cash Value
  • Temporary Accidental Death Benefit
  • Auto Premium Loan

What does it take to qualify?

With this plan, you will need to answer “NO” to 5 simple yes or no health questions.

Medical tools

Medical Questions

If you answer “NO” to all of these questions, you are eligible for coverage.

If you answer “YES” to any of the questions you are not eligible for coverage.

1. Within the last twenty-four (24) months, have you been receiving kidney dialysis, require 24-hour continuous oxygen use (excluding CPAP), have an implanted defibrillator or received or been advised by a member of the medical profession to get an organ transplant?

2. Within the last twenty-four (24) months have you been diagnosed with or treated by a member of the medical profession for Alzheimer’s, dementia, or memory loss?

3. Currently diagnosed as having, or receiving treatment by a member of the medical profession for invasive cancer (excluding Stage A Prostate Cancer, Carcinoma in Situ, and Squamous Cell/Basal Cell Carcinoma)?

4. Are you currently bedridden, confined to a hospital, nursing home, mental care facility, long term care facility, hospice, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness?

5. Have you been diagnosed by a member of the medical profession as having the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), ARC, or AIDS?

10 Key Facts

1. The Price is Locked in

Once the policy has been issued your monthly cost will NEVER change. It is locked in for your entire life assuming you continue to make the payments.

While this is true with every Whole Life product but we need to be crystal clear about this point.

If you are tempted to buy a product because the price is cheaper please make sure it is not a “Term” policy. These types of policies typically start with low price points but raise in price every 5 years and then eventually terminate altogether.

When you are buying a product specifically to cover your end of life expenses it is critical that it is a Whole Life policy.

Circle around Lock

2. The Coverage is Locked in

This goes along with the last point. The death benefit, or the amount of money your beneficiary will receive, will always remain the same. This coverage will never terminate, giving you and your family the security to know that funds will be accessible when needed.

Some Term policies actually decrease the amount of money your loved ones will receive overtime.

3. Death Benefit is a True Graded Product

When looking at the market today there are many different ways these Simplified Issue Whole Life products are structured to payout. This plan has one of the most favorable payouts you will find with a Graded product.

Death Benefit Amounts: $2,500 to $25,000

  • Death Benefit in year 1 is Premiums Paid plus 5%
  • Death Benefit in year 2 is 50% of the face amount
  • Death Benefit in year 3 and beyond is 100% of the face amount

This is key when it comes to overall security for your family. A majority of Graded products on the market today only allow the return of premiums paid plus 10% for death in the first two years. This plan has a much better payout structure.

Once your beneficiary receives the payout it is a good idea to understand what burial insurance can cover.

4. No Medical Exams

This is the case for ALL Simplified Issue Whole Life policy but is important to note. The only requirement for this plan from GTL is to answer the 5 simple yes or no health questions we touched on earlier to be eligible for coverage.

Medical chart with cross through it

5. No Medical Informational Bureau Check

The Medical Informational Bureau (MIB) checks past records to cover errors, omissions, or misrepresentations on your application for coverage. This is another hoop to jump through when getting coverage.

Fortunately, GTL does not require or check this during its underwriting process. This makes it more simple and straightforward to get the coverage your family needs.

6. Temporary Accidental Death Benefit

If you were to pass away in the first two years of the policy by an accidental death then the FULL face amount would be paid out.

The death must be a direct result of an unforeseen accident that happens while the policy is in force. Once the accident happens death has to result within 180 days for the benefit to be paid out to the beneficiary.

Car crash


War Exclusion: No accidental death benefit will be paid while serving in the military as a non-combatant civilian or as a civilian.

Suicide Exclusion: If the insured dies of suicide within the first two years of the policy the carrier is only liable for the return of premiums paid minus any outstanding loan balance from the policy.

7. Bank Draft Only

Your payment method is required to be a monthly bank draft. This will require you to have a bank account in order to do business with this carrier.

Applicants on social security, have an option for the premium draft date to be scheduled on the same day as the deposit from the government on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Wednesday of each month. This will help your policy stay in effect and have no billing issues.

Credit cards, debit cards, paper checks, and your Direct Express Social Security card will not be accepted for payment. Also, the carrier will not mail a bill to you for premiums, it must all be done electronically through your bank.

sending money from bank to the carrier

8. The Policy Accumulates Cash Value

This is a small but useful feature to understand. Every time you pay into your policy a small amount goes towards the cash value. Over time you build a small cash value that you can borrow against if needed.

An auto premium loan is also included in this plan meaning that if there was ever a month the premium payment could not be met, the cash value built in your policy can help pay for a missed payment.

9. Issue Age is 40-90

When looking at other carriers and products on the market today very few companies offer coverage under the age of 50 and even fewer offer coverage for seniors over 85.

Being able to secure coverage up to age 90 is a massive benefit and provides another great reason to work with GTL.

40 till 90 years old

10. Easy Application Process

This product has one of the easiest processes on the market. Your agent will simply walk through the process with you over the phone.

After the agent receives all the needed information, there will be about a two-minute voice application process that will ask the following questions:

  • What plan are you applying for?
  • Confirm your date of birth
  • What are the last 4 digits of your social security number?
  • Did you answer everything truthfully on this application?
  • Do you understand this product comes with a monthly premium?


At Willamette Life, we specialize in getting you coverage over the phone. We have mastered a fast efficient way to securely gain coverage for you and your loved ones.

Should I Apply for the Heritage Whole Life Plan?

The answer to this question can be slightly murky for a few simple reasons. This product is meant to cover those with more severe health conditions. If you were denied by other companies upon applying for day one coverage you should then turn to this plan.

In terms of the line up of burial insurance products, GTL belongs just above Guaranteed Issue products for two simple reasons.

I. The top reason is the death benefit in the first two-year waiting period is much more favorable than a Guaranteed Issue policy.

II. The easy health acceptance guidelines listed earlier in this article.

Talk with an independent agent to find the perfect product for your specific situation.

Guaranteed Issue Vs. GTL Heritage Product

A traditional Guaranteed Issue product asks no medical questions but this comes with a trade-off. In return for no medical questions, the carrier charges a higher monthly premium and a waiting period delaying an immediate payout.

Guaranteed Issue is right for you if you have severe medical complications and are unable to answer “NO” to the 5 GTL health questions. If this is the case we recommend a Guaranteed Issue plan, AIG offers a great product.

A typical Guaranteed Issue product payout structure:

  • Death in years one and two of the policy issue date = all paid premiums returned +10%

When it comes to The Heritage plan by GTL this is like a blend between a Guaranteed Issue Product and a top tier product with immediate coverage offered by other companies.

What this means is that GTL has a better death benefit payout structure during the waiting period but not as stringent of health requirements as a top tier product.

Below is a list of health conditions that GTL will accept that would otherwise need coverage from a Guaranteed Issue plan.

  • Within the past 1-2 years recent cardiac conditions
  • Within the past 1-2 years cancer and treatment-free
  • Current Liver Disease
  • Current Hepatitis C

There is a sweet spot between individuals who are healthy and who are unhealthy, GTL hits this sweet spot.

Man playing a game with a friend

Quotes and Comparisons

Below are monthly pricing examples for GTL and 2 other carriers that offer a product with limited to no medical questions and a two-year waiting period.


*$10,000 of Coverage



*$10,000 of Coverage


*These are non-smoking rates

Blue piggy bank and money going into it

GTL Financial Stability

In 2019, a $22 million operating gain while growing surplus by 15 percent, assets by 6 percent, reserves by 7 percent, and achieving a net premium of $232 million.

Since 2017 this carrier has paid out over $100 million in hospital indemnity and cancer claims.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts about the state of this carrier’s financials.

  • $680 Million in total assets
  • $655 Million in invested assets
  • $574 Million in total liabilities
  • $540 Million in total reserves for life policies, contracts, accidental and health policies
  • $106 Million in net surplus

This chart shows where GTL invests its excess capital

GTL company revenue pie chart

A successful track record and very strong financials will give you the peace of mind needed that your policy and payout will be available when your family needs it the most.

Final Thoughts

a. During our Guarantee Trust Life Burial Insurance Review, it is clear that this is a niche product. It is meant for someone with more severe health conditions that would cause red flags for other carriers but is healthy enough to answer “NO” to their 5 medical questions.

b. It is critical that you work with an independent agent who can shop and compare prices tailored to your specific health condition. There is no one size fits all carrier and this plan overview clearly shows that. This industry niche is very specific and you need to talk with an expert who has access to many different policy types because this product may not provide YOU with the best coverage.

Willamette Life has access to many carriers to help find the best plan for you. Call us at 844-576-0019

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