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Atlantic Coast Life Annuity Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

The Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company was founded in Charleston, South Carolina back in 1925. Initially, the company served local funeral homes and families in preparation for “end of life” situations. Since then, the company has grown to a nationwide scale and offers a variety of annuity and insurance products.

Navigating all the options that come with annuities can be confusing and time-consuming. As a result, many people turn to financial advisors to help them understand which annuity makes the most sense for their financial plan. You can find up to three advisors in your area with SmartAsset’s free advisor matching tool.

Annuity Fees Annuity Type Minimum Initial Premium More Information
Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity Find an Advisor

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  • No annual contract fees
  • 0.95% Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit rider fee
  • 1.25% Accumulation Buy-Up rider fee
Fixed indexed annuity $0

Annuity Type

Fixed indexed annuity

Minimum Initial Premium

Safe Harbor Bonus Guarantee Find an Advisor

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  • No annual fees
  • Death benefit rider: 0.25% rate reduction
Fixed annuity $5,000

Annuity Type

Fixed annuity

Minimum Initial Premium

Guaranteed Income Annuity Find an Advisor

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  • No annual fees
  • Various optional benefit rider fees
Fixed indexed annuity $0

Annuity Type

Fixed indexed annuity

Minimum Initial Premium


Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company has received a B++ (Good) rating from AM Best. Other major ratings companies, like Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s, haven’t yet weighed in on the company.

Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity

The Retirement Plus Multiplier Annuity is a fixed indexed annuity that allows purchasers the potential to reap the benefits of a growing market without assuming any risk of principal loss. The contract has a minimum guaranteed rate of 0%, thereby ensuring that you won't lose money even if the market significantly declines.

This annuity comes with a fixed account and an indexed account. For the former, you can choose either a five-, seven- or 10-year fixed-rate period, with better rates applying to longer terms. The money you allocate to the indexed account will follow the performance of a specific index. Atlantic Coast Life offers indexes from Goldman Sachs and the S&P 500.

In terms of withdrawals, there are a few different rules of which you should be aware. During the first year of your contract’s life, you’ll only be able to withdraw the interest you earn on money you place in the fixed account. Once you surpass a year of ownership, you can withdraw up to 5% of your accumulated interest without paying a penalty. Furthermore, after the fifth year of your contract, you can start receiving regular payments from your annuity.


There is no annual maintenance fees to worry about with this annuity, but you would face an annual fee should you opt for either of the optional riders. If you elect the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit rider, you’ll have to pay an annual fee equal to 0.95% of the value of your annuity, also called your accumulation value. If you opt for the Accumulation Buy-Up Rider, that will come with a 1.25% annual fee.

You can make up to two penalty-free withdrawals each year, provided there’s still at least $2,500 left in your annuity. Also, any withdrawal you make must be at least $250 in size. However, if you withdraw more than 5% of your accumulation value after your first year of ownership, you’ll incur the following charges on the excess:

Withdrawal Fee Schedule
Term Length Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11+
5-Year 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 0%          
7-Year 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 0%      
10-Year 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0%

Remember that if you withdraw from your annuity before turning 59.5 years old, the IRS will hit you with a 10% income surtax.

Reasonable Return Expectations

Forecasting your returns depends on how you specifically allocate your funds within your annuity. You have the choice between the fixed account and two indexes: the S&P 500 Index and the Goldman Sachs Motif Aging of America Dynamic Balance Index.

The current first-year fixed rate is 2.00%. For the aforementioned indexes, Atlantic Coast Life has not released performance data.

Safe Harbor Bonus Guarantee

Investing in a Safe Harbor Bonus Guarantee fixed annuity allows your money to grow at a specific rate without facing taxation until withdrawal. The annuity is customizable, as you can choose how long you’d like your money to grow before you start receiving payouts. These periods can last 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 20 years.

Once you reach the end of your guaranteed growth period, it’s time for more decisions. You can withdraw all of your money in a lump sum, penalty-free; you can renew your contract and start a fresh guaranteed period; or you can convert your funds into an income stream that pays out regularly for as long as 20 years.

The Safe Harbor Bonus Guarantee annuity has an optional death benefit rider. Should you elect this rider and pass away before the end of your guaranteed period, your funds will be paid out to your beneficiary without penalty. If you die in the same situation without this rider, your funds would face a surrender charge and a potential market value adjustment (MVA) before being paid out.

If you choose the any guaranteed period besides the 20-year option, the maximum issue age is 90 years old. The 20-year guaranteed period carries a separate maximum issue age of 75.


You won’t need to worry about any annual maintenance fees with the Safe Harbor annuity. If you elect the option death benefit rider, though, an automatic 0.25% interest rate reduction will take effect.

If you attempt to withdraw funds before the end of your guaranteed period, you’ll have to pay a surrender charge. Under these circumstances, the schedule below will apply:

Withdrawal Fee Schedule
Term Length Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11-20 Year 21+
3-Year 9% 8% 7% 0%                
4-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 0%              
5-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 0%            
6-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 0%          
7-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 0%        
8-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 0%      
9-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 0%    
10-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 0%  
20-Year 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5% 0%

Since this annuity is tax-deferred, you’ll also have to pay the IRS a 10% penalty on anything you withdraw before age 59.5.

Reasonable Return Expectations

The return you can expect from the Safe Harbor Bonus Guarantee annuity will depend on a number of factors, including the amount you initially invest, the guaranteed period you choose and the interest rate that you receive. Interest rates are subject to change. As of Feb. 2021, effective rates vary from 2.79% and 3.10%.

Guaranteed Income Annuity

The Guaranteed Income Annuity can be customized to meet your specific needs. There are a number of optional features you can choose to add to your Guaranteed Income Annuity.

  • Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Rider: Allows annuitants to lock in the receipt of a regular income stream for the rest of their life, even if they outlive the funds that they invest.
  • Legacy Benefit Rider: This creates a base of funds that grows every year and will pass on to your chosen beneficiary in the event of your death.
  • Accumulation Benefit Rider: This free rider affords you 200% of the interest applied to your account value for the first 10 years of your contract’s life.

This is also a modified single-premium annuity. That means you’re able to add additional funds to your initial investment during the first 12 months after your account’s opening.


After your first year as an account holder, you have the option to withdraw up to 10% of your funds each year. If you need to withdraw more than this amount, you’ll have to pay a surrender charge on that balance:

Withdrawal Fee Schedule
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10 Year 11+
10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0%

If you opt for the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit Rider, you’ll have to pay an annual fee of 1.25% for the first five years and 1.6% for the next five years. The same is true for the Legacy Benefit Rider, though the Accumulation Benefit Rider has no fee.

Remember that if you withdraw from your account before turning 59.5, you'll incur a 10% income surtax in addition to your normal income tax rate.

Reasonable Return Expectations

Interest rates for the Guaranteed Income Annuity are determined in part by the 3-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). What this means for you is that your interest has the potential to rise during your guarantee period, but it will never fall below the guaranteed minimum that’s laid out in your contract. Additionally, the first-year fixed rate is 1.00%.

Retirement Income Tips

  • A financial advisor can be a big help in choosing annuities and figuring out how they fit into your retirement income plan. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Get started now.
  • If you’re just starting your retirement plans, it might be a good idea to figure out whether you're on pace to meet your income needs. SmartAsset’s retirement calculator is a perfect place to start.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Best Places for Small Business Owners

SmartAsset analyzed data to find the best places for small business owners in the country. This interactive map shows the best counties for small business owners in the U.S. and in each state. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any county to learn about that region's small business statistics.

Rank County Small Business Returns Small Business Income Income Taxes

Methodology Which places are best for small businesses owners? To answer this question, we considered three factors: the proportion of people in a county with small business income, how much business income those people reported and the amount of tax a potential resident must pay on their income.

To determine how attractive a region is for small business owners, we compared the number of tax returns that report small business income compared to the total tax-filing population of the region. Next, we compared the total amount of small business income to the overall amount of income reported in each region.

Small businesses are typically incorporated as pass-through entities, meaning that the business owners pay income taxes on the company profits rather than the company itself paying income tax. Because of this, income taxes can play a major role in determining the financial success of a given small business. To determine income tax burdens across counties, we used the national median household income. We then applied relevant deductions and exemptions before calculating federal, state and local income taxes for each location.

These three factors were then indexed and equally weighted to yield our small business index. Places with the highest small business index are the places which ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), US Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey, Government Sources, SmartAsset