Ethos Life Insurance Review

Read more below to find out if Ethos is the right carrier for you.

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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Ethos at a glance

Pros: Cons:
  • No medical exam required (in most cases)
  • Limited cash-value coverage options available
  • Easy online application process
  • Limited life insurance rider choices
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Quotes available without speaking to a life insurance agent

  • Ethos Life Insurance review

    Ethos is a technology-focused company created to match customers with a wide range of life insurance policy options. While not an insurance provider themselves, Ethos works with a number of partner companies to provide life insurance at affordable rates. 

    The company allows you to select coverage amounts and customize coverage based on your specific needs. Founded as a startup in San Francisco, Ethos set out with the goal of taking the hassle out of the life insurance application process and making finding a policy as painless as possible. The company highlights that many of its policies require no medical exam, in many cases. U.S. citizens aged 20 to 85 can apply for a life insurance policy through Ethos.

    In our review, we’ll break down how Ethos works and whether or not the company can help you find the right life insurance policy.

    How does Ethos work?

    Ethos describes itself as a “licensed producer and third-party administrator” that works with a number of carriers to sell life insurance policies. The company allows you to compare life insurance rates for policies from their partners. While they may not offer as many life insurance products as other companies, Ethos does offer both whole and term life insurance policies that will meet the needs of many customers. 

    Ethos allows you to shop quotes and customize the type of coverage that you are looking for. For instance, customers shopping for a term life policy have a choice of term lengths that range from 10 to 30-year terms. Coverage amounts can be customized and range from $50,000 up to $1.5 million.

    In most cases, customers aren't required to take a medical examination to obtain coverage. However, if Ethos needs more information about your health, the company could require an examination in order to offer coverage. 


    The application process

    Signing up for Ethos is a rather straightforward process. The company claims that getting quotes through their site takes as little as ten minutes. Indeed, the interface is clean and easy to follow. Customers will need to answer a series of questions about age and overall health. Other personal information such as an email address and a partial social security number (for identity verification) are required to receive your quote. Most customers will have an answer to their application very quickly. 

    Customizing your policy is easy and updated rates are quickly reflected. Furthermore, after you receive a quote, you are under no obligation to purchase the policy. 

    Ethos Life Insurance offerings

    What is the difference between term and whole life insurance?

    Term life: Term life is a type of life insurance that offers a death benefit for the insured. Term life insurance policies can be purchased in 10 to 30-year terms.

    These policies tend to be cheaper than whole life policies and are good for covering end of life expenses and replacing income in the event of the insured's death. Experts suggest a policy limit of that is 10x your annual income, but coverage limits are flexible based on your needs. 

    Whole life: Whole life is a form of permanent life insurance that provides a death benefit similar to term life policies. However, whole life policies also include a cash value component that accrues interest over time. This money can actually be accessed before the death of the insured through loans or cashing out the policy.

    Whole life policies are better for individuals who have already set aside money for retirement. 

    Where is Ethos coverage available?

    Ethos operates in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The company does not offer policies in New York State.

    Ethos partner carriers

    Ethos works with a number of reputable life insurance companies to provide both term and whole life insurance policies. Each company carries its own reputation and ratings from different agencies, which we will go over below.

    Legal & General America
    Legal & General America

    Legal & General America is the parent company of William Penn and Banner Life Insurance, two very established carriers. Policies issued through Legal & General America are term life policies. Fully underwritten policies may require a medical exam, but others are what's called "simplified issue" and do not require an exam. 

    • J.D. Power — Not rated
    • Financial strength — Superior (A+): AM Best rates both William Penn and Banner Life Insurance with a rating of Superior, meaning that the company is in great financial shape.
    • NAIC Rating — Excellent: Legal & General America itself does not have a complaint ratio score, but its subsidiaries have been rated by the NAIC. For individual life policies, Banner Life Insurance received a .29 complaint ratio from the NAIC for the year 2020, while William Penn received a .60. Both subsidiaries recorded scores that were considerably better than the industry average. 
    AAA Life Insurance
    AAA Life Insurance

    Ethos partners with AAA to provide whole life insurance policies. These guaranteed issue whole life insurance policies are particularly good for applicants over the age of 65 who meet the standards. They are cash-value policies that accrue value over time and do not require a medical exam. 

    • J.D. Power — Not rated
    • Financial strength — Excellent: According to AM Best, AAA’s financial strength rating is high, meaning policyholders can feel confident in the company’s ability to pay out for claims. 
    • NAIC Rating — Poor: AAA life insurance recorded a complaint ratio of 1.61 Individual life policies, somewhat higher than average. 

    TruStage — a subsidiary of CMFG Life Insurance — provides term life insurance coverage. Policies purchased through TruStage are simplified issue, and do not require a medical exam.

    • J.D. Power — Not rated
    • Financial strength — Excellent: According to AM Best, TruStage’s parent company, CMFG Life Insurance has a high degree of financial strength, meaning the company’s ability to pay out claims is strong. 
    • NAIC Rating — Excellent: CMFG Life Insurance had an NAIC complaint ratio of 0.62 for the year 2020, meaning the company garnered significantly fewer complaints than average.
    Ameritas Life Insurance Corp.
    Ameritas Life Insurance Corp.

    Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. offers policies that are simplified issue, meaning that the underwriting process is fairly streamlined compared to traditional underwriting. Oftentimes this involves answering a series of questions about your medical history which are then verified through driving records. These types of policies typically do not require a medical exam. 

    • J.D. Power — Not rated
    • Financial strength — Excellent (A): AM Best rates Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. as having strong financial strength. 
    • NAIC Rating — Excellent: In the individual life category, Ameritas Life Insurance received a score of 0.67, meaning that it registered fewer complaints than the average insurance company.


    Ethos operates in a different manner than most life insurance providers. Because of this, certain questions often arise from prospective customers. We've answers a few of the more common questions about Ethos life insurance below. 

    How does Ethos work?

    Ethos partners with respected life insurance companies to provide life insurance quotes for term and whole life policies. They simplify the application process with an easy-to-use online application form that forgoes the need for a medical examination (in most cases). Since the company partners with multiple insurance providers, the approval process differs depending on each companies individual underwriting processes. Still, most customers receive an answer to their online application with a few minutes of applying.  

    Does Ethos offer life insurance for seniors?

    Yes, seniors aged 65 to 85 can apply for guaranteed issue whole life insurance. This is a type of life insurance offered through Ethos that does not require a medical examination. 

    How much does Ethos life insurance cost?

    The price of an Ethos life insurance policy can vary greatly depending on your age, level of health, and the type of policy that you choose. However, Ethos provides sample rates based on a ten-year term life insurance policy with death benefits of $1 million. Below you'll find a rundown of the average monthly life insurance premiums for non-smokers by age:

    • 25 years old — $58
    • 35 years old — $65
    • 45 years old — $135
    • 55 years old — $316
    • 65 years old — $790
    What is simplified issue life insurance?

    Simplified issue life insurance is a standard life insurance policy that is less reliant on health-based information from the applicant. In general, these policies require no medical examination. Applicants can expect a quicker turnaround on their life insurance application, meaning that a policy can be put into place in a matter of days instead of the weeks or months required by fully underwritten policies that require a medical exam. These are typically term life policies, but some insurers may offer whole life policies that are simplified issue as well. Customers may find that these policies are more costly in the long run, as insurers have less medical information on which to base premiums. 

    Is Ethos right for for you?

    In general, if you are looking for standard levels of coverage and don’t require a large variety of additional coverage types, Ethos could be a great fit. They can pair you with a policy that meets most needs with monthly premiums that aren't likely to break the bank. Customer reviews are quite strong and most of their partner carriers rank well with third-party rating agencies. Similarly, the Better Business Bureau rates them with an A+, signifying high levels of customer satisfaction. That said, if you require larger policies or would prefer a larger selection of life insurance riders, it might be worthwhile to search elsewhere.

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