Ethos Life Insurance Review: Fast Approval for Coverage but Lacking Policy Riders

Ethos provides policies to a variety of age groups but can come at an increased price.

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Editor's Rating

Ethos is an online insurance provider selling term and whole life coverage that can be applied for entirely through its website. Consumer ratings are generally positive regarding Ethos, with customers choosing the company for its quick application and approval process. Ethos life insurance policies are underwritten by top-rated carriers with strong financial strength ratings. Term policies at Ethos are generally more expensive than those of other online insurers.

Good for
  • A wide variety of ages (18-75) and coverage amounts ($25,000-$10 million)
  • Quick online application and approval
  • Ability to convert a term policy to whole life insurance at any point
Bad for
  • Lack of personal customer service and claims processing
  • Competitive quotes compared to other online insurers
  • People who want permanent insurance

Ethos life insurance

Ethos sells term and whole life insurance policies that can be applied for and purchased completely online. The company utilizes technology and algorithms to process your data, such as motor vehicle and prescription drug records, to see if you qualify for an Ethos policy and to set an accurate rate.

Ethos' application includes basic questions — like your birthday, height and weight — as well as health and lifestyle questions for evaluating your insurability. With traditional insurers, the approval process often takes weeks before coverage begins and the life insurance policy is delivered. With Ethos, the application is entirely online, and you can receive an approval within minutes if a physical is not required.

Policies with a death benefit of less than $1 million will not require a medical exam but will require a small questionnaire. If you are looking for more than $1 million of coverage, you may still qualify for life insurance with no medical exam unless the algorithm detects a potentially serious medical issue. In that case, you may need to get a medical exam or be denied coverage entirely.

Ethos term life insurance

Ethos offers term life insurance policies if you are between 20 and 65 years old, although the specific coverage available to you will depend on your age. Term lengths and restrictions include:

  • Ages 20-50: Term policies up to 30 years in length (smoker and nonsmoker)
  • Ages 51-60: Term policies up to 20 years (smoker and nonsmoker)
  • Ages 61-64: Term policies up to 15 years (smoker and nonsmoker)

These terms represent the number of years that you will pay premiums and receive coverage. Once the policy term ends, Ethos allows one-year policy renewals up to age 95. But premiums increase annually with each renewal.

You can purchase a term policy through Ethos with coverage ranging from $20,000 to $1.5 million. Compared to other online insurers, like Haven Life, whose policy face values range from $100,000 to $3 million, the death benefit range provided by Ethos is much more restrictive at the top end.

Ethos whole life insurance

Ethos also offers guaranteed whole life insurance policies for individuals between the ages of 65 and 85. These plans are a form of permanent life insurance, meaning they will last the entirety of your life so long as you pay the premiums. Policy face values are flexible, with options such as:

  • $10,000
  • $15,000
  • $20,000
  • $25,000

Additionally, guaranteed whole life plans through Ethos come with an accidental death benefit, cash value accruals and reduced paid-up insurance options.

If you are looking for a life insurance plan, we recommend getting a quote from Ethos, as its plans are widely available. Ethos policies are sold in 49 states and the District of Columbia (excluding New York).

Ethos policy riders

Ethos only offers one policy rider — an accelerated death benefits rider. This comes included and allows you to access a portion of the death benefit while you are still alive if you develop a qualifying medical condition.

Ethos also offers the ability to convert your term life insurance into a whole life policy at any point.

Ethos life insurance quotes

Ethos' term life insurance rates are expensive compared to other online insurers across most coverage levels. In general, if you are looking for the cheapest life insurance policy, there are other options available such as Ladder life insurance, which has cheaper policies at all coverage levels we analyzed.

Ethos life insurance quotes compared to online insurers

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As shown below, Ethos' rates are cheap compared to traditional offline insurers. This is especially true for smokers, who have monthly rates that are $34 cheaper. When considering life insurance, you should get quotes from a variety of providers, as your individual health situation and characteristics will change the rate you receive from the insurers.

Ethos life insurance quotes compared to five largest insurers

Ethos life insurance ratings and customer reviews

Ethos is a life insurance startup that was founded in 2016 by CEO Peter Colis and CTO Lingke Wang. It is headquartered in San Francisco. The company board includes many Stanford University graduates and high-profile investors. Investors include Jay-Z's company Roc Nation, Robert Downey Jr., Kevin Durant and Will Smith. Furthermore, Ethos has backing from Sequoia Capital, SoftBank and GV (formerly Google Ventures), a subsidiary of Alphabet.

The company is new, but customer reviews are positive, with the ease of the application and speed of approval being the highest-rated aspects of Ethos. You can contact Ethos through email, call and text regarding issues with your policy or claims. This means that you can easily access help and be able to chat directly with knowledgeable representatives.

Policies offered through Ethos are underwritten by some of the most established insurers within the life insurance industry. They include Legal & General America, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., AAA Life and TruStage, which all have strong financial strength ratings.


Information in this review was primarily found through the Ethos website. Quote information outside of Ethos policies was compiled from Compulife.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.