Ethos Life Insurance Review

Easy online application for no-medical-exam term and final expense coverage

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Ethos

Ethos

Investopedia’s Rating
4.0

Our Take

Ethos offers a streamlined online application process that doesn’t require a medical exam for most applicants, and policies are underwritten by established insurers with high marks for financial strength. Ethos also offers affordable pricing for term coverage. But the company requires extensive personal information for a quote, even though quote estimates are provided without personally identifying information. And with limited customization options, relatively low coverage limits, and no traditional permanent policies or term conversion options, Ethos won’t meet everyone’s needs. 

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
  • specifications
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Policies issued by financially strong companies

  • Streamlined online application

  • Up to $2 million in no-medical-exam term coverage

  • Affordable pricing for term coverage

Cons
  • Few available riders

  • No term conversion options

  • Maximum issue age for term coverage is 65

  • Requires detailed personal information to see quotes

Company Overview

Ethos was founded in 2016 with the goal of providing easier access to affordable life insurance coverage. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Ethos policies are issued by Legal & General America (Banner Life and William Penn), Ameritas Life Insurance Corp., and TruStage. Ethos offers policies nationwide.

specifications
AM Best Rating
A+
NAIC Score (avg.)
N/A
Years In Business
6 Years
Policy Types
Final Expense, Term
Accepts Credit Cards
Yes
Why Trust Us
91
Companies reviewed
55
Features considered
5,005
Data points analyzed
We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then evaluated each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews.
Ethos

Ethos

Investopedia’s Rating
4.0

Pros Explained

  • Policies issued by financially strong companies: Policies are issued by Legal & General America (through Banner Life and William Penn) as well as Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and TruStage. All are well-established insurance providers with an A or better financial strength rating from AM Best.
  • Streamlined online application: You won’t need to speak to an agent unless you want to, and the Ethos online application can be completed in minutes. 
  • Up to $2 million in no-medical-exam term coverage: Most applicants will not need a medical exam to get coverage, even with face amounts up to $2 million. 
  • Affordable pricing for term coverage: Pricing for Ethos term policies is fairly good, relative to the 32 term insurers we collected quotes for.

Cons Explained

  • Few available riders: While a terminal illness rider is included, Ethos offers few other endorsements that allow for customized coverage. 
  • No term conversion options: Since Ethos doesn’t offer permanent policies beyond its final expense policy for seniors, you won’t have the option to convert your term coverage to a whole or universal policy. 
  • Maximum issue age for term coverage is 65: While some companies issue term life insurance up to age 75, the maximum issue age for term coverage from Ethos is 65. 
  • Requires detailed personal information to see quotes: You can get a quote “range” (e.g., $9 to $11 per month) without supplying any personally identifying information. But if you want a more specific quote, the company requires your full name, address, phone number, email, and the last four digits of your social security number.

Complaint Index

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) doesn’t report a complaint index for Ethos, since the company doesn’t issue its own policies. But Ethos's policies are backed by top life insurance providers which all have complaint indexes with the NAIC. The NAIC complaint index measures how many complaints an insurer received relative to its market share.

An index of 1.00 indicates that a company received the expected number of consumer complaints for its size, and an index of less than 1.00 means it received fewer complaints than expected. Below are the average NAIC complaint indexes for each company that Ethos works with. (Banner and William Penn are the life insurance arms of Legal & General.)

Insurance Company NAIC Index: 3-Year Average 
Banner Life 0.10
William Penn  0.21
Ameritas Life  0.39
CMFG/TruStage  0.58 

Most of the insurers that issue policies through Ethos received fewer complaints than expected, on average, over the last three years.

Third-Party Ratings

The insurance companies that Ethos works with all have excellent ratings for financial stability from AM Best, an independent credit ratings agency that evaluates insurers. AM Best ratings are important because they indicate whether a company is likely to meet its future financial obligations to policyholders. We typically don’t recommend any companies that score below the A-bracket. 

Ethos administers policies that are issued by Legal & General America, via Banner Life and William Penn, which has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best. Ethos also sells policies issued by Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and partners with TruStage, which administers life insurance for CMFG. Both of these companies are rated A (Excellent) by AM Best.

Policies Available

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific period of time. Ethos policies come in 10-, 15-, 20-, or 30-year terms and are available to issue ages 20 to 65. You can buy anywhere from $20,000 to $2 million in coverage, and if you die during the term, your beneficiaries will receive the full death benefit. Ethos policies are also renewable beyond the initial term of coverage, at a higher premium. Term life insurance policies don’t build cash value, and if you outlive the term and don’t renew coverage, your family won’t receive a payout. But term policies are much more affordable than permanent life insurance policies. 

Though you can renew an Ethos term policy when it expires, you won’t be able to convert it to a permanent policy. If you want that option, you’ll need to choose term insurance from another provider. 

Final Expense Insurance

Final expense insurance is another term for a small whole life insurance that’s offered without a medical exam. Premiums are level and coverage is permanent. Ethos offers between $1,000 and $30,000 in coverage to seniors aged 66 to 85. If the insured dies of an accident at any time, the beneficiaries receive the full death benefit. But depending on eligibility and state availability, there may be a graded death benefit period for two to three years for death from natural causes. During this period, your beneficiaries will only receive premiums you paid plus a percentage. But acceptance is guaranteed regardless of your health history. 

Available Riders

Riders are add-ons that help you customize your life insurance coverage, so you can do things like access living benefits or pause premiums if you become disabled. Many of our top-rated companies offer a broad selection of riders, but Ethos only offers a few options. 

Terminal Illness Rider

This rider lets you access a portion of the death benefit should you be diagnosed with a terminal illness resulting in a certain life expectancy. Ethos may include this rider on some policies at no additional upfront cost. 

Accidental Death Benefit

Available to some applicants, this rider offers an additional benefit if the cause of the insured’s death is an accident. 

Perks Rider

Included with whole life policies for seniors, this rider provides a free, one-year membership to Legacy Assurance, which can help you get discounts on certain funeral expenses. 

Customer Service

Ethos offers an entirely online process, but if you need to speak with a human for assistance, you’ll have access to licensed, non-commissioned agents on weekdays between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. CST. You can call 415-855-4331 to activate your policy or 415-915-0665 for general support. You can also text 415-702-1844. At any time, you can get in touch with Ethos at one of the following email addresses. 

How We Review Life Insurance Carriers

We designed a comprehensive ranking methodology based on consumer priorities and life insurance company fundamentals to rank more than 90 insurers across five general categories: financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, the overall buying experience, and cost.

In order to do this, we collected over 5,000 data points and scored each company based on 55 metrics. We grouped metrics by category to see how insurers performed in each; we then weighted category scores to determine how companies performed overall.

To learn more, read our full Life Insurance Methodology.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. AM Best.  “AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Legal & General Group Plc and Its Subsidiaries.”

  2. AM Best. "AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Subsidiaries of CUNA Mutual Holding Company."

  3. AM Best. "Ameritas Life Insurance Corp."