Ethos Life Insurance Review 2024

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Written by Georgia Rose
Lead Writer
Profile photo of Katia Iervasi
Edited by Katia Iervasi
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

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Ethos

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Ethos offers term and whole life insurance online, with policies issued by trustworthy third-party insurers.
GET A QUOTE
from Ethos

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

More than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam
insurance-product-card-logo
GET A QUOTE
from Ethos

Ethos

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Bottom line: Ethos offers term and whole life insurance online, with policies issued by trustworthy third-party insurers.

Financial strength rating

Strong

Online purchase

Yes

NAIC complaints

More than expected

Policies offered

Term, permanent & no-exam

In our life insurance reviews, our editorial team considers the customer and the insurer. These are some of the factors we take into account:

Policies offered. There are many types of life insurance on the market, and they fall into three key categories:

  • Term life insurance offers temporary coverage and a guaranteed payout if the policyholder dies during the term.

  • Permanent life insurance typically lasts a lifetime and builds cash value that can be borrowed against in the future.

  • No-exam life insurance issues coverage without the need for a medical exam.

Financial strength. We use AM Best ratings to confirm an insurer’s long-term financial stability and ability to pay claims. For life insurance, NerdWallet typically recommends considering insurers with ratings of A- or higher. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Exceptional: A+, A++.

  • Strong: A-, A.

  • Moderate: B, B+.

Complaints. These ratings are based on complaints to state regulators relative to a company’s size, according to three years’ worth of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The best life insurance companies have fewer than the expected number of complaints.

Buy online. This indicates whether an insurer allows you to apply for and buy a policy completely online.

Launched in 2016, Ethos offers term and whole life policies online. The fully digital application is typically quick to complete, and no medical exam is required.

Ethos uses data such as your motor vehicle records, family medical history and current drug prescriptions to calculate eligibility and set rates.

Why you can trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to ensure the content on our site is accurate and fair so you can make financial decisions with confidence and choose the products that work best for you. Here is a list of our partners, and here’s how we make money.

Ethos life insurance rating

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Ethos earned 3 stars out of 5 for overall performance. NerdWallet’s ratings are determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula takes into account consumer experience, complaint data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and financial strength ratings.

Ethos life insurance policies

Term life insurance. Ethos offers term life insurance to people ages 20 to 65 in all states except New York, with coverage ranging from $20,000 to $2 million. You can choose a policy lasting 10, 15, 20 or 30 years, and policies are issued by various carriers including Legal & General America, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and TruStage.

Ethos doesn’t require a life insurance medical exam, but you’ll need to answer questions about your health. It typically bases its decision on your responses, as well as third-party data — like MIB Group records. But in some cases, an underwriter may contact you asking for more information.

Whole life insurance. The company also sells whole life insurance to people 66 to 85 years old. Applicants are approved instantly regardless of health history, and coverage amounts range from $1,000 to $30,000. Policies are offered through TruStage, and available in all states but New York.

Ethos life insurance rates

Below are monthly rates for a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy from Ethos. These are sample rates for a nonsmoking man and woman in excellent health — the final quote you’re offered will depend on factors like your age, health, lifestyle, occupation and driving record.

Age

Monthly rate - man

Monthly rate - woman

20

$22

$16

30

$23

$17

40

$38

$29

50

$89

$70

60

$298

$186

Source: Direct from insurer. Rates reflect the super preferred class and were generated on 2/9/24.

Ethos customer complaints

Over three years, Legal & General, TruStage and Ameritas, the carriers that issue Ethos’ policies, collectively drew more than the expected number of complaints to state regulators for companies of their sizes, according to a NerdWallet analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

What it’s like to apply for policy with Ethos

Ethos’ online application process is seamless, with a sleek interface. You can start a term life insurance application from the homepage. You’ll then answer standard questions about your financial dependents, health and smoking status, as well as when you need coverage — Ethos can issue policies on the same day for eligible applicants. If you identify as non-binary or transgender, note that Ethos will ask for your sex at birth.

To help you calculate how much life insurance you need, the application asks whether you have an estate plan, will or any outstanding debt. Ethos then recommends a policy length and coverage amount, and you can use the sliding scale to make adjustments.

If you have questions while you’re filling out the application, you can call 415-915-0665 to connect with an agent.

Screenshot captured by our editorial team on May 17, 2024.

Screenshot captured by our editorial team on May 17, 2024.

How Ethos’ customer experience stacks up

Ethos’ site is easy to use and navigate. The company advertises its agent support, and it has customer service representatives available via phone or email.

When we called the customer service line, we waited two minutes before speaking to a human. The representative was able to answer questions about the amount of term life coverage you can buy ($50,000 to $2 million) and how the accelerated death benefit rider works. They also knew that only one of Ethos’ partners — Banner Life — offers this rider.

Despite being an online-only insurer, Ethos doesn’t have an app or live chat option.

How to contact Ethos

Ethos can be reached by:

  • Phone: Call 888-384-6754 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT. You can leave a voicemail outside of those times and request a call back during business hours.

  • Email: Send a message to [email protected].

  • Live chat: Not available.

More about Ethos life insurance

Through Ethos’ site, you can get a quote, calculate how much life insurance you need and learn more about the company’s policies. Once your application is approved, you can adjust your coverage or term length by speaking with an agent. You’ll need to contact customer support to change beneficiaries or cancel your coverage.

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Life insurance buying guide

Before you start comparing companies, choose the type of life insurance you want, such as term or whole life. Decide which life insurance riders, if any, you want the policy to include. Calculate how much life insurance you need and how long you want the coverage to last. Check that the insurers you’re considering offer the coverage you’re looking for.

When comparing rates, be sure the quotes are for the same amount of coverage over the same period of time. It’s also important to make sure the policy’s medical requirements match your needs. For example, if you want to skip the life insurance medical exam but don’t mind answering health questions, confirm that the application process for each policy you're comparing aligns with that.

Price may not be the biggest driver behind your decision to buy. Look at the number of consumer complaints each company receives, as high numbers can be a red flag about the quality of service.

For more guidance, see our life insurance buying guide.

Methodology

Life insurance ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s life insurance ratings are based on consumer experience, complaint index scores from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for individual life insurance, and weighted averages of financial strength ratings, which indicate a company’s ability to pay future claims. Within the consumer experience category, we consider ease of communication and website transparency, which looks at the depth of policy details available online. To calculate each insurer’s rating, we adjusted the scores to a curved 5-point scale.

These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

Insurer complaints methodology

NerdWallet examined complaints received by state insurance regulators and reported to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2020-2022. To assess how insurers compare with one another, the NAIC calculates a complaint index each year for each subsidiary, measuring its share of total complaints relative to its size, or share of total premiums in the industry. To evaluate a company’s complaint history, NerdWallet calculated a similar index for each insurer, weighted by market shares of each subsidiary, over the three-year period. NerdWallet conducts its data analysis and reaches conclusions independently and without the endorsement of the NAIC. Ratios are determined separately for auto, home (including renters and condo) and life insurance.

In This Review . . .