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Ethos life insurance review 2023

Updated Sep 18, 2023

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Bankrate's take

Ethos Life Insurance may be the company of choice for policyholders who prefer a digital application process and want to avoid undergoing a physical exam for life insurance.

Ethos may be a good option for policyholders who want a streamlined process when selecting a life insurance provider.

Ethos life insurance

Ethos life insurance might be a good fit for those looking for an online life insurance experience with a no-exam coverage option. Founded in 2016, Ethos partners with life insurance companies — including Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation, Mutual of Omaha and TruStage — to offer whole life and term policies. Most customers are paired with a carrier based on where they live, how old they are and what type of policy they're interested in purchasing. While its offerings may be more limited compared to other carriers, Ethos has a streamlined life insurance quoting application process that might skip the medical exam typically required by other insurers. However, the company may still ask you to complete a health questionnaire.

When purchasing a life insurance policy, you may first want to consider the main types of life insurance to decide which could be right for you. Term life insurance lasts for a certain number of years and might be a good option for individuals and families with children needing coverage for a set timeframe. On the other hand, permanent life policies last for the life of the insured as long as premiums are paid. The cost of life insurance may vary based on several factors, but term life insurance is typically cheaper than permanent life coverage, especially for young and healthy individuals.

As part of our Ethos Insurance review, we analyzed the company's product offerings:

  • Term life: Term life insurance from Ethos is available in 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year terms, with death benefit options ranging from $20,000 to $2 million. Eligibility is open to individuals between the ages of 20 and 65, and all term policies feature level premiums and are guaranteed renewable until the age of 95. Ethos offers two types of term life insurance: a simplified issue policy and a fully underwritten term policy. The first does not require a medical exam and could be ideal if you have health issues and want coverage instantly. The second does require a medical questionnaire but may also provide a higher death benefit up to the $2 million level.
  • Permanent: Unlike term coverage, permanent life insurance stays in place until you pass away, assuming you continue to pay your premiums. While several types of permanent policies exist, Ethos only offers one: whole life insurance.
    • Whole life: Ethos' whole life insurance policies are geared toward older adults aged 66 through 85 who want to leave their loved ones with financial support or a financial gift. Accidental deaths are covered immediately. Other death benefits — like for illnesses or old age — apply within two to three years, depending on your eligibility and state requirements. AAA Life underwrites Ethos whole life policies.
    • Guaranteed: Ethos' whole life policies are also considered guaranteed issue life insurance. Benefit amounts range between $1,000 and $30,000 with guaranteed level premiums, meaning your rate will not increase over the years.

Pros and cons of Ethos life insurance

  • Offers term and whole life policies

  • Simple online purchasing process

  • No medical exam required in many cases

  • Limited policy options

  • Riders will vary based on the underwriting company

  • Not the company that will handle your claim

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Ethos life insurance endorsements

Although some Ethos policies may allow you to include life insurance riders, the company does not advertise a broad range of add-ons. The endorsements available to you will likely depend on your chosen policy type and the underwriting company you are paired with.

Compare Ethos with other insurers

Whether you're shopping for the cheapest life insurance or the best coverage options, researching several companies may be a good strategy. Although life insurance quotes do not typically vary as much between companies as auto or home insurance, if you're not sure that Ethos is the right fit for you, these three carriers might be worth a look so that you can secure the best life insurance company for your needs:

Ethos vs. MassMutual

If you want a policy with more options for customization than Ethos offers, MassMutual might be a good choice. The carrier is one of the largest life insurance companies in the country by market share and has numerous potential riders that can be added to personalize your life insurance policy. There's also a mobile app for convenient policy management. MassMutual does offer as many online policy management tools, though, so if you prefer a digital experience, Ethos might be a better option.

Learn more: MassMutual Life Insurance review

Ethos vs. State Farm

State Farm was awarded a Bankrate Award for the best term life insurance provider in 2022 and 2023. With many life insurance options and riders, it could be the right fit for an individual who wants to build out a policy around their needs. Additionally, State Farm offers a wide array of local agencies if you like a more hands-on approach to life insurance. State Farm only offers State Farm life insurance, whereas Ethos uses multiple underwriting companies to match customers' needs.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Ethos vs. Guardian

If Ethos' no-exam options are attractive to you, you could consider Guardian, which has several no-exam life insurance options. Guardian is also available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., so it could be an option for New York life insurance shoppers who can't work with Ethos. Guardian only offers term life insurance quotes online, though, so if you are looking for an online whole life quote, Ethos might make more sense.

Learn more: Guardian Life Insurance review

Is Ethos a good insurance company?

Technically, Ethos isn't an insurance company; it's a licensed insurance agency that works with multiple insurers to write life insurance policies. Our Ethos Insurance review found that the company could be a good choice if you want to purchase your life insurance online or if you live near an agent that works with Ethos.

If you're looking for no-exam life insurance, Ethos may be a good fit as well, since many of its policies may be issued without a medical examination. However, because Ethos doesn't underwrite its own policies, your experience may largely depend on the insurer that you are paired with, so you may need to do additional research or use a life insurance guide to make sure that company is right for you.

Ethos customer satisfaction

Ethos' reviews are generally positive, as are the reviews of the insurers with whom it partners. One of Ethos' partners, Mutual of Omaha, may be one of the best life insurance companies on the market, with a high customer satisfaction score in the 2022 J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study and strong financial strength ratings.

Ethos' life insurance policies are generated by a handful of highly rated insurers, including AAA Life, Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation, Legal & General America and TruStage. All are experienced underwriters featuring strong ratings from AM Best and Standard & Poor's (S&P). Keep in mind, though, that financial strength and service ratings will vary based on the underwriting company that you are placed with. You may want to consider getting a quote from Ethos and researching the specific underwriting company assigned to your potential policy.

Ethos life tools and benefits

While Ethos' primary platform seems to be its online quoting, it does offer life insurance products to insurance agents and brokers, so you may be able to work with a local agent. This could be especially beneficial if you feel you need a little more guidance or aren't sure how much life insurance you need. You could also use a tool, like a life insurance calculator, to help you determine an appropriate coverage amount before getting an Ethos quote online. Ethos also offers the following products and benefits:

  • Free will: Ethos offers a free will and estate planning tools when policyholders purchase a life insurance policy.
  • Wills: For $149, customers can purchase a simple will online. The process takes about 10 minutes and you are guided through the step-by-step process with video assistance. 
  • Estate plan: Ethos offers online estate planning tools for $449. This option includes a will, in addition to information on creating a power of attorney and caregiving. For people who do not have life insurance through Ethos, edits are free for the first two years and then are $19 per year for will changes and $39 per year for changes to the estate plan.

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Written by
Shannon Martin
Writer, Insurance

Shannon Martin is a licensed insurance agent and content writer for Bankrate. With a Bachelor of Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and 15 years in the insurance industry, she enjoys helping others navigate the insurance world by cutting through complex jargon and empowering readers to make strong financial decisions independently.

Edited by Editor, Insurance