Ethos life insurance review 2020
With this fintech insurer, expect no fees, no hassles and coverage within 10 minutes.
finder.com's rating: 2.5 / 5
- Get a quote if… You want a high coverage amount.
- Pick something else if… You want an agent to guide you through the process.
18 to 75
$25,000 to $10,000,000
Medical exams not required in most cases
Medical Exam Required
|Free quote||10 minute application online|
|Available states||Not available in New York|
|Policy options||Term life insurance|
|Term lengths||10, 15, 20, or 30 years|
|Issue age||18 to 75|
|Coverage||$25,000 to $10,000,000|
|Medical exam required||Medical exams not required in most cases|
|Claim methods||Email Ethos at firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Customer support||Email their Customer Success team at email@example.com|
|Riders||Accelerated death benefit rider, Child rider, Critical illness benefit rider|
Katia Iervasi is a staff writer who hails from Australia and now calls New York home. Her writing and analysis has been featured on sites like Forbes, Best Company and Financial Advisor around the world. Armed with a BA in Communication and a journalistic eye for detail, she navigates insurance and finance topics for Finder, so you can splash your cash smartly (and be a pro when the subject pops up at dinner parties).
In an effort to make life insurance more affordable and accessible, Ethos sells fee-free term life policies. Thanks to its intricate algorithms, the fintech company can offer instant quotes and coverage in a matter of minutes. And unlike many of its direct competitors, it allows customers to add riders to their policy.
However, if you need a permanent policy or have more complex life insurance needs, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
What types of life insurance coverage does Ethos offer?
Ethos exclusively sells term life insurance to those between 18 and 75. The simplest and cheapest coverage, term life offers protection for a fixed period of time – in this case, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The premium stays the same for the life of the policy, and if you pass away during the term, your beneficiaries will receive a cash payment, known as the death benefit.
The maximum length of coverage you can purchase depends on your age. These are the guidelines:
- Age 18 to 55 (nonsmoker), 18 to 50 (smoker): Up to 30 years.
- Age 56 to 65 (nonsmoker), 51 to 65 (smoker): Up to 20 years.
- Age 66 to 70: Up to 15 years.
- Age 71 to 75: Up to 10 years.
With Ethos, you can buy a term life policy with a face value of between $25,000 and $10 million – but keep in mind that you may need to take a medical exam for policies over $1 million. At the end of the term, you can renew your policy or let it lapse.
The company doesn’t charge fees and you can cancel your coverage at any time.
What riders can I add to my policy?
Ethos allows you to customize your policy with these riders:
- Accelerated death benefit rider. Allows you to access a portion of your death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness.
- Child rider. Purchase insurance on eligible children without having to purchase a separate policy.
- Critical illness benefit rider. Pays out a lump sum benefit if you suffer a chronic illness, such as a stroke.
How do I get a low rate?
Your premium is a product of your age, health, lifestyle, occupation and hobbies, as well as the length and face amount of your policy. To compensate for the risk that comes with providing coverage, Ethos — like all insurers — reserves its best rates for its least risky applicants.
Its underwriting considers:
- Tobacco use. To hit the highest class, you’ll have to prove you haven’t smoked tobacco in the past five years.
- Age. The younger and healthier you are, the less you’ll pay.
- Driving record. If your recent record is free from major traffic violations and DUI, you’ll most likely receive a better rate.
- Health. The insurer assesses your cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI and family medical history, and usually increases the premium when there’s a history of cardiovascular disease, strokes or diabetes.
- Occupation. People with dangerous jobs, like loggers and firemen, tend to pay more for coverage.
- Hazardous lifestyle. If you’re a thrill-seeker who counts skydiving, bungee jumping and risky travel among your favorite activities, you’ll probably have a higher premium.
- Alcohol and drugs. For the preferred rate, you must not have a history of alcohol or drug addiction.
Pros and cons of Ethos
- High coverage amounts. You can purchase between $25,000 and $10 million of coverage.
- Fast underwriting. The application takes 10 minutes to complete, after which you’ll receive an approval, rejection or request for a medical exam.
- No fees. Since Ethos doesn’t use commissioned agents, policyholders don’t pay fees.
- Riders available. Unlike a lot of other online insurers, Ethos offers a handful of policy add-ons, such as a Critical Illness Rider and Child Protection Rider.
- Speedy claims. The company says claims are processed and paid out within weeks.
- No upselling or cross selling. The team is salaried and won’t pressure you to purchase coverage that you don’t need.
- No medical exam option available. Most policyholders can qualify for up to $1 million coverage without a medical exam.
- Financially strong. It’s policies are issued by Assurity Life Insurance Company, which holds an A- (Excellent) rating with A.M. Best. This points to its creditworthiness and ability to pay out claims.
- Limited customer support. The main point of contact is via email. Ethos doesn’t provide a phone number or address.
- Impersonal claims process. The only way to file a claim is via email – which may be off-putting for some people during that emotional time.
- Not available in New York. Ethos is open to residents in all states except New York.
- Lack of educational information. The site has an FAQs section with basic questions and answers, but doesn’t include tutorials, tips or videos.
How does Ethos compare?
Ethos reviews and complaints
The insurer hasn’t been accredited or rated by the Business Bureau yet, but it earns 4.5 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot, a consumer review site. While customers praised the startup’s rate and online application, many said the approval process took much longer than advertised.
Ethos’ partner, Assurity Life Insurance Company, has been in the business for over 125 years. It’s been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 1992 and boasts an A+ rating for its operations and customer satisfaction. Assurity also has an A- (Excellent) rating from A.M. Best, which confirms that it has the cash reserves to pay out claims.
How does Ethos protect my data?
Ethos collects your personal data in order to offer you its products and services and to maintain your account. Your information is not shared or sold to third parties.
Ethos has security practices and procedures in place to protect our data. The company utilizes SSL encryption and restricts access to your data in an effort to safeguard your information.
How do I sign up?
You can apply and sign up for life insurance online with Ethos.
- To begin, click Check My Price, on Ethos’ homepage.
- You’ll be prompted to provide some information, including your gender, nicotine use, health status, state and your birthdate. Then click Check My Price.
- You’ll then be presented with a selection of quotes and recommended plans. If you’d like to proceed with applying for a policy, click Choose Exact Coverage.
- You can then adjust your coverage amount and length of term. Then click Apply Now.
- To apply, you’ll need to provide more specific information about yourself and your health and lifestyle. Proceed through the application process, and if approved, supply your payment information to purchase the policy.
More about Ethos
Ethos entered the life insurance market in June 2018 with the backing of big-name and celebrity investors like Sequoia, Stanford, Roc Nation, Silicon Valley Bank, Kevin Durant, Robert Downey Jr and Will Smith.
The fintech company operates online and sells a single product: term life insurance. Along with its streamlined application and speedy underwriting, Ethos is known for offering up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Ethos is led by Peter Colis and Lingke Wang. The duo has extensive experience in the industry and previously cofounded Ovid Life, a life insurance marketplace, together. With Ethos, their goal is to bring life insurance into the digital era, and make it more accessible and affordable for the average American.
Ethos has partnered with Assurity Life Insurance Company and RGA to underwrite policies. A stalwart in the industry, Assurity handles the claims process.
While the startup has simplified the process of buying life insurance, it doesn’t suit everyone. If you have complex needs or prefer to speak to someone on the phone, compare life insurance providers.
How do I file a life insurance claim with Ethos?
To file a claim, follow these steps:
1. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to notify Ethos that the policyholder has passed away.
2. In the email, include the policyholder’s full name, date of birth and policy number, if you know it.
3. A member of Ethos’ team will guide you through the claims process. You’ll need to complete claims forms and provide supporting documents, such as a death certificate.
4. Assurity — the insurer that underwrites Ethos’ policies — will assess the claim. When it’s approved, it will let you know via email and send payment to your beneficiaries.
Frequently asked questions
Life insurance ratings
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
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