Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Feb 07, 2022 14 min read
A family of three laugh and smile while they eat ice cream sitting on a bench
Money, Getty Images

Best for Guaranteed Coverage

However important it is to have a life insurance policy, qualifying for coverage can be at best difficult if you have a history of medical issues or currently have chronic health conditions.

Ethos Life Insurance is a company that sells term and guaranteed issue whole life policies. If you’re eligible for a whole life policy of such a type, you cannot be denied a policy, no matter what health conditions you may have. That’s why Ethos is our choice for the best guaranteed issue life insurance company.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Apply for a Life Insurance Policy in minutes with Ethos
Getting a policy means protecting your family for decades. Don't wait - click on your state to get a free quote today!
HawaiiAlaskaFloridaSouth CarolinaGeorgiaAlabamaNorth CarolinaTennesseeRIRhode IslandCTConnecticutMAMassachusettsMaineNHNew HampshireVTVermontNew YorkNJNew JerseyDEDelawareMDMarylandWest VirginiaOhioMichiganArizonaNevadaUtahColoradoNew MexicoSouth DakotaIowaIndianaIllinoisMinnesotaWisconsinMissouriLouisianaVirginiaDCWashington DCIdahoCaliforniaNorth DakotaWashingtonOregonMontanaWyomingNebraskaKansasOklahomaPennsylvaniaKentuckyMississippiArkansasTexas
Get a Free Quote

Ethos Life Insurance Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Sells guaranteed issue whole-life plans
  • Offers both simplified issue and fully underwritten policies
  • Coverage can begin immediately
  • Policies are sold online, but there's also an option to consult with an agent
Cons
  • Whole life policies only available to seniors
  • Not available to residents of New York
  • Limited rider information
  • Payments must be made with debit or credit cards

Pros explained

Sells guaranteed issue whole life plans

If you’ve struggled to qualify for life insurance in the past because of your health or medical history, a guaranteed issue whole life policy may be an option. Such policies are available without a medical exam, and you cannot be denied one based on your medical history.

Offers a range of policies

Ethos doesn’t exclusively write guaranteed issue whole life policies. The company offers term coverage, too, and simplified issue plans, which also don’t require medical exams, as well as fully underwritten plans, which do – but . can be cheaper and available to a higher death benefit.

Coverage can begin immediately

If you apply for a guaranteed issue whole life plan or simplified issue term life policy, you could receive a decision right away. If approved, you can activate your policy immediately, and your policy will go into effect instantly.

Policies are sold online, but agents are available

While many life insurers sell policies solely through agents, Ethos gives you the flexibility to buy term and whole life policies completely online, if you want, or to consult with an agent by phone or text, if you’d prefer those options.

Cons explained

The company’s whole life policies are only available to seniors

Ethos’ whole life policies are only sold to individuals between the ages of 66 and 85. If you’re outside of that range, you are not eligible for Ethos’ whole life plans, and will have to apply for its term life insurance policies or work with another insurer.

Not available in New York

Residents of New York are not eligible to buy Ethos’ policies, and so will have to get coverage from another company.

Available riders are unclear

Although Ethos’ policies may allow you to add optional riders to your plan, Ethos doesn’t list information about the available options. Instead, you have to contact customer support to discuss possible riders.

Payments must be made with credit or debit cards

While most insurance companies allow you to use your checking or savings account to make payments, Ethos doesn’t have that option. It only accepts debit or credit card payments, and payments must be made monthly.

Ethos Life Insurance Products

Ethos sells term life insurance and whole life policies. Its policies can be purchased online, or you can work through an Ethos life insurance agent.

Available life insurance plans

Ethos sells two main types of life insurance plans:

Term life

Term life insurance provides temporary coverage. When you purchase a policy, you are covered for the designated term. If you pass away within that term, your beneficiaries receive the policy’s death benefit, but they receive nothing if you die after the policy’s term ends.

A term life insurance policy is usually less expensive than a whole life plan with the same death benefit; those lower costs help make it a popular choice for many people.

Ethos’ offers terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. You can opt for between $20,000 and $2 million of coverage, through either a simplified issue plan or a fully underwritten one. Simplified issue plans don’t require medical exams; you simply have to answer a few questions. While such policies can be more expensive than fully underwritten plans, the application process is quicker and easier.

Fully underwritten plans usually require a medical exam with lab work. The application and approval process can take several weeks, but you can qualify for a higher death benefit or cheaper premiums than if you opted for a simplified issue policy.

Whole life

Unlike term life insurance, whole life coverage is permanent. Because it lasts for your lifetime, and includes a cash value in addition to its death benefit, it tends to be more expensive than term life coverage.

Ethos sells guaranteed issue whole life policies only to seniors. Ethos’ whole life plans are available to individuals between the ages of 66 and 85, and coverage amounts range from $1,000 to $30,000.

Guaranteed issue plans have relatively low death benefits, but you cannot be denied coverage based on your health or medical history. They can be a useful option for individuals that have been denied life insurance coverage in the past, and want a basic policy to give their loved ones some financial protection.

Insurance riders

Although Ethos may allow you to add optional insurance riders to your policy, it doesn’t list information about the options on its site. Instead, you have to contact customer support to find out if riders are available.

Limitations

Ethos’ policies aren’t available to residents of New York.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Take the first step towards protecting your family and apply for Life Insurance online
Ethos can help protect cover some of life's biggest expenses if anything unexpected occurs. Click below to get a free quote.
Get a Free Quote

Ethos Credentials

Ethos is a relatively young company. It was founded by two individuals, Peter Colis and Lingke Wang, who met at Stanford Business School after discussing negative personal experiences buying life insurance. They designed Ethos with the aim of making life insurance easier to purchase and understand.

Ethos doesn’t underwrite plans itself. Instead, its policies are underwritten by several major life insurance companies, including Legal & General, Ameritas Life Insurance Group, AAA Life Insurance COmpany, TruStage Financial Group, CMFG Life Insurance Company, MEMBERS Life Insurance Company and Senior Life Insurance Company.

Financial stability

When you buy life insurance, it’s important to consider the financial stability of your insurer. Term policies can last up to 30 years, it’s essential to find a company that will still exist over the long-term, and so be able to honor any claims. Industry credit rating agencies like Moody's and S&P Global issue ratings based on their evaluations about insurers' ability to survive economic changes.

Because Ethos’ policies are issued by multiple insurers, we looked up the credit ratings for each company. In general, the companies that underwrite Ethos’ policies have high ratings, meaning the credit agencies view these companies as financially sound and able to handle economic fluctuations in the future. Here are the details:

Carrier AM Best Rating Moody's Rating S & P Global Rating
AAA Life Insurance Company A (Excellent) N/A N/A
Ameritas Life Insurance Group A (Excellent) N/A A+ (Excellent)
CMFG Life Insurance Company A (Excellent) AA N/A
Legal & General A+ (Superior) AA N/A
MEMBERS Life Insurance Company A (Excellent) AA N/A
Senior Life Insurance Company not rated N/A N/A
TruStage Financial Group A (Excellent) NAA A+ (Very Strong)

Third-party ratings

When it comes to third-party ratings, there is limited information about Ethos. Neither Ethos nor the companies that issue its policies were included in the J.D. Power U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. The study ranked 21 life insurance companies based on customer satisfaction.

Regulatory actions

PolicyGenius has not faced any regulatory actions.

Cost of Ethos Life Insurance

Ethos offers both term life insurance and whole life policies. As with other companies, term life insurance tends to be cheaper than whole life policies with the same death benefit, and policies can be quite inexpensive if you purchase life insurance in your 20s.

To give you a snapshot of Ethos’ usual rates, we requested quotes for a healthy 30-year-old. Unlike other companies that give a specific rate, Ethos provides a premium range – to reflect how such factors as your health and prescription history can affect your rates. We found Ethos to be in line with the industry average for term life insurance.

$100,000 policy $250,000 policy $500,000 policy $1M policy $1M policy
10 years $8 to $12 $9 to $15 $13 to $23 $19 to $40 $25 to $58
20 years $9 to $12 $12 to $19 $18 to $32 $29 to $57 $40 to $82

Your rates may vary from the sample rates we received because premiums are based on multiple factors including your age, gender, health history and location.

For whole life insurance, we recommend contacting Ethos directly. While you can get a quote online, it doesn’t allow you to customize your coverage amount, and it provides a wide range. For example, we requested a quote for a healthy 66-year-old woman, and it gave us a quote of $56 to $129.

Ethos Accessibility

Customers can apply for life insurance directly through the Ethos website; there’s no need to speak with an agent unless you have questions or need help with the application process.

Ethos has a team of licensed agents available via phone or email. It also contracts with a network of independent insurance agents, so you may be able to find a local agent that sells Ethos’ policies.

Contact information

Ethos’ customer support team can be reached via live chat or phone:
Phone: 415-915-0665
Text: 415-702-1844
Email: Support@EthosLife.com

Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. CST.

User experience

Ethos customers can use the online customer portal to make payments and view policy details. However, you cannot update your beneficiaries online; to make any changes to your beneficiary information, you must contact Ethos’s support team.

Ethos Customer Satisfaction

In general, Ethos life insurance receives positive reviews from customers, with relatively few complaints.

Customer reviews

Ethos has excellent customer reviews on TrustPilot. It has a TrustScore of 4.6 out of 5, based on over 400 reviews. Customers mentioned the quick application process, helpful and responsive agents and transparent application requirements.

Complaint index

By looking up the number of complaints that customers submitted to insurance regulators, you can get a sense of how the company handles customer service. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) collects information on the number and type of complaints consumers submit about insurers. Comparing that information to industry norms, the NAIC releases annual complaint ratios.

The industry standard for complaint ratios is 1.0. A company with a higher ratio received more complaints than the NAIC would expect, while a company with a ratio below 1.0 received fewer complaints.

Most life insurance companies that issue Ethos’ policies tend to have low complaint ratios, meaning fewer complaints were submitted about them than is typical for companies of their size. The only exception was AAA Life Insurance Company; it’s complaint ratio was 1.65, slightly higher than the industry standard.

Carrier 2020 Complaint Index for Individual Life
AAA Life Insurance Company 1.65
Ameritas Life Insurance Group 0.67
CMFG Life Insurance Company 0.62
Legal & General Not listed
MEMBERS Life Insurance Company 0.00
Senior Life Insurance Company 5.80
TruStage Financial Group Not listed

Does Ethos require medical exams?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Whether a medical exam is required is dependent on the type of life insurance and the coverage amount you want.

For Ethos' whole life policies, medical exams aren't required.

For term life coverage, Ethos has both simplified issue plans and fully underwritten policies. Simplified issue policies allow you to skip the medical exam. Instead, you answer a few questions about your health to apply.

How long has Ethos life insurance been around?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Ethos was launched in 2016 by entrepreneurs Peter Colis and Lingke Wang. Colis and Wang founded Ethos to offer simple, affordable life insurance policies.

What types of insurance does Ethos sell?

chevron-down
chevron-up
Ethos sells term life insurance and guaranteed issue whole life policies. Its term policies are for individuals between the ages of 20 and 85, while its whole life policies are only available to applicants 66 to 85.

How We Evaluated Ethos Life Insurance

In our evaluation of Ethos and other life insurance companies, we looked at the following factors:

  • Available plans and terms
  • Insurance riders
  • Policy exclusions
  • Underwriting process
  • Cost
  • Financial stability
  • Customer service
  • Customer reviews
  • Third-party ratings

Summary of Money’s Ethos Life Insurance Review

If you don’t have life insurance and have had difficulties qualifying for a traditional term or whole life policy, Ethos’ guaranteed issue policies could be a useful option. You can get up to $30,000 in coverage online, and you cannot be denied based on your health or medical history.

Ethos also sells term life policies, and you can get up to $2 million in coverage. Some individuals will qualify for simplified issue term life coverage, allowing them to purchase a policy without a medical exam.

While Ethos could be a convenient option for some, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Its whole life policies are only available to individuals between the ages of 66 and 85, and residents of New York aren’t eligible for any of Ethos’ policies. If you don’t qualify, shop around and compare life insurance policies from other companies to get the coverage you need.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Tailor your Life Insurance policy to fit your budget and needs
Get the policy that's best for your family today with Ethos. Click below to get started!
Get a Free Quote