Got questions? Get answers.

As a technology company reinventing life insurance, we bring unparalleled customer service, technology, and transparency to an industry that is often unresponsive, paper-driven, and opaque.


Do I need life insurance?
If something happens during your prime earning years, your loved ones don’t just lose you—they also lose the financial future you’re building for them. If you have a partner, children, or elderly parents who depend on you for support (financial or otherwise), then term life insurance can be a great way to secure their financial future by providing them with a safety net should the unexpected happen.
Even if you have employer sponsored life insurance coverage, you may want to consider additional coverage for your family. Employer sponsored policies typically offer coverage that is one to two times your salary while you are employed full time by the company. This coverage generally doesn’t cover you once you leave the company.
Experts recommend that you have savings or coverage that is at least ten times your annual salary. If you have already built up enough savings to provide that safety net on your own, then you may not need term life insurance.
If not, getting term life insurance makes sure your family’s future is safe no matter what.
What kind of life insurance do I need?
There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance, and permanent life insurance.
Term life insurance is the most simple, straightforward, and affordable life insurance option. It provides coverage for a set period of time or “term”, typically 10-30 years, and is designed to protect your dependents. If you pass away during the term period, your beneficiaries receive a cash payment to cover expenses, like: funeral costs, daily living expenses, debt repayment, mortgage payments, and college tuition.
Permanent life insurance is complex and more expensive (often five to ten times more expensive) than term life insurance. It provides coverage in a set amount for your entire life, and is sometimes used as an investment vehicle. Some insurers invest your premium payments and the interest earned on those investments goes back into your policy as accrued cash value. Please note: when choosing this type of policy you should be prepared to assume meaningful levels of risk.
Some permanent life insurance policies let you borrow against the accrued cash value (surrender the policy for a cash payment). But if you don’t repay the amount borrowed with interest before you pass away, the amount paid to your beneficiaries will be reduced.
Because we’re focused on protecting vulnerable families, Ethos offers term life insurance, and recommend it particularly if:
  • You need coverage to replace your income over a fixed period of time (like when you’re raising children or paying off a mortgage)
  • You want the most affordable coverage
  • You want a streamlined and straightforward process
What kinds of things can life insurance cover?
Typically, life insurance payouts are used to help cover expenses like: home mortgages, burial expenses, college tuition, existing debt, medical bills, living expenses, cosigned debt, or any other expenses your loved ones may have.
That said, your beneficiaries ultimately decide how to use the cash payout.
What is a beneficiary?
A beneficiary is a person or entity that receives a cash payout from your policy if you pass away during the policy term.
Your beneficiary can be a family member, a close friend, or even a business or other organization. You can choose to have more than one beneficiary, and if you do, you decide how you’d like the death benefit to be divided among them.
If you pass away during the policy term, your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) must file a claim on your behalf and will receive a payout from our underwriting partner, Assurity. We recommend that you inform your beneficiary about the policy in case a problem arises. It’s also a good idea to provide them with a copy of the policy too.
What is a death benefit?
A death benefit is the amount of money that an insurer pays to your beneficiary if you pass away during the policy term. Typically it is paid in a single lump sum and is usually untaxed.
Is the death benefit taxed?
In most cases the death benefit is not taxed. That said, if you are doing something less common like distributing the death benefit in installments while investing it, or including the benefit as part of an estate, there may be tax penalties for the beneficiary. Make sure to check with an accountant or financial advisor if you think this may apply to you.
How do I know that your policies are reliable?
Ethos has partnered with some of the industry's largest, most respected companies to ensure the safety and reliability of its policies, including:
  • RGAx
    Life insurance in force: $3 trillion
    In business: 44 years
  • Munich RE
    Reinsurer ranking: #1 globally
    In business: 137 years
  • AON
    Insurance broker: #1 globally
    In business: 35 years
Where is Ethos available?
Ethos is licensed and operating in 49 states, and is headquartered in San Francisco. We do not currently provide coverage in New York state.
Who qualifies for an Ethos policy?
To be eligible to apply for an Ethos term life policy, you must:
  • Be 18-75 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or green card holder
  • Have lived in the U.S. for at least 24 months
  • Reside in a state we are licensed and operating in (everywhere but New York state)
Can I get coverage, even if I’ve had some health problems?
At Ethos, every customer is underwritten individually and receives a price based on many factors, like: medical history, current health, age, and gender. It is possible to be denied coverage due to health issues.
That said, having health issues should not preclude you from applying for coverage. We have many satisfied customers who have a history of health problems.
What happens if I miss a payment?
If you miss a payment, we offer a 31-day grace period. Please note that if your payment is not received within the grace period your coverage will be terminated.
Will I need a medical exam or lab appointment?
At Ethos, every customer is underwritten on an individual basis. Because every person is unique, it’s difficult to predict whether you will need to have a medical exam or lab appointment.
That said, in most cases, applicants don’t need to get a medical exam or have a lab appointment. If you do, we’ll make it as easy and convenient as possible with no extra cost to you.
How do I apply?
Get started by selecting any “Check my price” button on our website and answering four quick questions. Based on those answers we’ll give you a range of policy options to choose from and an estimate of your rate. Select the policy term and amount that’s right for you.
We’ll guide you through our online application which takes about 10 minutes for most people.
Why do I need an Ethos account to apply?
We need you to create an Ethos account using your email address so that we can protect the private information you submit during the application process.
How do I change my payment method?
To update your payment method, please reach out to our Customer Success team at Be sure to have your policy number readily available.
How do I change my beneficiary?
To change your beneficiary, please send us an email at to get started.
Why was my application denied?
We evaluate each application individually and consider a number of factors including health, age, lifestyle, and more. If you are denied coverage, you will receive a letter of explanation that provides details on why you were denied coverage. In the meantime, if you have additional questions, please contact a member of our Customer Success team at
Can I cancel my policy?
You can cancel your policy at any time. To cancel, please send us an email at to start the process.
Please note that if you cancel your policy, you must go through the application process in order to obtain coverage in the future.
Does my beneficiary need to do anything to receive the death benefit?
If you pass away during the policy term, your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) must file a claim. Please contact us and our customer success team will help you navigate this process. We recommend that you inform your beneficiary about the policy in case a problem arises. It's also a good idea to provide them with a copy of the policy.
How do I file a claim?
We are sorry for your loss. Please email us at and a member of our team will be in touch to guide you through the claim process.