Life insurance basics.
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What is term life insurance?
Term life insurance policies provide affordable financial protection and peace of mind to anyone with people that depend on them.

Term life insurance can provide simple, affordable financial security. A life insurance policy ensures that if you unexpectedly die, your dependents will receive a tax-free, single payment of money known as the payout or death benefit.

With term life insurance:

  • You choose how many years your policy will last–the term and the coverage amount that will be paid out if you die.
  • You pay a monthly or annual price for your policy–the premium–for the duration of your term.
  • If you die during your term your beneficiary can use the death benefit for pretty much anything, but people often use them to pay off a home mortgage, living expenses, or a kid’s college tuition.
Get started with term life insurance
Try our coverage calculator to get a sense of what size policy you'd need to cover your assets.
What’s the difference between term, whole, and the coverage I have through work?
Whole life insurance lasts for your entire life and can be used as an investment vehicle, unlike term policies, which expire after your chosen length. Whole life insurance policies typically cost 10–20x more than term policies for the same amount of coverage.
Whole (Permanent) Life Insurance
  • Some insurers invest your whole life premium payments and the interest earned on those investments goes back into your policy as accrued cash value. However, in many cases, the interest earned does not offset the 10-20x cost of the policy premiums.
  • Whole life insurance is a good option for anyone with complex financial situations or estate planning needs, but term life is a better option for most people because it’s much simpler and it costs a lot less.
Group Life Insurance
  • Group life insurance is provided through your workplace and can be either term or whole life insurance.
  • Even if you have employer-sponsored life insurance, you may want to consider additional coverage for your family. Employer-sponsored policies typically only cover 1-2x your salary while you are employed full-time, and this coverage generally ends once you leave the company.
How does term life insurance work?
The process of getting a term life insurance policy varies slightly depending on the company you work with, but it typically involves the following steps:
Number One
Submit your application.
You’ll submit an application for the coverage amount and term length of your choosing. A life insurance application typically involves sharing information about your lifestyle, medical history, and financial situation.
Number two
Underwriters review your application.
Underwriting basically assesses how “risky” you are to insure (which depends on the information in your application).
Number three
You get your decision
If you’re approved and you accept your policy, your coverage begins once your first premium payment is made.
Built for speed.
The traditional paper process can take weeks or months, but with Ethos, you can apply 100% online in minutes.
How much does it cost?
Not everyone will get the same price for life insurance. The biggest factors that affect your premium are:
  • The coverage amount and term length you choose (less coverage and shorter term lengths have lower rates)
  • Your age (younger people typically have lower rates)
  • Your health status (healthier people typically have lower rates)
  • If you smoke (non-smokers typically have lower rates
Did you know:

over half of Americans overestimate the cost of term life insurance by 3x or more? (LIMRA 2019). So, if you’re reading this and thinking I probably can’t afford a policy, think again!

At Ethos, we recommend that you spend no more than 1% of your salary on a term life insurance policy. So if you make $50K/year, your policy should cost no more than $52/month or $500/year.

Here are some example prices for men and women for coverages ranging from $250K-$1M.
Estimate calculator
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See price estimates for different coverage amounts and term lengths.