The Complete Guide to Life Insurance

Interested in life insurance but don’t know where to start? Find out what you need to know.
Dad teaching son to ride bike on asphalt road surrounded by trees
Do I need life insurance?
70% of American families would be bankrupt in months if they lost a primary breadwinner.

If something happens to you during your prime earning years, your loved ones don’t just lose you—they also lose the financial future you’ve been building. If you have a partner, children, or elderly parents who depend on you for support (financial or otherwise), then 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, you may want to consider additional coverage for your family. Personal finance experts recommend that you have savings or coverage that is at least 10x your annual salary. 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.

Having life insurance can ensure that your family’s future is safe, no matter what.

What type of insurance is best for me?

Term life insurance is the most simple and affordable 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 or income loss related to your passing.

Permanent life insurance is more complex and costly (typically costing 10–20x more than term life for the same amount of coverage). 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.

At Ethos, it’s our goal to make protecting your family’s financial future easy with simple, personalized policies. That’s why we offer term life insurance, which will benefit you if:
  1. You need coverage to replace your income over a fixed period of time (for example, when you’re raising children or paying off a mortgage)
  2. You want the most affordable coverage
  3. You want a more streamlined and straightforward process
Life insurance
Starting at $1/day
How much coverage do I need?
Debt + Income + Mortgage + Education = Total Coverage Amount

Buying life insurance can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to figuring out how much coverage you need to protect your loved ones. However, calculating how much life insurance you should buy is fairly straightforward.

Many experts recommend buying a life insurance plan that covers 10x your income. You can also calculate your life insurance number using the DIME method.

debt
Debt
Total monetary value of debt (student loans, credit cards, etc.)
Income
Income
Income replacement for needed years ($30,000 x 10 years= $300,000)
Mortgage
Mortgage
Any mortgage balances you may have
Education
Education
Anticipated price to pay your children’s tuition
Consider this:

If term insurance is right for you, and you’re young and healthy, we recommend choosing a longer term. Rates increase as you age, so in the long term it can benefit you to lock down a lower rate now and avoid higher rates if you renew your policy at the end of your term. Although your policy premium might be slightly higher now, you’ll have better coverage and won’t incur steep increase later.

rates by age chart

With the average U.S. household income hovering around $60,000 per year it's important to take into account the typical living expenses life insurance payouts can cover:

  1. The median cost of a home in the U.S. is $200,000, which equates to annual mortgage payments of at least $20,000
  2. The average cost for college tuition inclusive of living expenses is about $25,000 per year.
  3. The average U.S. household has at least $6,000 worth of debt
  4. The typical cost of assisted living is $3,500 per month, which equates to $42,000 per year.
  5. The average cost of a funeral in the U.S. is $10,000
Typical Living Expenses
chart
How much will it cost me?

Cost can vary on a number of factors such as your age, health, and lifestyle. Ethos offers options for most budgets—some for as little as a dollar a day. Check out these sample monthly rates for a healthy, non-smoker 35-year old female.

Check out these sample monthly rates for a healthy, non-smoker 35-year old female.
Get an instant, personalized quote
Why Ethos?

At Ethos, we always put people before profit. We’ve redesigned the entire application process from start to finish to make it easy, accessible, and straightforward for everyone. Because protecting your family should be that simple.

Speed
Speed
Our online application takes just minutes to complete.
Simplicity
Simplicity
We make it easy—without mounds of confusing paperwork or fees.
Integrity
Integrity
Our team is salaried, so you won't be upsold on an expensive policy.
Flexibility
Flexibility
Ethos offers a wide range of coverage options.
Dependability
Dependability
We partner with industry leaders to offer you the best policy.
Support
Support
Our team of licensed agents can answer any questions you may have.
Why thousands of Americans choose Ethos
via Trustpilot
They were on top of everything
They were on top of everything. The only holdups were with the speed of response from my doctor. When the quote changed because of information from my doctor, they still returned the best price I got from 3 other companies.
Don
via Trustpilot
very fast and easy
very fast and easy, i didnt think i was the type of person to look into this yet but they made it so simple it was a no brainer. Im very happy i found them.
Ashley
via Trustpilot
Easy application
Easy application, great people, best life insurance experience I've ever had. I highly recommend!!!!!!!!!!!!
G M Kulk
via Trustpilot
They were on top of everything
They were on top of everything. The only holdups were with the speed of response from my doctor. When the quote changed because of information from my doctor, they still returned the best price I got from 3 other companies.
Don
via Trustpilot
very fast and easy
very fast and easy, i didnt think i was the type of person to look into this yet but they made it so simple it was a no brainer. Im very happy i found them.
Ashley
via Trustpilot
Easy application
Easy application, great people, best life insurance experience I've ever had. I highly recommend!!!!!!!!!!!!
G M Kulk
via Trustpilot
Great company
Great company, great rates, 700k for 98 month
Frank
Get started in 3 simple steps
Life is complicated. Applying for life insurance shouldn’t be.
Number One
Get a quote
Before you apply, get an instant, personalized quote with several flexible policy options to choose from. You can customize your coverage amount and term length to match your needs.
Number Two
Apply in minutes
After you choose your plan, complete our online application. It’s simple, straightforward, and it only takes about 10 minutes. We only ask what we need to know to evaluate your application.
Number 3
Get covered
Our underwriters will review your application and send your options, typically within 7-10 days. In some cases, you can be approved instantly and a licensed agent will reach out to review your coverage plan.
Quote calculator
Gender
Do you use nicotine products?
How is your health?
Get a personalized quote in seconds.
No need to wait around for an agent to call you. Compare quotes and policy options in seconds, then select the plan that works best for you.
Need help getting started?

Our customer support team is happy to answer any questions you may have. Call or text us at (415) 322-2037 or email hello@ethoslife.com.

family in park
We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and collect data and personal information, all as described more fully in our privacy policy. By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies and our privacy policy.
© 2020 Ethos Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. Ethos Technologies Inc. operates in California and New York as Ethos Life Insurance Services (CA license #0L28949 and NY license # LA-1554173) and in Arkansas under license #100164629. Ethos policies are issued by Banner Life Insurance Company, a Legal & General America company, as carrier. Banner Life products are distributed in 49 states and in DC. Banner Life products are not available in New York.