Interested in life insurance but don't know where to start?

Find out all you need to know.

father and son
Do I need life insurance?
70% of American families would be bankrupt in months if they lost the primary breadwinner. If your loved ones would be unable to cope financially with your loss, consider life insurance.

If something happens to you, your loved ones don’t just lose you—they also lose your income, on top of everything else you provide. If you provide financial or caregiving support to someone, it’s essential to make sure they would be taken care of if they lost you.

Even if you have employer-sponsored life insurance, you may want to consider additional coverage. Employer-sponsored policies typically offer coverage that is about 1-2X your annual salary. However, financial experts recommend having coverage that is about 10X your salary. Solely relying on your policy through work can result in a large gap in protection.

A life insurance policy can help your family maintain the lifestyle they've grown to love and provide long-lasting financial security.

What type of life insurance is best for me?
There are several different types of life insurance, but just two broad categories you really need to understand: term life and whole life.
Term life insurance

Think of term life insurance like a subscription. You buy a certain amount of coverage for a set period of time (your term) and pay an insurance company a flat-rate premium every month. This guarantees that your beneficiaries would receive a lump-sum payout (known as the “death benefit”) if you passed away during your term. Term is a simple and straightforward form of life insurance, with more affordable monthly premiums than whole life.

Term life insurance may be right for you if:

  • You need to replace your income over a specified period of time (like raising children or paying off a mortgage)
  • You need to cover short-term financial responsibilities such as a loan or credit card debt
  • You need additional coverage temporarily, such as during child-raising years or starting a business
  • You want the most affordable coverage
  • You want a more streamlined and straightforward process
Whole life insurance

Whole life insurance covers you for your whole life as long as you continue to pay your premiums. A payout is guaranteed at the time of death for your policy’s beneficiaries (again, as long as the premiums are paid). Some of the money paid into the policy builds “cash value” which may increase the death benefit or be accessed on a tax-free basis with a policy loan. Due to the duration of the coverage, premiums for whole life insurance are typically more expensive.

Whole life insurance may be right for you if:

  • You want coverage for the rest of your life
  • You want a policy that builds cash value over time
  • You want a policy that can be used for legacy planning or to help cover your final expenses
  • You’re willing to pay a higher premium for the unique benefits of this coverage
Coverage starting at $1 a day
Get an instant online quote.
How to choose the right coverage
There are several factors that can affect how much coverage you need, and how long you need it for. The two variables to adjust based on your unique situation are your coverage amount and length.
Calculating your coverage amount

Your life insurance needs are dependent on your personal and financial circumstances. With that said, there are some general guidelines you can follow.

The first is simple—you can get a rough estimate of your coverage needs by multiplying your current income by 10.

You can also use the DIME formula for a more in-depth breakdown. Add up the four areas below to get a better idea of your needs.

  • Debt: The total of your current debts (excluding your mortgage) plus your estimated final expenses
  • Income: Multiply your current income by the number of years that you estimate your family would need support
  • Mortgage: The amount left on your mortgage
  • Education: An estimate of the costs of sending your kids to school and college
Choosing your coverage length

You’ll also have to evaluate how long you want coverage for. If you’re looking for coverage for the duration of your life that doesn’t expire, permanent life insurance might be your best bet.

If you want coverage over a specific time period, especially a financially demanding one, term life insurance is a good choice. You may want a term that lasts until:

  • Your mortgage is paid off
  • Your children are through school
  • You retire
  • You reach your savings goals
Calculate your coverage needs
Use our free online tool to calculate how much coverage you may need.
How much can I expect it to cost?

Prices are determined on an individual basis and can vary based on several factors. We’ll dive into some of the main ones below:

  • What type of policy you choose: Generally, term life insurance is more affordable than whole life due to the fixed amount of coverage and the lack of cash value accumulation.
  • Your coverage amount and length: Less coverage and shorter term lengths tend to cost less–that’s another reason whole life policies cost more, they never expire.
  • Your age: Younger people typically have lower rates.
  • Your health status: Healthier people typically have lower rates.
  • Your lifestyle: People with risky hobbies, like skydiving, typically have higher rates.
  • Your tobacco use: Non-smokers typically have lower rates.
price chart
(Sample monthly rates for a healthy 35-year-old female non-smoker, for a Legal & General, America term life insurance policy)
Why Ethos?
fast icon
Fast and easy process
Our 100% online and hassle-free process makes it easy to apply. What traditionally took weeks can now be done in minutes, so you can focus on what matters.
people icon
People before profit
It’s our top priority to create a policy that’s tailored to your individual needs—always. Plus, our team of licensed agents is salaried, so you don’t have to worry about being upsold by a commissioned salesperson.
A+
Trusted by thousands
We have an ‘Excellent’ rating from Trustpilot with 4.5 stars and an A+ rating from the Better Business with zero customer complaints. That’s why thousands of Americans choose Ethos.
shield icon
Industry-leading partners
We work with Legal & General America, AAA Life, RGAX, and Munich Re to offer you the best life insurance plan.
Insure your life. In 3 simple steps.
Ethos makes it easy to apply for a plan that protects the people you care about most.
1
Get a quote
Answer a few simple questions about yourself to see your estimated cost for a variety of policies.
2
Apply in minutes
Our fast, straightforward application is 100% online and can be completed in about 10 minutes. You don’t even need to leave the house.
3
Get covered
Once your application is submitted, we’ll process the information to provide you a quick (sometimes instant) decision on coverage eligibility and your rate. If approved, you can activate your coverage immediately.
Why thousands of Americans choose Ethos
via Trustpilot
These guys are great
These guys are great! They really made purchasing a life insurance policy easy!! Any questions we had they were right there to help us through it.. highly recommend Ethos!
Jesicah
via Trustpilot
Simple and quick life insurance application
My experience with Ethos was great. Hassle free. I have bought several term life policies over the years and the Ethos process was the simplest that I have experienced. Communication was great and the Ethos team kept me informed as my application went through processing.
Texasaggie1
via Trustpilot
The application process was seamless
The application process was seamless. The turnaround time was great. And the monthly premium is more than reasonable. Also the follow-up from direct live agents was a plus.
Bobby
via Trustpilot
These guys are great
These guys are great! They really made purchasing a life insurance policy easy!! Any questions we had they were right there to help us through it.. highly recommend Ethos!
Jesicah
via Trustpilot
Simple and quick life insurance application
My experience with Ethos was great. Hassle free. I have bought several term life policies over the years and the Ethos process was the simplest that I have experienced. Communication was great and the Ethos team kept me informed as my application went through processing.
Texasaggie1
via Trustpilot
The application process was seamless
The application process was seamless. The turnaround time was great. And the monthly premium is more than reasonable. Also the follow-up from direct live agents was a plus.
Bobby
via Trustpilot
I absolutely LOVED working with ETHOS…
I absolutely LOVED working with ETHOS and this team. Most of my inquiries were responded to very quickly, and the answers were clear. Thanks Ethos. Having life insurance I can afford has definitely brought some peace of mind.
Konnie
Need help getting started?

Our team of licensed agents is happy to help you with any questions you may have. We’re dedicated to finding the right coverage to protect your loved ones.

father teaching his son how to ride a bike
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.