Is Ladder Life Insurance A Good Option? Our Reviewer Weighs In on the Pros and Cons
Your decision to buy life insurance might be an easy one.
You have a family, a partner or kids who depend on your income and household contributions, and you want to make sure they’re protected in case you die.
Exactly what kind of life insurance coverage you buy is probably a tougher decision.
Maybe you can apply a simple formula to buy insurance that’ll cover your beneficiaries if you were to die today. But what will your financial situation look like in 10, 15, 20 or 30 years? Will the policy you buy today match your family’s needs down the line?
You don’t want to risk being under-covered, and holding onto coverage your family no longer needs means wasting money on premiums every month.
That’s why Ladder created life insurance that can change as your life changes. Read our full Ladder life review to see what this company has to offer and determine whether it’s right for you and your family.
What Is Ladder Life Insurance?
Ladder is an online life insurance company that helps you buy term life insurance at an affordable rate that can flex throughout your life as your financial needs change.
|Coverage||$100,000 to $8 million|
|Terms||10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years|
|Premiums||Varies based on individual, term and coverage amount|
|Eligibility||Ages 20 to 60|
Ladder offers simple and straightforward life insurance coverage you can buy and manage online — with a unique perk of being able to “ladder” your coverage.
Term Life Insurance
Ladder offers term life insurance policies of 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years for U.S. citizens and residents between ages 20 and 60.
Depending on your eligibility, you can select coverage between $100,000 and up to $8 million (most people need life insurance coverage more like $250,000 to $1.5 million).
Term lengths are restricted based on your age. Your term starting at your current age can’t go past age 70. So, if you’re 54 years old, the longest term you could qualify for is 15 years.
Adjust Your Coverage
Ladder gets its brand name from its most unique feature: the ability to “ladder” your life insurance policy throughout your life.
From your account online, you can apply for more coverage or decrease your coverage as your family’s financial needs change.
Like when your kids are grown and out of the house and — with luck — no longer financially dependent on you. Or when you pay off your mortgage early because you’re a rockstar. Or maybe you bump up coverage because you move to a city with a higher cost of living.
As you increase or decrease your coverage throughout your term, your monthly premium payment will increase or decrease accordingly. Staying on top of your life insurance needs through Ladder is a smart way to save money over the years while keeping your family covered.
This feature is pretty much unheard of from other life insurance companies. You’re typically stuck with the policy you choose for the duration of the term, unless you cancel and reapply for different coverage.
Many people can get Ladder life insurance coverage without a medical exam. You’ll answer some questions about yourself to get an instant quote, then you can go onto the online application.
Ladder uses data available online through things like medical, financial and DMV records (with your permission) to verify the information in your application and make underwriting decisions (i.e. decide whether to cover you).
If it can approve you from that information, you’ll get an instant offer and can sign up and be covered within minutes.
You might have to take a medical exam if Ladder can’t make an underwriting decision from your online application alone.
If that’s the case, your health check is free, and the medical technician will come to you. You can set up an appointment online, and they’ll come to your home or workplace, whichever you prefer.
Medical exams include weight and height measurements, blood pressure and pulse, and giving a urine and blood sample.
If you require a medical exam, your underwriting process will take a lot longer. You’re not guaranteed to get an insurance offer in the end, but Ladder offers temporary insurance so you’re covered while it processes your additional information.
For applicants who face a longer underwriting process — because you don’t get an instant decision online — you can get temporary coverage.
Temporary life insurance works just like your regular term policy, but it only lasts for 85 days (120 days in New York state). If you die during that period, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit.
You’ll make premium payments toward temporary coverage, but Ladder will refund them if you don’t like the coverage offer you receive once it finishes your application process.
Backed by Top-Rated Carriers
Ladder is a technology company that streamlines the process to connect you with life insurance. Working with online and newfangled financial companies can make some people nervous — but don’t be.
Policies through Ladder are issued by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company in Kansas City, Missouri, and Allianz Life Insurance Company in New York, rated A and A+, respectively, by A.M. Best, an industry-standard rating that means they pay out their claims.
Another feature that makes Ladder life policies flexible for your lifestyle and financial needs is the ability to renew them once the term ends.
At the end of your term, you can renew your policy annually for up to five years. You’ll pay a higher premium in this period than during your initial term, but it might be a better price than you’d get if you applied for a brand-new term life policy at that stage in life.
Premium Grace Period
Typical for life insurance policies, a Ladder life policy comes with a grace period of coverage in case you miss a payment. You’ll get 61 days to square your payment before your coverage is cancelled.
How Much Does It Cost?
If your application is approved, you’ll get an offer for a life insurance policy that includes your coverage amount and monthly premium price.
Ladder doesn’t list its premium amounts online, but you can use its calculator to get a quote before you apply. Your rate is based on your individual risk factors, term and coverage amount.
Pros & Cons
Ladder’s appeal is in the simplicity and affordability of its policies. That feels good on your wallet, but it means you have fewer options for customized coverage than you might elsewhere.
- Adjustable coverage. Unlike most competitors, Ladder lets customers apply for more coverage or decrease coverage amounts throughout their policy term.
- Instant coverage for some applicants. Getting a quote takes less than a minute, and you can fill out an application online in a few minutes. If you get an instant offer, you can sign up, make a payment and get covered right away.
- No sales reps. Life insurance sales reps are not super helpful when you genuinely have questions. Ladder’s online application process is way less pushy and filled with helpful information to help you determine how much coverage you need.
- No riders. To keep its policies and process simple and affordable, Ladder doesn’t offer riders — which add coverage or special terms to a life insurance policy — so your coverage isn’t as customizable as it might be with a traditional provider.
- No whole or universal life policies. Another move to keep coverage simple and costs down, Ladder doesn’t offer any permanent life insurance policies.
- No coverage past age 70. Ladder restricts term lengths based on your age, so you can’t get a policy that’ll cover you after you’re 70 years old.
Ladder Customer Service
You can ask questions to Ladder’s customer service team one of three ways:
- Online chat during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
- Send a message to get an answer via email.
- Schedule a call with a representative.
They’re available to answer questions about your policy if you’re already a customer, or you can reach out before you apply to get help from licensed insurance agents to make decisions about your coverage.
Ladder’s support folks are salaried employees, not commissioned or quota-carrying sales reps, so you’ll get customer service without the sales pitch.
Who Is Ladder Life Insurance Best For?
To qualify for coverage through Ladder, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen or permanent resident who’s lived in the U.S. for more than two years.
- Between 20 and 60 years old as of your nearest birthday.
To take full advantage of Ladder’s online application and simplified underwriting process, you’re best off applying through the company if you’re relatively young and healthy. That’ll help you get the best rates and avoid a medical exam.
Ladder’s pared-down policy options make it best for people with fairly simple financial needs, as well.
A term life policy is good enough to cover most family’s financial situations, but if you need a permanent policy, want to include an investment product in your life insurance or have a complicated medical history, this isn’t the place for you to get life insurance.
If Ladder isn’t the right fit for you, check out our full list of the best life insurance companies to find a provider that has what you’re looking for.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) has been writing and editing since 2011, covering personal finance, careers and digital media.