Smart Money

Ladder Review: Design a Laddered Approach to Your Life Insurance

Overall Ranking

4/5

Overview

Fees

5/5

Features

4/5

Policy Options

3/5

Ease of Use

4/5

Ladder provides affordable, flexible term life insurance and years of crucial coverage through an easy online process. Is it right for you?

Editor's Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

Buying life insurance can be tricky. It’s smart to buy coverage in your earlier years, while you’re still healthy and young. However, it’s hard to know exactly how much life insurance coverage you will need five, 10, or even 15 years down the line.

Ladder offers a unique approach to buying a life insurance policy. Rather than trying to predict the future--or your family’s needs two or three decades from now--you can simply change your coverage as needed. A term policy through Ladder can be increased or decreased over the years, allowing you to apply to add more coverage when you need it or reduce coverage when you don’t.

Let’s take a look at what Ladder’s flexible coverage offers, and how laddering your own term policy can help better manage your changing needs.

About Ladder

A newer company in the life insurance sphere, Ladder is an insurtech that was only founded in 2015. They have since introduced a product structure that makes life insurance more accessible and easier to manage for all.

Their purpose? To offer affordable and straightforward term coverage that is flexible, without hidden fees or penalties. With a policy through Ladder, you can lock in competitive insurance rates today while also knowing that you can make changes to this policy later if you get married, have children, buy a home, etc.

Ladder is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Policies are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, except in NY where they are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York.

Related: Our Complete Guide to Life Insurance

Coverage

As the name implies, Ladder helps you design a laddered approach to your life insurance with an easy term policy. This allows you to select more coverage during certain phases of life--such as when your children are young or you’re paying down the mortgage on your family home--and less coverage during others.

At Ladder, you can apply for a term policy from $100,000 to $8,000,000 in coverage. New customers may range from 20 to 60 years old, and policy terms are available from 10 to 30 years in length. It’s important to note, though, that coverage cannot exceed your 70th birthday (if you are 52 years old, for example, you would only be eligible for a 10 or 15-year term.

If you find that you need more protection down the line, you can easily apply for additional coverage from within your Ladder account. You can also decrease your coverage limit with just a few clicks online, saving you money each month on premiums.

Fees

There are no fees to shop around for coverage through Ladder. You also won’t have to worry about any fees when you increase or decrease coverage (though you can expect a change in premiums), or penalties if you cancel your policy at any time.

If you decide within the first 30 days that Ladder isn’t for you, they will even give you a full refund on your premiums paid.

Application

Getting a quote and submitting an application for coverage through Ladder is quick and simple.

Youll need to provide Ladder with some personal information, including your:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Height and weight
  • Number of children
  • Household income
  • Remaining mortgage balance (to the nearest $100,000)

You will be asked how much coverage you think you want and how long you want your term policy to last. From these answers, you will be provided with an estimated monthly price.

After getting this rough estimate, Ladder has a few more questions for you. These include high-risk activities and hobbies, travel plans, drug use, criminal history, driving record, and medical history. You’ll also need to provide Ladder with your contact information and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Reviews

Ladder has over 1,650 reviews on Trustpilot, resulting in a 4.8 rating out of 5. Most of the reviews praise the ease and speed of the Ladder shopping process, with one person even lauding the process as easier than hailing an Uber.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Ladder’s insurers perform well in terms of consumer complaints. One of Ladder’s issuing companies, Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, had no life insurance complaints in 2020 giving them a complaint index of 0.0 in 2020. Ladder’s other issuing partner, Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America had a complaint index of 0.34 in 2020, compared to the national average index of 1.00.

Here’s a look at the reasons that Ladder may, or may not, be a good fit for you and your loved ones.

Pros and Cons of Ladder

  • Make changes at any time — If you want more coverage later on, you can quickly and easily apply for more without any fees (except for raised premiums, of course). If you decide you don’t need as much coverage, you can decrease at any time without penalty, through the online platform.

  • No penalty for cancellations or changes — Whether you change your coverage limit or cancel your policy altogether, there are no penalties.

  • Full refund of premiums within 30 days — You can cancel your policy within 30 days and receive a full refund of premiums paid.

  • Coverage available up to $8 million — Life insurance policies are offered from $100,000 all the way up to $8,000,000.

  • Available in all 50 states — Ladder policies are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


  • Ladder only offers term coverage — If you’re looking for a whole life insurance policy, which can build a cash value and follow you for the rest of your life, you will need to look elsewhere. Ladder provides term, and only term, insurance coverage.

  • Coverage ends at age 70 — Your current age plus term length cannot exceed age 70.

  • No riders available — In an attempt to simplify the life insurance process, Ladder does not offer any riders or supplemental options.

  • Policies can only be purchased through age 60 — While coverage can run through age 70, new policies can only be bought between ages 20 and 60.

Ladder Alternatives

If you’re looking for quick-term life insurance options that are both easy and affordable, there are a few alternatives to Ladder.

Other options include:

  • Bestow: Offering coverage up to $1,500,000, which can be purchased entirely online and requires no medical exam, Bestow could be an excellent choice for buyers looking to simplify the buying process.
  • Haven Life: If you want your life insurance shopping process to be affordable, a quick decision and 100% online, Haven Life could be worth a look. Qualifying applicants under the age of 60 can get a policy up to $3,000,000, and some folks are even able to get instant coverage.

Is Ladder Right for You?

If you are looking for a life insurance shopping process that doesn’t drag on for weeks, Ladder’s quick, online process could be a relief. Applying takes just minutes, you can receive an instant decision in many cases, and some applicants won’t even need a medical exam.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 60 and want to purchase term coverage up to $8,000,000, give Ladder a look. Policies through Ladder are especially worth considering for folks who feel that their insurance needs could change over time--like if you plan to eventually get married, have children, buy a home, and the like.

If you are interested in whole or universal life coverage, Ladder won’t be right for you. It’s also not what you need if you’re interested in adding supplemental coverage, such as a child rider or accelerated death benefit, to your policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get whole life coverage through Ladder?

Only term life insurance is available through Ladder. You cannot purchase whole/universal life coverage, guaranteed approval policies, or final expense coverage.

What are the age limits for applicants?

Ladder policies can be purchased by applicants between the ages of 20 and 60. Keep in mind your age plus term length cannot exceed age 70.

Is a medical exam required?

Applicants seeking coverage up to $3M will not be required to take a medical exam. If applying for coverage above $3M, it will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on factors such as your age, health, and family history.

Bottom Line

Life insurance is an important part of planning for the future and protecting those you love. Its difficult, however, to know exactly what life will bring and how your life insurance needs will change over the years.

Ladder seeks to solve this issue by offering flexible policies that can be increased or decreased without penalty. Coverage can be purchased online and, in some cases, may not even require a medical exam.

To learn more about Ladder and apply for your own coverage, you can visit their website here.

Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # 0K22568; AR license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (ii) in all other states and the District of Columbia on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary between these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.

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