Ladder takes a different approach to life insurance, offering term coverage that can be adjusted as your needs change. The product is affordable and applicants applying for up to $3M can get coverage online, if qualified. If applying for more than $3M and you need a health check, it will be provided at no cost to you at your home or office. Ladder is best for younger people who want term coverage that comes with the option to adjust the death benefit later on.
- Pros & Cons
- Key Takeaways
Great customer service reviews on third-party websites
Easy online quote and application
Flexible coverage that can be adjusted later on
Issued by insurance providers rated A or better by AM Best
Affordable coverage for high-value policies comparable to other online providers
No bundling discounts
Not rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 Life Insurance Study
No available insurance riders
No permanent policies available
- Ladder life insurance policies are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York in New York and Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company® Kansas City, MO across the rest of the nation.
- Ladder only offers term policies, and premiums are most competitive for young people in good health purchasing high-value policies.
- Ladder uses a digital first underwriting process that allows many applicants to get coverage without needing a medical exam.
- Year Founded 2015
- Kinds of Plans Term life
- Number of Plans 1
- Payment Options Monthly
- Official Website https://www.ladderlife.com/
Ladder Life Insurance (Ladder) specializes in offering customizable term policies for individuals ages 20 to 60. Ladder policies come with high coverage limits at affordable prices for young people in good health, and since you’ll have the option to reduce your coverage later on, you could save money when compared to a traditional policy. However, Ladder may not be the most cost effective option for older people, those with health conditions, or applicants looking for a smaller policy.
We researched Ladder’s financial stability ratings, customer satisfaction reputation, policy options, website tools, and more to help you compare the life insurance policy options that Ladder provides with that of the competition. Read on for our full findings so you can decide if Ladder is the right choice for your needs.
Founded in 2015, Ladder is a new provider in the insurance-technology (insurtech) space, but its policies are issued by providers with great financial strength ratings and plenty of experience in the industry: Allianz Life of New York, which writes Ladder’s policies in New York, has been in business since 1896, and Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company®, which writes Ladder’s policies in every other state, was founded in 1957.
To get started with Ladder, you’ll need to answer a few questions to get a quote. After receiving your quote, you can continue the process and complete your application online. Applicants seeking up to $3M in coverage can go through the process 100% online - no in person health checks required. If you are applying for more than $3M and do need a health check, Ladder will send a technician to your home or office free of charge. From there, you can purchase your policy entirely online. There are also a few customer support options: You can email, utilize live chat, or speak to a representative by phone.
Ladder only offers one life insurance product, but it can be customized to meet your needs. At any time, you’ll also be able to reduce your coverage, which can save you money on your premiums. For example, once your mortgage is paid, you may not need as high of a death benefit. On the other hand, should you need more coverage for changes such as the birth of a child, you can apply to increase your policy.
Term life insurance is designed to provide a death benefit should the policyholder pass away within a specific period, typically during a time when the policyholder’s death would place an undue financial burden on their dependents. For example, you might purchase a term life insurance policy to cover college expenses for a child or until your mortgage is paid.
With Ladder policies, you can select a face value ranging from $100,000 to $8 million, which is more coverage than is typically available without a medical exam. You can select a term of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. And at any time during the term, you can log in to your account to decrease or apply to increase your coverage. When you ladder up, your additional coverage may be priced differently than your existing coverage, but when you ladder down, your premium will decrease proportionately to the decrease in face value.
Ladder offers policies to applicants ages 20-60, and your current age plus the term length can be no more than 70 years. An applicant seeking up to $3M can get coverage without a medical exam, if qualified, but a health check may be required for those applying for more than $3M.
You can save money over the life of your Ladder term policy if you reduce your coverage as your financial responsibilities change. For example, once your mortgage is paid and your children have graduated, you can ladder down to get a lower premium.
Riders are add-ons to an insurance policy that provide supplemental coverage such as living benefits or life insurance for your children. While many life insurance companies offer riders to customize your policy, Ladder does not. The company states that this is an attempt to keep policies straightforward and affordable.
Customer Service: Email, Phone & Live Chat
If you need to reach customer support, you have options:
Ladder’s customer service representatives work on salary rather than commission, so they’re motivated to help resolve issues for you rather than try to sell you a policy.
Customer Satisfaction: Good Reputation Overall
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) registers complaints about insurers to provide an index that indicates whether the company received more or fewer complaints than expected given its size. Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company®, the provider that issues Ladder policies in most states, had an above-average number of complaints for a company of its size with the NAIC, with an index of 8.26.
However, it’s important to note that the provider takes up such a small share of the market that this was a result of a mere two complaints in 2020. Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, which issues Ladder policies in New York, had six complaints and an index of just 0.34.
Ladder isn’t rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. However, customer service reviews on third-party websites are excellent, beating many competitors in the industry. Customers are especially satisfied with the ease of the application process.
Financial Strength: A+ to A- Rated
AM Best, an independent rating agency for the insurance industry, grades insurance companies based on financial strength, which indicates their ability to pay claims. The two insurers that issue policies for Ladder earned the following ratings:
- Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company®: A (Excellent)
- Allianz Life of New York: A+ (Superior)
Cancellation Policy: No Questions Asked
You can cancel your Ladder life insurance policy at any time without incurring any fees or penalties. You also have the option to reduce your coverage to get a lower premium at any time during the term. Ladder also offers a 30-day “free look” period, which is standard among life insurance companies, since most states require that insurers provide at least a 10-day trial. That means that if you cancel within 30 days of your policy’s start date, your paid premiums will be refunded. After the 30 days are up, your premiums won’t be returned if you cancel.
Price: Affordable for People in Good Health
Your premium will be based on individual factors such as your health status, age, and gender, but our sample quotes were about the same or less than at other providers for younger people in good health. For example, a 35-year-old female nonsmoker would pay just $37/month for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage from Ladder. A similar policy would cost at least $37.23/month at Haven and at least $50/month at Ethos.
Premiums were slightly higher than the competition for older people purchasing smaller policies. For example, a 50-year-old male nonsmoker purchasing a 10-year policy worth $100,000 would pay $18.83/month at Ladder but could pay as little as $17.92/month at Haven or $19/month at Ethos.
High-risk applicants, such as smokers and people with a family history of diabetes, will also pay higher premiums at Ladder than at some other providers. A 40-year-old male cigarette smoker would pay $42.99/month for a 20-year policy with $100,000 in coverage at Ladder but as little as $38.01/month at Haven and $20/month at Ethos. (Note that all rates may vary by location.)
Ladder’s initial online quotes are just an estimate and you’ll need to provide more information, including your personal contact info, to get your exact premium.
How Ladder Compares to Other Life Insurance Providers
Ladder is one of the only providers to offer high-value policies without a medical exam, and these policies are very affordable for young people in good health. However, people with health issues, smokers, and older folks will likely get a lower premium from another provider. Still, you need to consider the unique flexibility of Ladder’s product and do the math to see if you’d be saving money in the long run by laddering down your coverage at a later date.
Ladder vs. Ethos Life Insurance
Both Ladder and Ethos are newer insurtech providers that use a simplified underwriting process to provide quick online coverage to applicants at affordable rates, but there are some key differences between the two companies.
- Ethos never requires a medical exam, while Ladder may require a health check if you’re applying for more than $3M in coverage.
- Ethos policies only go up to $1 million in coverage, while Ladder policies go up to $8 million.
- Ethos policies are issued by Banner Life or Ameritas, which have fewer complaints with the NAIC than the issuers for Ladder.
- Ethos includes an accelerated death benefit with every policy.
- Smokers can qualify for lower rates with Ethos than with Ladder.
While both companies offer a straightforward term policy with an easy online application, Ladder is a better fit for young and healthy folks buying large policies while Ethos is a better fit for higher-risk applicants purchasing smaller policies.
Ladder vs. Lemonade Life
Both Ladder and Lemonade offer instant coverage without a medical exam to many applicants. Lemonade’s life insurance product is new, but it is issued by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which has been around since 1886 and has an A+ financial strength rating from AM Best. Here’s how these two products differ:
- Lemonade only offers terms of 10 or 20 years, while Ladder provides more customization options.
- Lemonade only offers up to $1 million in coverage, while Ladder can provide a policy with a face value of up to $8 million
- Lemonade’s policies start at just $9 per month, but you can’t get an anonymous quote online—you’ll need to provide personal information.
- Lemonade never requires a medical exam, while Ladder may require a health check but only for applicants seeking above $3M in coverage. Some people who are eligible for Ladder with a health check may not be eligible for Lemonade.
While both providers offer affordable policies, Ladder wins in terms of customization options, flexibility, and coverage limits. Still, people looking for a smaller policy with a 10- or 20-year term may find a cheaper premium from Lemonade.
Ladder’s term policy is unique in that you can get a face value of up to $8 million, and medical exams are not required for coverage up to $3M. You can also adjust the coverage to meet your needs down the road. Young people who want a flexible term policy with a multi-million dollar death benefit may find that Ladder is a great fit. However, Ladder is not the best option for seniors, smokers, or people looking for optional riders or bundling discounts. Those seeking permanent policies should also look elsewhere.
Ladder’s financial strength and customer satisfaction reputation are solid, and customer service reviews on third-party websites are some of the best in the industry, but Ladder is not rated in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Life Insurance Study. Some of Ladder’s competitors fare better in terms of financial strength ratings and complaint data. Still, Ladder could be a top contender for people seeking a high-value policy with simplified underwriting.
All of our reviews of life insurance companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company based on offerings, customer service, financial stability, cost, and more. For each company, we compared the life insurance products offered, as well as available features, and reported customer experiences. Visit our life insurance review methodology for the full breakdown of what we evaluated for over two dozen companies.