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What Is Ladder Life? Ladder Life Insurance is a California-based life insurance carrier that was...

What Is Ladder Life?

Ladder Life Insurance is a California-based life insurance carrier that was founded in 2015. Since its establishment, Ladder has quickly become an innovator in the insurtech space, earning financial support from reputable investors. The company exclusively sells term life insurance policies, which are issued by third-party carriers.

Who Owns Ladder Life Insurance?

Unlike some other digital life insurance carriers, Ladder Life is fully self owned. However, Ladder Life Insurance doesn’t underwrite its own insurance policies.

Who Underwrites Ladder Life Insurance?

Ladder’s term life policies are issued by three licensed life insurance companies — Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America.

While it can be risky to purchase life insurance from a company that doesn’t issue its own policies, Ladder works with a network of reputable and financially stable insurance underwriters.

AM Best gives Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company an A (Excellent) rating, and Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America both have an A+ (Superior) rating.

These ratings indicate that Ladder Life’s underwriters are financially strong and can meet policyholder obligations and pay claims. In addition, these three companies each have below average customer complaints according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

How Does Ladder Life Insurance Work?

Ladder Life is aiming to simplify and streamline the life insurance purchase process. And based on my experience with Ladder Life, it couldn’t be easier to navigate.

When getting a quote, you’ll be asked to provide some personal details, like your age, height, weight, and your tobacco use. I was also asked to disclose my personal and family medical history, my annual income, the number of children I have, and my remaining mortgage balance.

Based on my responses, Ladder’s algorithm estimated how much coverage I would need and for how long. However, I still had the option to choose my own coverage limits and term length.

Read more: Calculator: How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Ladder’s term life insurance policies are available in term lengths of 10 to 30 years, in 5-year increments, and between $100,000 and $8 million in coverage. I also learned that the company only issues policies to people between the ages of 20 and 60 years old.

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How Much Does Ladder Life Insurance Cost?

The cost of life insurance from Ladder depends on a few different factors.

When I went through the quote process, my estimated rate was $1.13 per day (or about $34 per month) for a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage. When I changed my choice to a 30-year, $3 million term life policy, the quote increased to $4.83 per day, which is roughly $145 per month.

I also got quotes from Bestow, one of Ladder’s competitors, to see how its prices stack up. For a 20-year term policy with $1 million in coverage, Bestow quoted me $26.83 per month. For a 30-year term policy, with the maximum coverage limit of $1.5 million, Bestow’s quote was $67.25.

For me personally, Bestow was a cheaper option than Ladder for a 20-year, $1 million policy. However, the cheapest provider is different for everyone. The only way to know how much you’ll personally pay is to get a term life insurance quote from a few different companies and compare them.

Key Features

Online Application

Ladder’s online application process is really simple. The application is 100% digital, but the company has agents on standby who can answer questions if you need help. When I went through the application process, the entire thing took less than 10 minutes.

Laddering Coverage

With Ladder Life, you can “ladder up” or “ladder down” your coverage. Essentially, laddering your coverage allows you to adjust your coverage limits — and therefore your monthly premiums — up or down based on how your financial needs change overtime.

Screenshot of Ladder's laddering feature

For example, you might decide to ladder up if you take on a new mortgage, and ladder down once you’re close to paying that mortgage off. There’s no limit to the number of times you can ladder your coverage, and applying is totally free. 

Laddering is something that many life insurance companies offer, but they usually offer it through term life riders (add-ons to a regular policy). It’s not an inherent, guaranteed option for most term life policies.

No Medical Exams (For Most People)

Most people who apply for a Ladder life insurance policy with $3 million in coverage or less can skip a medical exam. If you want to get life insurance with no waiting period and no medical exam, it might be worth getting a quote from Ladder.

Riders

One of the biggest downsides of Ladder is that the company doesn’t offer any optional riders that can fill gaps in your coverage. Many other insurance companies offer riders for disability income, critical illness, accidental death, dependent children, etc.

Read more: Life Insurance Riders — What Are They and Why Are They Important?

Convertibility

Another negative to Ladder Life is that you can’t convert a term life insurance policy, because the company doesn’t sell permanent coverage. If you outlive the term, your coverage ends. If you want to keep your coverage in force, you have to purchase a new policy.

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Ladder Life Customer Service and Complaints

Based on my experience with Ladder, the company seems to have pretty good customer service. You can access an agent via live chat during business hours, which are Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. You can also get in touch with Ladder via phone or email if you prefer.

In addition, Ladder gets few complaints from its customers. In the NAIC Complaint Index, Ladder has fewer complaints than expected for a company of its size, and its three underwriting partners also have a low number of complaints. Ladder life insurance reviews are mostly positive, which suggests it has good overall customer satisfaction, pricing, and claim processing.

My Experience Researching Ladder Life

My experience researching and reviewing Ladder Life Insurance was mostly positive across the board.

The quote and purchase process were very straightforward, and it only took about 10 minutes to complete the application. I also appreciated that Ladder recommended an appropriate term length and death benefit based on my answers. I used the online chat feature to ask a live agent if riders were available (they’re not), and they responded quickly.

Also, Ladder has pretty good reviews from its current customers. That’s not the case with some other life insurance companies I looked at. Ultimately, I would feel confident purchasing a policy from this company, even though it’s not the oldest or most reputable provider on the market.

Who Should Get a Ladder Life Policy?

Ladder is a good option if you’re looking for a term life policy with high coverage limits. I would also recommend it to people who want the flexibility of adjusting their life insurance coverage as their family’s financial needs change. Laddering your life insurance is not an option that every life insurance company offers.

Although Ladder didn’t provide the cheapest rates for me personally, the company advertises term life insurance starting at just $5 per month, which is pretty cheap. If you’re on a tight budget, and you don’t need a lot of coverage, Ladder might be a good, affordable choice.

Who Shouldn’t Get a Ladder Life Policy?

If you’re looking for a permanent life insurance policy, like whole life, Ladder won’t fit your needs. The only option for coverage is term life insurance. Also, Ladder doesn’t offer any riders, so there are no ways to customize your policy with more tailored protection, except for laddering.

Read more: Term Life vs. Whole Life Insurance: Which Should You Choose?

Ladder vs. Competitors

  Ladder Bestow Lemonade
Sample quote (20-year, $1M policy) $34/month $26.83/month $32.80/month
Coverage limits $100,000 to $8 million $50,000 to $1.5 million $50,000 to $1.5 million
Policy types offered Term life Term life, homeowners, car, renters, and pet. Term life
Riders None None None
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Lemonade Life

Lemonade Life Insurance is another digital term life insurance provider with an online application and instant approvals. You can choose term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years, with $50,000 to $1.5 million in coverage.

Lemonade advertises affordable term life coverage, with rates starting at $9 per month. In addition to life insurance, the company also sells other insurance products, like pet, car, and renters insurance, so it could be a good option if you are in the market for multiple policies. Bundling one or more additional Lemonade policies together with your term life policy might give you a discount.

Get a life insurance quote from Lemonade or read our full review of Lemonade Life Insurance.

Bestow

Bestow is an online-only term life insurance carrier. Like Ladder and Lemonade, Bestow makes it easy to get term life insurance online, with no medical exam. The company offers term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years, with coverage limits ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million.

If you want the cheapest term life insurance possible, Bestow could be a good provider to look at first. When I compared quotes from Ladder and Bestow, Bestow gave me a lower quote. It was also cheaper than the quote I received from Lemonade for a 20-year, $1 million policy.

Get a life insurance quote from Bestow or read our full review of Bestow Life Insurance.

Final Thoughts

Based on my experience researching and reviewing Ladder Life, I think it’s a great company to consider if you’re in the market for term life insurance, especially if you want the flexibility to ladder your coverage. However, keep in mind that there are some downsides, like the lack of riders. Plus, Ladder didn’t give me the cheapest quote when I compared its rates to several competitors.

Read more:

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.