Updated on March 19th, 2020.
Life insurance plays an important role in personal finance. Yet, while personal finances seem to evolve every year, the life insurance industry has been largely stagnant. Ladder is changing that by bringing innovation to an archaic life insurance industry.
Ladder was built with the digital generation in mind, using technology to enable efficiency and value. Ladder has dramatically improved the overall customer experience by simplifying the application, underwriting, and binding processes.
Overall Rating: 4.7 ★ / 5 ★ Rating by Savology
Overall, Ladder provides an outstanding value and a remarkable experience at great prices for their target market. There may be a few low-cost competitors out there that can edge Ladder out in a price war, but not that also bring the same level of value, flexibility, and overall experience.
Ladder has earned a Savology recommendation and a 4.7-star rating for their competitive prices, efficiency, flexibility, and trustworthiness.
Pros & Cons of Ladder Life
- Fast and easy quote tool and application process
- Quick underwriting decisions for those that qualify with a price lock guarantee
- Many applicants don’t require medical exams
- Competitive and transparent pricing with no extra policy fees
- Excellent customer service with no commission incentives
- Policies can flex – apply to Ladder up or down with a few clicks as your needs change
- Backed by the financial security of two well-established life insurance providers
- No riders, supplementary coverages, or whole life options
Flexibility: 5 ★ / 5 ★ Rating by Savology
Perhaps Ladder’s biggest differentiator is the flexibility that they have introduced to life insurance. Your needs for life insurance change throughout your life, and that doesn’t mean you should have to replace your policy when you buy a house, pay off a debt, or have another child.
With Ladder, you can decrease your coverage anytime with just a few clicks. This will ensure you are never paying for more than you need. This will decrease your premiums proportionately with the reduced coverage amount. Ladder also makes it easy to apply for more coverage or extend your term length without fees or hassle. Additional coverage will be priced separately, this ensures your original coverage amount will stay at the original price according to your age and status when you received the policy. Your premium will then change based on your new additional coverage.
To top off the flexibility, Ladder has a few other selling points. Ladder provides a 30-day money-back guarantee and will allow you to cancel your policy at any time. And Ladder allows you to pay with a credit or debit card where most other providers do not.
Efficiency: 5 ★ / 5 ★ Rating by Savology
Some of the biggest roadblocks to obtaining life insurance are the inefficiency of the traditional paper process and the inconvenience of a medical exam. Ladder has all but eliminated those obstacles for those that qualify.
Ladder features an online application and real-time underwriting. It takes about 5 minutes to apply and get an instant quote and decision. You can then accept it or reject it at your convenience. This can decrease waiting and processing time by days or even weeks compared with traditional providers.
For many applicants, a medical exam is not required, which means you can accept the coverage and have it take effect within minutes of starting.
Here is what the application process looks like:
1. Select your coverage amount and length of term
Ladder provides options for term lengths between 10 years and 30 years with coverage amounts that range from $100,000 to $8 million.
2. Answer a series of questions to determine eligibility
At this stage, Ladder asks you about your occupation, health history, family history, driving record and lifestyle choices to get the most accurate quote.
3. Ladder returns with a decision
After your application, Ladder provides a quick decision. In many cases, they return an immediate quote. In some cases though, they may request a medical exam or completion of a “spit kit” before providing a quote. It is also possible to be declined for coverage as it is with any insurance company.
If a medical exam is required, Ladder will help you schedule the medical exam at your convenience. It can be performed at home or at work with no additional cost to you.
In our experience, one of our two team members that tried Ladder had to schedule a medical exam but reported it was quick and easy. It took about 15 minutes and he could track the progress through the online portal.
4. You decide whether to accept coverage
If you receive a quote, you can accept coverage right away. From there it only takes a couple minutes to set up your account and provide billing information. Or, if you decide to forego coverage, you can abandon it at any time. Remember, if you accept, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pricing: 4.6 ★ / 5 ★ by Savology
The efficiencies achieved with technology allow them to be very competitive in their pricing. Ladder is even more competitive on higher value life insurance policies, particularly with policies between $1 million and $8 million. Premiums can be a bit more expensive for those looking for term life insurance with a death benefit of less than $1 million, but prices are still competitive.
Sales commissions have long been a significant cost of the life insurance industry. Ladder doesn’t have high pressure, commission-based sales agents that need to be paid on every policy. In fact, Ladder does not have any commission-based life insurance agents at all. They have a salaried support team, which means there is no incentive to sell you more insurance because they are getting paid the same no matter how much insurance you buy or don’t buy.
Resources & Tools: 4.5 ★ / 5 ★
Ladder has a basic term insurance calculator on their website. This is a good tool to give you a rough estimate of how much insurance you need, but it isn’t necessary if you have a Savology financial plan. This calculator seems accurate and they don’t try to oversell you on how much you need. It gives you a realistic coverage amount and it is pretty intuitive to use.
Ladder has been criticized for its lack of educational resources and tools. While it is true they don’t have tons of resources, they have been adding additional resources. They have a blog, FAQ page, and a Life Insurance Basics page. They also have a YouTube channel with helpful and informative videos. While these are not comprehensive, it at least gives you a good starting place to understand life insurance and why you might choose Ladder.
The customer service is top-notch at Ladder. Many online reviews talk about Ladder having excellent customer service. They have an online chat feature, or you can contact them by phone after starting a chat to get the phone number. All of their representatives are salaried, which means their focus is to help you instead of sell you. Overall, the service had a very personalized touch.
Reputation, Credibility, and Trustworthiness: 4.5 ★ / 5 ★
Ladder is backed by reputable investors such as Lightspeed and Canaan. Ladder has partnered with Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, Kansas City, MO, which has an AM Best A (Excellent) to issue policies in all DC and all states except New York. In New York, they have partnered with Allianz Life of New York, which has been rated A+ (Superior). Ratings are based on an analysis of financial position and operating performance by A.M. Best Company, an independent analyst of the insurance industry. For the latest ratings or additional information about ratings, visit www.ambest.com.
Ladder also has an excellent rating on TrustPilot with a 4.5/5 TrustScore with hundreds of excellent reviews.
Ladder has a few limitations that prevent it from being a perfect fit for everyone. Ladder only provides term life insurance and only in term increments of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. Those who use Ladder also have to be a lawful U.S. resident for at least two years.
Like many life insurance providers, Ladder only offers level term policies. Although they do not offer decreasing term, annual renewable term, or permanent policies, they do provide laddering to reduce death benefits and premiums or increase death benefits as explained above. For all but a small subset of the population, level term policies are most appropriate anyway so this may not impact you.
Since Ladder does not offer permanent policies, Ladder’s policies do not have the ability to convert to a permanent policy. Several other traditional insurance companies have that option. They also do not have the ability to include riders and waivers on their policies. Their policies are aimed to serve people’s needs in a simple manner. If you are looking for additional options for more complex situations, then Ladder may not be right for you.
Is Ladder Right For You?
Ladder Life is an excellent choice for many people, especially for those who are looking for a digital application that is quick and easy. Or looking for a standard term life policy. In many cases, this means you can get started in just a few minutes and you may not have to take a medical exam. Applicants can also qualify for more coverage than they typically would with a no-exam policy.
Ladder has no commission-based insurance agents so you can be assured they don’t have a conflict to sell you more insurance than you need. While Ladder does not have the absolute lowest prices, their rates are consistently better than that of top insurers. They are also great for those who are looking to increase or decrease their coverage as life changes come, which is one of the most noteworthy of Ladder’s value propositions. For these reasons, Savology highly recommends Ladder for those looking for a term life policy.
This review is provided by and expresses the opinions of Savology to help users make informed financial decisions. Many of the featured products on this site connect to our affiliate partners. Partners may provide compensation to Savology for referrals, which in turn allows Savology to provide the free financial planning platform. Compensation does not influence the product evaluations or recommendations.
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