Instant. Simple. Smart.
Ladder, a digital life insurance provider, was founded in order to provide next-generation life insurance to consumers – with a focus on speed, ease, and intelligence.
And, there’s never been a better time for life insurance companies to be internet-based.
Almost 1 in 3 purchased or attempted to purchase life insurance online.
Ladder is here to provide that exact experience.
Ladder Key Points
- Provider of term life insurance
- Completely online experience
- Medical exam may not be required
- Manage policy digitally
Here, you will find the important aspects of Ladder – including their products, application process, and frequently asked questions – so that you have a comprehensive understanding of the company.
Table Of Contents
Our Ladder Life Insurance Review: Key Features
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Ladder was founded in 2015.
Fairly new to the block, in 2017, Ladder first introduced their products to California.
Today, Ladder is available in all 50 states, except New York (they are currently in the process of filing with New York).
As a life insurance startup, Ladder provides term life insurance via a direct-to-consumer sales process. They do not employ agents and their products are sold completely online.
Ladder has partnered with Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company to issue the LadderLife™ policies and to reinsure the policies with Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America. – Ladder
In other words, Ladder only issues policies through Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company.
Further, Ladder only reinsures policies through Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America.
Their goal is ambitious – close the approximately $16 trillion life insurance coverage gap in the United States.
Ladder’s approach to closing the gap is clear-cut – remove the traditional red tape associated with purchasing a life insurance policy:
- No need to schedule an appointment with an agent
- No paperwork
- Coverage is available at your fingertips
In fact, 60% of Ladder’s customers use their smartphones to apply for coverage (no computer necessary).
Impressively, in the first 200 days after launching, Ladder wrote over $300 million in coverage.
Term Life Insurance
Ladder only sells term life insurance.
Keep in mind, term life policies provide coverage for a specific period of time, typically when you need it most. For example, you may only need financial protection during your working years.
Ladder’s life insurance is available in the following term lengths:
Face amounts range from $100,000, up to $8,000,000.
Highly qualified applicants will be able to get through the process the fastest, while others may need to offer additional details in order to get approved.
The amount you apply for does not dictate your ability to bypass the exam, however, so one person may get over $1,000,000 in coverage without an exam, while someone applying for just $100,000 may need to.
Life insurance is a fundamentally great product for families and communities. – Jamie Hale, co-founder, CEO, Ladder
For many families, term life insurance is a perfect fit. Term policies are the most common form of coverage sold because they typically provide a large face amount at an affordable rate.
Ladder’s Application Process
Your application will be completely digital.
Steps in a nutshell
- Select a face amount and term length.
- Answer a series of health and lifestyle questions online.
- Receive an instant decision.
Steps in detail
Ladder’s comprehensive application process is intuitive and user-friendly.
Plan to answer the following questions, in this order.
1. Determine how much life insurance you need and for how long
Select a coverage amount from $100,000 to $8,000,000.
Determine your appropriate term length – 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 year term.
2. Respond to questions about who you are
In order for Ladder to determine if you qualify for coverage, they will need to gain an understanding of who you are through a series of questions.
Ladder has digitized the entire process, and you are able to answer all application questions online.
Depending on your health and lifestyle, the process usually only takes minutes.
In cases where the underwriting process provides enough information for Ladder to make an immediate decision, you will not be required to complete the exam and coverage can begin as soon as you make your first payment.
If you have experienced health complications, participate in extreme sports, or have other lifestyle factors, your application will take longer because you will need to provide specific information pertaining to those topics.
Like most life insurance applications, be ready to provide some of the more basic information, including:
In addition to these, you may be asked about any hazardous hobbies or activities you’re involved in, medications or prescriptions you take (or have in the past), or any other information they would need to make an informed decision.
Next, you will review your application, agree or edit, and apply an electronic signature.
3. Obtain your application decision
Based on your application, you will receive one of three decisions within seconds.
- You are approved
- You will need to participate in a medical exam
- You are declined
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I qualify for a Ladder insurance policy?
There are two primary requirements you must meet in order to purchase a Ladder policy.
You must be a United States citizen or a (lawful) permanent resident, living in the U.S. for more than two years.
Ladder only offers life insurance to those between the ages of 20 and 60.
In addition, available term lengths depend on your age. From age 20 to 40, you have access to the full suite of term products.
Here’s how it breaks down thereafter:
Ladder Life Maximum Term Lengths
|Age||Maximum Term Length|
|40 years old||30 year term|
|45 years old||25 year term|
|50 years old||20 year term|
|55 years old||15 year term|
|60 years old||10 year term|
Subject to change. Age restrictions for Ladder Life term lengths.
In addition, Ladder will need to evaluate your application answers to determine if you qualify. Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the more likely you are to be approved for affordable coverage.
What is direct-to-consumer?
Ladder uses a direct-to-consumer business model. This means they issue life insurance policies directly to the consumer, and they do not employ commissioned agents.
Some of us prefer to buy directly online and skip the process of working with an agent.
Their customer experience representatives are, however, licensed to sell life insurance, so if you have questions, they’re qualified and knowledgeable enough to assist you.
Does Ladder only offer term life insurance?
Term life insurance is the most popular form of coverage. Why? Highly affordable, term provides the most bang for your buck.
Term coverage allows you to secure protection for a specific period of time, say 20 years, when your beneficiaries need financial safeguarding.
However. For some, term life insurance may not be the best option. In this case, you will need to evaluate other life insurance companies.
Common scenarios in which term life insurance is not a good fit:
- Need for permanent protection
- Inability to qualify for term life insurance
Why do I have to answer so many questions about my health and lifestyle?
Life insurance companies absorb risk in exchange for life insurance protection.
In order to maintain financial strength, carriers will need to understand just how much risk they are absorbing with each applicant.
Because Ladder only offers traditional term policies, their application questions are comprehensive.
The good news – even though it’s somewhat unenjoyable, the process of answering those questions usually allows you to secure affordable premium rates – if you qualify.
Can I skip the medical exam?
Often, but not always.
Ladder does not automatically require a medical exam. Rather, each person is individually underwritten on a case-by-case basis.
If you are healthy, it’s possible Ladder will offer life insurance without nurses, needles, or liquid samples.
Like many life insurance carriers, Ladder realizes many of us would prefer to buy life insurance without a physical examination.
And thankfully, no exam life insurance is becoming more common through advancements in technology and databases.
Note – during your application process, depending on your answers (for example, let’s say you have serious health condition), you may be required to undergo a medical exam.
Will my premiums remain level?
Yes, for whatever duration you choose.
Known as level term life insurance, it’s the most common form of term coverage.
Ladder calls it their, “price lock guarantee”. Your premiums will remain the same for the duration of your policy, regardless of whether or not your health changes, as long as you don’t seek to decrease your coverage or apply for additional coverage.
Can I increase or decrease my policy’s face amount?
Yes, and this is a pretty unique feature to Ladder in how it is executed.
Increase face amount: Ladder Up
In order to increase the amount of life insurance you have through Ladder, you will need to apply for more coverage and will be priced separately.
However, you are able to keep your existing policy in place.
The amount you can increase up to is $8,000,000 and you’ll be able to simply click to add from your online account. We found this to be particularly easy, since you don’t even have to re-enter your information.
Decrease face amount: Ladder Down
At any time, you have the ability to decrease your face amount without any fees.
Decreasing your face amount is accomplished entirely online, as well, and you have the ability to lower your coverage amount to as low as $100,000 if you wish.
Of course, if you do so, your premiums will drop in proportion to your new amount of coverage.
Are riders available?
No, which we find to be a bit of a drawback.
Riders are unavailable through Ladder. This is important to know.
Riders are benefits to your life insurance contract, in addition to the death benefit. They can make all the difference during a difficult time.
Consider the following common riders that other top carriers do offer:
- Accelerated death benefit – Should you become critically, chronically or terminally ill, this rider will accelerate a portion of your death benefit.
- Accidental death benefit – If you die in a qualifying accident, an additional death benefit amount is paid to your beneficiary.
- Waiver of premium – If you are diagnosed with a qualifying disability, your premiums can be waived and your policy will remain in force.
Before you move forward in buying coverage, know whether or not riders, and which ones, if any, make sense for you.
What’s good about Ladder?
Ladder is doing a number of things right.
- Instant. You can secure coverage in a matter of minutes.
- Simple. The entire process is completed online. No paper, no appointments, and no inconveniences.
- Smart. Through the use of data and technology, Ladder is a next-generation life insurance provider.
- No policy fees. You are never charged fees for your policy. (Many carriers have annual fees.)
- Competitive rates. Ladder’s term rates are often affordable and competitively priced.
- Money back guarantee. Ladder will refund your money within the first 30 days if you are not satisfied.
What concerns should I have about Ladder?
Before applying, there are some important details you should know.
- One company. Ladder only sells policies from Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company. You will not receive multiple quotes from multiple carriers.
- No riders. Riders are unavailable. You may want a rider, or two, to make the most of your policy.
- Age restrictions. You must be between 20 – 60 years old to qualify.
- Only term. You are only able to buy term life insurance. For some, whole life insurance makes more sense.
- No independent agent. An independent agent sits on the same side of the table as you. They can shop multiple carriers to help you find the best rate.
Does Ladder have strong ratings?
Yes. Well, sort of.
Keep in mind, Ladder sells Fidelity Security life insurance policies. And, policies are reinsured through Hannover RE.
Fidelity Security and Hannover RE are both rated highly by independent financial credit-rating organizations, like A.M Best.
Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company is rated an “A-” currently, and Hannover RE is rated an “A+” from A.M. Best, and “AA-” from Standard & Poor’s.
Impressively, Ladder has secured partnerships with top-notch, tech-savvy companies and products.
Ladder and SoFi
SoFi, a highly-rated personal finance company, has specifically partnered with Ladder to offer term life insurance.
You can apply for instant fully-underwritten term coverage on SoFi’s website (which you can do right here, as well).
In addition to term life policies, SoFi offers financial solutions for:
- Student loan refinancing
- Medical resident refinancing
- Dental resident refinancing
- Mortgage refinancing
- Personal loans
- Federal ParentPLUS refinancing
Ladder and Google Home
Google Home, a hands-free Google assistant, allows you to, “get answers, play songs, tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control your smart home with just your voice”.
Now, you can initiate a conversation with Google Home about life insurance, powered by Ladder.
Simply say, “Okay, Google. Tell me about Ladder.”
Google Home will guide you through a series of questions pertaining to your life insurance needs.
By the end of your conversation, you can receive an estimation of your life insurance needs, including face amount, term length, and a premium quote.
Ladder and Alexa
Alexa is Amazon’s version of a voice-controlled virtual assistant. You can, “play music, read the news, check the weather, set alarms, control compatible smart home devices and more”.
Just like Google Home, Ladder is accessible on Alexa.
To start, say, “Alexa, launch Ladder.”
Your dialogue with Alexa will provide you with a ballpark figure on the best term life insurance policy to fit your needs, including costs, all from Ladder.
To date (2019), Ladder has raised a remarkable $54 million in funding.
Ladder’s financial backing allows the company to focus on growth, including expanding its team of marketers and engineers.
The list of investors is impressive, including a number of venture capital firms and companies in the insurance industry:
- Canaan Partners
- Lightspeed Venture Partners
- NYCA Partners
- RRE Ventures
- Thomvest Ventures
- Allianz Life Ventures
- Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures
We believe Ladder can make a difference in how life insurance is purchased today. While the product itself isn’t revolutionary, the buying experience is.
As Americans increasingly value their time and convenience in making a purchase, there are few carriers who are providing such an excellent experience when compared to Ladder.
The lack of an agent as an intermediary is great for some, but not all, so we’re neutral on this point. For young, healthy applicants, though, we see this as a huge bonus.
|Company Name (and Subsidiaries)||Ladder Financial Inc.|
|Company Ratings||A.M. Best (N/A)|
Moody’s Investors Services (N/A)
Standard &Poor’s (N/A)
|Headquarters (Address, Phone, Web)||555 University Ave|
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: (855) 543-3944
|Policy Types Available||Term|