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Buying life insurance is a big commitment. You’re buying a policy that will provide for your family, and you may need coverage to last for decades.
Chances are, the policy you need at 25 is very different from the policy you need at 45 or beyond. Whether you get married, have children or have to care for an ailing loved one, what coverage you need can change over time.
Most policies don’t allow you to adjust your coverage as the years go by, but Ladder is the exception. While the company offers no riders for its policies, you can decrease or apply to increase your policy’s death benefit as your situation changes, making Ladder our choice for best flexible coverage.
Sells adjustable term life policies
Ladder sells term life coverage that can be adjusted over time – or, in industry parlance, “laddered.”. Whether you need more coverage or want to reduce your policy’s death benefit to save money, Ladder allows you to change your policy.
Applications are completed entirely online
The Ladder life insurance application can be completed entirely online. There are no sales agents or complicated paperwork; you can fill out and submit the application in just a few minutes.
High coverage amounts available
Many direct-to-consumer companies have limited coverage amounts. Typically, you can only get $1 million of coverage or less. However, Ladder allows you to apply for up to $8 million in term life coverage.
No medical exams for up to $3 million in coverage
Ladder guarantees no medical exams for up to and including $3 million in coverage, though you may be asked to complete a medical exam for coverage over $3M. In any case, as part of the online application, questions about your health will be asked.
No riders can be added to policies
Life insurance companies usually offer optional riders that can be added to your policy to enhance your coverage. However, Ladder doesn’t offer any riders, so you can’t add coverage options for accidental death, accelerated death benefit, or children or spouses, among others.
Medical exam may be required, for coverage over $3 million
Although some people may qualify for coverage from Ladder without a medical exam, that’s not the case for everyone. When you apply for a company policy, you may be required to get a medical exam and bloodwork. If a medical exam is necessary, it can take several weeks before your application is processed and completed.
Maximum term length is dependent on age
Ladder offers term life policies to individuals between 20 and 60 years of age. However, your maximum term length is dependent on your age. The older you are, the shorter your term length options.
Quotes are based on per-day pricing
Most companies provide you with a monthly premium when you request a quote. However, Ladder’s quotes break down the premium on what you would pay per day rather than per month. When comparing quotes between companies, keep the payment frequency in mind. Finding a quote for $1.00 per day may sound appealing, but when you realize it’s $30 per month, it may be less competitive.
Unlike other companies that may sell multiple forms of life insurance, Ladder only sells term life insurance. All Ladder policies are fully underwritten.
While whole or universal life policies are permanent, term life insurance only provides temporary coverage. You select a term when you purchase your policy, and your beneficiaries receive a death benefit only if you pass away while your policy is active. Because it only provides coverage for a specific length of time, term life coverage is usually much less expensive than permanent life insurance.
With Ladder, you can get up to $8 million in term life insurance. Terms range from 10 to 30 years, but the maximum term length is based on your age. Your current age plus your term length cannot exceed 70.
A unique benefit of policies sold through Ladder is the ability to “ladder up” or “ladder down” your coverage. As your family or financial situation changes, you can decrease or apply to increase your policy’s death benefit accordingly.
For example, if you have children, you can increase your policy death benefit to ensure you leave them enough money to pay for college and their living expenses if you’re no longer around to provide for them.
Or, you can decide to decrease your coverage as you get older since you may be able to self-insure based on your savings and retirement account balances.
Ladder is the only company we know of that allows you to change your policy amount up or down whenever you like, and there is no limit to how often you can change your policy.
Ladder doesn’t offer any insurance riders.
Ladder only sells term life insurance, and it doesn’t allow you to purchase coverage for a child or spouse.
Founded in 2015, Ladder is a relatively new company. While it doesn’t issue life insurance policies itself, it partners with established insurers to provide customers with adjustable term life coverage.
Policies are available in all 50 states, and they’re issued by the Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York and Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America,
Because life insurance provides coverage for decades, it’s wise to research the insurer’s financial stability and future outlook before purchasing a policy.
Credit rating agencies — including AM Best, Moody’s and S&P Global — evaluate insurance companies and issue ratings based on their opinions of companies’ financial strength and potential.
Ladder’s partners are highly ranked by the major credit rating agencies. Their ratings tend to be in the “superior” range, meaning that the credit rating agencies believe that the companies are financially sound, able to handle economic changes and will likely be able to afford to pay out future claims.
Because Ladder’s partners are smaller insurance companies, they weren’t included in the 2021 J.D. Power Individual Life Insurance Study.
When it comes to life insurance, it pays to start early. It’s generally cheaper to buy a policy when you’re in your 20s or 30s because you’re less likely to have been diagnosed with health conditions, and premiums are typically higher for older individuals.
To get an idea of Ladder’s costs, we requested quotes for term life coverage for a 30-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Overall, Ladder’s quotes were higher than the industry average. A 20-year $250,000 policy was $15.84 per month, while the industry average is just $13.75 per month.
The rates above are hypothetical. Your quotes may vary based on your location, age, gender and health history.
Ladder life insurance policies can be purchased entirely online. Most insurance companies that sell policies online also offer multiple customer service options. But with Ladder, there is no way to contact customer support by phone; the only options are to submit a message or send an email.
You can contact customer service by sending a secure message or by emailing [email protected]. Customer support is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. PT.
Even though Ladder’s policies are issued by other companies, Ladder allows you to manage your policy through its own platform. You can create an account and change your beneficiaries, download policy documents and make payments.
Currently, Ladder only accepts monthly payments; you don’t have the option of quarterly or annual payments.
Although Ladder is a fairly new company, it’s typically well-reviewed by customers.
Ladder has an excellent rating on TrustPilot. Its TrustScore is 4.8 out of five based on over 1,900 reviews. Reviews highlighted the easy online application, speed of policy processing, and available options.
Every year, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases complaint ratios that reflect the number of complaints customers submitted about a particular company relative to the insurer’s market share. The industry standard complaint ratio is 1.0. If a company’s ratio is above 1.0, that means the NAIC received more complaints than is expected for a company of its size. Similarly, a ratio below 1.0 means the NAIC received fewer complaints about the insurer than expected.
Below are the complaint ratios for 2020 for Ladder’s partners’ individual life insurance segments:
Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York: 0.0
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America: 0.34
Allianz had strong ratios.
In our evaluation of Ladder and other life insurance companies, we looked at the following factors:
Ladder offers a unique option for life insurance: you can get adjustable term life coverage and increase or decrease your death benefit as your needs change. You can purchase up to $8 million in coverage and apply online.
Ladder is best suited for individuals that want simple, straightforward coverage. It doesn’t offer any optional riders, and some applicants will have to get a medical exam to qualify for coverage. Its premiums are also a little higher than the norm, based on our price survey.
If you’re looking for a policy you can customize with insurance endorsements or policies that are simplified issue, you may be better off with another life insurance company.
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