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Ladder life insurance review 2024

Updated May 28, 2024
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At a glance

Bankrate's take

Ladder offers an entirely digital interface for purchasing and managing term life insurance. However, policies are basic, with no riders available for customization, and there are strict age requirements for eligibility.

  • Offers 100 percent digital application process for policies under $3 million
  • Term life coverage can extend up to $8 million
  • Advertises affordable coverage as low as $5 per month
  • Not rated by J.D. Power which makes gauging customer satisfaction a little more difficult
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Ladder life insurance

Based on Bankrate’s analysis of Ladder life insurance, the company may be a choice worth considering for people between the ages of 20 and 60 who are interested in term life insurance policies. The company was founded in 2015 and offers term life insurance nationwide through a 100 percent online interface. This enables prospective policyholders to complete everything from obtaining a life insurance quote to filling out an application to securing coverage online.

Here’s what you should know about the types of life insurance products Ladder offers:

  • Term: Term life insurance policies are the only type of life insurance offered by Ladder. Term policies, unlike permanent life insurance, are not lifelong. Instead, term life insurance is only active for a set number of years (as long as premiums are paid). Ladder’s terms are 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years and do not require a medical exam for coverage amounts below $3 million. In fact, if you are seeking less than $3 million in coverage, your application may be approved in minutes. For policies between $3 million and $8 million, you may need to complete a medical exam.
    • “Laddering” coverage: Ladder’s titular feature allows policyholders to adjust their life insurance amounts as many times as they would like throughout the term of their policy. Ladder does not charge its customers for the adjusting process; however, you will likely face a higher premium if you increase your coverage amount.

Life insurance can be a complex product, but Ladder’s streamlined approach might make the shopping process less daunting. Still, for those who want to customize their policy with riders or to purchase permanent life insurance, Ladder may not be the best choice. Additionally, note that Ladder does not underwrite its own life insurance policies. Instead, they are issued by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company, Amica Life Insurance, Allianz Life Insurance Company and S.USA Life Insurance Company, all of which have high financial strength ratings with AM Best.

Pros and cons of Ladder life insurance

When evaluating Ladder Life Insurance, it's beneficial to consider both the advantages and limitations of their offerings. Ladder provides a streamlined, digital-first approach to life insurance, focusing on term policies with specific eligibility criteria. Understanding these key aspects can help you decide if Ladder aligns with your insurance needs and preferences.

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Pros

  • Policies under $3 million don't require medical exams
  • Provides convenient digital platforms for managing and applying for policies
  • Partner underwriting companies rated A (Excellent) or better by AM Best
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Cons

  • Only offers term life insurance policies
  • Only adults between 20-60 can apply
  • No policy riders available for personalization

Ladder life insurance riders

Ladder does not offer any policy endorsements or riders. Rather, the company takes a simplified approach by only offering term plans with no endorsement options. Ladder has stated that they don't see the benefit of riders as being worth the increased premium costs to customers.

Ladder customer satisfaction

Our Ladder life insurance review would not be complete without looking at the company’s third-party ratings. Ladder was not scored in the 2023 J.D. Power Individual or 2022 Group Life Insurance Study, but Bankrate looked at AM Best scores for Ladder’s underwriting partners. The results were promising: all four of Ladder’s underwriting partners received high marks for financial strength, which indicates that Ladder has a strong likelihood of being able to pay out its claims. Here are the AM Best scores for each company:

Ladder insurance customer complaints

Looking at Ladder’s complaint index from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) can give you a better image of how pleased Ladder customers are with the company as a whole. Established in 1871, the NAIC is a regulating body for the insurance industry. Among other obligations, the NAIC rates companies based on customer complaints. The NAIC system has a 1.0 rating as the baseline of average complaint levels. Higher complaints push companies over 1.0, while fewer complaints push them below it. The NAIC rates companies as a whole and for each insurance product it sells.

We evaluated the NAIC individual life insurance complaint index for each of Ladder’s underwriting partners. The results were mixed: Allianz and Amica’s indexes were on the lower ends of the spectrum, while Fidelity and S. USA skewed higher.

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Compare Ladder with other insurers

If you're looking for different types of life insurance policies but are still interested in a digital insurance experience, other companies may be worth investigating. To find the most affordable life insurance, it may benefit you to consider some of the best cheap life insurance companies selected by Bankrate’s industry experts. And if you’re unsure how much you should be paying for quality life insurance, Bankrate’s explainer on life insurance costs may help to clarify what constitutes a good deal.

Ladder vs. Bestow

Another digital life option, Bestow offers up to $1.5 million in term life insurance without a medical exam. Bestow might be a good choice for people interested in term policies for $1.5 million or below and those who either can't or don't want to find policies through Ladder insurance. Those who do not qualify for Ladder life due to their age may find this a viable alternative.

Learn more: Bestow Insurance review

Ladder vs. Ethos

Ethos uses algorithmic underwriting to offer many instant life insurance approvals for term or whole life through five highly-rated life insurance companies. In many cases, Ethos does not require medical exams of its applicants. People who want an online experience with life insurance but don't qualify for Ladder life and those who are interested in whole life policies may find Ethos to be a good alternative.

Learn more: Ethos Insurance review

Ladder vs. Lemonade

Customers can apply for up to $1.5 million in term life insurance through Lemonade’s 100 percent digital platform. Philanthropic-minded individuals may enjoy learning that leftover company profits are donated annually to a charity of their choice. Lemonade also offers car and home insurance policies. Since Ladder only offers life insurance, those who want to bundle their policies may find Lemonade to be a better choice.

Learn more: Lemonade Insurance review

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Why you can trust Bankrate

Our insurance editorial team includes licensed agents with decades of combined experience, and we used our intimate knowledge of the industry to conduct this in-depth Ladder insurance review.

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Is Ladder a good insurance company?

Ladder may be a good life insurance company for some, but it has limited options when it comes to insurance products. The company only offers term life policies and does not allow for any riders (endorsements) on those policies. Still, the companies that underwrite Ladder life policies are highly rated, and Ladder offers a host of digital conveniences for policyholders. If you're only interested in term life and prioritize digital policy management, Ladder could be a good choice for you.

Ladder’s unique, adjustable approach to term life insurance may be convenient to policyholders whose changing circumstances could require them to alter their coverage level at a moment’s notice. Additionally, Ladder’s digital-first approach to insurance and sleek web design may be well-suited for customers who prefer to manage their policies online — but not the best choice for those looking to work with a live agent.

What are real-life customers saying about Ladder?

To gain insight into the customer experience with Ladder Life Insurance, we've explored feedback from real users on platforms such as Trustpilot and Reddit. It's important to note that most customer reviews for life insurance, including those for Ladder, tend to focus more on the initial sign-up process, customer service and policy management rather than the claims process and payouts. This is largely because, given the nature of life insurance, not all policyholders directly engage with the claims aspect themselves. These platforms offer a lens into how Ladder interacts with its customers and manages its policies, providing a glimpse into what potential policyholders might expect.

Reddit and Trustpilot reviews

Customer experiences with Ladder Life Insurance, shared on Reddit and Trustpilot, offer a spectrum of insights. On Reddit, users like one from April 2023 commend Ladder for its affordability and the backing by reputable companies, suggesting a sense of reliability and value. Trustpilot reviews echo this sentiment, with a September 2023 reviewer highlighting the "incredibly easy and straightforward registration process," praising the user-friendly interface and the simplicity of providing information.

However, not all feedback is glowing. A December 2019 Trustpilot review raises concerns about a "bait and switch" tactic, where the initial low rates offered during the application process significantly increased post-medical examination, despite no new health disclosures. Similarly, an April 2023 review describes a frustrating underwriting process that “took entirely too long (over four months) and communication was scarce” and a lack of proactive engagement with healthcare providers to clarify medical records.

These accounts reflect varied aspects of customer interactions with Ladder Life Insurance, from the ease of application to potential challenges during the underwriting phase. While some customers report a seamless and positive experience, others express difficulties, especially regarding rate adjustments and communication during underwriting, underscoring the importance of setting clear expectations and maintaining open lines of communication.

Ladder company details

For those considering Ladder for their insurance needs, here are some key contact details and resources to help you get started or manage your existing policies:

  • Customer service: 844-533-7206
  • Claims: Fill out this form or email claimhelp@ladderlife.com
  • Company website: ladderlife.com 
  • Mailing address: Ladder Financial Inc., 100 Forest Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

State availability

Ladder offers life insurance policies through its partnered underwriters in all 50 U.S. states. Depending on where you are in the country, your policy may be issued by one of the Allianz Life Insurance companies, Amica Life Insurance, Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company or S. USA Life Insurance Company.

Ladder tools and benefits

Ladder partnered with SoFi to offer its members a quick and convenient way to purchase adequate life insurance, which has expanded to estate planning. SoFi members who buy life insurance through the SoFi Protect homepage can now get a step-by-step guide to gathering estate planning documents with the ability to draft and execute wills at no cost through NetLaw's legal document platform.

Frequently asked questions about Ladder

Written by
Ashlyn Brooks

Ashlyn Brooks is a finance writer with more than half a decade of experience, known for her knowledge in areas such as taxes, insurance, investing, retirement, finance news, and banking products.

Edited by Editor II, Insurance