Ladder Life Review: A Rapid Approval Term Life Insurance Option

Written by NextGen Life Insurance

You’ve come to the right place for a Ladder and the life insurance they provide. We cover the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for you and your family. Let’s get started.

Here’s one reason why some Americans don’t bother getting a life insurance:

The whole process is usually one long daunting task.

Think about it. In an era of “There’s an app for that” where services are available in an instant, the application process for life insurance is still deeply rooted in its old ways.

OUR REVIEW OF LADDER LIFEThe traditional way of applying and getting approved for a life insurance policy takes anywhere from 6-8 weeks, while some companies offer 3-10 days processing time for “accelerated” underwriting methods.

Just thinking about how much time, effort, and money it will take to apply is enough to extinguish any motivation to get a life insurance. It’s like putting off going to the gym. You know it’s good for you yet you don’t go simply because it’s too much of a hassle. And of course, some people are just “too busy.”

These consumers are the ones scratching their heads asking, “Can’t anyone make this whole process easy?”

Enter Ladder.

Its founder and CEO, Jamie Hale, cites a LIMRA study that reveals this very reason as a factor for millions of “stuck shoppers” in the US. Millennials and younger working families who simply find the existing process life insurance application process time-consuming and expensive.

The multiple in-person meetings, paperwork to complete, and long wait-times have deterred these consumers from getting a life insurance.

The answer, according to Ladder’s CEO, is a “Truly instant, fully-underwritten life insurance policy.”

How fast is Ladder’s Life Insurance Quote Process?

The company claims it was once able to deliver a fully-underwritten decision in just 429 milliseconds. No, that’s not a typo. That’s literally half-a-second. They said that their system was able to provide an actual assessment under a second after getting the customer’s info.

Ladder asserts that on average, they deliver decisions in less than 15 seconds from the time the customer hits the “Submit” button. Impressive? Definitely. Any service that cuts handling time by more than a hundred times seems pretty awesome.

How does Ladder do it?

This less-than-a-minute average decision-making time is made possible by utilizing an algorithmic underwriting system that “incorporates hundreds of data points to fully assess the risk — without any human intervention or delay”, according to Hale.

Ladder Life Insurance InformationIn fact, the company boasts that the fastest customer has moved from all the steps (application to acceptance to delivery) in under 4 minutes. On average, the majority of Ladder customers take around 15 minutes to apply and receive a policy.

Hale said that one major reason why traditional life insurance companies take so long to process applications is the divisions between different business departments.

“They have so many big silos, they have a data ability problem”, Hale said.

What exactly does this mean? Traditional insurers typical employ systems that are stand-alone. An underwriter needs to log-in on one system to get a specific piece of information on a customer then manually enter this data into another system.

This method, as you can see, will require plenty of back and forth between systems and depends on the skill and accuracy of the underwriter. Bottom line – this old-school approach takes far too long compared to Ladder’s method.

But while Ladder prides itself in their fully automated process, Hale said they still utilize real-life employees to review underwriting decisions, check for issues, and see if there are any outliers.

Types of Ladder’s Life Insurance Policies

Minimum Age: 20

Maximum Age: 60

Death Benefit (Minimum): $100,000

Death Benefit (Maximum): $8,000,000

Terms available: 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years

Ladder in Action

Ladder’s website is presented in a nice, clean format. To get a quote, simply click the “Get Started” button.

I did a quick test run of the service for demo purposes.

On the first page, there’s a handy life insurance calculator you can use to help you pick an insurance coverage amount and length that suits your needs.

Here’s a quick preview of their life insurance calculator:

Ladder Life Insurance Calculator

And here’s what you’ll see after filling it out (answers are purely for illustration purposes only)

Ladder Life Results

After getting an estimate from the calculator, you can proceed to answer actual questions for determining your quote.

The very first screen will ask you to choose a coverage amount and length.

Getting Started With Ladder Life Insurance

The whole Q & A is divided into 3 parts: Activities, Health, and Personal. I made a table showing the questions under each category:

ACTIVITIESHEALTHPERSONAL
Do you plan to travel outside of US for the next 2 years?What is your sex?Where were you born?
Do you have plans to fly as a student pilot, licensed pilot, or crew member in any aircraft within the next 2 years?How tall are you?Are you a U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident who has lived in the U.S. for more than 2 years?
Have you used any form of tobacco or nicotine in the last 3 years?How much do you weigh?Do you currently have life insurance, not including life insurance through an employer, or an annuity?
Have you used marijuana in the last 12 months?Has your weight changed by more than 10 pounds in the last year?Have you applied for any other life insurance, a reinstatement, or a renewal in the last 5 years?
In the last 10 years, have you used cocaine, heroin, narcotics, hallucinogens, or other controlled substances (not prescribed by a physician)?In the last 10 years, have you been diagnosed, treated, hospitalized, or prescribed medication by a medical professional for any of the following?Are you currently employed?
In the last 5 years, have you been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, have you served in a probationary or parole program, or do you have any criminal charges pending?Have you been a patient in any medical facility in the last 5 years?What is your occupation?
In the last 5 years, has a physician recommended any test (other than HIV) or treatment that you have not yet completed, or are you waiting to receive results for any tests now?What is your annual income?
Have you ever had an organ transplant?What is your annual household income?
Have you been diagnosed by a physician with AIDS or ARC?Do you have a valid driver's license?
Do you have a regular physician?Have you ever been issued a driver's license?
Has a biological parent or sibling been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, or heart disease prior to the age of 60?In the last 10 years, has your driver's license been suspended or revoked or have you been convicted of driving under the influence?
In the last 5 years, how many moving violations or convictions have you had?
When is your birthday?
What's your SSN?
What's your name?

After answering all questions, your information will then be assessed for a quote.

Ladder’s Best Features

Term life insurance made simple and instant (Up to $8 million in coverage)

Ladder takes the usual lengthy end-to-end process of insurance from weeks to minutes. Right now, most insurance companies offer a Sign-up process on their website that promises to provide you with an assessment and estimates within minutes but, in reality, it’s just the start.

Most insurance companies will still need to contact you by phone afterward to conduct an underwriting interview, which could take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes. Then, the actual issuance of your policy and its delivery typically takes anywhere from weeks to months.

Ladder makes the whole process quick and easy – you can even do it on your smartphone. Their groundbreaking approach via the use of big data and efficient use of systems allows the company to create a highly streamlined process that takes much of the work out of your hands. They literally make term life insurance instant, so you can be all done and covered without spending too much time and effort.

Allows you to ladder up or down during your life insurance coverage

One of Ladder unique features is its flexibility: It allows you to increase or decrease your coverage depending on your financial situation.

Ladder Life Ladder Up

They call it, “Dynamic Life Insurance”. Let’s say you signed up for a term life insurance with Ladder for $200,000. The next year, you get married and feel the need to increase your coverage. Ladder can quote you on an additional premium based on how much of an increase you’d like to have on the coverage.

For example, instead of initially paying $15 a month on your $200k coverage, you’d now pay $25 a month for $450k of coverage. And it works the other way around. If you want to decrease your premiums for a lesser coverage, Ladder will allow you to do that as well.

This makes it easier for customers to make changes based on their needs and capacity to pay. Other traditional insurers will have you cancel your existing coverage and start a new one.

It’s a hassle and time-consuming. The laddering feature allows for a smooth transition in the future without the need to terminate your existing coverage.

Financially sound

When it comes to life insurance, it’s crucial to pick a company that stands on solid financial ground. Ladder takes pride in being a partner of two highly-rated insurance companies: Fidelity Security Life Insurance (FSLI) and Hannover Re.

A.M Best Company, an independent insurance industry analyst, gave FSLI an A-rating (Excellent) while reinsurer Hannover Life Reassurance scored A+ (Superior). For the unfamiliar, A.M Best rates companies based on their financial strength, which can be used as an indicator for claims-paying ability (life insurance company’s ability to pay out on a policy).

If a physical exam is required, it’s free

Not all customers who use the Ladder platform are guaranteed a term life insurance offer in minutes. That’s because each person will have a different set of answers for Ladder’s set of questions.

And, if they deem that you need to undergo a physical exam for your underwriting, they will send a medical technician to visit your home and conduct the test for free. Simply provide the date and time that you’re available and Ladder will schedule the visit.

Overall customer support and satisfaction is superb

TrustPilot (a popular site that reviews companies) gave Ladder a score of 9 out of 10 based on 208 unique reviews at the time of this writing. Ladder actually responds to some of these reviews especially if customers have questions or concerns.

Ladder has integrated both front and back-end systems into their service which allows customers to easily make changes on their coverage in real time. Things, like updating your beneficiaries, changing your payment method, and updating even the coverage itself, are allowed on their website and will not require you to speak with a representative.

No Annual Fees and Free-look period

Yes, there are no annual fees required when you sign up for Ladder. If you want to give them a try, they offer a 30-day free-look period. It allows you to sign up and get an actual policy but still have the ability to cancel it and receive a full refund if you choose to do so within 30 days.

New feature: [email protected]

Ladder has recently launched a new service, [email protected], which brings the same convenience and benefits of Ladder’s term life insurance program to companies and its employees. Companies interested can simply visit Ladder’s website to sign up and apply.

Ladder’s Weaknesses

Offers Term life only

While Ladder is a trailblazer in the InsurTech industry for providing a true end-to-end insurance platform that’s drastically faster than traditional methods, they only offer term life insurance to customers. Anyone looking for a permanent life insurance needs to look elsewhere. Also, policies under Ladder can’t be converted to whole life insurance.

No additional policy riders

Most traditional insurers offer policy riders for customers wanting to add more features to their policies. Unfortunately, Ladder does not currently offer any rider options to its customers.

Not available in all states (yet)

New York is still not supported by Ladder at the time of this writing (Oct 2018). However, please do check their official website for any updates as their goal is to make their service available nationwide.

Ladder Life Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m X years old. What’s the maximum coverage I can get from Ladder?

A: Ladder offers coverage to customers aged between 20 and 60 as of their nearest birthday. To explain this better, here’s a simple chart showing the max term length that each age bracket can sign up for:

Ladder Life Insurance Age and Term Length Chart

Q: How much life insurance will I need?

A: It depends. Life insurance varies on a case-to-case basis. Factors like the amount of coverage you want (and can pay for), length of term, purpose, are mainly considered when deciding on the amount of coverage you’ll need. Ladder has a nifty calculator that you can use to determine a baseline coverage taking these aforementioned factors into consideration.

Q: How do Ladder’s rates compare to others?

A: Ladder offers competitive rates and is considered one of the most affordable options in its category. ValuePenguin ranks them higher overall versus platforms like HavenLife and Fabric in terms of monthly premium affordability. This holds especially true as the coverage goes into the millions.

Q: Will Ladder allow me to change my term insurance to whole life later on?

A: No, Ladder currently offers Term Life insurance only. No other options exist as of this writing.


Q: How does Ladder fare in terms of claims-paying performance?

A: Ladder partnered with Fidelity Security Life Insurance (FSLI) and Hannover Re– both were highly ranked by A.M Best in terms of financial strength. This can be a good indicator of Ladder’s ability to pay the claims of its customers.

Q: What are the qualifications to apply for a Ladder term insurance?

A: Ladder provides coverage to US citizens and permanent lawful residents who have lived in the US for more than 2 years. They must be between 20-60 years old to qualify.

Ladder Life Verdict

Term life insurance coverage in minutes. That’s the promise of Ladder to its customers. The ability to sign up for and get a decision in less than 15 minutes is impressive and deserves praise for its innovation. More importantly, Ladder brings a solution to a problem that a significant portion of the US population has when it comes to getting life insurance: Inconvenience and time.

Now they have a way to get insurance coverage in a quick, seamless, and hassle-free fashion using just their computers and mobile phones. What usually takes days and weeks to complete is now achievable in minutes. Anyone looking into getting term life insurance should definitely check out Ladder.

Click here to learn more about Ladder and see if it’s a good fit for you.

About NextGen Life Insurance
About NextGen Life Insurance

We work with individuals across the nation to secure the best life insurance rates. With access to all the top rated life insurance companies, we are always trying to find the lowest rates available. Get your free quote today!

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3 Comments

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