Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here.

Hey Picky peeps! Today I wanted to share a review of the life insurance site, Ladder. Ladder compensated me to write this review, but it’s a completely honest description of my experience, both the good and bad. Enjoy!

2018 has begun and with it, many of us are reinventing ourselves. It’s a time of resolution, of reflection, and looking towards the future. It’s a popular time of year for people to evaluate their financial standing. After all, the beginning of a year is the perfect time to realize you need to start investing, right?

A new year is also a chance to review the less-sexy-but-still-important aspects of our finances, like insurance. I’m not one to shy away from insurance, especially life insurance. Read about my life insurance saga here and what I went through to actually get said insurance.

My passion for life insurance is actually what brings me to today’s post. Several years ago, my mom passed away unexpectedly without life insurance. It was a shock to the family and we had to scramble to cover funeral costs, debts, and more. It was awful! I firmly believe that life insurance would have made the already difficult situation easier on our family. For that reason, I’ll have life insurance as long as I have debt.

But I digress. Here’s how I stumbled upon Ladder in the first place.

a review of ladder

Once upon a FinCon

There I was at the October 2017 FinCon party. I was gettin’ my drink on and listening to a live band when I struck up a conversation with a lady named Emily. As it turned out, she worked for a company in the life insurance space called Ladder. We chatted for a bit about the life insurance industry, hung out for a bit, and then parted ways.

I didn’t think much about Ladder at the time because they were only in California. However! Emily reached out a few weeks ago to let me know that Ladder is now in Texas (and many other states). She asked me to give their site a whirl, and I did! As an insurance junkie, I could hardly pass up the chance to try something that makes the traditionally painful-and-slow life insurance process a little easier.

A review of Ladder

Ladder ain’t your grandma’s life insurance. They streamline the online life insurance process to offer direct-to-consumer term life insurance. Ladder’s goal is to close the huge life insurance coverage gap in the United States, which I love.

ladder life insurance logo

How are they different?

That was my main question when I first heard of Ladder. I’ve heard about so many startups springing up all over the place that it makes my head spin.

Ladder is different because they try to make the life insurance process as instant and painless as possible. Depending on your situation, you can get an instant decision in minutes. This is different because you don’t need a sales agent, you don’t need to peruse hundreds of packages and products, submit applications, have an interview, and wait weeks for approval.

Another cool differentiator for Ladder is that you can ‘ladder’ your coverage over time. For example, right now I don’t need a lot of coverage because we don’t have kids. However, once we do have kids, I could go to Ladder and apply to bump up my coverage. You can also ‘ladder’ down your coverage to save money, too.

So in a nutshell, that’s what Ladder does. But how does their service stack up to Picky scrutiny?

a review of ladder life insurance


You don’t always need a physical exam
While some insurers require a physical for everyone, Ladder doesn’t have a blanket requirement for physicals. Of course, this depends on your personal situation, but there’s a chance you might not need a physical. If Ladder determines you don’t need a physical, you can get a term offer in minutes.

While some people might not need a physical, some will. Ladder helps schedule the free exam and it can be done at home. After the exam, the results are reviewed and you get your final offer.

While waiting for the physical results, you’re basically SOL with other insurers during this time. I like that Ladder offers temporary coverage to people while reviewing their application. So it’s great that, if something happens in the meantime, you have something set up for your family.

Some cost savings
Obviously this greatly depends on your health, age, coverage options, and more, but for me, Ladder seems to be slightly cheaper than my current plan.
With my current provider I pay $23/month for $250,000 in coverage.

Mind you, I’m considered higher risk than Mr. Picky Pincher, who pays just $16/month for the same amount of coverage. Since my coverage is kinda wonky, I used Mr. Picky Pincher as a baseline for Ladder’s coverage. Under his factors, he would pay an estimated $13/mo with Ladder.

It’s an estimate, but with a $3/mo savings, you save $36 per year, or $720 over a 20 year term policy.

It’s not a big savings, but why pay more if you don’t have to?

Streamlined process
After going through the life insurance application process with my own provider, I definitely think Ladder has streamlined a lot of the typical BS. It’s an online application system that’s as simple as they can possibly make it.

I remember having to wait an entire week to hear back about approval for life insurance. It was so annoying, y’all. I just wanted to give these people my money!

I also like that they don’t have commission-driven employees. I definitely had to push back on my current provider for pushy “please increase your monthly premiums” tactics. It’s a lot more comfortable of a situation; they seem to care a lot more about your well-being over their bottom line.


I do really like Ladder, but nobody’s perfect. Here are a few cons of going with them for life insurance.

No conversions
Ladder doesn’t offer whole life; they only do term policies (ie. 10, 20, 30 years). I would only ever recommend a term policy, but if you needed whole life for some reason, Ladder doesn’t offer it.

a review of ladder life insurance

Gotta be tech-savvy
Of course, some people don’t like the idea of using so much tech for life insurance. I love the way the tech makes our lives more efficient, but it’s important to understand what you trade off each time you opt to manage things online.

I could see how Ladder wouldn’t be a great fit for people who prefer brick-and-mortar establishments. But methinks it gets the millennial vote just fine. 🙂

The bottom line

I firmly believe that, if you have debt, you need life insurance. I’m not sure if life insurance makes sense once you’re financially independent, but it’s a smart way to protect your loved ones while building net worth. I love that companies like Ladder are challenging the way we think about insurance. Hopefully this will encourage people (particularly young people) to consider more insurance coverage for the unknown.

We want to know: Have you set up life insurance?

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