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Laddering Life Insurance: What Does it Mean?

By Alfred Alonso·December 20, 2022·5 Minute Read

In this Article

When you become someone’s partner or a parent (or have others that depend on you), your priorities often shift.

Maybe your biggest concern before having loved ones in your life was, “Should I have a burrito for dinner for the third night in a row?” Now you’re realizing that you want nothing more than to keep your loved ones safe and secure for the rest of their lives. (And maybe still the occasional dinnertime burrito.) 

That’s where life insurance comes in. (This part is about your loved ones, not burritos.) 

There’s no one-size-fits-all life insurance. There are different types of life insurance – you can find the policy that fits best for your budget, needs, and future plans.

What they all have in common, though, is that you can pay a premium to ensure that if you were to pass away while you have an active life insurance policy, your beneficiary would receive a payout (called a death benefit) that could give them some financial protection. This benefit could help with funeral expenses or even go towards debts, the mortgage, or college tuition. 

Laddering life insurance means that you purchase multiple life insurance policies (most often term life insurance) with staggered term and death benefit amounts.

Rather than purchasing a single life insurance policy with the full coverage amount for your needs, you purchase multiple policies that add up to the complete amount. Laddering life insurance policies may seem complicated, but the strategy can be surprisingly easy to implement and offer timely benefits for younger families. 

Why is insurance laddering important to consider? 

First, you need to determine how much life insurance coverage you will need. When coming to that coverage number, many people take into consideration their current and future financial expenses that, if they were to pass away, these expenses could cause a financial burden to the family members that depend on them.

Using the laddering strategy in insurance is important to consider as an option that could help families spread out the cost of insurance needed for their particular situation.

  • Mortgage: Some people will include their mortgage amount in the equation so that the death benefit could help pay off the family home. 
  • Debt: Student loan debt, auto loans, credit cards… it all adds up.
  • Childcare: Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or work full time, your loss could mean that more hands are needed for the care of your children, whether a nanny, after-school programs, or babysitters. 
  • Tuition: If you have children enrolled in private school or have hopes to send your children to college one day, those tuition expenses can add up. 
  • Income replacement: Whether or not you’re the financial “head of household,” your financial contributions matter to the family.
  • Final and future expenses: As if losing a loved one isn’t hard enough, final medical bills and funeral expenses can be more than a standard family budget is prepared for. Funeral expenses can average in the thousands of dollars. 

Laddering life insurance policies is a strategy to help with the most financial coverage (if you were to pass away) earlier in life when it would be most needed.

When looking at the most common big expenses outlined above, many of those (student loan debt, childcare, tuition, mortgage payoff, etc.) are weighted heavier in early adulthood/middle age than later in life, when student loans and mortgages may be paid off, children are out of the home and done with school, and overall life expenses are reduced. 

How to ladder life insurance 

Let’s say you’re in your 30s, you have a mortgage, some debt, and a few kids. You’ve determined that $1.5 million would be the best coverage amount to help pay off your home and debts, provide some income replacement, and ensure that your children can go to college without taking out loans. If approved…

You could get a 30-year policy for $1.5 million and be covered. One policy, one premium. Pretty straightforward.  

Or, you could get:

  • a 30-year policy for $500,000
  • a 20-year policy for $500,000
  • a 10-year policy for $500,000

With the ladder life insurance strategy outlined above: 

  • If you were to pass away before the first 10 years… your beneficiary would receive the full $1.5 million. You would likely have a large mortgage with less equity, more debt, and childcare/upcoming tuition expenses. 
  • If you were to pass away in years 11-20…your beneficiary would receive $1 million. At this point, your family may have reduced expenses – children out of the home and maybe completing college, less mortgage and other debt. Payments would now be only for two policies, rather than the three you started with. 
  • If you were to pass away in years 21-30…your dependents would receive $500,000. At this stage in the ladder life insurance strategy, you would only be paying for one policy, which could be helpful for people preparing for retirement and trying to reduce expenses and budget. 

The strategy of laddering life insurance policies accounts for several factors:

  • Decreasing life expenses: Younger families generally have larger expenses than people in their later retirement years: larger mortgages, student loans and other debt, and tuition costs for children. Laddering life insurance is designed to help families taper off coverage as their financial needs decrease with time.  
  • Increased term life premiums: Life insurance policies are almost always lower, the younger and healthier you are. A healthy person in their 30s will likely get better rates than a healthy person in their 50s. Getting a 30-year policy at 35 could have lower premiums than getting a 20-year policy at 45. 

Get an instant quote for term life insurance, no medical exam required.

Is laddering life insurance policies right for you? 

To determine whether you could benefit from the life insurance ladder strategy, it’s important to check off a few steps:

  • If you haven’t yet, figure out how much coverage would be best for your needs. 
  • Get a quote for the amount of coverage you’d need (it’s quick and free).
  • Get several quotes at different term lengths for the ladder life insurance strategy that might work for you (still quick, still free). 
  • Compare which strategy might work best within your budget and financial responsibilities. (One premium payment for one larger coverage amount over a longer period vs. multiple premium payments for smaller amounts over differing periods.) 

Even if you’re not ready to tackle laddering at this stage, Bestow wants to make it simple to help you get started with a first term life insurance policy:

  • Apply online in minutes
  • No medical exam
  • Rates as low as $11/month
  • Terms from 10-30 years (in 5-year increments) 
  • Choose up to $1.5 million in coverage
  • Level premiums (rates locked in with your policy)
  • Eligible ages: 18 to 60 

Get your free quote.

Have more life insurance questions? Explore our Learning Center

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Author: Bestow Team, reading time: 5 minutes

Top Questions About Bestow Answered

Life insurance is confusing. We get it. With so many options out there, it’s hard to figure out where to even start. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you have questions, too.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. Every day we answer phone calls, chat messages, and emails from customers who want to buy life insurance coverage but don’t know the best way to go about it. There’s no shame in that. There’s a reason why insurance agents and brokers need to have a license to sell policies to customers — it’s a complicated topic!

Oftentimes, we hear this: “I don’t know what questions to ask.”

If that’s you, then you’re in the right place! Here, you’ll find the top questions people just like you are asking.

What Kind of Life Insurance Does Bestow Offer?

Bestow offers term life insurance. A term life policy is as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Choose a term (between 10 and 30 years, in 5-year increments),
  2. Select a coverage amount ($50,000-$1.5 Million), and
  3. If approved, pay a set monthly premium throughout the duration of that term.

Policies offered by Bestow have level premiums, which means your monthly premium will never change, as long as your policy is in force — no matter your term length. Lock in your rate today!

How Do I Know I’m a Good Fit for a Policy Offered by Bestow?

If you’re in generally good health and between the ages of 18 and 60, a policy offered by Bestow might be a great fit for you. Our application provides an underwriting decision instantly, so you don’t have to wait weeks to find out whether you’re approved for coverage.

What Is the Application Process Like with Bestow?

Bestow’s 100% online application process has four simple parts:

  1. Your basic identifying information: email, address, and Social Security Number.
  2. Your life. This includes citizenship, medical history, lifestyle, and hobbies.
  3. Beneficiaries. This is whoever would receive the death benefit in the event of the insured’s death.
  4. Policy and payment details. If approved, choose the coverage amount and term length, then enter credit card info to purchase and bind the policy.

It’s as easy as that! In as little as 5 minutes, you could be the proud owner of a new life insurance policy.

Get an instant quote for term life insurance, no medical exam required.

Is a Medical Exam Required to Get a Policy Offered by Bestow?

Not with Bestow. A medical exam helps an insurance company double check how healthy you are. Instead, Bestow’s underwriting engine checks your health with big data and technology, which saves you time and money. We’ve partnered with third-party agencies to gather information in order to assess your risk and eligibility for a life insurance policy — instead of paperwork, medical exams, and lab tests. Here’s a detailed explanation of how Bestow works.

How Is Bestow Different Than Other Insurance Companies?

Bestow’s application process is entirely online. Seriously, 100%. Many companies offer an indicative quote online, but then refer applicants to an agent in order to finish the application process. Other online life insurance options may still require a medical exam for certain coverage amounts or applicants.

We’ve completely re-engineered the application experience for term life insurance to be super simple and more affordable. Apply and get an instant decision in as little as 5 minutes. Unlike some other online life insurance providers, we underwrite the policies we offer in-house with our own technology — accelerated underwriting. Our data and technology allows us to help our customers with just about any request.

What is Accelerated Underwriting?

Think of this accelerated, algorithmic underwriting as our secret sauce. We use that big data and our proprietary technology mentioned above to determine your risk and eligibility instantly.

What Determines How Much I’ll Pay For Life Insurance?

Your level of risk is what determines your premium and monthly rate. Risk is the likelihood that an insured event (in this case, death) should occur during the policy term. The higher your risk, the more you will likely pay.

Life insurance risk factors include basic information about you (like your age, height, and weight) in addition to things like your medical history and lifestyle. But each insurance company has their own underwriting process — that’s the process by which an insurance company determines whether it can accept the risk of an applicant for life insurance, and if so, on what basis so that the proper premium is charged. Here’s more information on life insurance risk and underwriting.

What Is the 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee?

It’s a 30-day free look period to examine your life insurance policy to see if it meets your needs. If you cancel your policy within the first 30 days, you’ll receive a refund.

How Can I Trust You? You’re a Startup.

Our policies are issued and backed by A+ rated (superior) industry giant North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®. They’ve been around for over 100 years. If anything were to happen to Bestow, your policy is well taken care of. But don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere.

How Can I Trust My Beneficiary Will Get Paid?

North American Company for Life and Health Insurance® is the insurance carrier and pays the claim for policies purchased through Bestow. We are here to walk whoever is making the claim through the process and answer any questions.

What Happens If I Die During My Term?

Should you pass away, your beneficiary will contact Bestow to get started on the claims process. A Customer Care Advisor will walk them through the process and answer any questions while North American Company for Life and Health Insurance® processes and reviews the claim.

In most cases, life insurance policies will have a two-year contestable period where the insurance company may investigate the cause of death and review the information provided on the application (only if there’s a reason). If information is found to be false or inaccurate, the insurance company can deny the payment of the life insurance benefit.

Additionally, Bestow has partnered with Empathy to help you support your loved ones in all the ways that matter. We teamed up to give your beneficiaries (up to 10 loved ones) access to digital support tools to help them in the toughest times. From logistical tools like helping navigate probate and settling an estate to emotional tools like grief resources and meditation exercises, Empathy provides 24/7 digital access for your beneficiaries to navigate life after loss. 

Empathy is a platform made free for the beneficiaries of the policyholders with Bestow. Empathy is available to policies issued in the following states: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, ME, MS, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OH, OR, VT & WV. Empathy offerings are not guaranteed to continue. We reserve the right to elect, designate, replace, or terminate Empathy services at any time. Empathy is a non-affiliated 3rd Party platform.

What Happens If I Don’t Die?

Cheers to good health!

Term life insurance policies do not build cash value like a whole life policy does, so if you outlive your policy term, you won’t get anything back. Term life policies do not renew. At the end of your term, you can re-apply for a new policy.

What If I Still Have Questions?

No worries. We’ve got your back. You can contact our Customer Care Team in three different ways:

  1. Give us a call at 1.833.300.0603
  2. Ask us a question via chat — that little box floating about the page.
  3. Send us an email at [email protected], and a Customer Care Advisor will get back to you. Please do not include personal information, like your Social Security Number.

Or if you prefer a DIY approach, you can check out our Bestow FAQ.

There’s no such thing as a silly question, so don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to help.

Ready to get a quote? Apply for up to $1.5 million in term life coverage with Bestow.

 

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Author: Bestow Team, reading time: 4 minutes

No Medical Exam Life Insurance: What to Know

Between work, home repairs, and a to-do list that never seems to shrink, it can feel like there is no time for extras. It’s safe to assume that most people would prefer not to take hours out of their day to get a life insurance medical exam. If this is the case, then why do most insurance companies require it?

The life insurance industry is not just old, it’s centuries old. In fact, the first life insurance policies in the U.S. were written in the 18th century. Obviously, we didn’t have the technology then (or even just a few years ago) that we do now, so medical exams have been a necessary step in the underwriting process. But times have changed, technology included. Is it still necessary to undergo a medical exam to buy life insurance? For some, the answer is yes, and for others, no. As a consumer, you have options. 

What is No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance?

No-medical exam life insurance is exactly what it sounds like: a life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam to apply.

The traditional way of applying for a life insurance policy can involve medical exams, lab tests, and in-person interviews. With this traditional underwriting process, you might find yourself waiting up to a month to get a decision.

Accelerated underwriting uses technology to make the process of applying for life insurance more efficient. As in, an application decision and knowing if you are eligible in minutes – not weeks. Pretty cool right?

As with all types of life insurance coverage, whether or not a policy is a right fit for your needs depends on, well, your needs. Some may have higher premiums, some may have differences in the application process. There are a lot of options. Here, we’ve gathered some helpful info on some of the most common life insurance coverage options which may not require a medical exam.

What Are the Different Types of No Medical Exam Life Insurance Policies?

Term life insurance can be a solid choice for many families because of its simplicity and affordability, but there are a few other types of no medical exam life insurance options, as well.

No-Medical Exam Term Life Insurance With a Fast Decision

With this option, instead of bloodwork and a medical exam, applicants will answer health and lifestyle questions and provide information about their medical history to see if they qualify for a policy.

Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance

In some ways, simplified issue is similar to the above. There’s no medical exam, and you’ll instead provide information about your lifestyle and general health, including disclosing any medical conditions you may have. It’s an option worth considering if you’re generally in good health and looking for fast coverage.

One key difference, though, is just how much life insurance coverage you can get. Simplified issue insurance typically caps off around $100,000 (although some life insurance providers do offer more coverage). Plus, a simplified issue policy may have graded death benefits, which means that your beneficiaries only get the full value of the policy if you pass away at least two years after you purchase. 

Because there are minimal questions and quick coverage, the cost for simplified issue policies will typically be more expensive than both no-medical exam or traditionally underwritten life insurance.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a kind of whole life insurance policy (a type of permanent life insurance) that doesn’t require any health qualifications. There are no medical exams or health questionnaires. The coverage amount is quite limited though – usually between $2,000 and $25,000 – typically enough to serve as final expense insurance.

Guaranteed issue coverage is typically purchased by people who can’t qualify for any other type of life insurance. If you are approved for guaranteed life insurance, your policy will likely have a waiting period before your benefits go into effect, typically two or three years. You would pay your premiums during this time but if you were to pass away during the waiting period, your beneficiaries would not receive the death benefit. 

Group Life Insurance

Your employer may offer group life insurance with a coverage amount equal to your salary. This coverage is generally inexpensive or free and there’s usually no medical exam. It’s a nice perk if you can get it, though it’s important to remember that you usually can’t take your coverage with you when you leave the company.

Moreover, some people find that a simple one-time salary replacement is not an adequate amount of coverage. You may be able to purchase extra coverage through your employer, but consider getting a quote for a term policy before you do. You may be surprised at how much coverage you can get for the same price.

Who Can Buy Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam?

Generally speaking, healthy adults between the ages of twenty-one and forty-five may be eligible to buy a term life insurance policy online. (Bestow can underwrite policies for individuals ages eighteen to sixty, for terms of ten to thirty years, if approved.)

No one will vet your yoga class attendance record or that marathon sticker on your Subaru’s rear window. But if you are in overall good health, a no-medical-exam life insurance policy might be the right fit for you.

However, there are certain criteria that may prevent you from purchasing a policy without a medical exam. If you have a serious medical condition (such as heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, or blood pressure issues) or risky hobbies (like hang gliding, for example), you might need to speak to a licensed insurance agent to help you find a life insurance policy that fits your needs.

How To Get a Fast, Free Quote Right Now

Bestow offers term life insurance for today’s busy families. We believe that everyone should have access to the financial protection that life insurance can help provide, and that it should be convenient, affordable, and fast. 

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Who Needs Life Insurance – How It Works, and When You Should Have It

In the event you’re not around to provide for your family members, the death benefit from a life insurance policy may leave your loved ones with some degree of financial security. And for a lot of people, especially parents, that peace of mind is priceless.

You’ll have plenty of options when selecting life insurance from different face values and term lengths to riders and even policies that hold cash value. At the end of the day, the choice is personal, but knowing about all of your options can give you more confidence to finally purchase that policy.

How Life Insurance Works

In short, you pay a life insurance company a set amount of money each month (that’s the premium) for an agreed upon amount of time (that’s the term). If you pass away during that term, the insurer pays your beneficiary (the person you choose to receive the benefit) the life insurance payout.

The payout is typically tax free, and many view it as income replacement. Others plan for it to cover daily living expenses, a mortgage, or even fund higher education. You can name nearly anyone as your life insurance beneficiary and they can spend the money however they need it.

It really can be that simple. You continue to pay your insurance premiums on time each month, and you can feel good about the financial protection you are providing your family should they ever need it.

Start with a quote

Who Needs Life Insurance?

Most people start to think about life insurance when they start a family or buy a home, but the truth is, it’s always a smart time to start buying life insurance. That’s because, typically, the most affordable time to buy is now. For most people, life insurance rates get more expensive as you age.

Anyone with someone who depends on their income is a good candidate for life insurance.

1. Parents

Having kids means having bills, from early childcare costs for young children to higher education for older kids. Their financial needs are unpredictable and often come by surprise.

2. Spouses or Partners

From living expenses to outstanding debts and even private student loans, the loss of a loved one could be compounded by crushing financial burden. That’s to say nothing of the funeral expenses and other final expenses that face those left behind.

3. Stay at Home Parents

Stay at home moms and dads contribute a significant amount of non-paid labor in a home. While not typically viewed as financial support, the value of this work can easily be in the six-figures. Life insurance can help to cover the costs associated with childcare, home maintenance and more.

4. Small Business Owners

The terms of a small business loan often require life insurance, but having coverage can also solidify a commitment to employees, business partners, and small business cosigners, whose livelihoods may depend on your contribution to the company.

5. Retirees

Even if you were offered life insurance through work, that typically vanishes when you leave a job. Many retirees live on a fixed income and when a spouse or partner passes, a life insurance policy can ensure the other lives out their days comfortably.

6. Anyone with Shared Debts

If you and your spouse’s names are both on the mortgage, if your parents cosigned your student loans, or if you share a credit card, you may be leaving loved ones responsible for debt they aren’t able to pay off.

Watch this video to learn more about who might need life insurance.

Get an instant quote for term life insurance, no medical exam required.

Who doesn’t need life insurance?

If no one in your life depends on you for any financial support, you may not need life insurance coverage right now. But there’s no harm in looking at life insurance quotes today.

If you work with a personal finance advisor, it’s likely they’ll bring up life insurance while you are young, if they think you may need life insurance in the future. That’s because, in most cases, life insurance will never be as affordable as it is today. Yup. Right now. Your premium rate is determined by a number of factors including your age and health, often with a medical exam. The rate you get at 25 will probably differ significantly from the rate you get at 35.

What Kind Of Life Insurance Is Best For You?

Once you’ve got an idea of the amount of life insurance you need, you’ll need to understand which type to buy. There are several types of life insurance coverage with differing amounts of coverage, policy lengths, and even add-ons. Let’s break it down.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance (or permanent life insurance) is a policy you purchase and pay premiums on for the rest of your life. When you pass, as we all do, your beneficiaries receive a payout.

A whole life insurance policy might be right for someone hoping to transfer wealth to their children. Or people who expect to have mortgages into old age. It is almost always more expensive than a term policy because it, at some point, will pay out.

Read more about the differences between term and whole life insurance here.

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance policy is a great choice for people looking for more affordable rates and happy to have coverage for a set number of years (like 5, 10, or even up to 30).

You can usually find out a more flexible policy with competitive rates for the years when your death would most impact your family (duration of a mortgage, children graduating, etc.)

Watch the video below to learn more about how much insurance you need.

Buying Your Life Insurance Policy

Whether you’re looking to shore up your long-term financial plan or you’d just rest a little easier knowing you’ve done something that may help your family, life insurance is now a relatively easy place to start. With Bestow, you can get a fast, free quote in seconds. The full online application literally takes minutes, and you could have coverage today, if approved. Peace of mind could be just a few clicks today. So what are you waiting for? Get started today.

 

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