What is Laddering?

Laddering in life insurance

“Laddering” in the context of life insurance typically refers to a strategy where an individual or a family purchases multiple life insurance policies with varying coverage amounts and term lengths. This strategy is often used to provide sufficient coverage during different stages of life while also managing costs.

Laddering Strategy

  1. Here’s how the laddering strategy works:

    1. Multiple Policies: Instead of purchasing a single large life insurance policy, you purchase multiple policies with different coverage amounts and term lengths. Each policy is designed to meet specific needs at different points in time.

    2. Term Lengths: The policies are chosen with varying term lengths, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. Shorter terms might be used to cover specific financial obligations that are temporary, while longer terms might be used for more permanent needs.

    3. Coverage Amounts: The coverage amounts for each policy are determined based on financial obligations and responsibilities. As time passes, certain obligations (like a mortgage or children’s education expenses) might decrease, allowing you to reduce coverage and save on premiums.

    4. Cost Management: Laddering helps manage costs since shorter-term policies generally have lower premiums than longer-term policies with higher coverage. As shorter-term policies expire, the need for coverage might decrease, resulting in cost savings.

    5. Transitioning: As each policy reaches the end of its term, you can reassess your financial situation and decide whether you still need the coverage or if you can reduce it. You might also consider converting some of the policies to permanent life insurance if your needs change.

    Laddering can provide flexibility and cost-effectiveness while ensuring that your life insurance coverage aligns with your changing financial responsibilities over time. However, it requires careful planning and periodic reviews to ensure that the coverage remains appropriate for your circumstances.

An Example of Laddering in Life Insurance ?

Let’s say you have a 10-year policy to cover your mortgage, a 20-year policy for your children’s education, and a 30-year policy for income replacement. As these needs change or are fulfilled, you can adjust or let policies expire accordingly.

The Bottom Line

Laddering your life insurance is like having a financial plan that grows and adapts with you. It’s a smart way to manage costs and coverage over time. However, before embarking on this strategy, it’s essential to consult with a financial advisor or insurance expert. They can help you fine-tune your toolbox, making sure you have the right tools for every stage of your life.


While it’s not mandatory, consulting a financial advisor or insurance expert can help you create a well-designed laddering strategy that meets your specific goals. They can provide guidance and ensure you make informed decisions.

Laddering involves managing multiple policies, which can be a bit more complex than having one policy. However, the benefits of tailored coverage and cost savings often outweigh the added management.

Absolutely. Laddering is designed for flexibility. As your needs evolve, you can adjust your coverage by letting policies expire, reducing coverage amounts if the carrier allows, or adding new policies to address new needs.

Yes, you can start laddering at any age, but the best time depends on your life stage and financial goals. It’s advisable to begin when you have clear financial responsibilities that require coverage.