What are common life insurance riders?

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Buying life insurance can be a daunting task. First you need to decide how much insurance you need. After you have crunched the numbers, you must move on to deciding which type of insurance is going to satisfy your immediate and future needs.

Finally, you will need to decide which insurer has the right product offerings for people in your age range.


While this might sound like you have done all of the necessary homework to make your purchase, you are not quite finished.

The last step will be to research and select the policy add-ons that you need for added peace of mind.

Policy add-ons, which are called life insurance riders, provide you with coverage for the gaps that rear their ugly heads throughout your life.

In order to purchase a rider, you will need to meet the eligibility requirements and be willing to pay and extra premium.

The types of riders that you can select and the riders that you need depends on the company, the type of policy you want to buy, and your situation.

Regardless of your budget or your situation, knowing the difference between the riders that you are being offered is imperative when you are adding to your life insurance portfolio.

Read on, and learn more about how riders work and when riders are ideal.

Use the FREE life insurance comparison tool at the top of this page to start your search!

Riders For When the Named Insured is Disabled or Ill

Many people worry so much about selecting the right coverage that they overlook what they would do if things did not go as planned throughout life.

Right now with your current income you may earn enough money to comfortably pay for you and your spouse’s life insurance, but life does not always go as planned.

Luckily, most of the reputable insurance companies now offer their clients options to buy riders that will help with specific life events happen. One of these life events is disability.

The Waiver of Premium Rider

The Waiver of Premium will waive your entire life premiums when you become disabled and are unable to work.

You never want to face a situation where you must decide if you want to pay your life insurance or purchase food to feed the family.

With this rider, you will pay a small premium each month for the peace of mind in knowing your life insurance will stay active when you are fully disabled and living on a very restricted income.

This rider can still be very helpful even if you have disability insurance because you will be forced to live off of only a percentage of what you normally earn. Be sure to check the stipulations of the rider and the age restrictions. You may be eligible for it until you are age 65.

Disability Income Rider

Some insurers will also offer named insured’s the option to buy a disability income rider. This rider will offer the insured a regular income from the insurer if they become totally disabled. It acts much like a disability plan by paying you monthly or annually for the length of the disability.

It is important to check and see if the reason for disablement is considered before purchasing this rider. Some companies may limit the claims to paying only when there is an accident rather than a sickness. If you have disability insurance that is adequate and do not need the added protection, you may not need this rider.

Guaranteed Insurability Rider

waiver of premium - life insurance

While this rider is not specific to disability, it does apply.

A guaranteed insurability rider is one of the most overlooked riders offered in today’s market.

When you choose to add this rider to a permanent plan, you have the option to raise your coverage without proving that you are in good health at specific anniversaries.

There is a maximum limit that you can raise your coverage and you will be given a list of your anniversary dates when increases are valid.

When an individual finds out they have a pre-existing condition, this becomes a very beneficial rider.

This is especially a great rider for children’s policies, because they will always be eligible for coverage no matter what might happen in the future.

Long Term Care Rider

Demand for long-term care is growing exponentially as the number of baby boomers rises. This is why the Long Term Care rider is becoming more popular than ever. By adding this rider to your life insurance policy, your policy will pay monthly payments towards in-home or nursing home care when you need assistance.

This is an option if you cannot afford both long-term care and life insurance, but be sure you know just how much of the care will be covered and how it will affect your death benefit.

Riders for Extending Coverage to Family Members

Managing multiple life insurance policies can be daunting and expensive. If you are the primary breadwinner in your home it does not mean that your spouse does not have a need for coverage. Stay-at-home spouses and even children may have their own unique needs for life coverage.

If you cannot justify buying a separate policy for others, or if they cannot qualify for standard coverage, riders could be an alternative option. Here are some riders to extend your coverage to the family while your policy is active:

Child Term Rider

If you carry a term insurance policy, you can purchase a child term rider that provides your children with a specific amount of coverage until your little one reaches 18.

Once your child is independent, this term rider can be converted to a permanent plan up to 5 times the amount of the original rider no matter if the child is insurable or not.

Spouse Rider

If you are married and only want to buy one policy, you can still add your spouse on to your plan with a spousal rider. You may not receive the same death benefit, but you will still receive a limited amount of coverage for final expenses. Spousal riders are most popular when a spouse is not employed or does not qualify for their own insurance.

This is an alternative to buying a high-priced insurance because there are no medical questions or exams.

It is also good for people who want one payment and do not want to go through the application process for a new plan. What you do need to know is that if the spouse outlives the named insured they will be left without coverage.

Other Riders You Should Know About

life insurance rule of thumb

If you are planning to buy a term insurance plan at the moment, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the benefits of buying a permanent plan in the future.

There are riders that may actually be beneficial to you so that you can save now and enjoy the tax-deferred growth later.

Many insurers realize that young families may not be able to pay hundreds of permanent coverage right away. They also realize that many want to enjoy what permanent insurance has to offer.

To give their clients time to save, insurers are now offering a term conversion rider.

This is a rider allows you to convert your 10, 20, or 30 year term into a whole or universal life policy without having to qualify by taking a medical exam.

In order to convert the plan, you will simply need to sign a conversion form and answer minimal questions.

For the rider to apply, you will need to meet a conversion deadline. Some companies will go as far as applying your entire first year’s premium to your permanent plan so that it is funded and begins to accrue cash values.

If you are seriously considering permanent insurance, this is a rider that you could use.

If you do not know about permanent insurance, you should learn about the benefits before you overlook the rider.

How to Price the Cost of Riders

Each rider has its own price. Many riders have a fixed rate for a month or annual period. Some riders may cost a specific amount per $1,000 of coverage. You will need to ask your agent for a quote if you have insurance.

Many riders must be purchased with the policy at inception, but some can be added. If you are buying a new rider, be sure the quote includes the rider in the cost when you are comparing pricing.

Comparing life insurance quotes can be quick and easy if you use an online rate tool, such as the FREE one below.

These advanced tools give you access to rates through the biggest insurers in the market in minutes. All you need to do is enter your personal information, choose an amount, choose policy, and choose the riders that you need.

You will then be directed to quotes with actual providers. Compare these quotes, research the providers and you can choose a fully comprehensive plan that protects you and the family.

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