Life Insurance: Extras and Riders

Last updated: March 29, 2016

What Is a Rider?

There are several benefits you may add to your life insurance policy when you buy it. These are known as “riders” and include:

Waiver of Premium

This rider makes sure your policy will stay active if you become disabled.

  • Premiums are waived as long as your disability continues.

  • The policy benefits continue -- just as if you had paid the premiums.

  • You are responsible for telling the company if you become disabled.

Accidental Death Benefit

  • This rider pays an extra benefit if you should die accidentally. (For example, in a traffic accident, a fall, drowning, etc).

  • The payout will be one or two times the original amount of the policy and will pay in addition to the basic benefit.

    • (This is sometimes referred to as "double" or "triple indemnity".)

Guaranteed Insurability

This rider makes sure you will be able to buy more life insurance in the future -- regardless of your health.

  • The policy specifies certain times when you can add more coverage (and not have to answer any questions about your health).

  • The cost for the new policy is based on your current age.

Level-Term Rider

The level-term rider is temporary coverage that can attach to a whole life, universal or variable life policy. It provides extra insurance protection for a specific length of time.

  • It may insure the same individual or may provide coverage for an additional person. (Such as a spouse or child.)

Long-Term Care Rider

The long-term care rider is issued alongside a life insurance policy. It helps pay expenses if you live at a long-term care facility.

  • The benefit for long-term care is usually limited to 50% or less of the total face amount of the policy.

    • For more comprehensive long-term care coverage, consider a long-term care insurance policy.

Accelerated Benefit Rider

Accelerated benefits, also known as “living benefits,” are payable to you before you die.

This benefit allows the policy to pay you all (or part) of your benefit for certain circumstances.

  • Situations like diagnosis of a terminal illness or being confined to a nursing home.

  • These events, referred to in the policy as “qualifying conditions,” vary by the company.

  • Any benefit paid out before you die will reduce the benefit paid to your beneficiaries after you die.

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