Jeffrey Manola is an experienced life insurance agent and the founder of Top Quote Life Insurance. His mission when he created Top Quote Life Insurance was to provide online consumers searching for life insurance with the absolute best quotes for term life insurance, permanent life insurance, no medical exam life insurance, and burial insurance. Not only does he strive to provide you with the ...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2020

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Most people are unaware of the option to purchase additional coverage for their life insurance coverage by utilizing policy riders. A life insurance policy rider is basically a form of supplemental coverage, in addition to the death benefit coverage.

A life insurance policy in itself is a contract between you and the life insurance company. As long as you make your required premium payments, the life insurance company will honor the contract by paying a death benefit to your beneficiary in the event you pass away.

In addition to the basic life insurance contract, you have the option to purchase policy riders to enhance the coverage.  Life insurance policy riders come in many different options, from riders that are free and included, to riders that are have  additional premium, as well as riders that allow you to use money from the death benefit, such as living benefits.

It is important to understand that all life insurance policy riders are not equal and some may not be available with every company such as specialized or unique rider options. In this article we will focus on the most common life insurance policy riders and touch on a couple of the unique ones that are currently available through certain life insurance companies.

Looking to compare life insurance policies? We can help. Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from multiple insurers.

Common Life Insurance Policy Riders

Our list begins with some of the common life insurance policy riders available that are often offered by most life insurance companies. Since all life insurance companies have different rules, policy limitations and regulations, it is best to speak with a licensed Top Quote Life Insurance agent if considering adding a policy rider to a life insurance policy with a particular life insurance company.

 

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Accelerated Death Benefit Rider (ADB)

The accelerated death benefit rider, also referred to as the terminal illness rider, allows the insured to accelerate of portion of the policy’s death benefit (tax free). In order to activate this rider, a certified physician will have had diagnosed with you with a certain amount of time to live. With most life insurance companies it 12-24 months live expectancy. The amount of money that can be accelerated will vary with company to company, but can range from 50-100% of the death benefit.

Cost to add riderGenerally comes free, subject to state availability.

 

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

The accidental death benefit rider pays an additional death benefit if the insured’s death is a result of an accident. The amount paid is generally double of the death benefit. For example, if you have a $100,000 life insurance policy and pass away due to an accident, your beneficiary will be paid $200,000.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

    

Children’s Life Insurance Rider

The children’s insurance rider or child rider allows for the adult insured to add life insurance coverage for their child or children under their policy. The coverage is temporary and generally last up to the child’s 25th birthday. The coverage amount is usually limited to $25,000. The child or children will not be required to take a medical exam but the parent will need to answer a few medical questions. Coverage is not automatic approval.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

 

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Conversion Rider

The conversion rider is a rider specifically geared for term life insurance policies. This rider allows the insured to convert either all or a portion of the death benefit into permanent life insurance coverage without the proof of insurability. This rider is great for individuals who may have come down will an illness during the term years and will not be able to re-qualify medically for new coverage. Most life insurance companies have maximum age limitations on when you can covert so if you don’t wait if you need to convert your term life insurance policy.

Cost to add rider – Generally comes free with all term life insurance policies. 

 

Waiver of Premium Rider

The waiver of premium rider waives all premiums if you become disabled. There is a waiting period, generally 4-6 months. Depending on the life insurance company the disability must occur without interruption. If still disabled after the waiting period, the life insurance company will waive the premiums starting from the date the disability occurred.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

 

Unique Life Insurance Policy Riders

The second half of our list consists of more unique types of life insurance policy riders. We classified these riders as unique since they are not commonly offered with just a few select life insurance companies.

 

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Guaranteed Insurability Rider

The guaranteed insurability rider allows for you to purchase additional coverage without any proof of insurability. The option to purchase additional coverage will be determined by the life insurance company’s contract guidelines, but it’s often at specific policy years, such as every couple of years or at specific life events, such as marriage or having a baby.

The life insurance company should provide you with a notice letting you know that your option to purchase additional life insurance coverage under the guaranteed insurability rider is available and will give you a specific timeframe to do so. The time frame can be anywhere from 30-90 days before the option is closed. If you don’t make the purchase when available, you will have to wait until it is available again. Often the maximum purchase amount is between $5,000 – $50,000. This rider is available with a few guaranteed universal life insurance companies.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

 

Living Benefit Rider (Chronic & Critical)

The living benefits rider is a unique life insurance policy rider that is offered with a few term life insurance companies as well as a handful of universal life insurance companies. Living benefits allows you to access your death benefit for tax free cash if you become ill with a critic or chronic illness. This can be a great feature if you suffer from a stroke, heart attack or even come down with cancer while the life insurance policy is active.

Cost to add rider – This rider is generally provided free with specific life insurance policies.

 

Monthly Disability Income Rider

The monthly disability income rider pays a monthly income to you if you become disabled. There is a standard 90 day elimination period before income will begin and the maximum monthly amount is typically $2000-$3000. The monthly disability rider can be a good alternative to a traditional disability policy or can be purchased to supplement to disability policy.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

 

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Nursing Home Rider

The nursing home rider is a life insurance policy rider that pays a specific portion of the death benefit if you become permanently confined to a nursing home. It is important not to confuse this rider with long term care insurance. This rider just allows you early access to the death benefit that can be used to help pay for long term expenses.

Cost to add rider – This rider is generally provided free with specific life insurance policies.

 

Return of Premium Rider

The return of premium life insurance rider is a life insurance policy rider that would be purchased with a traditional term life insurance policy. This rider allows for you to get a full 100% return of every single premium payment made on the life insurance coverage. In order to receive all your money back, you must complete all years of the contract which can be 15, 20, 25 or 30 years depending on the term length you purchase. Return of premium life insurance is a bit more expensive than a traditional term life insurance policy and it’s a rider that is available with only a few term life insurance companies.

Cost to add rider – This rider is available at an additional premium.

 

Quote with Unique or Traditional Life Insurance Policy Riders

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Looking to compare life insurance policies? We can help. Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from multiple insurers.