Life Insurance Riders

Life insurance riders provide additional benefits that may appeal to you.

Some riders are free, while others require an additional premium.

The availability of riders depends on the type of life insurance you buy and the state of residence of the policy owner.

If you need to learn about the entire application process before considering your riders, check out our Life Insurance for Dummies guide.

Accelerated Benefit Rider

If you become terminally or chronically ill, accelerated benefit riders pay a portion of the policy death benefit now while still living.

There is no cost for this rider when available, but there are significant differences among companies.

The way it works – If you become terminally ill, you may request acceleration of the death benefit. For chronic illness, companies require that you are unable to perform 2 of 6 activities of daily living.

(bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating, and continence)

Companies charge a processing fee and will apply an actuarial discount for paying you early.

Each company has its own rules as to how much you can accelerate.

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

Accidental death benefit riders (ADB) provide additional death benefits if you die in an accident.

The way it works – When you buy your life insurance policy you may have the option to add the accidental death benefit rider. If you die in an accident, your policy pays additional benefits to beneficiaries.

The only time you should consider ADB is when you are unable to buy a term life insurance policy.

Examples might include medical conditions that are expensive to insure.

If you are uninsurable, a stand-alone accidental death benefit policy or guaranteed issue coverage is probably your best bet.

Child Rider

Child riders provide life insurance protection for all of your children (even future ones) at one low cost.

Instead of buying an overpriced children’s whole life insurance policy (we don’t recommend) you can get $10,000 per child for a total cost of $60-$100 per year with most companies.

Child Rider by CompanyAgesMinimumMaximum
AIG-American General0-19$5,000$25,000
American National0-18$1,000$25,000
Banner Life0-18$5,000$20,000
Lincoln National0-18$1,000$15,000
North American0-20$5,000$25,000
Pacific Life0-18$1,000$20,000
Protective Life0-18$1,000$25,000
United of Omaha0-20$5,000$10,000

Conversion Extension Rider

Most term life policies offer conversion to universal life insurance.

Some companies offer conversion privileges that match the term length.

Other companies provide a shorter conversion privilege but allow you to purchase the conversion extension rider for an additional cost.

Disability Income Rider

A disability income rider provides you with a monthly income in the event you become disabled.

Most companies require a 6 month disability period before benefits start.

The disability benefit depends on the size of the policy you bought.

Term Insurance Rider

Term life insurance riders allow you to customize your policy with multiple term lengths.

In the past, if you wanted a 40-year term life insurance policy and a 20-year term, you would need to buy two policies.

Now you have the ability to buy one policy with multiple term lengths.

Not only will it save you a few bucks over having two policies, but it’s also more convenient than having to track multiple policies.

If buying for business purposes, such as for collateral for SBA life insurance, you can set up the riders to match the loan duration.

Some companies offer a spouse term life insurance rider.

Waiver of Premium Rider

If you become totally disabled, the waiver of premium rider will waive premiums during the disability.

There is an additional cost for this rider, and benefits typically start after a 6 month waiting period.

You can even convert your term policy to permanent life insurance and the premiums will still be waived.

Overloan Protection Rider

Overloan protection riders prevent policies with outstanding loans from lapsing.

Cash-value life insurance policies use policy loans to provide supplemental retirement income.

If a policy lapses while loans are outstanding, there is the potential for those loans to be treated as taxable income.

An overloan protection rider prevents the policy from lapsing due to the loans.

Return of Premium Rider

A return of premium rider (ROP) refunds the premiums you paid at the end of the level term period.

With some policies, companies provide exit opportunities throughout the life of the policy where you agree to cancel the policy in exchange for a refund of premiums.

This rider may appeal to businesses when purchasing key person life insurance.


Life insurance riders provide many additional benefits but make sure you really need the rider before paying extra for it.

Get a quote today. We’ll contact you and let you know what riders are available for your policy.

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