5 Life Insurance Riders Every Agent Should Be Telling Customers About

Although a life insurance policy in and of itself can often cover the needs of an insured, a life insurance rider can essentially customize your policy more closely match specific goals that you may have.


This can typically be done by simply adding one of the insurance riders below to a policy. Sometimes, the rider will need to be added at the time of application, and in other cases, life insurance riders could be added to an already existing plan.

What is a Life Insurance Rider?

A life insurance rider is a feature that you can add to a policy that will give you extra benefits if you need them during the life of a policy.  These are features you can add to customize a policy to your needs.  All riders must be quoted on the policy illustration before they can be added to the policy. Most riders do come with an additional cost.

While there is a long list of insurance policy riders available today, there are five in particular that you really should be discussing with your clients, as they tend to offer the most benefit to the policyholder. These include:

Long-Term Care Rider

With a long-term care rider, the insured will have the benefit of available funds for long-term care or nursing home need, yet without having to purchase a separate long-term care insurance policy.

This can basically save an individual a substantial amount of money in additional premiums, and it can provide them with two forms of protection – life insurance and long-term care – all from within just one single plan.

Critical Illness Life Insurance Rider

The critical illness rider provides the insured with a lump sum of cash if he or she is diagnosed with a covered disease or illness that is specified in the policy. Examples of these can include cancer, stroke, or kidney failure.

It is important to note here that rather than reimbursing the individual for actual medical expenses like a health insurance policy, this rider will provide funds for the insured to use for any reason that they choose – even if it is not medical in nature.

Waiver of Premium Rider

This life insurance rider can alleviate the insured from making premium payments if they become disabled or ill before reaching a certain age, and they are not able to afford the policy’s premium payments. With this option, there is usually a waiting period once the illness or disability begins – and the insured must typically provide proof that they are disabled or ill.

If the policy is a permanent plan, even if the insured has stopped paying their premiums, the cash value can continue growing, and the policy dividends can continue being paid.

Return of Premium Rider

The return of premium rider can be placed on specific term life insurance policies. This rider requires an additional amount of premium to be paid, and if the insured survives through to the end of the policy’s time frame – or “term” – then they will receive back all of their paid-in premiums.

With this rider, provided that an insured does live through to the end of a policy’s term and receives their premium dollars back, it is as if they had obtained free life insurance throughout that entire period.

Accelerated Death Benefits

Accelerated death benefits, also referred to as living needs or living benefits, can provide a terminally ill insured to access a portion of their life insurance death benefit while they are still living. These funds may be used for paying medical bills – or for any other need that they choose.

Although the amount that is used will reduce the amount of benefit that is eventually paid out to the person’s beneficiary, this rider can allow individual funds when they are genuinely needed – especially if there are no other sources available.

Extra Cost

Having the right life insurance riders can make or break a life insurance policy. We stated most riders do come with an additional cost but can pay big if ever needed.

We have put together a guide to help you determine which life insurance riders are worth purchasing and which may be a waste of time and money.


Imagine having a rider that could pay your policy premiums if you were to become disabled or ill and could no longer afford to make the monthly payments. You don’t have to imagine because there is such a rider known as the waiver of premium rider.

Also, imagine a having rider attached your policy that would give you every back every penny that you paid in if you outlived the policy. This is called an ROP return of premium rider. It will actually give you back all of your premium if you outlive the policy.

Knowing what you’re getting is half the battle, and the benefits that come with each rider is even more critical.


Knowing that these and other life insurance riders are available can help to provide clients with coverage that is much more suitable to their specific needs – both now and in the future. Adding one or more of these riders to new or existing coverage can also make the difference between meeting or not meeting clients’ ultimate financial goals.

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