Life Insurance Riders Can Offer a Plan B

So you’ve decided to buy life insurance to protect your family or business?

Good move.

But there’s more to the purchase than just signing on the dotted line.

You need to pay close attention to the policy add-ons that insurers offer. In the industry, these add-ons are known as riders. Like a warranty or guarantee for other consumer purchases, riders can give policyholders additional benefits and increase peace of mind—If something goes wrong, there’s a plan B.

And while they may vary in price, they are, at the very least, prudent to consider.

Here are a few of the riders I make sure my clients know about before any protection plan is completed:

Waiver of premium: This means the insurance company pays your policy’s premiums should you ever become totally disabled. If you overlook this one and become disabled and no longer able to work, how would you afford your premiums? It just makes sense to have this rider.

Guaranteed insurability rider: If you are eligible for this rider, it makes sense to consider it because it allows you to purchase additional coverage in the future without providing evidence of insurability. And no one knows what life holds for our health years down the road.

Term conversion rider: This rider allows you to convert your term life insurance into permanent life insurance without a medical exam. This is attractive for many people, but it can be especially so for young a person who are starting their career and family. A person in this position may need coverage, but doesn’t have the means to purchase permanent insurance. This option allows them to convert their term insurance when their need for permanent insurance makes sense and without additional underwriting.

The decision to buy life insurance is an important one. So make sure you ask all the necessary questions and consider your plan B at the planning table.

Shelley M. Fiore, CLU, ChFC, CLTC, LIC, is co-general agent of Detroit Financial Group, a general agency of MassMutual. You can contact her at

  1. Great point about riders. Clients need to be aware that they are available, because often times agents don’t offer them. One other add-on that is gaining popularity is the long-term care rider. Long-term care riders can be added to some universal life insurance policies and they usually don’t add a significant dollar amount to the premium. In general, the way they work is that if you qualify for long-term care benefits, because you can’t perform 2 out of the 6 activities of daily living or because of severe cognitive impairement, they will accelerate a percentage of your death benefit per month to help cover long-term care expenses.

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