No Disability Insurance Coverage? Have You Considered a Rider?

Disability insurance is a key component of an individual’s financial plan, and provides valuable coverage to guard against the risk of them losing their income due to an illness or injury.

Since a long-term disability can ruin a person’s financial health, it would make sense that everyone have the coverage. However, fewer than a third of workers in private industry have long-term disability coverage through work, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

While those who don’t have it through work (or enough of it) should be covering their risk with an individual disability insurance policy they buy on their own, many are turned off by the high price tag that often comes with it. As a result, they are putting themselves in a dangerous position that could have severe financial ramifications for themselves and their families.

There are alternatives for getting coverage that do not involve purchasing an individual disability policy. A disability income “rider” is one approach that you can take to hedge against the possibility of incurring a financial tragedy. These riders are usually sold as an attachment to an individual life insurance plan.

Obtaining a life insurance policy with a disability rider is fairly simple. First and foremost, since not every life insurance plan offers this feature, you will need to find a company that does. After applying for coverage, the life insurance underwriting process is generally used as a starting point to determine whether or not you qualify for the additional disability coverage. In addition to the life insurance questions, the company may come back to you with additional questions to prescreen you for the disability rider as well.

After the underwriting process is complete, you are usually either approved or denied the coverage, as there typically isn’t any type of rating scale like there is with traditional life insurance. Disability insurance riders are usually attractive due to the fact that they are less expensive than most individual disability policies. In addition, the insured can kill two birds with one stone instead of having two separate policies with different billing cycles.

But please keep in mind this important fact: The disability insurance rider’s coverage tends to be much more limited than it would be if you were to purchase an individual disability insurance policy. Most life insurance companies that have these riders only offer benefits of up to $3,000 per month, and the coverage only lasts for 2-3 years. As a result, this type of policy usually serves as a great resource for disability coverage if you have none, but doesn’t truly protect against a prolonged disability situation.

William Rowan is the founder of, a site geared towards consumer term life insurance education and comparison. Its sole focus is for consumers to find the best life insurance policy for their individual situation.

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