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Just as you can add extra coverage to your home or auto insurance, you can also add optional riders to your life insurance policy. But what is a life insurance rider? It’s a supplement to your policy that either increases the benefits or adjusts the terms of your policy to better fit your specific needs.1 Riders typically come at an additional cost, they may be available only on specific products and they might not be available in all states.

There’s a lot to know about life insurance riders, but we’ll go over common rider types and discuss when you may want to consider adding one to your policy.

Types of life insurance riders

Here’s a list of typical life insurance riders and what they provide:

1. Children’s term insurance rider

This type of rider helps take care of expenses associated with the passing of a child. The compensation could be used for things such as funeral costs and hospital bills.

2. Long-term care rider

This type of living benefit is designed to provide a source of funds to help cover unexpected long-term care expenses. It’s available on most permanent policies with Nationwide®.

3. Accelerated death benefit rider

If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, an accelerated death benefit rider will provide a one-time, lump-sum payment to help cover the costs of medical treatment and to make your last days as comfortable as possible. Your designated beneficiaries would receive the remaining balance.

4. Accidental death benefit rider

In the event that your death is caused by an accident, an accidental death benefit rider will provide your beneficiaries with additional cash on top of your normal death benefit.

5. Extended no-lapse guarantee rider

You can prevent your policy from lapsing with an extended no-lapse guarantee rider, regardless of the policy’s cash value.

6. Guaranteed insurability benefit rider

This type of rider allows you to specify dates — such as a marriage or the birth of a child — on which you’ll be able to purchase an additional life insurance policy or expand your death benefit.

7. Premium waiver rider

A premium waiver rider will credit monthly premium payments to your policy if you sustain a serious disability and are unable to work and make payments as a result.

When should you consider adding an insurance rider?

It’s in your best interest to add any desired riders when you purchase your life insurance policy. When you add a rider to an existing policy, you may have to undergo the underwriting process again, which could require the hassle of an additional medical exam. That said, removing a rider is typically a simple process that requires just a little paperwork.2

Do you need a life insurance rider?

Life insurance policies are generally comprehensive products that already offer a wide range of protection. If you’re supplementing your policy with a rider, it’s usually there for a highly specific scenario. Whether riders are right for you — and which ones would apply to your situation — ultimately depends on your insurance needs.

With so many factors to consider, shopping for life insurance can be a difficult process. If you need assistance, Nationwide has a team of life insurance specialists who are here to help find the best type of life insurance and riders for you.

[1] “Rider,” Julia Kagan, investopedia.com/terms/r/rider.asp (Aug. 28, 2020).
[2] “Life Insurance Riders Explained,” Ryan Frailich, forbes.com/advisor/life-insurance/riders (April 13, 2020).
As your personal situations change (with marriage, birth of a child or job promotion), so will your life insurance needs. Care should be taken to ensure that this product is suitable for your long-term life insurance needs. You should weigh any associated costs before making a purchase. Life insurance has fees and charges associated with it that include costs of insurance, which vary with characteristics of the insured such as sex, health and age, and it has additional charges for riders that customize a policy to fit your individual needs.

Products, coverages, discounts, insurance terms, definitions and other descriptions are intended for informational purposes only and do not in any way replace or modify the definitions and information contained in your individual insurance contracts, policies, and/or declarations pages from Nationwide-affiliated underwriting companies, which are controlling. Such products, coverages, terms and discounts may vary by state, and exclusions may apply.