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Insurance 101

What you need to know about riders in insurance?

Insurance 101

What you need to know about riders in insurance?

Insurers can offer policy add-ons that provide a wide range of benefits.

An oft forgotten aspect of life insurance is that of riders. “What are riders?” you may be asking in your search engine. Well, we’ve got the answers for you. They’re important parts of insurance policies, and having a working knowledge of what they are and how they can show up when searching for life insurance can only strengthen your life insurance policy.

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  1. What are riders?
  2. Accelerated death benefit
  3. Disability
  4. Wellness
  5. Extreme sports
  6. Are riders worth it?

What are riders?

Riders are insurance policy add-ons that provide additional benefits. There are a variety of riders that can be added to a policy, depending on your needs and circumstances. As such, riders can make your life insurance policy highly personalized to you. Some riders will increase the cost of your total premiums, while others are added into that initial price. Depending on your insurer, you may be able to request that such riders be removed from your policy, potentially dropping the premium amount.

Riders come in all shapes and sizes. There are riders such as accelerated death benefits, extreme sports riders, and even riders such as long-term care. Riders can fit what you’re looking for now, or things that may happen in the future.

Accelerated death benefit

An accelerated death benefit is a policy add-on that permits the insurer to pay out money from the death benefit should the policyholder be diagnosed with a terminal illness. This money can then be used for medical costs, long-term care, or whatever you deem necessary.

This rider was introduced in the 80s during the AIDS epidemic, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Now, most life insurance policies have an accelerated death benefit rider added on into the initial premium, usually at no additional cost.

If you’re still curious about accelerated death benefits, check out this link here for more information.


This rider can be added on to provide benefits if you need to file for disability and are unable to work. And since not all disabilities are the same, there are a multitude of riders. Some insurers will have a disability rider that will pay partial benefits in the event that you suffer a sickness or injury that affects your ability to work. Others have disability waivers where, if you go on disability and can’t work, the insurer can waive your monthly premiums for the length of your disability.


This rider varies depending on which company you’re speaking with, though its goal is to reward you for good health practices. Some insurers have this rider to provide benefits if policyholders schedule one health screening per year, which can include tests such as chest x-rays, bone marrow testing, colonoscopy, and many others. Other companies use this rider to provide benefits just for scheduling a routine physical with your doctor. In most cases, check in with your insurer to see how the wellness rider works and what kind of benefits they offer.

Extreme sports

A variety of riders that can be applied if you engage in any accepted extreme sports. Since such activities come with their own level of risk, insurers will typically add on these kinds of riders during the application or underwriting phase. These kinds of riders can limit your benefits if the cause of a claim is due to participating in the extreme sport, while others offer your policy protection. And while some insurers will not provide coverage for people who engage in these activities, others will, so it’s important to have as much information as possible and to be honest about the kind of activities you enjoy.

Extreme sports covered under this category could be things such as

  • Skydiving
  • Climbing
  • Base jumping
  • Big wave surfing
  • Hang gliding
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Flying

Don’t be discouraged if you’re someone who regularly engages in these activities. There are insurers who will cover extreme sports, hence the inclusion of riders. You just have to look in the right places.

Are riders worth it?

As noted above, some riders are included into the base premium you pay for coverage. Some  you have to research more in depth and request before they’re added, while others can only be added at the time of the issue. Ultimately, riders are there to personalize your life insurance policy based on your needs. It’s up to you to decide if you do or don’t want them included, which is why having a working knowledge of them is crucial in the search for a life insurance policy that works for you.

The opinions we expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.