What are life insurance policy riders?

Life insurance policy riders give you the ability to customize your life insurance coverage by adding more protection or specific benefits. Riders are common on term and whole life policies, and they can be an easy way to make sure that your coverage meets your exact needs.

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What does a life insurance rider do?

A rider is a provision attached to a life insurance policy that provides additional benefits. Typically, riders give you more protection if certain circumstances arise, or greater flexibility on how you can use your benefits. That way, you can address any specific concerns you may have, or give yourself more options in case your needs change in the future.


Are riders available on term and whole life policies?

Both term and whole life policies typically offer a wide variety of riders; however, riders can vary greatly from one company to the next. That’s why it’s important to compare policies and see which riders are available to you before you make a decision.


Five common life insurance policy riders

While there are a host of riders available to consumers today, some are more common than others. Here is a quick look at five of the most popular riders offered by life insurance companies. (Note: The specific details on each rider pertain solely to New York Life Whole Life policies.)

1. Accidental Death Benefit Rider

Provides an additional death benefit (equal to the face amount of the life insurance policy, up to a maximum of $300,000 per policy) if you die as a result of an accidental injury. This optional rider is available at an additional cost and automatically terminates at age 70.

2. Chronic Care Rider

Protects policy owners from the financial hardships of chronic care by providing tax-free access to a portion of their base policy benefits (death benefit) should they become chronically ill. This rider is available on most whole life and custom whole life policies (for an additional cost),1 and must be elected when the policy is purchased.

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3. Disability Waiver of Premium Rider

If this rider is purchased, New York Life will waive policy premiums should the insured become totally disabled, as explained in the policy.*

4. Living Benefits Rider

If you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of 12 months or less, this rider allows access to a portion of your policy’s eligible death benefit during your lifetime. It helps pay for critical medical treatments and can be used to cover living expenses for your caregivers. This rider can be added to your policy at any time.2

5. Spouse’s Paid-Up Insurance Purchase Option (SPPO)

Should you die, this rider gives your spouse (or a family member if the policy is issued in New York) the right to purchase a new paid-up life insurance policy on his or her life, without providing evidence of insurability.3 That means the SSPO rider may serve to insure someone who is otherwise uninsurable, and it can be an effective estate planning tool. This rider is included in most New York Life policies at no additional cost.4


Frequently asked questions

In many cases, you can add a rider after the fact; however, additional underwriting may be required if a significant amount of time has passed since you purchased your policy.

If you add a rider when you purchase your policy, there’s a good chance you will not have to go through separate underwriting. If you decide to add a rider later, additional underwriting may be required.

That depends on the rider you select. Some riders can be added at no cost, while others require an additional premium. Since this can vary from company to company, it’s important to compare policies before making a decision.

Finding the right insurance riders for you.

This is only a partial list of the riders New York Life has to offer. Not all riders are available on all policies or in every state. If you have specific questions about riders, their availability, or your unique financial circumstances, your New York Life financial professional can help.

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Want to learn more about policy insurance riders?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.

This is a life insurance rider providing for an accelerated payment of the base policy face amount in the event that you are certified chronically ill as described in the policy. Receipt of accelerated death benefits may affect eligibility for public assistance programs and may have income tax consequences. You should consult your tax advisor regarding your circumstances. The Chronic Care Rider is not available in California.
Various states have established different life expectancy periods once a terminal illness is diagnosed. There are maximum benefit levels set for this rider. A charge is applied when the rider is exercised. Your agent can provide more specific information.  Receipt of an accelerated death benefit may affect eligibility for public assistance programs and may be taxable. You should consult your tax advisor regarding your circumstances.
As long as they are listed as a beneficiary on the policy.
4 This rider has to be in effect at the time of the insured’s death. The company will reduce the life insurance proceeds to pay the single premium for the paid-up insurance.

*This rider is available to insureds ages 0 through 59. In Maryland and Montana, this rider is not available until the insured has reached his or her fifth birthday. The benefits of this rider depend in part on when the disability occurs in relation to age 60.

Rider features may differ based on the insurance product that they are purchased with. Not all riders are available in every state, and some states vary the terms of certain riders. Additional limitations and conditions may apply. Please speak to your New York Life agent for complete information. 

In Oregon, the Whole Life policy form number is ICC18217-50P (4/18). The rider form numbers are as follows: Accidental Death Benefit: ICC17217-200R; Disability Waiver of Premium: ICC17217-225R; Living Benefits: ICC17217-495R; SMRU: 5015035