4 Life Insurance Riders Every Senior Should Consider

Buying life insurance for seniors is often a good financial strategy. If you still have children living at home with you, or if you have grandchildren that you want to provide for, life insurance can protect your loved ones in case of your death. There are also many types of life insurance riders, or special policy add-ons, that can help you customize your life insurance coverage with additional benefits.

Especially if you’re buying life insurance as a senior (defined for this purpose as “age 65 or older”), life insurance riders can be helpful. Getting the right riders on your policy is a creative way to make your life insurance work better for you — and protect yourself from some of the special risks that seniors are more likely to face later in life.

Here are a few life insurance riders that can help seniors meet their families’ unique financial needs.

1. Long-term care rider

One of the biggest worries that seniors might have about the financial risks of getting older is how to pay for nursing home care. Nursing home care and other types of long-term healthcare are often not covered by Medicare. This can take a terrible toll on people’s life savings.

Fortunately, many whole life insurance policies offer a long-term care rider. This allows you to use your life insurance policy’s death benefit to pay for costs like assisted living center care or nursing home care. Long-term care riders are not necessarily as good as or a replacement for long-term care insurance. Based on your age, health, and insurability, buying a separate long-term care insurance policy could be a better choice. But a long-term care rider is worth considering if you can qualify for it.

2. Living benefit rider or accelerated death benefit rider

Some life insurance policies will let you get access to some of your death benefit while you are still alive. This is called a “living benefit rider.” These can include special riders for critical illnesses or disability, in case your health takes a turn for the worse (but does not necessarily result in death).

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Another common type of living benefit rider is known as an “accelerated death benefit rider,” and it’s for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have 12 months or less of life expectancy. The accelerated death benefit rider gives you (and your loved ones) an immediate lump sum of cash. This can be helpful for paying for healthcare, paying household bills, or any other purposes that you wish.

Using a living benefit rider (or accelerated death benefit rider) will reduce the amount of money in your policy’s death benefit. But it can provide much-needed financial support during some of the most challenging times of life.

3. Waiver of premium rider

This type of rider provides extra help in case you become disabled or have to leave the workforce — it waives your premium so you can still keep getting coverage, even if you lose your job income. The waiver of premium rider is often not available for people over the age of 60, but you could check to see if your life insurance policy offers it.

4. Spousal rider

If your spouse does not have their own life insurance policy, you can add a spousal rider to yours. This provides a small death benefit in case of the death of your spouse. It’s best to get a life insurance policy for each spouse, but this rider can be better than nothing — the amount is usually enough to cover a funeral and other final expenses.

Bottom line

Life insurance riders give you options to customize your life insurance policy with extra protections and flexible benefits. Not all life insurance companies offer every type of rider. The exact choices you can get for life insurance riders as a senior varies based on the insurance company, the type of life insurance you have (whole life vs. term life), and the details of your policy.

But if you are shopping for life insurance as a senior, be sure to ask about riders. These can be a useful way to maximize the value of your life insurance and protect your loved ones from multiple complex risks.

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