Life insurance policy riders grant policyholders and their beneficiaries added protection in the face of certain events. One frequently used rider is the waiver of premium, which guarantees that the insurance company will pay your premiums if you are totally disabled and can no longer pay. In addition, if you own a whole life policy, the cash values and dividends continue to grow while the company pays the premium.
As with insurability, the availability of this rider may be based on certain risk factors, such as general health and past medical history. There is usually a specific waiting period before premiums begin to be paid under the rider. Some policies apply waiver of premium coverage differently for a disability occurring prior to age 60 and one occurring between the ages of 60 and 65; under many policies, the waiver of premium provision terminates at age 65. While the waiver of premium rider on term and whole life policies generally covers the entire premium, the waiver may work differently on other types of policies, separating the premium waiver for the cost of insurance from that associated with the cash value or investment fund.
The definition of "totally disabled" in your policy is crucial, because it determines when your obligation to pay premiums ends. Some policies consider total disablement to be when an illness or injury leaves you unfit for your profession; other policies state that you must be unfit for any type of work.
Many people ignore riders when planning insurance needs, but they can be useful tools to customize your life insurance policy. Consult your insurance professional for specific advice about riders that might help you.