For many people, buying life insurance is a chore. Having to research the different types of policies, from term to whole life, as well as dealing with an agent and maybe even scheduling a paramed exam, can make the whole experience is less than enjoyable. And don't even start with the litany of "optional riders" that can be tacked on to a policy, increasing the cost and leading to more confusion.
But before you decide you don't want any riders, let's take a look at a few of them over the next few posts. You might decide which ones will work well for you in the long run.
In this post I want to discuss the Disability Waiver of Premium (WP), which is available on nearly all types of life insurance, as well as other insurance plans too. Generally speaking, this rider makes sure that if you (or the payor of the policy) become disabled and are unable to work, the premiums will continue to be paid so that your policy does not lapse. Think of it as insurance on the life of your policy.
One of my favorite clients and I were discussing this rider one afternoon and he said, "I never thought of this before, but the last thing you need if you can't work is for your life insurance to get pulled out from under you. That's when you need it most." He was correct.
This rider is usually so inexpensive that I will urge clients to take it, as the cost is inconsequential. For example, a policy that may cost around $30 each month will see a premium increase of less than a dollar. Seriously, this is never a deal breaker. I have even worked with agents who don't even discuss it with the client and tack it on anyway.
I have a client who purchased a policy from me about 10 years ago. A few years ago she was in a very bad accident that has left her permanently (as far as I know) disabled. Since we had added her WP rider on at the time of the application, she does not have to make any premium payments until doctor says she can go back to work. Every six months or so she receives a form from the insurance company (I get copied on all of this) that she passes on to her physician. The doctor completes the form saying that she is still disabled and she continues to get her life insurance paid for.
Here's where things get really interesting. After discussing this situation with the insurance company, I found out that if the term of the policy ends (in her case it was a 20 year term) and she is still disabled, they will convert the policy to a permanent whole life policy for her at no charge. Needless to say, she was very relieved to hear this when I passed the information along.
I have worked with other carriers that will convert in the middle of the term if someone is permanently disabled. The most interesting case was a fellow agent who took out a policy on his son when the boy was very young. Around age 4 the boy was diagnosed with autism and the father was able to get the WP to kick in and convert at the same time.
The point of all this is that I don't want you to dismiss the rider when it can offer great value in a time of need. Discuss all of this with your agent or drop us a note on our website. In the meantime, please stay healthy!
Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, helping people find affordable life, disability, long term care, cancer, accident and other insurance coverages in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. He's also is a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient and has spoken to professional and civic organizations throughout the Southeast. And please subscribe to this blog!