Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Insurance Riders

An insurance rider is an insurance policy provision that amends or adds benefits to the terms of a base policy. Purchasing insurance products can provide significant peace of mind. 

You have several decisions to make when working with an insurance agent or insurance company. You'll want to cover all your bases to ensure you'll purchase the insurance you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Critical decisions include the following:

  • The type of insurance to buy
  • The coverage amount you need
  • The insurance premium you can afford
  • Whether you need to pay an additional premium for extra coverage
  • Whether you need to limit or restrict coverage

In addition to the standard provisions of your insurance contract, there may be changes or addendums added on, known as insurance riders. The following article describes insurance riders and how they might affect your insurance policy coverage.

Insurance Rider Defined

An insurance rider is a supplementary part of your insurance policy. It provides additional insurance or amends the terms of the base policy. A rider adds to or amends the terms of the original policy. A rider can provide additional coverage options or limit coverage. Also known as an insurance endorsement, a rider can be added to many policies covering homes, automobiles, life, and rental units.

Cost of an Insurance Rider

An insurance rider can be an attractive option if you need more coverage. The insurance rider cost is often low because riders involve minimal underwriting. As the policyholder, you pay an extra cost in your premium payments for additional benefits. Paying an additional cost for benefits allows a policyholder to obtain a policy that's more tailored to their specific needs.

For example, your circumstances may change over time. An insurance rider is a legally binding part of the insurance contract. It can help you avoid the added expense and hassle of purchasing a separate policy for those same benefits.

Benefits of a Rider

A rider allows a policyholder to tailor coverage to meet their particular needs. This is one of the most significant benefits of a rider. For example, a homeowner may need additional coverage to add personal property insurance for particularly valuable items. A rider is cheaper than a stand-alone policy for covering the same item.

Examples of Insurance Riders

There are many types of insurance riders. They are an option to address the types of insurance needs individual consumers may have. Some of the more common insurance riders include the following:

  • Long-term Care Rider: Especially for people over 60, long-term care insurance can be a wise purchase. It helps cover the costs of daily services such as bathing and dressing for someone who is elderly or has a long-term illness. Health and disability insurance often doesn't cover long-term care. It's offered either as a stand-alone policy or as a rider to other policies, such as life insurance.
  • Inflation Rider: When you buy title insurance, your coverage may be tied to the value of your home when you purchased it. An inflation rider, whether attached to title insurance or some other insurance such as long-term care insurance, adjusts the amount of coverage to reflect the increase in value (or costs) caused by inflation.
  • Accidental Death Rider: A policyholder can add an accidental death rider to a life insurance policy. It provides an additional death benefit if the person dies in an accident. Accidents can include fires, car accidents, falls, and workplace accidents. Each life insurance company determines what exclusions apply. An accidental death rider can also pay an extra sum of money. This accidental death benefit is triggered if the insured dies within a certain period, such as 90 or 180 days after an accident.
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Rider: This type of rider is an option for most types of life insurance coverage. It offers a payout if the insured survives an accident but loses a limb or sustains another debilitating injury.
  • Critical Illness Rider: A critical illness rider pays a lump sum if the insured receives a diagnosis for an illness covered by the policy.
  • Return of Premium Rider: A policyholder can add this type of life insurance rider to a term policy. If you outlive the policy term, the policyholder receives a payout of a sum of money spent on policy payments.
  • Life Insurance Term Conversion Rider: This type of rider allows you to convert a term life insurance policy into permanent life insurance without another medical exam.
  • Guaranteed Insurability Rider: This type of rider allows you to increase your policy's death benefit without another medical examination. A policyholder can expand coverage to address changing needs.
  • Waiver of Premium Rider: This type of life insurance rider relieves the insured of premium payments for particular reasons. These reasons can include the policyholder becoming critically ill or seriously injured. This rider can also apply if the policyholder has a terminal illness or certain chronic illnesses.
  • Property Insurance Rider: Your insurer may also offer insurance riders to your standard property insurance policy. Such a rider covers property from damages that might not otherwise be covered, such as flooding and earthquakes.

Should I Buy an Insurance Rider?

Insurance companies may offer any number of insurance riders for your standard policy. An insurance agent can provide an insurance quote and explain the cost of particular coverage options.

Whether you should buy the rider is a separate concern. The following are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Cost: Some riders may sound like a good idea but are a poor investment in certain circumstances. When the likelihood of needing the type of coverage offered is so slight, it may not be worth purchasing the cost. For example, if you live in Delaware or Wisconsin, you most likely don't need an earthquake insurance rider on your homeowners' policy.  
  • Duplicative coverage: You should examine your other insurance policies before purchasing an insurance rider. Determine if you're already covered for the benefits a rider would provide.
  • Limiting clauses: Reading your insurance policy is vital to understand what's covered. You should also examine the terms of any proposed insurance rider. Sometimes there are limiting clauses contained in the rider that curtail your coverage.

Although insurance companies are obligated to act in good faith, they are in the business of maximizing profits. Some insurance riders may make sense for you, but others may not. Evaluate your financial situation on your own or with a financial professional. Ensure that you have coverage to protect your financial future or provide for beneficiaries, but without unnecessary coverage.

Protect Your Insurance Rights

Interpreting each term in an insurance contract and knowing insurance laws and regulations is complex. This can leave you at a disadvantage if your insurance company denies your legitimate claim or acts in bad faith. If you're considering insurance policy riders, get help understanding and defending your insurance rights by contacting an experienced local insurance attorney.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps

Contact a qualified attorney to assist with any issues related to insurance.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Help Me Find a Do-It-Yourself Solution

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options