What Is a Child Rider?

ByNathan Paulus
Reviewed byMandy Sleight

Updated: June 4, 2024

ByNathan Paulus
Reviewed byMandy Sleight

Updated: June 4, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

A child rider, also known as a child insurance rider, is an add-on feature to your life insurance policy. It provides specific financial benefits such as a death benefit or terminal illness benefit to the beneficiary in the event of a covered incident involving their biological children, grandchildren, stepchildren or legally adopted children. Children from two weeks to 25 years old may be covered by this rider, depending on the insurer's terms.

  • A child rider is an optional add-on to your life insurance as a parent or guardian, providing a death benefit if the insured child passes away.
  • Child riders insure children as young as 14 days old and typically last until they are between 18 and 25.
  • You can usually convert a child rider to a permanent or whole life insurance policy without undergoing medical underwriting.
  • Child riders are generally more affordable than standalone child insurance policies.

How Do Child Riders Work?

Child riders provide a small amount of life insurance coverage for a child. They are often cost-effective and convenient, as they eliminate the need for separate policies, which are typically more expensive. When adding a child term rider to your life insurance policy, a flat fee covers current and future children, including stepchildren and legally adopted children. Some life insurance companies restrict adding a child term rider to new policies only, meaning it's not an option to add later. A child rider’s coverage usually lasts until the child reaches a certain age, anywhere from 18 to 25, depending on your insurer’s terms.

Additionally, if your child marries before reaching the policy's age of maturity, they may no longer be covered under the child term rider. It's important to discuss potential conversion to a permanent life insurance policy with your insurer and child before any such life changes, as the conversion is subject to the insurer's terms and conditions.

Why Add a Child Rider?

The uncomfortable reality is that the loss of a child can bring not only emotional distress but also financial strain. With the median funeral cost, including burial or cremation, ranging between $6,000 and $8,000, a child rider can alleviate the financial burden associated with such unforeseen circumstances. Though it's a scenario no parent wants to contemplate, having a child term rider in place ensures that during such a difficult time, the family is not burdened by the additional stress of funeral expenses.

Features of Child Riders

Child riders in life insurance policies can provide various benefits depending on your needs:

Rider Offerings

Terminal Illness Benefit

This benefit provides a lump sum if an insured child is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Accidental Death Benefit

This benefit grants the parents/guardian a lump sum in case of accidental death.

Conversion to Permanent Insurance

This option can convert the rider to a permanent life insurance policy once the child reaches a certain age without needing medical underwriting.

Cash Value Accumulation

This allows child riders to accumulate a cash value once the rider is converted to whole life insurance coverage.

These features ensure that a child rider on life insurance provides immediate financial relief and long-term security, making it a good addition for parents planning for their children's future security.

What Happens When a Child Rider Expires?

Most children cease to be eligible for child rider coverage between the ages of 18 and 25. You have several options when coverage expires, including converting to a permanent life insurance policy.

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    Coverage Loss

    If the child rider is not eventually converted into a permanent policy, the child will lose life insurance coverage. This is because the child rider only covers children up to a certain age.

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    Conversion to Permanent Policy

    You can convert a child rider to a permanent life insurance policy, but you must do it before it expires. No application or underwriting is required, and insurability is usually guaranteed, even if the insured’s health has deteriorated. Specific terms and conditions may vary by insurance company.

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    Apply for Individual Life Insurance

    The insured will need to apply for a separate life insurance policy if the child rider is not converted before the policy expires. This new application will involve an underwriting process.

Adding a Child Rider to Your Policy

Insurers permit the addition of a child life insurance rider during or after the purchase of the parent's or guardian's policy. This adds to the policy’s premium, varying by the chosen coverage. Follow these steps to add a child rider to your existing life insurance policy:

Review Policy Options

Explore the available child riders offered by your insurance company and assess which ones align with your family's needs. It's advisable to understand each rider's specific benefits, such as death benefits, terminal illness benefits or the option for conversion to a permanent policy.

Determine Your Eligibility

Children are typically eligible for a child rider from as young as 14 days old until 18 years old, depending on the insurance provider. The parent's eligibility may also be affected by their age and health, with many insurers requiring the parent to be within a specific age range, commonly between 20 and 55, at the time of policy purchase.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Initiate the process by calling or submitting a request online. Your insurance company will guide you through the necessary steps and provide the required forms and documentation.

Submit a Request

Complete all necessary forms and provide any documentation and information your insurance company requires.

Answer Underwriting Health Questions

Your insurer may ask health questions, which can affect the insurability of one or more children added to the policy.

Confirm the Policy Update

Ensure you receive a confirmation and review the updated policy to understand the coverage details and verify the inclusion of the child rider.

Cost of Adding a Child Rider

Adding a child rider to an existing policy incurs additional costs. Here are different cost implications that you may come across depending on your insurer:

Cost per Coverage: Some insurers offer child riders that cost between $5 and $7 per $1,000 of coverage. For example, a rider providing $15,000 worth of coverage could cost $75 a year or about $6 a month, whereas a $25,000 policy rider might cost $175 or roughly $15 a month.

Annual Costs: Some insurers offer fixed annual costs for child riders. For instance, $5,000 in coverage could cost $28 a year, while $10,000 in coverage might be $55 a year.

Coverage for Multiple Children: Child riders typically cover multiple children in one family under a single charge. For example, a $20,000 rider might cost around $100 or roughly $8 per month, but it covers every child in the family for the same price.

Child Rider vs. Child Life Insurance

Child riders and child life insurance differ mainly in coverage duration, amount and cost. Child riders offer limited-age coverage with one premium for all children, while child life insurance provides lifetime coverage with separate policies and the potential for cash value accumulation.

Child Rider
Child Life Insurance

Coverage Duration

Until the child reaches a specified age, often 18 to 25.

Lifetime coverage is available as long as premiums are paid.

Coverage Amount

Ranges from $5,000 to $25,000.

Depending on the provider, higher coverage amounts range from $5,000 to $50,000.

Cost added to policy premiums can go as low as $5 per $1,000 coverage.

Higher premiums than child riders.

Cash Value Accumulation

No cash value accumulation unless it converts to whole life insurance.

Some policies allow for cash value accumulation.

Ease of Application

Added to a parent’s or guardian’s life insurance with a straightforward process. May include health questions, but no medical exam is usually required.

Requires a separate application, often available online. Some policies may ask health-related questions but typically do not require medical underwriting.

Child Rider FAQ

The following frequently asked questions shed light on child riders, a popular add-on that extends life insurance coverage to the young members of your family:

Which rider provides coverage for a child under a parent's life insurance policy?
What is a child rider on life insurance?
What is a child term rider?
Are child rider benefits taxable?
Can you remove a child rider from your policy?
What are the benefits of adding a child rider?
Do child riders provide lifelong coverage?
What happens to the coverage under a children's term rider when the child reaches a certain age?
What is a juvenile life insurance policy rider?
How do children's riders attached to whole life policies work?

Related Content

Below are links to relevant pages on MoneyGeek pointing to different aspects of life insurance, premium terminologies and considerations for insuring young members of your family:

  • Is Life Insurance Worth It? — Explore the intrinsic value and long-term benefits of life insurance, aiding you in comprehending the importance of having a financial cushion, which is also extended through child riders.

  • Should You Buy Life Insurance for Children? — Consider the potential benefits of securing life insurance for children, including providing a financial cushion for unexpected events and future planning, ensuring affordable, comprehensive protection for their needs.

  • What Is Covered by Life Insurance Policy? — This guide looks into various aspects of life insurance policies, helping you understand how they can protect and benefit your family, including coverage options for children.

About Nathan Paulus

Nathan Paulus headshot

Nathan Paulus is the Head of Content Marketing at MoneyGeek, with nearly 10 years of experience researching and creating content related to personal finance and financial literacy.

Paulus has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He enjoys helping people from all walks of life build stronger financial foundations.