Waiver of Premium in Life Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

The waiver of premium refers to an insurance policy clause that allows you to stop paying for your life insurance premium if you have a qualifying disability. It’s an optional life insurance rider that prevents a lapse in coverage due to non-payment of premiums.

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Last Updated: 9/4/2022
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Adding a waiver of premium rider to your life insurance policy protects you against a lapse in coverage if you can’t pay your premiums because of a disability. The definition of disability varies per insurer. So, it’s important to check the fine print.

Depending on the insurance provider, this rider may come for free as a clause in your policy. But in most cases, the policyholder will have to add it as a rider at an additional cost.

What’s a rider?

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Key Takeaways

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A waiver of premium is a type of life insurance policy rider that allows you to waive premium payments should you have a qualifying disability.

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While some companies offer a waiver of premium for free as a clause in a life insurance policy, others consider it an add-on that may increase your premiums.

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Insurance providers have different qualification requirements, conditions and definitions of disability. Additionally, individuals with pre-existing conditions are usually not eligible for this benefit.

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What Is a Waiver of Premium Benefit in Life Insurance?

The waiver of premium provision gets you off the hook for premium payments if you meet certain conditions. For instance, if you become disabled or ill, the insurance company may allow you to stop making premium payments and keep your coverage.

Insurance companies have their own rules on how to sign up for a waiver of premium, but they’re generally one of the following:

  • It’s included in the base policy.
  • It must be purchased as a rider.

It’s important to note that getting a waiver of premium benefit may make your rates more expensive.

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When purchasing a life insurance policy, make sure you check the fine print. Not all policies have a waiver of premium clause. Most insurance providers also don’t offer this benefit to anyone over age 65. If you’re a senior, your policy probably doesn’t offer it.

What Are the Benefits of a Waiver of Premium Provision?

A waiver of premium can serve as a financial safety net to help you in a time of need. However, it may not be a suitable option for everyone. Understanding this provision's different benefits can help you determine if it’s right for you.

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    It offers financial protection.

    Getting seriously ill or injured can leave you unable to work. A waiver of premium rider will allow you to stop making payments for your life insurance policy. Instead, this rider will cover the premiums.

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    It prevents a lapse in coverage.

    An inability to make premium payments can cause your life insurance coverage to lapse. A waiver of premium clause can prevent that from happening as it waives off your future payments until you recover.

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    It's not limited to one use.

    Using a waiver of premium isn’t limited to one incident. You may use it several times as long as you meet the qualifications. That’s especially helpful should your disability or illness recur.

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    It helps you have peace of mind.

    An illness or disability doesn’t only affect you physically but also mentally. Worrying about your finances, including your premium payments, can add to your stress. With a waiver of premium benefit, you don’t have to figure out how you can pay for your policy while recovering.

Things to Consider When Adding a Waiver of Premium Provision to Your Policy

There are factors you should consider before adding a waiver of premium provision to your life insurance policy. It’s important to get information from your insurance provider as conditions, rules and requirements vary per insurer. Reading the fine print can help you better understand how this benefit works.

  • Factor
    Description
  • Qualifications

    Eligibility requirements for a waiver of premium rider vary depending on the insurance carrier, so it’s best to clarify it with them early on.

    Typically, the policyholder must be less than 60 or 65 years old. They shouldn’t have a pre-existing disability or illness. The insurer may also consider overall health, lifestyle and occupation.

    Some provisions may only activate if the disability keeps you from working for a minimum of six months.

  • Waiting period

    In most cases, the waiver of premium only takes effect after the waiting period passes. This can be anywhere from a few months to a year, usually six months.

  • Duration

    The waiver of premium provision takes effect after the waiting period and lasts until the policyholder recovers from the disability. In some cases, the duration may be up to a specific age. The policy contract will have the details.

    After the duration of the waiver, the policyholder will have to pay premiums again.

  • Expiration date

    The waiver of premium may expire depending on the terms and conditions stated in the policy contract. Usually, the age limit is 60 or 65. After this age, the policyholder will likely no longer qualify for the premium waiver.

  • Cost

    Adding riders, such as a waiver of premium, may add additional cost to your life insurance rate. The amount depends on the insurer and individualized factors like your age and health. That said, it’s typically up to 25% of your policy’s cost.

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MONEYGEEK DICTIONARY

The waiver of premium takes effect when the policyholder suffers from a disability. However, not all types of disabilities may qualify. Insurance companies interpret disability in various ways.

Here are some common interpretations of what can be considered a qualifying disability:

  • An injury or sickness caused the disability.
  • The disability caused loss of mobility, such as losing a limb.
  • The disability caused sensory loss, such as hearing impairment or blindness.
  • An injury or illness prevents the policyholder from performing the occupation for which they qualified through education, experience or training.

Should You Add a Waiver of Premium Rider to Your Life Insurance Policy?

Although a waiver of premium offers multiple benefits, it’s not always your best option. It can be good for people with only one source of income, who have high-risk professions or hobbies or who have a family history of serious illness.

1

You only have one source of income.

A disability can prevent you from going to work. That means you may suffer from a temporary loss of income. If you only have one source of income, it may be wise to get a waiver of premium rider, which lessens the possible financial burdens you may have to face should you become disabled.

2

You have a high-risk profession.

Some jobs come with inherent risks. If there’s a high chance of you getting injured on the job, consider looking for a policy with a waiver of premium.

Examples of high-risk professions include the following:

  • Firefighters
  • Police officers
  • Pilots
  • Construction workers
  • Moving company employees
  • Bus and truck drivers
  • EMTs
  • Nurses
3

You have risky hobbies.

Certain hobbies and activities may increase the risk of serious injuries leading to disability. A waiver of premium provides a financial safety net should unexpected incidents happen.

4

You’re at risk of getting a serious illness based on your family history.

If you think you’re at risk of getting a disease based on your family health history, getting a waiver of premium benefit may be a smart move. It can be a form of preparation for unfortunate circumstances should you also suffer from a similar condition and end up with a disability.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that around 26% of Americans have some type of disability.

While life can be unpredictable, and there’s no sure way of knowing whether a person will eventually have a disability, certain lifestyles may increase the risk. If you aren’t living a very healthy life, it might be worth getting a waiver of premium.

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How to File a Waiver of Premium Claim

Getting a waiver of premium clause should be done when you buy your life insurance policy. Review all terms. Find out the process of filing a waiver of premium claim.

1

Get a medical statement from your doctor.

Requirements for filing a waiver of premium claim depend on the insurance provider. But typically, it includes submitting a medical statement from a doctor.

You can’t simply say that you have a disability without proof. Your insurance provider will determine if you’re qualified for a claim.

Make sure the certificate provides details on your condition and that it prevents you from working.

2

Obtain a notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

In some instances, the insurance provider may require additional evidence by requesting a copy of a notice from the SSA. This document can confirm a disability or physical impairment. It will also verify your inability to work due to your disability.

You can find the nearest SSA office using the agency’s field office locator.

3

Contact your insurer and file your claim.

Let your insurance provider know about your plan to file a claim. Ask them if there are any additional requirements. They may ask you to fill out a claim form or provide additional information.

Depending on the company, you may be able to file a claim online, via email or through mail or fax.

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Frequently Asked Questions About the Waiver of Premium Rider

The waiver of premium provision can be a confusing topic, especially if you’re a first-time policy buyer. MoneyGeek answers some common questions people ask about waiver of premium clauses and riders.

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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