Family Life Insurance Riders

Maggie Overholt
Maggie Overholt

What are Family Life Insurance Riders?

There are a small number of family life insurance riders available on the market that allow you to purchase additional coverage for a spouse or child under your own policy. These riders offer an affordable way to secure life insurance coverage for family members — though it’s worth noting that the face value they offer is always a lower amount that it would be if each person were covered by their own individual policy. For that reason, family life riders are generally the right move only if that person’s coverage requirements are limited.

Need more info on riders in general? Start here for an overview of what life insurance riders are, how they work, and the different options available to you.

Examples of Family Life Insurance Riders

Spouse term riders

Spouse riders let you pay extra on your own policy to add life insurance coverage for your spouse. The additional death benefit would be smaller than your own, which means it’s a less expensive option than buying a second, standalone policy. However, the reduced death benefit also means that a spousal rider offers less financial security than a full-fledged life insurance policy. They’re generally intended to cover minimal financial needs, like burial and end-of-life expenses.

Generally, spouse riders offer term coverage, which will either expire after a set time period (say, 10 or 15 years) or when the spouse reaches a certain age. In rare cases, the spouse rider might be eligible for conversion to a separate whole life policy — though it’s worth noting that in such cases, premiums would go up significantly, as permanent life insurance is much more expensive than term life insurance.

Child term riders

A child term rider adds life insurance coverage for a minor under their parent’s policy. Like spousal riders, child term riders have a smaller face value than the main policyholder’s death benefit, and are meant to provide financial support for end-of-life expenses in a worst-case scenario. With some companies, policyholders have the option to convert a child term rider to its own, separate life insurance policy at certain points within the original term.

What’s Next?

  • For the best coverage, experts generally recommend that each spouse be covered by their own life insurance policy. You can check out our review of the best cheap life insurance for more information about finding affordable term life coverage.