What Should You Know About Life Insurance Critical or Chronic Illness Rider?

Life insurance rider

What Should You Know About Life Insurance Critical or Chronic Illness Rider?

Families with life insurance policies get financial benefits when a policyholder dies. It can help protect against financial disruption, especially if your family depends on you for income. But do you know what a life insurance critical or chronic illness rider is? If not, then read on to learn how critical or chronic illness rider can affect your life insurance coverage.

Critical and Chronic Illness Riders

You can access some or all of your life insurance policy before you die if you are diagnosed with a critical or chronic illness. Riders for critical or chronic illnesses, however, must already be part of your policy prior to the diagnosis.

In order to get these benefits, you’ll need proof from your doctor that you suffer from a life-threatening condition. Only certain ailments qualify, depending on what the policy states. Accessing a payout before you die will come from your death benefit, which will be reduced when you die.

You may be wondering if these riders are worth the additional costs. It really depends on your personal situation. Do you already have a financial safety net, such as a savings account you can turn to for funds if you are unable to work? Another consideration is how well you manage your health. You should also consider the financial state of your family and how well you are able to keep up with regular living costs.

Life Insurance Industry Definitions for Health Issues

It’s important to note that life insurance companies have specific definitions for medical conditions that trigger coverage riders for the following:

  • Chronic condition: A condition that inhibits you from performing at least two of these basic “activities of daily living”: ambulating, continence, feeding, dressing, personal hygiene, and toileting. If you are unable to do two of these activities, it will activate a chronic illness rider in your life insurance policy.
  • Critical illness: Your life insurance agent can provide a list of illnesses that the policy covers. Keep in mind each insurance agency has its own unique list. Generally, critical illnesses include heath attacks, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Both chronic and critical illness riders are categorized by insurers as accelerated death benefit riders, which are also commonly referred to as living benefit riders. You can access benefits if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, which typically is not included in chronic and critical illness riders. But this clause can be found in a long-term rider.

What About a Long-Term Care Rider?

Another extension to consider for your life insurance policy is a long-term care (LTC) rider, which also differs with every insurer. Many times this rider requires patients to have specific long-term health issues. It may also require that the payout is used only for LTC, whereas payouts for chronic conditions and critical illnesses can be used for anything.


Life insurance can be complex due to the various types of plans and scenarios that affect coverage. Contact our agent at Club Agency to find out more about what life insurance can do for you and your loved ones. We want to help you get started on providing a clear future for your family.

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