Life insurance riders are features you can add to your policy that customize your coverage in some way. A child rider is an add-on that provides a small death benefit if any of your children die while your policy is active.
Life insurance is meant to replace lost income when you pass away, and since most children don’t earn money, they don’t need their own life insurance policy.
But if you would have difficulty paying for a funeral for your child, a child rider is an affordable way to have some financial support for a worst-case scenario.
What is a child rider for life insurance?
There are two options when it comes to life insurance coverage for children: a child rider added to your term life insurance policy or a whole life insurance policy for your child.
Child life insurance policies only make sense in rare circumstances due to their high premiums.
A child rider is also known as a child term rider or child insurance rider. One child rider typically covers all of your children and any children you have in the future. It’s significantly less expensive than a child life insurance policy.
Adding a child rider to your term life policy is usually the best way to protect your family in case of the death of a child. You can add a $10,000 child rider to your term policy for as little as $4.20 per month, whereas a child life insurance policy would cost at least $45 per month or more.
How do child term riders work?
Most insurers allow adults age 18 to 65 to add child riders to their term policies, though some companies require you to be older than 20 or younger than 55 at the time of application.
You usually add a child rider when you’re buying your policy. Not every provider will let you add a child rider after your policy is already in force, but some do. Companies also have different restrictions around:
Maximum death benefit for child riders
Maximum age of the children covered
Medical information required for the rider
When the child rider expires
Whether the rider is convertible into child life insurance
Your children don’t have to take a medical exam for you to add a child rider, but some insurance companies do ask medical questions about your children. If your child has a pre-existing condition, your rider may not cover them.
Some insurance companies don’t offer child riders in certain states due to insurance regulations. A Policygenius agent can tell you which riders are available where you live.
How much does a child rider cost?
Child riders cost around $5 per year per $1,000 of coverage you own. The cost is added to your yearly or monthly premium. So if you’d like a child rider with $10,000 of coverage, you would pay an additional $50 a year in premiums.
Does a child rider cover multiple children?
One child rider covers all current and future children in your household, including birth children, adopted children, and stepchildren.
Grandchildren aren’t covered under a child rider in most cases, although they may be covered if the grandparent has legal guardianship and is younger than 55 or 60, depending on the insurer.
You can usually buy coverage for children between 15 days and 18 years old. Riders last until your child reaches age 25 or you reach age 65 or age 75, depending on your provider.
Do other insurance riders apply to child rider coverage?
When you buy life insurance, you have the option to add other riders in addition to a child rider. However, most other riders you purchase only apply to your coverage.
One exception is the waiver of premium rider, which pays your premiums if you become disabled. That waiver covers all of your premiums, including riders.
Child riders by life insurance company
Here’s how many insurance companies handle child riders on term life insurance policies.
Methodology: Information based on policies offered by Policygenius as of March 2023.
What happens when a child term rider expires?
Before the child rider expires, you can either convert it into an individual child life insurance policy or let the coverage run out. Your child would then need to apply for their own life insurance coverage as an adult.
Most child riders can be converted into a permanent life insurance policy with up to five times the amount of the original rider’s coverage. If you have $10,000 in coverage on your child rider, you might be able to convert it to a $50,000 whole life policy for your child.
However, permanent policies aren’t right for most people because they are five to 15 times more expensive than term life policies.
If your child has a health condition that may prevent them from qualifying for a policy on their own, you may want to consider a permanent life insurance policy for them. Otherwise, they’ll be able to find a cheaper policy once they reach adulthood.
We don’t recommend buying separate life insurance policies for children, but child riders are an inexpensive way to get the most out of your life insurance policy.
If the cost of a funeral would cause your family financial trouble, consider adding a child rider to your term life insurance coverage.
Frequently asked questions
What is a child rider on a life insurance policy?
A child rider is an inexpensive, optional add-on to your life insurance policy that pays out a small death benefit if any of your children pass away.
Can you take life insurance out on a child?
You can buy whole life insurance for children, but it’s costly and most children don’t need their own policy because they don’t make income for their family.
When can you add a child rider to your life insurance policy?
It depends on your insurance company. Many people add a child rider during the application process. Some companies allow you to add (or drop) a child rider after your policy is active, but some don’t.
What does a child rider pay for?
The payout from a child rider can be used for anything, including funeral expenses.