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How to Insure Your Income: Disability Income Riders

Disability income insurance normally is considered a form of health insurance. But life insurance policies sometimes will include disability income benefits as an added element of coverage. This can happen in a couple of ways.

The waiver of premium rider provides that in the event of total disability as defined by the policy, premiums for the policy will be waived for the duration of that disability. The rider is temporary in that it usually expires at age 65.

There's usually a six-month waiting period before the rider's benefits are payable. This means that you must be totally disabled for six months (a few insurers only require three months), and then future premiums will be waived for the duration of the total disability. Once the six-month waiting period has been satisfied, any premiums paid during the waiting period also will be refunded to you.

A small additional premium (usually about a dollar a year per thousand dollars of insurance) is charged for this rider.

In other cases, a life insurance policy may include a simple disability income rider. The same terms usually apply as with waiver of premium. This rider will provide a weekly or monthly disability income benefit to you -- in addition to the life insurance premiums being waived.

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