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What Does Waiver of Premium in Life Insurance Mean?

Definition of Waiver of Premium for Life Insurance

A waiver of premium rider is an insurance policy clause that waives premium payments in the event the policyholder becomes critically ill, seriously injured, or disabled

A waiver of premium in life insurance is an action by the insurance company canceling premium payments by an insured who has been disabled for a specified period of time (usually, least 6 months).

The life insurance policy remains "In Force", just as if the insured was still making the premium payments.

Life insurance advisors and insurance experts recommend a Waiver of Premium Clause should be considered for a life insurance policy since the probability of becoming disabled is 7 to 10 times greater than death occurring at younger age, or middle ages.

Life Insurance Policy Rider

A rider added to life insurance is an endorsement to the insurance policy that provides additional benefits, or limits an insurance company’s liability for payment of benefits under certain conditions.

The Waiver of Premium Clause in a life insurance policy is a Policy Rider added to the policy to provide additional coverage.

Waiver of Premium for Disability – An insured person with total disability that lasts for a specified period no longer has to pay premiums for the duration of the disability. In effect, the insurance company pays the premiums.

A waiver of premium rider is usually available for term life insurance and whole life insurance policies.

What Is a Waiver of Premium Rider?

A waiver of premium rider is an insurance policy clause that waives premium payments if the policyholder becomes critically ill, seriously injured, or physically impaired.

Other stipulations may apply, such as meeting specific health and age requirements.

Life Insurance Policyholders may want to purchase a waiver of premium if they are concerned about making ends meet should they become injured on the job.


  • A waiver of premium rider is an optional insurance policy clause that waives insurance premium payments if the policyholder becomes critically ill or physically impaired for a specified period of time.
  • To buy a waiver of premium rider, you may need to meet certain age and health requirements.
  • The rider is added to an insurance policy for an additional charge.
  • You can't get a waiver of premium rider if you are already physically impaired or have a pre-existing health condition.


The cost to add a basic waiver of premium coverage to your policy is usually small, and most policyholders should consider including it in their policy.

To qualify for a waiver of premium, some life insurers may require the policyholder to meet specific requirements, such as being healthy or being below a certain age.

Waiver of Premium Life Insurance Disability Rider

By adding the waiver of premium rider to your life insurance policy you can provide yourself with a safety net to make sure your life insurance premiums are paid, even if you become disabled and are not earning an income.

What would happen to your life insurance coverage if you were to become ill or injured and are unable to pay your life insurance premiums?

Your life insurance policy may lapse, leaving you uninsured for life insurance – unless you have a waiver of premium rider on your policy.

A waiver of premium life insurance policy rider pays your life insurance premiums if you become disabled.

This type of rider on life insurance policies is especially important for people with a high risk occupation, where your job puts you at a greater risk of disability.

According to the American Council of Life Insurers 87 percent of all life insurance policies "In Force" in 2010 included a rider for waiver of premium to cover disability of the insured.

When Does a Waiver of Premium Coverage Start?

With a waiver of premium rider on your life insurance policy the coverage does not start right away after you become ill or injured.

The typical life insurance policy requires a waiting period of at least 6 months after you become disabled, before your premiums for your life insurance policy are covered. Which means, you need to keep paying your premiums for life insurance for the first 6 months you are disabled.

NOTE: The life insurance company will reimburse you for those paid premiums after the waiting period has expired (6 months).

In addition, if you have a recurring disability, you only have the six month waiting period the first time you become disabled, not every time for the same disability.

There is not a limit to the number of times you can use your disability rider for waiver of premium on your life insurance.

But, if you have a new disability unrelated to your prior disability, you will have to wait the six-month period before being reimbursed.

Most life insurance riders for waiver of premium are available for policyholders between the ages of 18 and 60, but each insurer may have different requirements for this additional coverage.

However, waiver of premium coverage usually ends at age 65 on most life insurance policies.

With waiver of premium the goal is to protect earned income, so if someone is already retired, there is no earned income for the policy rider to protect.

What Factors Impact the Cost of a Waiver of Premium Rider?

Several factors will determine the cost of your waiver of premium, including:

  • The amount of life insurance coverage
  • The type of life insurance policy
  • Your age and your risk rating

For example, on a term life insurance policy – which has much lower premiums compared to permanent life insurance – the waiver of premium rider may cost up to 10-15% of the total annual premium for your policy.

However, on a permanent life insurance policy, a waiver of premium rider may cost up to 3-5% of the total annual premium for your life insurance coverage.

Waiver of Premium Coverage for High Risk Occupations

If you work in a profession considered high risk for life insurance, you may find it more expensive and more difficult to get life insurance that includes a waiver of premium rider.

Life insurance companies analyze the risk associated with waiver of premium coverage by reviewing your type of occupation.

Some insurers have their own job rating system while others use the rating system developed by the state insurance commissioner.

If you are employed in a high-risk job with a "no" rating, you may find it very difficult to get waiver of premium coverage for your life insurance policy.

For example, pilots, police officers and firefighters are among the high risk occupations that usually fall within the category of a "no" rating.

In addition, there are some jobs that may not seem so risky, but do have a higher than average risk of illness or injury which may keep you from working.

Some High Risk Job Classifications Include:

  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Bartenders
  • Bus and Truck Drivers
  • Chiropractors
  • Convenience Store Clerks
  • Couriers
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
  • Flight Attendants
  • Furniture Movers
  • Housekeepers
  • Manicurists
  • Nurses
  • Parking Lot Attendants
  • Postal Workers
  • Trash Collectors
  • Waiters

Some of the leading causes of disability leave are back injuries or back pain. Many of the occupations in the list above involve some heavy lifting or moving of patients as with Nurses.

In addition, other factors may limit your ability to get a waiver of premium rider for your life insurance policy, such as, taking part in high risk sporting activities like skydiving or scuba diving.

Or, if you are in poor health you may find it difficult to get covered for a waiver of premium. And, your age may have an impact on your approval for coverage.

Factors that may affect your ability to get covered for waiver of premium or charge a higher premium for the coverage include:

  • Your Age
  • Your Health
  • Your Hobbies
  • Your Occupation

Each of the above mentioned factors may result in you not being approved for a waiver of premium or having to pay a higher premium for your rider.

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