Most life insurance policies issued in the past 5-10 years have a rider called the accelerated death benefit rider. It doesn’t cost anything and it allows the insured to receive, depending on the company, up to half of the death benefit (usually up to a limit like $500,000) if they are terminally ill.

I’ve had clients question why they would want this rider. If you’ve never had a terminally ill relative, it might seem kind of foreign to think about the last year of someone’s life when you know that they aren’t going to survive.

The primary reason we buy life insurance is to take the burden of loss off of our beneficiaries. In the case of terminal illness, that burden can begin to take its’ toll months before someone’s death in the form of lost wages because they are too sick to work or huge medical bills if you are among the 50 million uninsured or underinsured people in our country. With the accelerated benefit it allows you to meet that burden as it comes and not after it has already crushed the family finances.

Bottom line. Before you take exception to the idea of an accelerated benefit, talk to your agent and make sure you understand what it can do for your family at a time when extra hardship and burdens are least needed.

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