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Child term rider

Find out when it’s a good idea to add a child term rider to your policy.


Fact checked

The benefits of a child term rider are twofold. It gives parents the financial resources they might need if their child passes away unexpectedly, and it can secure coverage for children with serious health conditions early in life. While it’s low-cost to add this rider to your policy, it might be unnecessary.

What is a child term life insurance rider?

A child rider is an add-on to a term life insurance policy that protects your children. Also known as a “child protection rider,” it pays out a death benefit if your child passes away. It can cover multiple children under the same flat fee, including biological, adopted and stepchildren.

The coverage varies between insurers, but is usually capped at small amounts between $1,000 and $25,000.

How do child term riders work?

Typically, you can add this rider to your policy when your child is between 15 days and 18 years old. Depending on your provider, the coverage expires when the child turns 23 or 25, or gets married — whichever comes first.

Adding this rider to your policy can cover the costs of a funeral should the unthinkable happen. If your child passes away during the term, you’ll receive a lump sum death benefit.

Some insurers will allow you to add the child term rider to your policy while it’s in force. But in most cases, you’ll need to opt into the rider when you purchase your policy.

Will my child be able to keep their policy when they grow up?

Once your child’s rider expires, most insurers will allow your child to convert it into a permanent policy without showing evidence of reinsurability. Since the rider can “lock in” future coverage, it’s particularly useful if your child has a medical condition that may otherwise disqualify them for coverage.

Will my child need to undergo a medical exam?

No. Your child — or children — won’t need to take a medical exam for you to add this coverage to your policy.

However, your insurer may ask questions about your child’s health as part of the application. If your child has a preexisting condition, you may not be able to add the rider.

Converting a child term rider

If your child decides to upgrade to a permanent policy when their rider expires there will likely be limits on how much coverage they can convert. With most insurers, they’ll only be able to convert up to five times the original face amount of the rider.

Let’s say you have a $10,000 child protection rider. If your child decides to convert to a permanent policy when they reach the age of maturity, they’ll be able to buy $50,000 in coverage.

Child riders vs. child life insurance policies

If you’re interested in buying life insurance for your child, you have two options:

  • Child life insurance policies are whole life policies that offer lifelong coverage and build cash value over time. They can be expensive, so they’re best suited for children with serious health conditions.
  • Child riders are low-cost riders that parents can add to their own term life insurance policies. They protect all current and future children in your household, and pay out a small death benefit in the case of a child’s passing.

Average cost of a child rider

The cost varies between carries, but generally, child riders are priced per $1,000 unit — with $5 per unit being the ballpark figure. To put this into context, if you buy a $10,000 child rider, you’ll pay $50.

Your insurer will roll this cost into your annual premium, so you’ll only need to make one payment. Before committing to a child rider, ask your insurer about the exact cost.

5 of the best life insurance companies that offer child riders

These 5 insurers stand out for the coverage, conversion amount or cost of their child riders. They’re listed in no particular order.

AM Best and BBB rating
Eligibility and expiration date
Convertibility feature
Coverage amounts
Cost per $1,000 unit
Medical questionnaire
Legal & General
AM Best: A+

BBB rating: A+

Eligibility: 15 days to 25 years

Expiration date: 25

$5,000 and $10,000
Mutual of Omaha
AM Best: A+

BBB rating: A+

Eligibility: 15 days to 20 years

Expiration date: 23

$1,000 to $10,000
Principal Life
AM Best: A+

BBB rating: A+

Eligibility: 15 days to 18 years

Expiration date: 25

$1,000 to $10,000
AM Best: A+

BBB rating: D-

Eligibility: 15 days to 18 years

Expiration date: 25

$10,000 to $100,000
AM Best: A

BBB rating: A-

Eligibility: 15 days to 18 years

Expiration date: 25

$1,000 to $99,000

Must read: How we picked our best providers

Our writers and editors are committed to objectivity and empowering our readers to make decisions free of bias.

When analyzing life insurance providers, we assessed the insurer’s child term rider costs per $1,000 in coverage, available coverage amounts, and medical exam policies.

To determine industry reputation, our editorial team researches the company’s financial strength, accreditations and ratings, and reads customer reviews.

Protect your loved ones
Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.

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Compare life insurance companies

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
21 - 54 years old
10 or 20 years
Get a quote in less than 10 minutes with on-the-spot approval and no medical exam.
Haven Life
18 - 64 years old
10, 15, 20, or 30 years
No exams for some applicants
Fill out a quick online application and get approval in minutes with up to $3 million in coverage.
20 - 60 years old
10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years
Depends on policy
Apply for term life insurance online without the medical exam. Get an instant decision and adjust your coverage at no charge.
18 - 85 years old
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on provider and policy
Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.
21 - 60 years old
10, 15, or 20 years
Depends on policy
No-exam term policies up to $1 million online, with the option to upgrade to permanent life insurance later.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Child term riders are designed to give parents the resources they might need during an extremely difficult time. While this rider can be useful in covering the cost of a funeral or locking in coverage for a child with a serious illness, it’s not the best fit for all families.

To customize your coverage to suit your needs, compare life insurance policies and providers as well as available riders.

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