Policy Types

Life Insurance Policy: Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

This article defines an Accelerated Death Benefit rider and presents eligible medical situations when it can be used while you are alive, such as for a chronic illness or terminal medical condition.

Accelerated Death Benefits for the Living

You buy life insurance to protect those who depend on you for financial security. If you die prematurely, it's your life insurance that will provide your dependents with the ongoing income they'll need to live on when your income ceases to exist, as well as immediate funds to cover your final expenses. But did you know that your life insurance policy may also provide you, the policy holder, with certain living benefits that you could tap into in the event you become seriously ill? It's called an accelerated death benefit (ADB) rider.

What is an accelerated death benefit rider?

An ADB policy rider would allow you to receive a portion of your life insurance benefit early - to use while you are still alive. The ADB rider is sometimes a standard feature of a life insurance policy, however, some insurers may require an additional premium if you want to add the coverage.

With an ADB rider, you can generally get a portion of the death benefit of your life insurance policy to help offset costs associated with a chronic illness or terminal medical condition, and costs for long-term care. According to the American Council of Life Insurers, accelerated benefits can range from 25 to 95 percent of your policy's death benefit, and are typically triggered by the following eligible medical circumstances:1

  • A terminal illness with death expected within 24 months
  • An acute illness, such as acute heart disease or AIDS, which would result in a drastically reduced life span without extensive treatment
  • A catastrophic illness requiring extraordinary treatment, such as an organ transplant
  • If long-term care is needed because you cannot perform a number of daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, or eating
  • If you must be permanently confined in a nursing home

Generally, there are no restrictions as to how your ADB could be used. For example you could use it to help pay for hospital bills, medications, treatments, etc. However, it's always a good idea to check with your insurer to see what may be excluded.


It's important to keep in mind that the benefits from an ADB rider are limited, and are meant to alleviate end-of-life financial hardship. They are not meant to replace comprehensive health or long-term care insurance, which are designed to cover medical and long-term care costs.

Many life insurance policies will allow you to add certain life insurance riders that can enhance your coverage for certain risks. Be sure and check with your agent or company representative to see what type of policy benefit riders you may have available.

1. https://www.acli.com/Consumers/Life%20Insurance/Pages/Accelerating%20Benefits.aspx?PF=true&Pub=false

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

Accelerated Death Benefit Rider

With an accelerated death benefit rider, your life insurance policy can provide you with living benefits for you to use in the event you become seriously ill. Some life insurance ADB riders come standard, while some may require an additional premium. Ask your agent or company representative about policy benefit riders that you may be able to use to enhance your coverage. For more information, visit our learning center.