Understanding Supplemental Group Term Life Insurance

What is Supplemental Group Term Life Insurance?

Supplemental group term life insurance is an added benefit if you are already covered under a group policy through your employer. Usually group coverage is not as comprehensive as you may desire as policies are written according to what would benefit the group as a whole. As an individual with a family of your own, you may have different needs that are not covered through a group plan. If you find yourself in this position, buying a supplemental term life policy would be a wise decision.

An employee is eligible for supplemental term life insurance if he or she performs all of their regular duties on a full-time basis (check with your employer as some companies consider “full-time” as 17.5 hours or more while other companies require you work the full 40 hour weeks). Again, you must already be covered under your company’s basic group term life insurance policy. Spouses and dependent children are also eligible for coverage if you buy a policy of your own.

What are the Benefits to Adding a Supplement?

There are a couple of benefits to purchasing supplemental term life insurance. The first is a waiver of premium. If you become completely disabled prior to your 65th birthday, the insurance company will continue to keep your policy intact and active until you become 65 years old. The stipulation is that your disability must last for nine consecutive months before the benefit can begin. If your disability continues indefinitely, the insurance company will not collect any further payments of premium from you. An individual is considered “totally disabled” when that individual is unable to work at any occupation collecting wages because of injury or illness. You must also provide proof of continuing disability annually.

A second benefit to taking out a supplemental term life insurance policy is the Accelerated Living benefit. If an individual is diagnosed with a terminal illness and given only 12 months or less to live, that individual may apply for a percentage of their combined basic group and supplemental term life insurance policies. The percentage is usually paid in a lump sum. Check with your carrier, as the benefit is usually 50% of the active face value amounts or $50,000.00, whichever is less. While an employee and their spouse are eligible for the accelerated living benefits, children of the employee are not. In most cases, coverage is portable — which means you can take your coverage with you if you retire, reduce your hours or change jobs.

The only exclusion is the standard waiver of benefit payment should the employee or their spouse/dependents commit suicide within the first two years that the policy came into effect. Check with your carrier as in some states this exclusion applies to both sane and insane individuals while some states only the sane.

How Age Affects Your Policy

While premiums for supplemental term life insurance are literally just a couple to a few dollars per month, the rates are affected by age. The premium is based on attained age and then increases at various steps. You would have to check with your carrier for their specific criteria. Age 70 is a defining milestone for supplemental term life insurance policies.

Beginning at age 70, your coverage is reduced to 65% of original certificate face value. Beginning at age 75, you coverage is reduced to 45% of original certificate face value. Beginning at age 80, your coverage is reduced to 30% of original certificate face value.

One thing to keep in mind is that spousal coverage terminates at age 70. If the premiums are current, your spouse may choose to convert their individual coverage to a term life insurance policy of their own. Your dependents may also choose to convert their policies after their dependent status expires. They can obtain term life insurance policies in the amount of $25,000.00 or $50,000.00.

Supplemental term life insurance is a wonderful benefit as you can give your family an additional benefit of up to $270,000.00.

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