Q: What if I become disabled and can’t pay the premium, or what if I fail to make the required premium payment?

A: Provisions or “riders” that provide additional benefits can be added to a policy. One such rider us a “waiver of premium for disability.” With this rider, if you become totally disabled for a specified period of time, you don’t have to pay premiums for the duration of the disability.

If you miss a premium payment, you typically have a 30- or 31-day grace period during which you can pay the premium with no interest charged. After that, the company — with your authorization — can draw from a permanent policy’s cash value to keep that policy in force. In some flexible-premium policies, premiums may be reduced or skipped as long as sufficient cash values remain in the policy. However, this will result in lower cash values and a shortened coverage period.