Having a child on the spectrum could be challenging. Partly, due to the unknown and not being able to predict what the future holds. We believe that many parents share the same fear: “What will happen to my child? Would he be independent and what would his life be once I am gone?”
At One Stop Life Insurance, we are really passionate about protecting children and their parents. In this post, we would provide you with some options and guidance, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Autism is a disorder that affects the entire family. It is unfortunate that 1 in every 68 children will be diagnosed with this disorder. It is not uncommon for one of a parent to quit his or her job, just to be able to care for a child diagnosed with autism. Later in the post, we will go over what are the options for securing life insurance policy on your little one. However, we feel it is important to start off with the significance of life insurance coverage on the parents.
Life insurance and autism for the parents or caregivers
So, why is it important for a parent of a child on the spectrum to have life insurance? The answer to this question is simple. You are the primary caregiver and provider for the child. You ensure that your child’s daily needs are met and that he or she is feeling loved. This is a huge responsibly and as parents, we admire you.
There are mild cases of the disorder where an individual on the spectrum can have an independent life. This is a very good scenario and lifts an amazing worry off the parent’s shoulder.
However, what happens when he or she turns 25 and unfortunately, can’t be financially independent and properly care for him or herself? You need to make sure that they are provided and cared for even when you are gone. This is where life insurance is of tremendous help. Having coverage is the first part of the planning process.
It is also beneficial if you set up a Special Needs Trust. Based on our experience, you can attempt to set one up yourself, just watch out for the exact wording you need to include. You can also meet with an attorney and have them take care of it for you. Having a trust has a number of advantages and may allow for an adult on the spectrum to receive governmental benefits, even with the proceeds from life insurance.
You would also need to attempt to find answer the million dollar question: “How much does the care of a disabled child cost?”
You are irreplaceable. There is no doubt about it. However, you would need to make sure that you calculate approximately the cost of care for a child or an adult with autism. You know your child best. And only you can tell if they are capable of living on their own or if he or she needs another arrangement. Based on that, we can calculate how much of your life insurance benefits should be allocated for the care of a child with ASD.
Life insurance for a child on the spectrum
In the second part of this post, we will turn our attention on getting a life insurance for a child on the spectrum. Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a life threatening condition. Even though it doesn’t affect life expectancy, it is very difficult to get coverage for someone on the spectrum. The good thing is that carriers are now more open to review one’s application rather than just denying coverage due to the disorder. There are a couple of things life insurance companies are looking for when underwriting an application for someone with ASD.
- When was your child diagnosed with for autism/Asperger’s?
- Has the applicant been diagnosed with any psychiatric disorders or an intellectual disability?
- What medications is the applicant currently taking?
- Does the applicant have physical impairments like Cerebral palsy or a history of seizures?
- Does the applicant need assistance with activities of daily living (feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.) or contributory activities of daily living (cooking, driving, housecleaning)?
- Are there any other major health problems?
Life insurance options for a child with autism
Option A – Get an individual policy
We need to start off by saying that even though this is the best option, it might not be available to everyone. Due to the nature of the disorder, life insurance companies might be a little apprehensive to approve a policy for a child on the spectrum. You need to make sure you have all of the medical history available and be upfront with the insurance professional. We are here to connect you with the best life insurance company for you and find you a product that meets your needs and budget. The only way to do that is by having the complete history of any condition.
Your child will have this policy even in adulthood. The company cannot cancel it for any reason, as long as the premiums are paid
Not everyone qualifies. An individual policy is subject to an underwriting and case by case consideration.
Option B – Add the child as a rider onto the parent’s policy.
This option also has its pros and cons
Some carriers do not ask about the medical history of the child. By having a rider on your policy you can also cover the other children in the household. Some companies even allow you to convert the rider into an individual policy, when the child reaches a certain age. Another major pro in this option is the price. This is a very cost effective option to add coverage for someone who might have no other alternative.
Some carriers do not ask about the medical history of the child. By having a rider on your policy you can also cover the other children in the household. Some companies even allow you to convert the rider into an individual policy when the child reaches a certain age. Another major pro in this option is the price. This is a very cost effective option to add coverage for someone who might have no other alternative.
The biggest downfall of this option is that you can get only relatively small coverage amount. Another thing to consider is that not every company will allow you to convert the rider into an individual policy. This might leave your child without any coverage when they are in their 20s.
There are many things to think about when having a child with ASD. There are daily struggles and daily wins. Having a financial plan will take away many of the worries you might have as a parent. Talk to us and let us help.