An Introduction to Accidental Death Insurance

If you want to add affordable additional life insurance or fear you can’t pass a medical exam for life insurance, there’s an often-overlooked type of insurance that could offer the coverage you need: accidental death insurance.

What it covers

Accidental death insurance typically covers death or injury from unintentional events such as being hit by a car, drowning, a plane crash, a car accident, a fall, or an accident involving heavy machinery. It won’t cover situations such as a drug overdose, driving under the influence, an infection and other health conditions. Accidental death insurance will not provide a death benefit to beneficiaries if the policyholder dies from natural causes.

Who might want accidental death insurance?

  • For most people, accidental death insurance is best used as a supplement to their regular life and disability insurance — the benefit could double the payout when added to a standard life insurance policy.
  • Because accidental death insurance covers only certain accidents, the state of your health isn’t a factor in taking out a policy. This may make accidental death insurance an attractive option for people who may not be able to pass a life insurance physical.
  • Accidental death insurance also can be a good choice for people working in a job that may not qualify for standard life insurance.
  • Accidental death insurance also is attractive because the coverage is typically affordable. Depending on coverage, a monthly premium can be less than $10.

How to get accidental death insurance

Accidental death insurance policies can be purchased two ways:

  • As a rider to an existing life insurance policy, which usually doubles the face value of the policy in the event of an accident. For example, if you have a $500,000 life insurance policy, your beneficiaries would receive $500,000 if you died of a heart attack, but that would double to $1 million if you died in a covered accident. This is typically an inexpensive option.
  • As a separate stand-alone policy, where you simply select your desired premium and amount of coverage. You also might receive or be able to purchase accidental death insurance as part of a group plan with your employer, although coverage amounts in those cases can be limited.

In either case, most accidental death insurance policies can be purchased by someone as young as 18, and most expire at age 70.

Learn more about the basics of life insurance.