Kalyn Johnson

Insurance Claims Support & Sr. Adjuster

Kalyn grew up in an insurance family with a grandfather, aunt, and uncle leading successful careers as insurance agents. She soon found she has similar interests and followed in their footsteps. After spending about ten years working in the insurance industry as both an appraiser dispatcher and a senior property claims adjuster, she decided to combine her years of insurance experience with another...

Insurance Claims Support & Sr. Adjuster

Justin Wright

Licensed Insurance Agent

Justin Wright has been a licensed insurance broker for over 9 years. After graduating from Southeastern Seminary with a Masters in Philosophy, Justin started his career as a professor, teaching Philosophy and Ethics. Later, Justin obtained both his Property & Casualty license and his Life and Health license and began working for State Farm and Allstate. In 2020, Justin began working as an i...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2024

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Quick Facts

  • Accidents are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States
  • Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance pays additional benefits for fatalities caused by unforeseen and unavoidable accidents
  • You can buy accidental death benefit riders on life insurance for as low as $4 per month

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance is a type of life insurance with no waiting period —  you can get covered quickly and without a medical exam. 

With coverage, your beneficiaries receive an additional payout for death, loss of limb, or paralysis caused by some of the most common accidents, including auto collisions. AD&D benefits are available along with your life insurance death benefits, and beneficiaries can use this money to pay for funeral costs, mortgage payments, or other debts you’ve left behind.

AD&D policies may be available through your employer as a group life insurance rider. You can sometimes buy the policy on its own, but this isn’t very cost-effective. In addition, AD&D coverage is very restricted, and policies don’t necessarily apply to the kinds of accidents you’d expect them to.

Keep reading if you’re curious about what is considered an accidental death. This guide discusses how insurance companies define accidental death and dismemberment and how coverage applies to the accidents you may encounter.

Scroll down to find out if you need AD&D insurance and start comparing life insurance quotes right away with our free comparison tool below.

What is accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) insurance?

AD&D insurance is usually sold as a rider on traditional term life insurance or whole life insurance. Customers can use this coverage to supplement their existing benefits if they die suddenly in an accident or cannot work due to serious injury or paralysis. 

Accidental death and dismemberment plans are also called “double indemnity” riders because your surviving beneficiaries will receive an additional payout on top of your life insurance benefits. 

What does accidental death insurance cover? Coverage depends on the type of policy you buy, and a company can restrict policy coverage based on how it defines accidental death and dismemberment. Explore these insurance definitions below to learn what is covered by AD&D insurance.

What is accidental death?

AD&D insurance is limited to accidental deaths only and will not cover health-related deaths, such as heart failure or stroke. Each company will restrict the kinds of accidents it covers, but policies generally pay out for deaths caused by:

  • Auto collisions
  • Homicide
  • Workplace incidents
  • Exposure to the elements
  • Fire-related injuries
  • Falls
  • Heavy machinery accidents
  • Drowning

Your beneficiaries will receive an AD&D life insurance benefit if you die from injuries sustained from a serious accident, like the ones listed above. However, most companies will only pay out if the insured dies within 90 days of the accident. 

Further restrictions also apply to coverage for paralysis, loss of fingers and limbs, or loss of one or more of your senses, known as dismemberment coverage.

Compare life insurance vs. accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) insurance to decide if you need both.

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Understanding Accidental Death and Dismemberment vs Life Insurance

When comparing accidental death and dismemberment vs life insurance, it’s important to understand the distinct purposes and benefits of each type of coverage. Accidental death and dismemberment coverage provides financial protection specifically in the event of accidental death or severe injuries, such as loss of limbs, sight, or hearing. This type of policy is often offered as basic AD&D insurance or can be purchased as a standalone policy. In contrast, life insurance covers death from any cause, including natural causes, illness, and accidents. Understanding the accidental death and dismemberment definition helps in evaluating the death insurance cost and determining which type of coverage best suits your needs. Many death insurance companies offer both types of policies, allowing individuals to buy accidental death policies in addition to traditional life insurance.

Benefits and Coverage of Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

An accidental death & dismemberment policy pays a lump sum benefit to the insured or their beneficiaries if an accident results in death or severe injury. This accidental death and dismemberment benefit can provide crucial financial support during difficult times. The death insurance coverage provided by these policies is particularly valuable for those in high-risk occupations or who frequently engage in hazardous activities. Group plans, such as group AD&D insurance, are often available through employers, providing employees with an additional layer of financial protection. It’s essential to review the death insurance definition and policy terms to fully understand the extent of coverage and any exclusions. While life insurance and AD&D policies serve different purposes, adding both types of coverage to a life insurance policy can offer comprehensive protection against a wide range of potential risks.

Affordable Options for Accidental Death Insurance

Finding cheap accidental death insurance is crucial for individuals seeking to protect their families without breaking the bank. The cost of such policies can vary, so it’s important to ask, how much is accidental death insurance? Generally, accidental death and dismemberment rates are lower than traditional life insurance rates, making them an attractive option for those on a budget. By obtaining multiple accidental death insurance quotes, you can compare prices and coverage options to find the best deal.

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Evaluating Accidental Life Insurance Companies and Quotes

When considering accidental death coverage, it’s essential to evaluate different accidental life insurance companies to ensure you get the best value for your money. These companies often provide accidental life insurance quotes that detail the cost and benefits of their policies. The accidental death insurance price will depend on factors such as age, occupation, and the coverage amount. By comparing these quotes, you can identify the most affordable and comprehensive options. Additionally, seeking quotes from multiple providers helps you understand the market better and choose a policy that offers both affordability and robust protection.

What is dismemberment?

According to Local Government Federal Credit Union, dismemberment means the loss of a limb or bodily function, including sight, hearing, or ability to walk. Some companies may limit the types of dismemberment covered by the policy and how much of your accidental death benefits you receive.

For example, most insurers will pay half of the policy’s benefit if you lose only one limb or vision in one eye. However, you may receive the full benefit if you lose two or more limbs. Other companies will only pay a portion of the benefit for partial paralysis or triplegia. You may also be able to find term life insurance with living benefits.

When it comes to the definitions of accidental death and dismemberment, AD&D coverage will have a lot of restrictions. So, read the fine print of your accidental death insurance policy to find out what’s covered and when.

Finding the Best AD&D Insurance: Quotes and Costs

When seeking the best AD&D insurance, understanding the accidental death and dismemberment insurance cost and benefits is crucial. Getting an AD&D insurance quote can help you compare prices and coverage options from various providers. Typically, accidental death insurance rates are more affordable than standard life insurance rates because they only cover specific incidents. To find the best accidental life insurance, it’s advisable to obtain multiple accidental death life insurance quotes and assess the coverage limits and exclusions. Knowing how to get the best deal on accidental death and dismemberment insurance? involves shopping around, considering employer-sponsored plans, and looking for policies with comprehensive benefits at a competitive price.

Pros and Cons of Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Weighing the pros and cons of accidental death and dismemberment insurance is essential before making a decision. On the plus side, AD&D insurance provides an additional layer of financial protection in the event of an accidental death or severe injury, often at a lower cost compared to traditional life insurance. The accidental death and dismemberment insurance cost and benefits can be appealing, especially for those in high-risk occupations or with existing life insurance policies. However, one downside is that accidental death insurance cost might not be justified for those with low-risk lifestyles, as the policy only pays out for specific types of accidents, such as accidental death and dismemberment examples including car accidents, falls, and machinery-related injuries. By obtaining various AD&D insurance quotes and an accidental death and dismemberment insurance quote, you can determine if the policy fits your needs and budget.

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What is the difference between life insurance and AD&D insurance?

The main difference between life and AD&D insurance is the coverage restrictions. While AD&D insurance will only pay out for certain unavoidable accidents, life insurance benefits are available no matter how the death occurs. 

A few restrictions do apply to life insurance, but that list is far shorter than the catalog of exceptions restricting AD&D coverage. 

Another big difference is the price. Life insurance — especially permanent life insurance — is much more expensive than AD&D coverage. Accidental life insurance can cost as little as $4 per month with some group insurance plans, so it’s essential to shop around and talk with your employer about what kind of coverage is available.

Take a look at this table for more key differences between AD&D and term life insurance.

Accidental Death Vs Term Life Feature Comparison

Accidental DeathTerm Life
Most affordableAffordable
Can be added as a rider to an existing term life or group life policyBetter rates for better health
Can add spouse and family to policyCan add riders like Return of Premium
Can provide additional benefits to beneficiaries depending on deathMedical exam may be required
No medical exam requiredNo-exam available for eligible, low-risk individuals
No medical questionsCovers deaths due to accidents and natural causes
Insures up to age 70Generally excludes death from military service and other high-risk activities
Only covers deaths due to accidentsAdditional exclusions may apply during contestable period
May also include work accidentsApplication can take anywhere from one day to several weeks
Also excludes death from suicide, military, illegal activities, drugs, alcohol, private aviation
Can be approved and covered within a day

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If you’re looking for affordable life insurance options, consider shopping for term life insurance quotes before buying a standalone AD&D policy. Term life comes with lower rates than whole life and much broader coverage than accidental death. Still, you can buy AD&D as a rider to your term policy if you want additional peace of mind. 

Understanding Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Policies

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance sounds straightforward enough, but insurance companies like to make special considerations to the type of coverage they offer with this plan.   There will be exceptions to the accidents covered and a difference in who pays the premiums.

Scroll through the following sections to learn more about different kinds of AD&D policies and what is and is not covered.

What is voluntary AD&D?

Voluntary AD&D (VAD&D) insurance is typically offered with an employee group insurance package. Beneficiaries receive a cash payout on top of any life insurance benefits. These plans are designed for additional financial protection against accidental deaths and serious injury.

VAD&D insurance rates are based on the amount of coverage you buy. The good news here is that most group voluntary options are covered by the employer up to a certain amount. This is why voluntary AD&D is usually offered to employees with high-risk occupations. There are some jobs that raise life insurance premiums.

You can choose to buy more coverage, but you will receive the minimum amount with no increase to your rates. 

Does AD&D cover heart attacks?

AD&D benefits apply only to accidents. This kind of insurance does not cover heart attacks, and policy restrictions prevent coverage from applying to any other deaths caused by natural causes. 

Even if a sudden heart attack leads to an accident that causes death, accidental death insurance will not pay out. In this case, only life insurance or burial insurance coverage would apply.

What doesn’t AD&D insurance cover?

Along with heart attacks, AD&D insurance will not cover other health-related deaths such as strokes, cancer, or drug overdoses. Accident life insurance benefits also won’t apply to drunk driving fatalities, criminal behavior, or high-risk activities.

This means that if you need life insurance for extreme sports like skydiving or BASE jumping, you likely won’t qualify for AD&D insurance.

Other special considerations are suicide and wartime injuries. Most often, companies will exclude these deaths from your accidental life insurance policy. However, some insurers allow for exceptions. For example, suicides may be covered if death occurred at least two years after the policy start date. 

Exceptions and coverage restrictions will vary by company, so always compare quotes from at least three insurers and ask about the exclusions with each. You may find that AD&D insurance doesn’t cover what you need it to or that you’re already covered by your life or health insurance policy. 

How much does AD&D insurance cost?

AD&D coverage is considered a more affordable alternative to life insurance, as monthly quotes are often less than $30 per month. Employers can also offer AD&D coverage at no additional cost to you.

Many companies charge between $4-$7 per month per $100,000 in benefits for an accidental death add-on, and average rates increase as you buy more coverage. Your rates will also be higher if you choose to buy AD&D as a standalone policy.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of AD&D Insurance

The most significant advantage of AD&D insurance is the low annual rates. Sometimes AD&D is included in employer-sponsored life insurance. Through an employer, it’s much cheaper than the shortest-term life insurance plan and covers some of the most common accidents.

However, the multiple exclusions on AD&D policies are the most significant disadvantage.

Pros And Cons of AD&D Insurance

No medical exam and minimal health requirementsOften only available as a life or health insurance add-on
Affordable ratesToo many exclusions
Can get coverage quickly

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Because the AD&D claims process is so strict, most insurance companies require an autopsy before a payout is made and exclude many common accidental deaths from natural causes. AD&D insurance may not cover what you need it to, making the low monthly cost irrelevant if your beneficiaries can never use the policy.

AD&D Insurance: The Bottom Line

Is accidental death insurance worth it? That depends on your lifestyle and the needs of your family. Young parents and couples without adequate life insurance can benefit from the additional coverage offered by accidental death insurance. 

If you have the option of getting voluntary AD&D through your employer, it can be a great way to supplement your life insurance for very low out-of-pocket costs. However, you may not need AD&D insurance if you have enough coverage through a term or whole life insurance or universal life insurance policy. 

AD&D insurance also comes with a long list of restrictions and exceptions that may not apply to your lifestyle. Shop with multiple life insurance companies to find out what kind of accidental death coverage is available near you. Get started today by entering your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below.

Frequently Asked Questions About AD&D Insurance

Need to know more about AD&D insurance? Read through the questions below.

Do I need both life insurance and AD&D?

The best way to buy accidental death & dismemberment insurance is as a life insurance add-on. Annual rates are cheaper, and your beneficiaries have the chance to receive two death benefits should you die as a result of an accident. However, AD&D coverage may be redundant if you already have adequate life insurance coverage. 

How is AD&D different from life insurance?

AD&D comes with many more restrictions than traditional life insurance. In addition, most policyholders and beneficiaries are unlikely to see any benefits from an AD&D policy since covered claims are so rare.

On the other hand, life insurance will pay out for any kind of death as long as rates were paid on time throughout the policyholder’s life.

Does AD&D cover cancer?

Accidental death insurance does not apply to natural causes, which include cancer and other health-related deaths. Term or whole life insurance are much better options for finding coverage for cancer.

What are examples of accidental death?

The most common examples of accidental death covered by AD&D insurance are car accidents, plane accidents, homicide, drowning, exposure to the elements, workplace accidents, fires, falls, and accidents caused by heavy machinery.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does accidental death and dismemberment insurance work?

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance provides financial benefits to the insured or their beneficiaries in the event of accidental death or severe injury, such as loss of limbs, sight, or hearing. The policy pays out a lump sum based on the severity of the injury or the occurrence of accidental death.

How much does AD&D insurance cost?

The cost of AD&D insurance varies depending on factors such as the coverage amount, the insured’s age, occupation, and health status. Generally, premiums are lower compared to traditional life insurance policies due to the specific nature of the coverage.

How to cancel Trustage AD&D insurance?

To cancel Trustage AD&D insurance, contact their customer service department via phone or email. Provide your policy details and follow their instructions for cancellation. Ensure you receive confirmation of the cancellation.

Is a heart attack an accidental death?

No, a heart attack is not considered an accidental death. AD&D insurance only covers deaths caused by unforeseen and accidental events, not medical conditions or illnesses.

Is drug overdose considered accidental death?

In some cases, a drug overdose may be considered accidental death if it was unintentional. However, this depends on the specific policy and the circumstances surrounding the overdose. Some policies may exclude coverage for deaths resulting from illegal drug use.

Is drug overdose covered by life insurance?

Coverage for drug overdose under a life insurance policy depends on the policy terms and conditions. Some policies may exclude coverage for deaths resulting from illegal drug use, while others may provide coverage if the overdose was accidental and unintentional.

Is heart attack considered accidental death?

No, a heart attack is not considered accidental death. Accidental death refers to deaths caused by unforeseen and accidental events, not medical conditions or illnesses.

Is life insurance and accidental death the same?

No, life insurance and accidental death insurance are not the same. Life insurance covers death from any cause, including natural causes, illness, and accidents. Accidental death insurance specifically covers deaths resulting from accidents.

Is murder considered accidental death?

No, murder is not considered accidental death. Accidental death refers to deaths caused by unforeseen and unintended events. Murder is an intentional act.

Is murder covered by accidental death insurance?

Yes, most accidental death insurance policies cover murder, provided the insured was not involved in illegal activities or intentionally putting themselves in harm’s way. It’s best to review the specific policy terms for any exclusions.

Is natural death covered in term insurance?

Yes, natural death is covered in term insurance. Term insurance provides coverage for death from any cause, including natural causes, as long as the policy is in effect at the time of death.

Is overdose covered by life insurance?

Coverage for an overdose under a life insurance policy depends on the policy terms. Some policies may exclude coverage for deaths resulting from illegal drug use, while others may cover accidental overdoses.

Is accidental death and dismemberment insurance tax deductible?

Generally, accidental death and dismemberment insurance premiums are not tax-deductible for individuals. However, there may be exceptions for businesses that offer AD&D insurance as part of their employee benefits package.

Is accidental death and dismemberment insurance worth it?

If AD&D insurance is worth it, it depends on individual circumstances. It can be a cost-effective way to provide additional coverage for accidental injuries or death, especially for those in high-risk occupations. However, it only covers specific types of accidents, which may limit its usefulness for some people.

Is accidental death and dismemberment the same as life insurance?

No, accidental death and dismemberment insurance is not the same as life insurance. AD&D insurance specifically covers accidental death and severe injuries, while life insurance covers death from any cause, including natural causes, illness, and accidents.