Accidental Death vs Term Life Insurance (Which is better?)

Balancing accidental death vs. term life insurance can mean the difference between comprehensive coverage for your family or not. Accidental death insurance covers only accidental death and excludes natural causes. Find accidental death life insurance rates starting at $7/mo, even if you don't qualify for affordable term life insurance. Get free quotes today with our comparison tool below.

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites.

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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By now, you’ve probably come across accidental death life insurance (as well as accidental death and dismemberment, or AD&D) and want to evaluate whether it’s a good option for you. 

What is the difference between life insurance and accidental death?

How do you determine the difference between term life and accidental death? Can you save money and have more security with one over the other?

Before we explain what you need to know when it comes to term life vs accidental death, and how to tell which option is best for you, use our free quote tool to get an affordable and instant life insurance rate. Get started now. 

How do you shop for quotes?

If you are comparing accidental death insurance and term life insurance, it’s helpful to see what you might pay in comparison. The table below compares rates for a 25-year-old male non-smoker.

Accidental Death vs Term Life Insurance Average Monthly Rates
Coverage AmountAccidental Death Insurance Average Monthly RatesTerm Life Insurance Average Monthly Rates
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In order to truly compare AD&D and term life insurance, you have to go a bit deeper than comparing rates. Accidental death and term life each have very specific benefits and pricing can vary based on age, health factors, and coverage amounts.

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What is term life insurance?

Before digging into AD&D coverage, let’s briefly explain what term life insurance is and how it works.

Term life insurance is a type of policy that lasts for a set term for a set amount of coverage (for example, a 20-year term for $250,000 in life insurance coverage). The coverage amount selected at the time of purchase is what the beneficiaries would receive tax-free should the person insured pass away during the term. Term life insurance rates are usually the cheapest types of insurance policy.

During that 20-year period, life insurance premiums are paid in order to keep the policy active. There are some exclusions, but in general, these policies cover nearly any type of death during the term.

Sometimes, due to life insurance underwriting guidelines, it’s not possible for everyone to qualify for a term life policy from a traditional insurance company. Unlike whole life insurance, term policies do not provide any cash value component for the insured. These life insurance policies only guarantee payment of a death benefit to the beneficiary or beneficiaries that you specify, as long as you pay your monthly premium.

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What is accidental death insurance?

It’s important to understand what qualifies as accidental death for insurance. Accidental death covers accidental death and excludes natural causes, which means you must die in an accident, or from an accident. It can also provide payouts in the event of certain types of injury, specifically a severe injury that results in loss of sight, loss of limbs, or loss of hearing. That’s where the dismemberment part comes in, this type of policy can also serve as disability insurance.

Is a heart attack considered an accidental death?

If the person insured dies as a result of things like cancer, heart disease, illness, or suicide, the beneficiaries would not be eligible for any type of death benefit through the AD&D policy.

According to, the odds of someone born in 2018 dying from an accidental death are 1 in 17. So what are examples of accidental death? What is considered an accidental death?

To put it in perspective, car accidents, occupational accidents, or similar deaths qualify for AD&D payouts.

But read the fine print, acts of war or even sudden deaths from natural causes like a heart attack or stroke may not qualify, or may qualify for only a partial payout. It’s important for you to understand the details of your individual policy.

If you’re not eligible for a term life policy due to your health, an AD&D policy is an affordable alternative. Plus, if you have access to a group life policy through a work benefits package, this can be another type of coverage you can depend on to take care of your family. You can purchase AD&D as a standalone policy or as a form of supplemental life insurance.

Something else that you should know is that some additional benefits may even be available to you at no extra cost. For example, the travel accident benefit may pay an additional amount to your beneficiary or beneficiaries (sometimes 100% of the benefit) should you die while riding on public transit. If you’re interested in this type of additional coverage, you should talk to the insurance company through which you’ve purchased your AD&D policy.

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Do you need a medical exam in order to get an AD&D policy?

Because an accidental death policy doesn’t cover natural causes, a medical exam is not required in order to get one. Heck, they won’t even ask you medical questions. You can apply and get approved for accidental death coverage within a day. You are able to purchase accidental death coverage up to age 70.

Term Life & AD&D Insurance

The table below provides a quick overview of differences between the term life and AD&D so you can compare the pros and cons of accidental death and dismemberment 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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In some cases, it may be necessary to consider do I need both life insurance and AD&D?

Before you run out and buy an accidental death policy online you might want to speak to your insurance agent and see if an additional AD&D rider can be added to your traditional life insurance, to provide this protection at a lower cost.

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What’s the bottom line?

So, do you need life and AD&D insurance? Is accidental death insurance worth it?

Yes, don’t be so quick to discount an accidental death policy.

According to the CDC, accidental deaths from unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death for the U.S. population.

And, if you’re unable to get life insurance coverage because of your health, you can apply for AD&D and get some much-needed protection that way instead. You may be able to obtain accidental death if you are part of a credit union or through work.

TruStage AD&D insurance reviews have a host of happy customers that might have been unaware of access to AD&D insurance until their credit union sent them information.

And if you already have existing coverage, an AD&D policy can provide an extra boost of confidence that your loved ones will be taken care of.

You probably have enough information now to start your search for affordable life insurance. Get started with an instant customized quote in seconds by using our free quote tool below.



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