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: Oct 28, 2020

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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 vs 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, use our free quote tool to get an affordable and instant life insurance rate. Get started now. 

Shopping for Accidental Death vs Term Life Insurance Quotes

If you are comparing accidental death insurance and term life insurance, its 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 accidental death vs 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 accidental death 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 around.

During that 20-year period, premium payments are made 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. Unlike whole life insurance, term life insurance does not provide any cash value component for the insured. 

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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.

Is a heart attack considered an accidental death?

If the person insured dies as a result of things like cancer, heart disease, or suicide, the beneficiaries would not be eligible for any type of death benefit through the accidental death 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 accidental death and dismemberment 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. 

If you’re not eligible for a term life policy due to your health, an accidental death policy is an affordable alternative. Plus, if you have access to a group life policy through work, this can be another way to take care of your family.

Also good to know about, additional benefits — these may even be available to you at no extra cost. For example, the travel accident benefit may pay an additional amount to your beneficiaries (sometimes 100% of the benefit) should you die while riding on public transit. 

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Do you need a medical exam in order to get an Accidental Death 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 and can even buy coverage up to age 70 to keep until you’re 80.

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 accidental death insurance online you might want to speak to your term life insurance provider and see if an additional rider can be added to provide this protection at a lower cost. 

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Accidental Death vs Term Life Insurance: 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 accidental death 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 accidental death and dismemberment 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, accidental death 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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