UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Let’s face it — lady luck is not always on our side. Accidents happen every day. Maybe you spill your coffee on the drive to the office or forget your gym clothes in the dryer. Even the more painful ones — like the line-drive your 10-yr old smashed through the kitchen window — become laughable down the road.
We can live with these accidents and we do every day. But it’s the serious accidents we can’t, and shouldn’t, accept so easily. Unfortunately, they happen every day as well. But the good news is we can plan for them with life insurance. And as luck would have it, there is a simple solution for protecting your family from accidental death. It’s fittingly called Accidental Death Insurance.
The Need for Accidental Death Insurance
We’ve established that serious accidents happen. But the extent to which they occur may surprise you:
- There were 32,885 deaths reported on U.S. roadways in 2010.
- An average of 90 people died each day on U.S. roadways in 2010.
- Fatal accidents happen roughly every 15 minutes according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (2009 statistics).
- The National Safety Council reported in 2011 that lifetime odds of dying from an unintentional cause are about 1 in 31.
How Accidental Death Insurance Works
Term life insurance is the preferred type of coverage for most people. It provides a benefit for death by both accidents and natural causes. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for term life. Some people have difficulty getting a policy they can afford because of their occupation or health conditions. Others are declined for coverage entirely for these or other reasons.
Accidental death insurance is a great solution for people who are not able to get regular term life insurance, as it is a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. That means you cannot be turned down for coverage. That’s right — you will be accepted for coverage as long as:
- You are between the ages of 18 and 70.
- You are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
As the name implies, accidental death insurance pays a death benefit to the beneficiary(s) if you die in an accident. The policy usually specifies the death must be the direct result of an accident and occur within 90 days of the accident. The accident can be work-related or not. There are no restrictions for hazardous occupations or hazardous activities. This is an important distinction because many people are asked to pay a higher premium or are declined entirely for other types of life insurance due to their occupations or activities. This is not the case with accidental death insurance.
Of course, there are exclusions to the policy. Those include death by natural causes, suicide, private aviation, acts of war, and drug, alcohol and felony related deaths.
How to Apply for Accidental Death Insurance
Applying for coverage is easy. The application is taken by telephone and you can have coverage in force within 24 hours in most cases. There are no medical questions asked on the application and there is no paramedical exam required.
You can apply for coverage from as little as $50,000 to as much as $500,000. And depending on the insurance company you choose, coverage will remain in force up to age 80 as long as you continue to pay the policy premiums.
Additional Benefits – Some Are Free, Some are Not
Most accidental death insurance policies include additional benefits at no cost. These include:
- Travel Accident – The policy will pay an additional benefit (usually 100% more) if death results from an accident while riding as a fare-paying passenger on a common carrier such as an airplane, train or bus.
- Auto/Pedestrian – The policy will pay an additional benefit if you were to die as a result of an accident in which you were driving, or a passenger in, an automobile. Some policies will also pay an additional benefit if you were struck by an automobile on a public street or highway.
In addition to these included benefits, for an additional cost you can also add coverage for your spouse and children. Life insurance companies also offer other paid features on these policies, such as waiver of premium and return of premium riders.
As mentioned, your best protection will come from term life insurance. But if you are not able to get a policy or simply cannot afford it right now, accidental death insurance is a great option you should explore.