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Accidental Death Benefit

What is an Accidental Death Benefit?

An accidental death benefit is the amount of money that beneficiaries receive when someone insured under an accidental death policy dies from a covered cause, like drowning or an industrial accident.

How accidental death insurance works

Designed as a supplement to life insurance, accidental death insurance gives individuals a way to financially protect their beneficiaries — like a spouse or children — if they should die accidentally.

Insurance companies specify what qualifies as accidental death. It usually needs to be something other than a medical cause. A heart attack usually won’t count as accidental death. A car crash, lightning strike, fire, or being crushed by a falling object probably will, though.

Should the insured die from something covered under the accidental death policy, the people they named as their beneficiaries in the policy receive their accidental death benefit.

Accidental death: standalone policies vs. riders

Generally, there are two ways you can get accidental death insurance. You can buy this coverage as standalone insurance. In most cases, accidental death insurance is guaranteed-issue coverage, which means you won’t need to submit to a medical exam and you won’t be denied coverage if you have a high-risk job.

All that said, it’s generally more affordable to buy accidental death coverage as a rider on your life insurance policy. As a policy add-on, it can pay out an additional sum of money if you die from a cause the insurer deems accidental. Your beneficiaries would then collect the main death benefit from your policy, plus the accidental death benefit.

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