Does Life Insurance Cover Accidental Deaths?[It Depends on This]


Clients often ask us what deaths are covered by their life insurance policy.

Our website provides life insurance information to answer all the nuanced details of life insurance to the public, such as what your life insurance policy covers.

Does life insurance cover accidental death? Yes, life insurance will cover accidental death as well as non-accidental deaths, such as death from illness. Accidental Death Insurance only covers accidental deaths, and Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance will include accidental dismemberment (loss of limbs) as well.

 Many of the top life insurance companies will offer additional death benefits for accidental deaths through an optional rider that you can add to the policy.

Protecting your family against the what-ifs in life doesn’t have to be expensive either.

See how affordable life insurance is with our free rate comparison tool that showcases the rates of over 30 quality life insurance companies.

Our article will review all the important details about life insurance and accidental deaths.

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Does Life Insurance Cover Accidental Deaths?

Life insurance pays out a death claim whether you die accidentally or die due to illness or health issues.

However, how much the life insurance company will pay you may vary.

Most life insurance policies will pay the full face amount of your death benefit when you die regardless of whether you died of an accident or non-accidental death.

However, you may be surprised to know that some life insurance policies may pay additional money if you die of an accident on top of your death benefit!

Some policies have a bonus accidental death benefit built into the rate of the policy that can double the money your beneficiary receives if you die accidentally.

Other policies allow you to add on this feature as an optional rider appropriately called the accidental death rider.

Finally, some life insurance policies have a common-carrier provision that will pay you a bonus death benefit if you pass away as a fare-paying passenger of a common carrier, like the bus.

What is the Difference Between Life Insurance and Accidental Death?

Life insurance is usually preferred over strictly accidental death insurance because it covers more death causes.

Accidental death insurance only covers accidents, while life insurance will cover both accidents and non-accidental deaths.

However, accidental death may make sense if the client works a hazardous occupation or is uninsurable due to its affordability.

There is a type of accidental death insurance called accidental death and dismemberment insurance that will cover both your death due to an accident as well as the accidental loss of limbs.

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance can be more valuable than life insurance to someone working as a dangerous job where an accident can easily kill or dismember you.

Additionally, accidental deaths are a top cause of death claims, especially for clients under the age of 50 due to the advances in medical technology.

Additionally, accidental death insurance usually has little or no underwriting.

That means even if you were declined for life insurance with a pre-existing condition, you could still buy accidental death insurance.

Accidental death insurance doesn’t require a medical exam to get coverage making it easier to purchase than even the most lenient no-exam life insurance companies.

Finally, you don’t have to pick one or the other.

There is nothing that says you cannot have both accidental death and traditional life insurance at the same time.

What is Considered an Accidental Death?

Unfortunately, each life insurance company may have a different definition of what an accidental death is, but it is loosely defined as an unintentional and unnatural death.

Right off the bat, any illness or health condition would not be considered an accidental death.

Your death cannot be intentional, so suicide wouldn’t be covered typically by an accidental death policy unless you accidentally killed yourself.

Insurance companies will generally extend that line of thinking to intentionally putting yourself in harm’s way.

For example, accidental death policies will often exclude:

  • Acts of war
  • Serving in the armed forces
  • Drug overdoses
  • Intoxication
  • Under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Motor vehicle racing
  • Private aviation
  • Speeding
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • Death while committing a felony

However, there can be grey areas to what insurance companies will classify as an accident.

If your accidental death results indirectly from an illness, disease, or bodily infirmity, the insurance company may contest the death claim.

For example, your accidental death insurance may not pay if you die in surgery.

The reasoning is that some insurance companies consider the surgery to be a treatment of an underlying medical condition that indirectly caused your death.

Essentially, some insurance companies view surgery the same way they view taking medication to treat an illness instead of as a pure accident.

Additionally, what if an illness or health condition triggers your accident?

If you have a heart attack while driving, crash your car, and die, is that a medical-related death or an accidental death?

You can make an argument either way, which is why life insurance is the better option if available since it pays for both.

Now, we are not saying that the life insurance company will or won’t pay a specific accidental death scenario.

We do want you to be aware that determining what constitutes an accidental death can be difficult.

Final Thoughts on Life Insurance Covering Accidental Deaths

Life insurance covers accidental death, among other forms of death.

There are some life insurance policies that will pay additional death benefits from dying in an accident or common-carrier accident.

You can usually add additional accident coverage to your life insurance policy in a rider for extra premiums, as well.

If you cannot purchase life insurance or only want to cover accidental deaths, you can purchase accidental death insurance, which only covers death from accidents.

In addition, you can buy accidental death and dismemberment insurance, which pays out a benefit for loss of limbs in addition to accidental deaths.

Accidental death insurance is usually extremely affordable, but if you are young an in excellent health, life insurance has a great value in our opinion.

The reason being is that life insurance for young, healthy people is so affordable that it would not make sense to buy solely accidental death insurance.

Use our free rate comparison tool to compare the rates of accidental death insurance with life insurance to decide for yourself what the best value is for your loved ones.