Accident insurance is a type of insurance where the policy holder is paid directly in the event of an accident resulting in injury of the insured. The insured can spend the benefit payment however they choose. Accident insurance is complementary to, not a replacement for, health insurance.
While accidents and their causes vary wildly, the general definition of an accident is an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury. Accident insurers may define accidents differently in their specific policies.
Every insurer maintains a list of events and circumstances that void the insured’s entitlement to his or her accident benefits. For example, accident insurance policies may exclude coverage for injuries sustained while the insured was intoxicated or committing an illegal act.
Comparison to other types of insurance
Accident insurance is part of a category of insurance products designed to manage the cost of medical care. Other types of insurance in this category include health insurance, disability insurance, and accidental death & dismemberment insurance. Accident insurance is part of a category distinct from liability insurance or property insurance.
Like accident insurance, disability insurance pays the insured directly if they are injured in a way covered by the policy. However, disability insurance only pays if the injury prevents the insured from working. Accident insurance benefits are paid whether or not the insured misses work as a result of the accident.
Accidental death & dismemberment insurance
In the event of an accidental death, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, often abbreviated as “AD & D”, will pay benefits in addition to any life insurance held by the insured. Accidental deaths are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Some accident insurance policies will include benefits for accidental death and dismemberment.