In this article, we wanted to take a moment and briefly describe the differences between a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and an accidental death policy.
Our intention will be…
To provide one with useful information that they can then use to determine what “kind” of policy might best meet their needs. That said, we should point out that we here at IBUSA do sell both traditional life insurance policies as well as accidental death policies.
Which in our opinion…
Makes us uniquely qualified to discuss these two types of products since at the end of the day, we don’t have a “vested” interest in which one you pick!
What is the Difference Between Life Insurance and Accidental Death Insurance?
Life insurance and accidental death insurance are both types of insurance that provide financial protection to the policyholder’s loved ones in the event of the policyholder’s death. However, there are some key differences between the two types of insurance:
1. Coverage: Life insurance provides coverage for any type of death, whether it is from natural causes or an accident. Accidental death insurance, on the other hand, only provides coverage if the policyholder dies as a result of an accident.
2. Purpose: Life insurance is typically purchased to provide financial security for the policyholder’s loved ones in the event of their death. It is often used to cover expenses such as funeral costs, outstanding debts, and living expenses. Accidental death insurance, on the other hand, is typically purchased as a supplement to life insurance, to provide additional coverage in the event of an accidental death.
3. Eligibility: Life insurance is generally available to anyone, regardless of their age or health status. Accidental death insurance, on the other hand, may have more stringent eligibility requirements, such as exclusions for certain high-risk activities or professions.
4. Cost: Life insurance tends to be more expensive than accidental death insurance, because it provides a wider range of coverage. However, the cost of both types of insurance will depend on a variety of factors, including the policyholder’s age, health, and lifestyle.
Accidental Death Policies are NOT life insurance policies.
Accidental death insurance is a type of insurance that specifically covers the policyholder in the event of their death as a result of an accident. It is not a form of life insurance, which provides coverage for any type of death, whether it is from natural causes or an accident.
Accidental death insurance is typically purchased as a supplement to a life insurance policy, to provide additional coverage in the event of an accidental death. It may be a good option for people who are concerned about the financial impact of an accidental death on their loved ones, but who do not need the more comprehensive coverage provided by a traditional life insurance policy.
This doesn’t mean that an accidental death policy isn’t a quality product, it just means that one shouldn’t confuse an Accidental Death Policy with an traditional life insurance policy which WILL provide coverage in the event that you die from an Accident or a NATURAL cause of death.
Accidental Causes of Death vs Natural Causes of Death.
Here is where a lot of folks will get confused when trying to determine what an Accidental Death Policy will cover and what it won’t provide any protection for.
So, let’s just take a moment and describe what an Accidental Death Policy is designed to do with the understanding that each insurance company that offers one of these “types” of products will have their own specific definition with regards to what constitutes an “accidental death”.
An accidental cause of death is any type of death that is caused by an unforeseen event or an accident. Examples of accidental causes of death might include a car crash, a fall, a drowning, or a fire.
Natural cause of death:
Natural causes of death, on the other hand, refer to deaths that are caused by illnesses or conditions that occur naturally. Examples of natural causes of death might include heart disease, cancer, or old age.
Accidental Death Defined:
Loosely speaking, an accidental death would be a death that is not caused by disease.
Examples of accidental death may include:
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Motor vehicle accidents,
- Victim of crime, and
- Natural disasters
What wouldn’t be considered an “accidental cause” of death would include:
- Heart disease,
- Complications associated with diabetes
Which means that if someone died as a result of a heart attack, their accidental death policy would not payout.
If someone owned a traditional life insurance policy and died from either an Accidental Cause of death or a Natural Cause of death, the policy in theory would pay out in full (certain exclusions may exist such as suicides and others within the first couple of years after a traditional policy is originated).
Which begs the question…
“If traditional life insurance policies cover both accidental causes of death and natural causes of death, why would anyone choose to purchase an Accidental Death Policy instead of a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
Situations where Accidental Death Policies may make sense.
Now that we have a better understanding of the limitations of an Accidental Death policy let’s now take a moment and discuss four situations where it may make sense for someone to purchase one.
To supplement a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
Sometimes folks who already have a traditional term or whole life insurance policy in place will take choose to supplement this coverage with an accidental death policy as a way of providing additional coverage to their family in the event that they do die from an accidental cause at a very affordable price tag.
This is because…
Accidental death policies tend to be much less expensive than traditional life insurance policies, particularly if your older or have already been diagnosed with some type of pre-existing medical condition.
Unable to qualify for traditional coverage.
Individuals who have large insurance need but aren’t able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy or afford such a policy be able to afford one may find it useful to be able to purchase a more affordable accidental policy as one way to “potentially” protect their loved one if they die from an Accidental cause of death.
The only problem is…
These individuals need to be aware that they are only purchasing Accidental Death coverage and will not be covered in the event that they die of natural causes.
Useful as a “bridge” policy.
Some individuals may find that they either currently can’t qualify for a traditional life insurance policy or they simply can’t afford the coverage that they need right now.
In cases like these…
It may make sense to purchase an accidental death policy while they wait a few months or years until which time they may “become” eligible for traditional coverage, or they’re able to qualify for a more affordable rate for a traditional life insurance policy.
Situations, where something like this may occur, may include:
- Recent cancer survivors who need to remain in remission for a few years before being considered eligible for traditional coverage.
- Individuals who have recently stopped using drugs or abusing alcohol.
- Individuals who have recently been convicted of a felony.
- Individuals who have just recently quit smoking.
In cases like these, many folks will choose to purchase an accidental death policy until which time they can qualify for a more “encompassing” term or whole life insurance policy.
Addresses a real concern for an individual.
Sometimes people just want to purchase an accidental death policy and aren’t worried about dying from natural causes. An example of such a person might be someone who is in their 20’s, quite active, and doesn’t necessarily want to go through all the trouble of applying for a traditional life insurance policy.
Of folks that will commonly purchase an accidental death policy will be those who have qualified for a traditional insurance policy but due to some type of exclusion within their policy, they may not have the accidental death coverage they want or need.
Examples may include recreational pilots who have an exclusion in their life insurance policy that states that if they dye while flying their own personal plane, their TRUE life insurance policy won’t payout.
In cases like these…
Having a supplemental accidental death policy makes sense! This is why, even though we firmly believe that a traditional life insurance policy is usually the more prudent way to go, we understand that there are times when an Accidental Death Policy can be a great fit!
And there you have it…
Our “best” attempt to describe how an accidental death policy differs from a traditional term or whole life insurance policy in a straight forward unbiased presentation. And hopefully, if you are currently considering whether or not an Accidental Death Policy is right for you, you now know you can always give us a call, and we’ll be more than happy to give you our unbiased opinion.