Accidental Death Benefit: What It Is, Examples of What It Covers (2024)

What Is an Accidental Death Benefit?

Accidental death benefit isa payment due to the beneficiary of an accidental death insurance policy, which is often a clause orrider connected to a life insurance policy. The accidental death benefit (ADB) life insurance policy usually pays in addition to the standard benefit payable if the insured died of natural causes.

Depending on the policy’s issuer, an accidental death benefit may extend up to a year after the initial accident occurs, provided that the accident led to the insured’s death.

Key Takeaways

  • An accidental death benefit is paid to the beneficiary of an accidental death insurance policy.
  • Accidental death benefit riders often end at a specific age, which is set by the insurance company.
  • Insurance companies often have strict perimeters of what constitutes an accidental death.
  • Accidental death benefits are optional riders, so they aren’t included in standard life insurance policies.
  • Certain jobs and workers in dangerous environments should consider an accidental death benefit rider.

Understanding Accidental Death Benefits

Accidental death benefits are riders or provisions that may be added to basic life insurance policies at the request of the insured party. Some people add accidental death benefit riders to their policies to protect their beneficiaries if an accident occurs. This is important, as accidents are hard to predict and can lead to financial struggles if a sudden death occurs.

Accidental death benefits are important for peoplewho work in or around potentially hazardous environments. Even those who drive more than average—either professionally or as a commuter—should consider accidental death benefit riders.

As an optional feature, the insured party must pay an additional fee on top of their regular premiums to purchase this benefit. Then, the accidental death benefit increases the payout to a policy’s beneficiary. So, the beneficiary essentially receives the death benefit paid by the policy itself plus any additional accidental death benefit covered by the rider. These riders typically end once the insured person reachesa certain age, such as 60, 70, or 80.

What Is Considered Accidental Death?

Insurance companies define accidental death as an event that strictly occurs as a result of an accident. Deaths from car crashes, slips, choking, drowning, machinery, and any other situations that can’t be controlled are deemed accidental. In the case of a fatal accident, death usually must occur within a period specified in the policy.

Some policies’ accidental death benefits may also cover dismemberment—total or partial loss of limbs—burns, instances of paralysis, and other similar cases. These riders are called .

Accidents typically exclude things like acts of war anddeath caused by illegal activities. Death from an illness is also excluded. Any hazardous hobbies that the insured regularly engages in—race car driving, bungee jumping, or other risky activities—are often excluded as well.

Types of Accidental Death BenefitPlans

Group Life Supplement

With a group life supplement, theaccidental death benefitplan is included as part of a group life insurance contract, such as those offered by your employer. The benefit amount is usually the same as that of the group life benefit.


A voluntary accidental death benefitplan is offered to members of a group as a separate, elective benefit. Offered by your employer, premiums are your responsibility. You generally pay these premiums through regular payroll deductions. Employees are covered for accidents that occur while on the job. Policies pay out benefits for voluntary accident insurance even if the insured party isn’t at work.

Travel Accident

The accidental deathbenefit plan with travel accident insurance is provided through an employee benefit plan and provides supplemental accident protection to workers while they are traveling on company business. Unlike voluntary accident insurance, the employer usually pays the entire premium for this coverage.


Some group accidental death benefitplans also provide coverage for dependents. If you have a spouse or partner, or children who depend on your salary to pay bills and other costs, it may be a good idea to enroll in an accidental death benefit.

This additional insurance could help them out by providing money to pay bills, pay off a mortgage, or provide money to your children for future events, like college. In addition, if you co-own a business, your business partner could be listed on your insurance policy to cover any outstanding debts in the event of your death.

Example of Accidental Death Benefit

As ahypothetical example, assume you havea $500,000 life insurance policy with a $1 million accidental death benefit rider.If you die due to a heart attack—a natural cause—the insurance company will pay your beneficiary $500,000.If youdie as a result of a car accident, yourbeneficiary willreceive the $500,000 life insurance benefit plus the $1 millionaccidental deathbenefit for atotal payout of $1.5 million.

What Is Considered Accidental Death for Insurance Purposes?

Insurance companies consider accidental death to be an event that causes your death as the result of an accident. For example, most car crashes, falls down the stairs, machinery, choking, and even drowning are circ*mstances beyond your control, and thus counted as accidental.

What Is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance covers you in the case of accidental death, or if you lose a limb (or other significant injuries) in an accident that causes you to stop working. Besides being dismembered, the insurance may include workplace injuries, injuries caused by a fire or flood, accidents with firearms, or a serious fall.

Are Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance and Accidental Death Benefit (ADB) the Same Thing?

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) and accidental death benefit (ADB) policies both pay a benefit. The main difference is thatan AD&D policy will pay if the insured is dismembered or injured, whereas the ADB only pays a benefit if the insured dies.

The Bottom Line

Accidental death benefits are paid to beneficiaries of an accidental death insurance policy. Insurance companies often have strict perimeters of what constitutes an accidental death. Accidental death benefits are optional riders, so they aren’t included in standard life insurance policies. These riders often end at a specific age, which is set by the insurance company. If you work in a dangerous environment, you may want to consider adding an accidental death benefit rider to your insurance policy.

Accidental Death Benefit: What It Is, Examples of What It Covers (2024)


Accidental Death Benefit: What It Is, Examples of What It Covers? ›

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance is a category of life insurance that only pays out a death benefit when the insured is in a covered accident that causes death or specific serious injuries such as paralysis, the loss of a limb, eyesight, hearing, or speech.

What is covered under accidental death? ›

AD&D insurance will cover only deaths and injuries from accidents—not natural causes or illnesses. Not heart attacks or strokes. Policies typically cover death or injuries from accidents at work, home and while traveling.

What is an example of the accidental death benefit? ›

He has added an Accidental Death Benefit Rider of ₹ 20 lakh to his insurance policy. Mr. Sharma faces a situation of accidental death. In this circ*mstance, when the family claims the death benefit, the amount would be ₹ 70 lakh.

What is an example of an accidental death? ›

Insurance companies define accidental death as an event that strictly occurs as a result of an accident. Deaths from car crashes, slips, choking, drowning, machinery, and any other situations that can't be controlled are deemed accidental.

What is covered under accidental death benefit rider? ›

An accidental death benefit rider extends your life insurance benefits to include an additional payout if you die as the result of a covered accident or within 90 days of that accident. If this happens, your family will receive a lump sum cash payment based on the coverage amount of your policy and your rider.

What does accidental cover include? ›

Accidental damage insurance can cover you for those sudden mishaps. There needs to be a one off, out of the blue, single event that caused the damage to your home, or what's inside. For example, spilling juice on the carpet or a window smashed by a ball.

What types of death are accidental? ›

An accidental death is an unnatural death that is caused by an accident, such as a slip and fall, traffic collision, or accidental poisoning.

What conditions must be met for an accidental death benefit to be paid? ›

An ADB pays out only in the event your death was the result of a covered accident or caused by injuries from such an accident within 90 days of the event. Accidental death benefit policies are typically available to people between the ages of 20 and 59 years of age, with coverage amounts between $50,000 and $300,000.

What are the list of accidental death causes? ›

The top three leading causes of preventable injury-related death – poisoning, falls, and motor vehicle – account for 86% of all preventable deaths. No other preventable cause of death — including suffocation, drowning, fires and burns, and natural or environmental disasters — accounts for more than 5% of the total.

Is accidental death benefit worth it? ›

Is AD&D insurance worth it? AD&D insurance may be worth it if you're at a higher risk for critical injury or death due to an accident because of your profession or activities. But always look for exclusions in an AD&D policy.

Is dying during surgery considered accidental death? ›

Accidental death insurance policies also exclude deaths that occur from illness or disease, even if the death was sudden and unexpected, such as from a heart attack. An exception, though, would be if the insured suffers an accidental injury and then dies after an intervening event such as surgical treatment.

What is an example of accidental? ›

Bumping into a stranger could be accidental. Forgetting to pay a bill is accidental. This word covers all the things that no one really meant or planned to happen. There are a lot of accidental events in the world, which is one reason insurance exists.

Is overdose considered accidental death? ›

Opioid overdose deaths are most commonly found to be an accidental/unintentional death. Accidental death is operationally defined to be totally unforeseen and unexpected.

What accidental death does not cover? ›

AD&D insurance policies typically don't cover specific causes of death or severe injury. Some of these include: Death from illness or natural causes. Death under the influence of nonprescription drugs.

What is the difference between death benefit and accidental death benefit? ›

Life insurance offers death benefit even if you die due to an illness or disease, while Accidental Death Insurance provides death benefit if you die instantly in an accident or after a period of 180 days.

What is beneficiary for accidental death benefit? ›

In most cases, the beneficiaries of a death benefit from life insurance are your partner, children, or other close loved ones, though you can technically name any person or organization as a beneficiary.

What type of death is not covered by insurance? ›

What does life insurance not cover? Life insurance exclusions often include deaths from undisclosed pre-existing conditions, certain risky activities, fraud and intentional illegal acts.

What are the exclusions for accidental death benefit rider? ›

Exclusions & Limitations

Accidental Death does not include death resulting from bodily or mental illness or disease; infection; suicide (in MO, suicide while sane during the first year); medical or surgical treatment; voluntary gas inhalation or taking poison; or any act of war.

Does insurance pay out for accidental death? ›

Accidental death insurance is a form of life insurance that will cover death from an unexpected accident. Your loved ones won't receive a pay out if you pass away due to any other cause. For example, if you take out an accidental death policy and you pass away as a result of an illness, a pay out won't be made.

Under what circ*mstances will life insurance not pay? ›

But it's important to be aware that there are a few instances where life insurance won't pay out. Top reasons life insurance won't pay out may be because the policyholder lied on their application, their death was the result of suicide, or they passed away during the waiting period.

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