Find out how accidental death insurance works, what causes of death life insurance companies classify as accidental, and how to get the accidental death benefits paid in addition to the standard life insurance benefits from the nation’s top life insurance attorneys at Boonswang Law.

If you are a life insurance beneficiary and are having trouble getting your accidental death benefits paid, call us to discuss your case, free of charge. We only take cases on a contingency, meaning, we do not get paid unless you do.

Accidental Death Insurance

Accidental death insurance, also called accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, is usually an optional rider on a standard life insurance policy. An insured will pay extra for this coverage.

Types of Accidental Death Riders

Accidental death coverage may be offered by an employer to cover workplace accidents as a benefit, may be offered by an employer at the employee’s cost, may be an optional rider on an individual life insurance policy, and may be purchased for a limited period of time the insured is traveling.

What Accidental Death Policies Cover

An accidental death policy covers deaths caused by accidents, such as:

  • Vehicle crash
  • Drowning
  • Slips
  • Falls 
  • Burns
  • Choking
  • Machinery
  • Lightning strike
  • Heat stroke
  • Freezing to death
  • Homicide

Some policies also cover dismemberment, total or partial loss of hearing, vision, or speech, partial paralysis, and other permanent impairments caused by an accident. The life insurance company pays the insured benefits based on a schedule of what percentage of the accidental death benefit the insured’s injury is worth.

Determining Accidental Death Coverage

The amount of accidental death coverage someone needs depends on the nature of their profession, for example, if they work with or around hazardous substances or heavy machinery. People who travel regularly or even commute long distances might also consider purchasing accidental death coverage.

Common Exclusions in Accidental Death Policies

Hazardous activities or hobbies that the insured voluntarily engages in, such as extreme mountain climbing, bungee jumping, race car driving, or motocross will be excluded from coverage. 

Death due to acts of war or terrorism, illness, alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, or while performing an illegal act is also typically excluded. 

Do Normal Life Insurance Policies Cover Accidental Death?

Yes. Standard life insurance policies cover accidental death. An accidental rider to a life insurance policy increases the amount the beneficiary gets in death benefits if the insured’s death is accidental and not due to natural causes, illness, or any exclusion.

How a Life Insurance Company May Classify an Accidental Death

A life insurance company classifies a death as accidental when it is not caused by illness, natural causes, or any exclusion. Also, the death of the insured must occur within a period of time following the accident as set forth in the policy itself. 

Accidental death benefits typically expire when the insured reaches age 70, although this will be expressed in the policy. If it is and the insured dies of an accident after reaching age 70, the life insurance company will not pay the additional accidental death benefits unless these terms are amended.

Reasons a Life Insurance Company May Deny Accidental Death Claims

Like any other type of business, life insurance companies seek to make a profit. They only do so when they collect premiums and underpay or don’t pay beneficiaries’ claims. For this reason, a life insurance company will often balk at paying accidental death benefits, claiming that the death was not accidental. 

This problem often arises when an accident causes a “natural” cause of death. For example, when someone in a car accident is injured and also has a heart attack. Sometimes the death certificate lists the cause of death as the heart attack, when the heart attack would have not occurred but for the car accident.

Life insurance companies will also claim that the death was not caused by the accident, such as when the death occurs long after the accident, or that the time between the accident and the insured’s death exceeded the time limit set forth in the policy.

Talk with an Experienced Life Insurance Lawyer

We fight for the rights of beneficiaries to receive the accidental life insurance benefits they are due. Your loved one paid for this extra coverage – you deserve those benefits. Call or contact us to discuss your case. We will investigate and get you paid those accidental death benefits if at all possible.