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Does life insurance cover accidental death?

The short answer: Yes, mostly. The long answer? Keep reading

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Accidental death is an unfortunate event that can occur to anyone at any time, regardless of their age or physical condition. It’s a terrifying thing to consider, as humans have known since at least the invention of fire, which presumably coincided with the invention of catching on fire.

Sadly, accidental deaths are relatively common in the United States. Most years, according to the National Safety Council, accidental deaths are the third-leading cause of death in the US, following heart disease and cancer. (COVID-19 has outpaced accidents in recent years.) In 2022, nearly 225,000 people in the US died from accidental causes.

The financial stakes of accidental death can be significant for the victim’s family. The sudden loss of a loved one can result in a loss of income and unexpected expenses for funeral costs, medical bills, and more. For many families, losing a loved one can also result in significant emotional and psychological trauma.

Having a good life insurance policy in place can help mitigate the financial impact of accidental death, as life insurance provides a death benefit to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. This benefit can provide financial support for your family in the days and years to come.

But there are some limits you should be aware of. Details will vary by policy, but some types of accidental death might not be covered by your policy. Here’s what every family should know about life insurance and accidental death.

In this article:

What is accidental death?

Accidental death is exactly what it sounds like: a death that occurs due to an unexpected and unintentional event. Causes can include falls, drowning, fires, car accidents, and poisoning, not to mention natural disasters and other severe weather conditions. Motor vehicle accidents are especially common — it’s estimated that more than 1.3 million people die in road accidents each year, with millions more suffering from serious injuries.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention there are several ways to reduce accidental deaths:

  1. Safe driving: Avoid distracted driving, obey traffic laws, and wear a seatbelt.
  2. Home safety: Install smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
  3. Outdoor safety: Wear protective gear when participating in recreational activities, such as a helmet when cycling, and observe safety rules when swimming or boating.
  4. Fire safety: Practice fire safety by keeping flammable materials away from heat sources and having a fire evacuation plan in place.
  5. Poison prevention: Store household chemicals and medications out of reach of children, and keep the National Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222) handy.
  6. First aid and CPR training: Knowing how to perform first aid and CPR can help prevent accidental death in emergency situations.
  7. Regular health check-ups: Regular check-ups and screenings can help detect and prevent illnesses and conditions that may increase the risk of accidental death. (For example, a heart attack that occurs behind the wheel, leading to the deaths of other drivers.)

By following these safety measures and being aware of potential dangers, individuals can reduce their risk of accidental death and ensure that they and their loved ones are protected.

What does life insurance cover?

Life insurance is a type of insurance policy designed to provide financial support to the policyholder’s beneficiaries in the event of their death. Life insurance aims to provide a safety net for loved ones and help cover expenses such as funeral costs, outstanding debts, and ongoing living expenses.

There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period, typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. If the policyholder dies during the policy’s term, the beneficiaries will receive a death benefit, which is the amount of money paid out to the beneficiaries.

Term life insurance is typically less expensive than permanent life insurance, and is often used to provide coverage during the policyholder’s working years, or until any major debts (like a mortgage or a child’s college tuition) are paid off.

You can get a quote here, and see below for a sampling of quotes for a 20-year Haven Term life policy, issued by MassMutual or C.M. Life, for people in excellent health:

Term life insurance quotes

Estimate based on pricing for eligible Haven Term applicants in excellent health. Pricing differences will vary based on ages, health status, coverage amount and term length. These prices do not reflect the rates for applicants in DE, FL, ND, NY and SD.

Permanent life insurance provides coverage for the policyholder’s entire life. There are several types of permanent life insurance, including whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and variable life insurance.

These policies typically have higher premiums than term life insurance policies because they include coverage for your later years, when you’re older (definitely) and less healthy (likely). Many people no longer desire life insurance coverage for those years, because they no longer have dependents who count on them to pay for life’s necessities.

Does life insurance cover accidental death?

Accidental death is a common concern for many individuals considering purchasing life insurance. While traditional life insurance policies provide coverage in the event of the policyholder’s death, there is often confusion about whether or not accidental death is covered. The answer to this question can vary depending on the type of life insurance policy that is purchased.

Most traditional life insurance policies provide coverage in the event of accidental death. If the policyholder dies due to an accident, the death benefit will be paid to the beneficiaries. Accidental death is often covered by term and permanent life insurance policies.

However, it is essential to note that the definition of accidental death can vary between insurance providers. Some providers may define accidental death as any death resulting from an accident, while others may have more specific definitions. For example, some providers may exclude deaths resulting from certain activities, such as skydiving or bungee jumping. It is essential to carefully review the terms and conditions of the policy to determine what is considered accidental death and what is excluded.

At Haven Life, generally speaking, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit if you die in an accident. That said, if you die while participating in a risky hobby — say, skydiving — that you failed to disclose during your application, your payout might be at risk. (Another reason to be truthful during the application process.)

What about accidental death and dismemberment insurance?

In addition to traditional life insurance policies, there is also a type of insurance policy specifically designed to provide coverage in the event of accidental death, known as accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance. Accidental death insurance insurance provides coverage in the event of an accident that results in the policyholder’s death and in the event of specific injuries, such as loss of limbs or paralysis. This type of insurance can provide additional peace of mind for individuals concerned about the possibility of accidental death.

There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase AD&D insurance. First, it is crucial to consider the policyholder’s lifestyle and activities. If the policyholder participates in high-risk activities, such as skydiving or rock climbing, they may want to consider purchasing AD&D insurance to ensure that they are covered in the event of an accident.

Second, it is vital to consider the policyholder’s overall insurance needs. If the policyholder already has life insurance, they may not need additional coverage in the event of accidental death. Finally, it is essential to consider the cost of the AD&D policy, as it may be more expensive than traditional life insurance policies.

It is also worth noting that some employers may offer AD&D insurance as part of a group life insurance policy. This coverage is often included as a standard benefit for employees, and the coverage amount may be based on the employee’s salary. Employer-sponsored AD&D insurance can be a cost-effective way for individuals to obtain coverage in the event of accidental death, but note that it’s often not enough coverage for many families.

Bottom Line

In summary, life insurance provides a death benefit to the policyholder’s beneficiaries in the event of their death. This benefit can cover expenses such as funeral costs, medical bills, and other expenses. It can provide financial support for the family in the years following the policyholder’s death. While the coverage offered by life insurance policies can vary, it is generally an affordable way to provide long-term financial protection for loved ones.

To determine if your life insurance policy covers accidental death, you should start by reviewing your policy documents. The most comprehensive information about your life insurance policy is contained in the policy documents that were provided to you when you purchased the policy. These documents will outline the coverage and exclusions of your policy.

You can also contact us if you have questions about this, or anything else. (Well, maybe not anything else…)

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About Harrison Pierce

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Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

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