Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance: Things to Look Out For

What is accidental death and dismemberment insurance?

Full life insurance pays out on the insured person’s death regardless of the cause, with a few exceptions. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D) only pays out when the person is injured or dies due to an accident covered in the insurance policy. 

AD&D is a rider to the regular health or life insurance policy. It covers the insured person’s accidental death or dismemberment, which is the loss of body parts or the ability to use them, including eyesight and hearing. As such, it is counted as supplemental life insurance and does not substitute full life insurance. 

How does AD&D work?

AD&D is not applicable to all life insurance policies. It can be claimed under special circumstances accidental death due to a road accident, workplace accident, fire or firearm-related injuries, a fall, or drowning. 

If an insurance policy comes with an AD&D rider, the beneficiaries get the benefits of both the original policy and the AD&D rider in the case of accidental death. This is known as double indemnity. There is a limit to the benefits the intended beneficiaries can receive, but the AD&D payments are usually similar to the face value of the life insurance amount.

For dismemberment, the AD&D policies usually pay a percentage. If the person loses a limb, is completely or partially paralyzed, or loses sensory abilities, AD&D is applied. However, the specifications of the types and extent of the injury covered are different in each insurance policy, 

Voluntary AD&D

People in high-risk jobs can purchase voluntary AD&D insurance (VAD&D) so their beneficiaries can get cash payouts in the event of an accident. VAD&D is usually more limited in its scope and less expensive than regular life insurance, depending more on the insurance premium paid and the type of claim. Being voluntary, the VAD&D insurance policies are renewed periodically with a fresh set of terms and limitations.

What is excluded from AD&D insurance claims?

AD&D insurance riders only cover accidental death and injury. Death due to suicide, illness, age, and other natural causes are excluded from these claims. Other exceptions include wartime injuries, death due to an overdose, death during certain recreational activities, and the death of professional athletes during sporting events. 

Advantages and disadvantages of an AD&D insurance policy rider


  • Financial assistance: The lost income of a loved one can have long-term effects on the family. In addition to dealing with the emotional burden of a sudden loss, family members may also deal with long-term financial burdens. The additional AD&D payout addresses the unplanned nature of the death or injury and helps the beneficiaries adjust financially in the absence of their loved ones. 
  • Cheaper: AD&D insurance is less expensive than regular life insurance because it has more limited coverage. 
  • Health is not a concern: By definition, this type of insurance policy covers only accidents and accidental deaths. These can happen to anyone irrespective of their health conditions. People opting for AD&D don’t need to take a medical exam, unlike with other life insurance policies. 


  • Limited coverage: AD&D is restricted to accidental death and dismemberment, excluding several other causes of death. But is it cheaper? Limited coverage equals a lower price. While AD&D is cheaper compared to other life insurance policies, it may even be more expensive in the long run since the chance of a payout is lower. 
  • Group coverage not applicable on job change: If you have employer-sponsored AD&D insurance, you will lose all benefits if you lose your job or quit. 

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