AD&D Insurance Vs. Life Insurance

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) and life insurance are two coverage options you can purchase to provide a financial benefit for your loved ones in the event of your death. These two policies are different in terms of what types of deaths are covered, however, they can be combined to create a more lucrative benefit.

AD&D Defined

AD&D insurance is an insurance policy that pays out in the event of an accidental death or a dismemberment. Dismemberment can occur when someone loses a limb such as an arm or leg, or senses such as vision, hearing or speech during a covered incident. AD&D can be bought as a standalone policy or as a rider to a life insurance policy.

Life Insurance Defined

Life insurance is a contractual agreement between an insurance company and an applicant to provide a death benefit if the insured dies. There are two main types of life insurance policies: Permanent life and term life. Permanent life insurance can last the lifetime of the insured as long as the premiums are paid according to schedule. Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time.


A life insurance policy covers any type of death of the insured after the contestability period which is a three-year window following the issuance of coverage. During this period, the death benefit may not be honored by the insurance companies if the result of a death is because of suicide or if it is a result from a misrepresentation on a life insurance application (i.e. don't smoke when they do). AD&D limits the time of the insured to die from an accident to within a few months. Also, all injuries and death must be proven to be a direct result of the accident before a claim is paid.


Purchasing AD&D insurance will not replace a life insurance policy or any benefits you may receive due to an injury. For example, if an insured were eligible to receive workers' compensation benefits due to a covered loss under his AD&D policy, he will receive the lump sum policy payment in addition to his benefits. However, the likelihood of an AD&D policy paying off is not favorable. According to the Centers for Disease Control, just more than 121,000 deaths in 2005 were ruled accidental, which represented only a half of 1 percent of the total fatalities that year.


AD&D Insurance has restrictions on what types of accidents are covered. A death resulting from surgeries, bacterial infections, mental or physical illnesses or drug overdoses is not be covered. This is in addition to other activities such sky-diving, car racing and being involved in war. Also, if an insured loses one member, such as a hand or one eye, they will only receive half of the benefit amount.

references & resources