Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

What Is Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance?

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance is an extra layer of coverage that can be purchased as a rider to health or life insurance policies. The loss or the inability to use bodily components or functions (e.g., limbs, speech, eyesight, and hearing) is known as dismemberment.

Prospective buyers should thoroughly read the policy’s conditions because of coverage restrictions. AD&D insurance, for example, is restricted and typically covers uncommon situations. It’s also a kind of supplemental life insurance rather than term life insurance.

Understanding Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

AD&D insurance, also known as accidental life insurance, has a schedule that lists the different benefits and what they are covered for, including terms and restrictions.

Accidental Death Insurance

When you add an AD&D rider, also known as a “double indemnity” rider, to a life insurance policy, the named beneficiaries will get money from both policies in the event of an accidental death. Benefits are typically limited to a specific amount. In most cases, the quantity paid under these circumstances is restricted.

The beneficiary receives two times the amount of the face value of the life insurance policy in AD&D insurance payments. Therefore, when an individual is insured under a life insurance policy, they usually get twice the face value of that policy’s payout in case of death.

Accidental death coverage typically covers exposure to the weather, automobile accidents, homicide, falls, drowning, and industrial machinery incidents.

Dismemberment Insurance

The majority of AD&D policies pay a percentage for limb loss, partial or permanent paralysis, or the loss of use of specific body parts such as eyesight or hearing. Each insurance and policy has its own rules regarding what is covered and how much is paid out.

Voluntary AD&D Insurance

Voluntary accidental death and dismemberment (VAD&D) insurance is an optional plan that gives money to the beneficiary if the insured person is accidentally killed or suffers significant bodily damage.


Some insurance companies say that if the person who has the insurance does something irresponsible like skydiving or playing sports, they do not have to pay benefits. However, if someone commits suicide, gets sick, or is injured because of a war, the insurance will not pay.

AD&D Insurance Advantages and Disadvantages

Accidents are the third most frequent cause of death in the United States. An accidental death affects the surviving loved ones emotionally and financially as they must now deal with a lost income. The death benefit from an AD&D policy may provide peace of mind by reducing that burden.


Because of this, AD&D plans provide an additional death benefit in addition to the basic life insurance coverage on the insured. The amount is usually equivalent to or a multiple of the traditional policy’s death benefit. This extra advantage is called double indemnity since the benefit rises from one to two times when it includes this optional feature.


Because of its narrow limits, this policy provides very little protection. In addition, because it only pays if certain events occur, this coverage may be disadvantageous to consumers. If death occurs outside of these parameters, the AD&D insurance does not compensate. Instead, the premiums paid are refunded and go to the insurer.

If the insurance is group or employment-sponsored, it may not be transferred if the insured leaves the group or company. Coverage frequently ends when the insured’s membership with the sponsor comes to an end, leaving them vulnerable until new coverage is obtained.

How Is AD&D Different From Life Insurance?

There are two types of coverage: Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) cover only if the death is caused by a covered accident or the loss (or loss of use) of a limb. In comparison, life insurance coverage is more extensive. Life insurance policies payout death benefits regardless of how the insured died.

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Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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