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What Is An Accidental Death Benefit Rider? [2022 Update]

Rikin Shah | Licensed Life & Health Insurance Agent

Accidental Death Benefit Rider

The number of accidents in the United States, from falls to car crashes to drownings, has made the accidental death benefit rider (also known as a “double indemnity rider”) one of the most popular riders in the life insurance industry.

This rider provides additional coverage to the beneficiaries if the insured passes away due to an accident.

Let’s dive into the details.

What Is A Life Insurance Rider?

A rider is an optional add-on feature to a life insurance policy.  It gives you either more coverage or more flexibility.

Insurance riders allow you to customize your policy to fit your exact needs. However, adding a rider means higher monthly premiums. Therefore, you should scrutinize the costs and benefits to ensure that a specific rider is worth it for you.

Examples of life insurance riders include:

  • Waiver of premium rider = waives your obligation to make premium payments if you become disabled and can no longer earn an income
  • Child rider = allows you to add small amounts of life insurance for your children (~$20,000 per child)
  • Term conversion rider = allows you to convert a term life insurance policy into a whole life insurance policy

What Is An Accidental Death Benefit Rider?

An accidental death benefit rider (also known as a “double indemnity rider”) is an optional feature you can add to your life insurance policy.

An accidental death benefit rider provides a higher payout if the insured dies in an accident.

How Do Accidental Death Benefit Riders Work?

In most cases, accidental death benefit riders offer a payout that is 1-2 times the standard face value of the policy.  The rider’s death benefit is paid in addition to the policy’s standard death benefit amount.  Therefore:

A policy with an accidental death benefit rider can provide your beneficiary a larger payout (2-3 times original death benefit!) if you die due to a covered accident

Accidental death benefit riders can be added to both whole life policies and term life policies.

An Example

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say Joe has a $1 million term life insurance policy for which he pays $100 per month in premiums.

At purchase, he adds an accidental death benefit rider to his policy, meaning he has to pay an additional $15 in premiums per month, for a total of $115 per month.

Let’s say that he then passes away due to an accident (such as a car accident) before his policy expires. His family would then receive the $1 million payout from his life insurance coverage and an additional $500,000 payment from his accidental death benefit rider, for a total payout of $1.5 million.

The addition of an accidental death benefit rider will probably result in a slightly higher premium; however, this benefit increases the total benefit paid to the policy’s beneficiaries. In other words, the beneficiary receives the death benefit paid by the policy itself plus any additional accidental death benefit covered by the rider.

How Do You Prove Accidental Death?

Finally, you may have to prove that the insured’s death was caused by an accident when submitting a claim. Here are several ways that you can do so:

  • A fully completed Accidental Death Benefit Claim Form
  • Death Certificate
  • A medical report indicating the cause of death
  • A written statement outlining the date, location, and circumstances of the accident
  • Police FIR copy

What Do Accidental Death Benefit Riders Cover?

Accidental death benefit riders offer extra coverage if you have a fatal accident, wrongful death, or homicide. Here are some examples of covered accidents:

  • Car or traffic accidents
  • Airplane crashes
  • Falls
  • Workplace incidents
  • Fire-related injuries
  • Firearm accidents

If your rider includes major injuries or major trauma, you may also be covered for limb loss; loss of hearing, eyesight, or speech; or partial or permanent paralysis.

What Does This Rider NOT Cover?

The major cause of death that accidental death benefit riders do not cover is illness (in addition to natural cause deaths, of course).

This coverage is offered as part of a separate rider (an “accelerated death benefit” rider).

Like AD&D insurance itself, this rider also does not cover:

  • Self-inflicted deaths (suicide)
  • Deaths that occur while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (e.g., even accidental, illegal drug overdose)
  • Deaths that occur while engaged in illegal activities

Who Needs An Accidental Death Benefit Rider?

An accidental death benefit rider may be worthwhile if you:

  • Work in hazardous environments or if your job involves heavy machinery
  • Travel or commute frequently, whether by car, plane, or other transportation methods

However, note that you might not qualify for this rider if you have hobbies like skydiving or mountain climbing or work in certain professions, like law enforcement, firefighting, or the armed forces.

In general, because of the strict parameters under which the death or injury must occur to get a payout, an accidental death rider usually isn’t worth the cost.

Which Companies Offer This Rider?

Nearly all traditional life insurers offer this rider; however, as a rule of thumb, newer, online-first life insurance companies (such as Bestow, Ethos, Ladder, and Haven, among others) do not offer this rider.

See below a list of companies that allow you to add an accelerated death benefit rider to your policy:

  • American General Life (AIG) Insurance Company
  • American National Life Insurance Company
  • Assurity
  • Banner Life Insurance Company
  • Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
  • Mass Mutual (ex. Haven Life)
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Nationwide
  • Penn Mutual
  • Principal National Life Insurance Company
  • Protective Life Insurance Company
  • Prudential
  • Sagicor
  • SBLI
  • Transamerica

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this guide on accidental death benefit riders. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email at hello [at] getsure.org.

We hope to see you back here soon!

Warm Regards,
The GetSure Team

Sources

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