What is accident insurance?

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No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen when you least expect them. A slip on an icy sidewalk, a fall from a ladder, or a common sports injury can happen at any time. And beyond the injury, the cost of paying for an accident can be a serious pain.

Accident insurance is a supplemental insurance that helps you pay for out-of-pocket medical and non-medical costs from an accident or injury. With accident insurance you receive payment in the form of a lump-sum cash benefit that is paid directly to you, and not to the doctors and hospitals. This allows you to use the cash where it will impact you and your family the most, including paying for expenses related to your accident as well as non-medical expenses like childcare, transportation to a therapist, and even rent or groceries.

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Even if your health plan covers 100% of your accident, your accident insurance benefits are still payable to you. You decide how best to use the funds – for medical expenses like treatment or medication, or to supplement loss of work and other bills. This flexibility is what makes accident insurance unique.

Medical expenses are one of the most common financial hardships for Americans every year¹. Accidents are no exception to these expenses: Americans visit the emergency room more than 30 million times each year to treat many types of injuries². Beyond covering medical expenses, your injury could put you at risk of missing work, which adds to the stress of paying your mortgage, utility bills, and putting food on the table for your family.

Most Americans don’t have a rainy-day fund to cover unexpected medical expenses when accidents strike — nearly 7 in 10 Americans don’t even have $1000 in savings³. This lack of savings can be a big problem if you are injured and need to go to the hospital. That’s where accident insurance comes in.

The average deductible for an individual insurance plan is around $1,600⁴ with out-of-pocket maximums topping out at over $8,000⁵. This is where accident insurance can help you cover medical and non-medical expenses that typically accompany an accident. Using accident insurance to help cover medical costs is a great way to pay for expensive medical bills while also avoiding going into debt to pay them. This coverage can be a huge relief during an already financially stressful time for you and your family.

Accident insurance coverage - what does an accident policy cover? 

Accident insurance coverage provides you with a cash benefit when you are injured. The benefit amount you receive typically depends on the diagnosis and severity of your injury, as well as how your injury was treated, and the type of coverage you have. For example, you may only get a small cash benefit for something like a dislocated finger, but you may get a larger cash benefit for a broken arm or leg. Regardless of the injury, your coverage goes with you from start to finish for accidents that are covered by your plan.

Guardian Direct® covers over 25 different injuries and treatments including:

  • Injuries – accident-related concussions, lacerations, fractured or broken bones, surgery, coma, dislocations, burns, loss of limbs, and death

  • Ambulance services – traditional ambulance rides and even air ambulances

  • Emergency care – urgent care doctor visits, emergency room visits, and follow-up doctor visits

  • Diagnostic tests – X-rays, CT or CAT scans, MRIs, and EEGs

  • Hospital treatment – hospital and ICU admission and stays

  • Restorative treatment – prescribed prosthetics, appliances, injury-related eye surgery or object removal, and injury-related dental crowns or extractions

  • Rehabilitation treatment – rehabilitation center stays and physical therapy sessions

  • Children’s sports benefit – if your child is injured while playing an organized sport you can receive an extra 20%* benefit if they are hurt while playing a sport

A key feature of accident insurance is that there is no yearly maximum and no deductible. That means that you can get coverage for each and every accident that you might have over the course of a year up to any applicable maximum amount.

You also have the ability to add your family to your accident insurance plan as well. Accident insurance is especially important to consider if your children are active. Kids are typically injured while playing sports at a high rate, high school athletes alone account for more than 2 million injuries a year⁶.

Being active is an important part of staying healthy and developing into a healthy adult. This is why Guardian Direct® accident insurance offers a child organized sports benefit. With the benefit, if your child gets hurt playing an organized sport, your benefit payout may be increased by 20%* to help cover the costs.

What isn’t covered by individual, supplemental accident insurance coverage? 

Although accident insurance does cover many treatments and injuries that happen due to an accident, there are some things that accident insurance does not cover. As a supplemental insurance, accident insurance is not designed to replace major medical coverage, it is simply designed to fill the gap between what major medical pays and what it does not.

Here are some common injuries which may not be covered by accident insurance:

  • Injuries caused by disease or illness

  • High-risk recreational sports injuries (including, skiing, scuba diving, bungee jumping, etc.)

  • Injuries caused by dangerous or reckless activities

  • Self-inflicted injuries, including suicide

  • Injuries that occur while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

  • Injuries incurred while committing a crime

  • Injuries incurred prior to purchasing accident insurance

How to find an accident insurance company 

If you are in the process of purchasing accident insurance, it is important to look for an established company with a history of providing affordable and comprehensive insurance. After an injury you don’t want to worry about whether you will be getting your benefit or not, in most cases Guardian Direct® can have your cash benefit paid out in 7 days. This means that you can get paid and focus on recovering without the added financial stress.

Purchasing an accident insurance plan today is easy. Guardian Direct® offers accident insurance online and it is free and easy to sign up. There is no medical exam needed and you are guaranteed to be issued a plan if you apply.

Having an accident insurance plan through Guardian Direct®, can help you offset expensive medical bills and non-medical expenses that major medical insurance simply doesn’t cover. With accident insurance through Guardian Direct®, there is a $0 deductible, you simply pay your monthly premiums, and you are covered. Your premium is locked in for the duration of your plan, which is 12 months. This means that you cannot have your rates hiked up during a the course of your contract, any rate adjustments would happen during the renewal process.

Personal Accidental Injury Insurance & Payout insights 

Personal accidental injury policies through Guardian Direct® pay out in a lump sum. This means that if you are injured, you can submit a claim and get your total benefit all in one payout as opposed to getting just a little bit each month. This is a critical feature to keep in mind because it allows you to pay off all of your medical expenses at one time rather than over time.

Accident insurance is designed to supplement your health insurance, not to replace or overlap it. Your health insurance covers you in case of any medical emergency or issue, whereas accident insurance will only provide you with coverage if your injury occurs due to a qualifying accident. This means that medical issues like sickness and disease are not covered by accident insurance.

Finding quality coverage at an affordable price can seem like a difficult thing to do. On top of that, simply understanding how insurance works can be difficult. Guardian Direct® has a library of resources available to you so that you can understand how accident insurance works.

* Benefit amounts will vary based on the type of injury sustained due to a covered accident. Payment of actual benefits is subject to the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions described in the Plan. Benefit not available in New York. The child must be insured by the plan on date the accident occurred. The child must be 18 years of age or younger.


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  1. https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/medical-debt-what-do-when-you-cant-pay/#:~:text=Medical%20Debt%20Is%20More%20Common,however%3B%20it's%20a%20common%20affliction.&text=According%20to%20a%202019%20report,hardship%20due%20to%20medical%20bills. (2020), accessed March 2021

  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm, (2021), accessed 3/3/2021

  3. https://www.gobankingrates.com/saving-money/savings-advice/americans-have-less-than-1000-in-savings/, (2019), March2021

  4. https://www.fool.com/retirement/2019/10/21/heres-what-the-average-health-insurance-deductible.aspx (2019), accessed 3/3/2021

  5. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/out-of-pocket-maximum-limit/, (2021), accessed March 2021

  6. https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/allthemoms/2018/09/05/majority-youth-sports-injuries-can-prevented-heres-how/1139104002/ (2018), accessed March 2021

Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.09/22)

2021-117383 (03/23)