Accident insurance is a type of insurance that pays out a cash benefit if you experience an accidental injury like a broken bone, burn or concussion. It can help you deal with the many expenses that can accompany an accidental injury that medical insurance alone doesn’t fully cover, deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance, and any other out-of-pocket costs. Benefits paid are based on the severity of the injury, type of injury, and type of treatments you receive.
Protect yourself at home
Accidental injuries can happen anytime, anywhere – including from the safety of your home. Home accidents are extremely common. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans, many of which happen at home. Falls are also the leading cause of non-fatal injuries to children up to 19, with nearly 2.8 million children treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries each year.1 If you’re over 65 or if you have children living at home, accident insurance can help keep you and your family protected.
With many people having less income coming during these trying times, the last thing you need is an expensive medical bill you can’t afford due to an accident. Accident insurance can help cover your expenses in case of an emergency.
Accident insurance can even make it possible for you to receive quality medical care from the comfort of your home. Guardian Direct accident insurance plans now include telemedicine coverage, allowing you to see your doctor without having to visit the hospital.
How accident insurance works
When you or a family member has a covered accidental injury, like a broken bone or concussion, accident insurance provides cash benefit in one lump sum to you that can be used in any way you choose. Here’s how to use accident insurance, step-by-step:
1. Submit your claim
After you or a covered family member experiences an accident, seek treatment from a medical professional. Then, submit a claim to your insurance provider for verification, including details of the injury as well as any injury-related treatments.
2. Receive your cash benefit
Once your claim is verified, your insurance provider will pay out a cash benefit directly to you – not to your doctor or to the hospital you visited. The amount you receive will depend on the type of injury, the severity of the injury, and the treatments prescribed.
3. Pay your bills
How you spend your cash benefit is totally up to you. Use your cash to offset out-of-pocket treatment costs like co-pays, deductibles, coinsurance, ambulance charges, wheelchairs, or crutches. Or, if you’d prefer, use that money to pay for groceries, your mortgage, or childcare expenses. The choice is yours.
What accident insurance covers
Accident insurance covers various injury and treatment types. It can cover your entire immediate family, including you, your spouse, and your children. Coverage amounts will vary depending on provider and type of plan. Guardian Direct accident insurance covers over 25 injury and treatment types, including:
- Injuries - Accident-related concussions, lacerations, dislocations, burns, fractured or broken bones, surgery, coma, loss of limbs, and death
- Telemedicine - Telemedicine coverage allows physicians to treat patients remotely via audio and video equipment, so you can see your doctor and get the treatment you need from the comfort of your home
- Ambulance services - Ambulance rides and even air ambulances
- Emergency care - Urgent care doctor visits, emergency room visits, and follow-up doctor visits
- Diagnostic tests - Diagnostic X-rays, CT or CAT scans, MRIs, and EEGs
- Hospital treatment - Hospital and intensive care unit admission and stays
- Restorative treatment - Prosthetics, prescribed appliances, injury-related dental crowns or extractions, and injury-related eye surgery or object removal.
- Rehabilitation treatment - Physical therapy sessions and rehabilitation center stays
Guardian Direct even offers a children’s organized sports benefit, so if your 18 or younger child was participating in an organized sport when the accident occurred, the entire cash benefit paid increases by 20%.
Guardian Direct accident insurance plans don't have any deductibles, waiting periods, or yearly maximum payout amounts.
What accident insurance doesn’t cover
Though every plan is different, the following injuries usually are not covered by accident insurance:
- Injury from illness or disease
- High-risk recreational sport injuries, such as skiing, scuba diving, or bungee jumping injuries
- Injuries caused by reckless or dangerous activities
- Suicide or other self-inflicted injuries
- Injuries that occur while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Injuries incurred while committing a crime
- Injuries incurred prior to purchasing accident insurance
Accident insurance vs. health insurance
While accident insurance is similar to health insurance, they are not the same. Health insurance, also known as medical insurance, covers the cost of a policyholder’s medical expenses. How much the insurance covers and how much the policyholder pays varies widely from plan to plan. Marketplace health insurance plans cover 10 essential health benefits2, including emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, pediatric services, and more to treat most illnesses, diseases, and injuries.
Accident insurance, on the other hand, only covers medical and hospital expenses in the event of an accident. It’s not meant to replace your major medical plan. It’s a supplemental health insurance plan designed to cover possible high out-of-pocket costs from an accidental injury that your major medical plan may not fully cover on its own.
Accident insurance is also typically easier to purchase and less expensive than health insurance, with plans starting at just $14.95 per month in most states.
Do you need accident insurance?
Accidental injuries are all too common. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.4 million Americans went to the emergency room due to accidental injuries in 2017. In fact, accidental injury is the third most common cause of death in the United States.3
Despite the frequency of these accidents, many Americans aren’t prepared to deal with these injuries. According to a recent survey, 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.4 Many medical plans, especially high-deductible health plans, may not cover all of the out-of-pocket costs you’ll have to pay if you or a family member has an accidental injury, especially if you have not reached your annual deductible limit.
If you don’t have much money in savings set aside in case of emergency, accident insurance can help you offset the costs incurred by accidental injury and allow you to focus on recuperating.
Though anyone can experience an accident at any time, certain people are more at risk for accidental injury. If you’re 65 years of age or older, you’re more susceptible to slip and fall accidents at home – in fact, over one out of four seniors fall each year and one out of five falls causes a serious injury.5 If you have children, it’s an especially good idea to exercise caution and have accident insurance in case of an emergency . As of 2018, unintentional injury was the leading cause of death in children and young adults ages 1 to 19.6
How to determine how much accident insurance you need
How much accident insurance coverage you’ll need depends on a variety of factors. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine how much accident insurance you need:
- How much can I afford to pay each month? - Decide whether you’d rather pay more up front through your monthly insurance premiums or more if and when you or a family member has an accident. If you choose a larger monthly premium, you’ll receive a larger cash benefit if you or a family member suffers an accident.
- What does my medical insurance coverage look like? - Choosing the right accident insurance plan for you will depend on how much money you need to cover co-pays and deductibles if you or a family member has an accident. Take a good look at your health insurance plan to determine how high your out-of-pocket expenses would be if you or a family member were to experience an accidental injury.
- How many people need coverage? - Are you the only person in your family who needs individual accident insurance coverage? Or do your spouse and children require accident insurance as well? Determine how many people need coverage and look for a plan that suits all of your needs.
- How much money do I have in savings? - If you don’t have much money squared away for emergency expenses, having comprehensive accident insurance coverage is crucial to help make sure your finances stay secure even if you have an accident.
Do I already have accident insurance?
Chances are you don’t already have accident insurance unless you’ve purchased it previously. While large employers are required by law to provide health insurance coverage to full-time employees or pay a penalty, employers aren’t required to provide accident insurance to their employees. If you’re interested in getting accident insurance, the easiest way is to purchase it online directly from an insurance provider.
How to buy accident insurance
Purchasing personal accident insurance is a quick and easy process. You can do so online, in person, or over the phone.
In order to purchase personal accident insurance online, here’s all the information you’ll need to provide:
- The zip code of your primary residence
- How much you’re willing to pay each month
- How much coverage you need
- Names, addresses, and birth dates of everyone who needs to be insured
- Relevant payment information
Buying accident insurance online from Guardian Direct is fast, easy, and secure. With guaranteed acceptance and instant approval, you can request a quote and get a policy in minutes.
Is accident insurance worth it?
Accident insurance has the potential to really pay off when you need it most. Starting at just $14.95 per month*, it can help you minimize out-of-pocket costs of accidental injury treatment that could otherwise be catastrophic for your personal finances. Especially if your medical insurance has a high deductible, the cash benefits you receive from your accident insurance can help. And even if it doesn’t, you can use your accident insurance benefits to cover non-medical expenses as well, such as childcare, rent, or transportation costs.
Accidents are all too common, and many of them are not preventable. Making sure you’re financially prepared in case something goes wrong.
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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. This is not dental care advice and should not be substituted for regular consultation with your dentist. If you have any concerns about your dental health, please contact your dentist's office.