What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance is called “AD&D” in insurance literature. But off the record, travelers often call it “THAT” insurance. You know the one. It’s the awkward one, the scary one, even the gruesome one. It’s definitely the insurance that no one wants to think about, let alone talk about. And that’s unfortunate because it’s one of the most important types of coverage a traveler can have.
Understanding What “Accidental” Means
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance offers compensation to a designated beneficiary in the event of the policyholders’ accidental death. It also provides compensation to the policyholder in the event of a limb dismemberment or other included injury. The policy is meant to cover true accidents. As such, it doesn’t pay out if the policyholder is in some way responsible for the circumstances (such as driving while intoxicated).
It’s important to note that AD&D insurance is different from life insurance. AD&D policies exclude all deaths that result from illness. This includes both long-term ailments and sudden events like a heart attack. It’s truly just for accidents – situations that are utterly beyond control and completely accidental circumstances.
AD&D’s narrow, restricted focus has an upside. Policies are usually very affordable, as catastrophic accidents are (thankfully) very rare. As a result, AD&D insurance allows travelers to invest in comfort and peace of mind for a very reasonable price.
Comfort and Support During Tragic Times
That comfort has a long reach. In the tragic event of a policyholder’s accidental death, their beneficiary (usually a spouse, child, or other loved one) will receive a generous insurance payout. It can be a helpful supplement to standard life insurance in the event of sudden and unexpected death. The AD&D insurance payout can be used to provide extra support in a time of extreme need. For instance, it could help pay for counseling or the cost of reuniting family members for extra support.
Discussing the Other “D”: Dismemberment
While “death” is a fairly straightforward, albeit uncomfortable term, “dismemberment” has a broader meaning. It refers to what happens when someone loses a limb or appendage as a result of an accident. It could be as big as an arm or a leg or as small as a toe or a finger. And it also usually includes compensation for complete sensory loss (like the loss of vision and hearing, even when there is no dismemberment).
While it’s hard to provide value on just how essential a particular body part is to a person’s life, AD&D policies tend to operate on a sliding scale. A common example is that a policyholder receives 50% of the value of the policy if they lose a whole limb like a foot. For a less severe injury like the loss of a toe, 25% of the policy value is commonplace.
No matter the injury or loss, there’s no denying that the results are catastrophic. The aftermath of such a horrific accident means tremendous mental and physical adjustments. That could involve everything from fittings for a prosthetic limb to retraining to perform a new job. The financial support an AD&D policy provides is invaluable.
A Particular Risk For Global Travelers
Accidents can happen at any time and without any notice. But for travelers, there’s one particular kind of accident that is sadly very predictable. Road and traffic accidents are a leading cause of AD&D claims for travelers. In Canada, there are on average 6 road traffic fatalities for every 100,000 members of the population (based on 2012 statistics). In Jamaica, it’s 11.5 per 100,000, in Zambia it’s just under 25 per 100,000, while in Thailand it’s 36.2 per 100,000. As a general rule, developing countries – even those that are home to vacation hot spots – have road fatality rates that are significantly higher than the worldwide average. A gorgeous beach makes it easy to forget just how varied road safety standards are around the world.
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance can be awkward to talk about, even a bit frightening, but travelers should take heart. True accidents are rare and getting coverage is affordable and reassuring.
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