Do You Need Accidental Death Coverage with Your Auto Insurance?

Last Updated on November 11, 2020

When signing up for a car insurance policy, you’ll have a choice between several different types of coverage. It can be challenging to determine which types of coverage are the most essential and which are unnecessary add-ons. One type of car insurance coverage that you might hear about is accidental death coverage. While this type of coverage isn’t required or standard, many companies offer it, and you may wonder if you need it or could benefit from it. Here’s what you should know about accidental death coverage before adding it to your policy.

What Is Accidental Death Coverage?

accidental death coverageAs the name implies, accidental death coverage is a type of car insurance coverage that will pay for your funeral expenses if you or someone else on your policy dies accidentally in a car accident. Accidental death coverage usually is just a few extra dollars per month on your car insurance policy, but typically provides between $5,000 and $15,000 in coverage. This type of coverage is an add-on to your required liability coverage. It is different from accidental death and dismemberment insurance, which is not a form of car insurance.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Accidental Death Coverage?

The most significant advantage of accidental death coverage is that it will give your family the funds necessary to cover your funeral if you were to die unexpectedly in a car crash. Since this isn’t something that most people plan for, it can be a substantial financial and emotional shock when it happens. Accidental death coverage can give you some peace of mind. Accidental death coverage is also very inexpensive and easy to add to your existing policy. In many cases, it’s only a few extra dollars per month, so even if you’re on a budget, you’ll have the option for additional coverage.

However, accidental death coverage may not necessarily be the best option for you when shopping for auto insurance. Although accidental death coverage is inexpensive, it doesn’t provide much of a benefit, so it may not help your family very much if you were to pass away in a car crash unexpectedly. It’s also important to note that not all accident-related deaths are going to qualify for accidental death coverage. It’s imperative to read the fine print to see which types of deaths are covered and any instances where they may not be covered. There are many alternatives to accidental death coverage that are more reliable in the event of an accident.

What Are the Alternatives to Accidental Death Coverage?

There are a few reliable alternatives to accidental death coverage. The first is to invest in life insurance in addition to your car insurance. Life insurance is specifically designed to cover your funeral costs and other “end of life” expenses that your family may incur after your passing. Most life insurance policies provide much more coverage than an accidental death policy would, so your family will have money for your funeral as well as any remaining debts and child support that need to be paid. Many car insurance companies also offer life insurance so that you can bundle your two policies together. Typically, when you bundle two or more types of insurance together, you’ll get a discount as well.

Another reliable alternative to accidental death coverage is to opt for medical payments coverage on your car insurance. Medical payments coverage is optional, but most companies have robust policy options available. Medical payments coverage is intended to cover hospital bills, ambulances, medication, and any other medical costs that might occur as a result of an accident. However, most medical payment plans also offer a death benefit to cover funeral expenses if needed. While medical payments coverage is slightly more expensive than accidental death coverage, you’ll be able to use it in the case of injury as well as death, and the benefit usually is much higher as well.

How to Shop for Accidental Death Coverage

You have so many choices when it comes to car insurance, and no matter what type of coverage you’re looking for, it’s essential to make sure you’re getting the best value. If you’re worried about getting in a car accident, you may want to look only at companies that offer accidental death coverage. Get a quote from several different companies and compare your options. Every company has its own unique criteria for determining pricing, so your quotes may be vastly different between car insurance companies. Make sure to look at the overall value of the insurance and not just the price. This is particularly important with accidental death coverage. It is usually worth it to pay a few extra dollars each month if it means that your potential death benefit is several thousand dollars higher. Talking to an independent car insurance agent can help you find the policy that’s best for you and make sure all your concerns are addressed.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, accidental death coverage isn’t a must-have on your car insurance. It isn’t legally required, and other insurance options provide similar coverage, but with better value. It generally makes more sense to purchase either medical payments coverage or a separate life insurance policy to address a potential accidental death. However, if this is something you are very concerned about and your car insurance company offers it affordably, you may want to consider investing in it.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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