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Is AD&D the Same as Life Insurance?

We’ve all been told about the importance of life insurance, but what about the importance of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance? In this blog, discover the differences between life insurance and AD&D, and figure out if AD&D insurance is right for you.

What is life insurance?

At its core, life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. In this contract, the insurance company provides a specific payout to the chosen loved ones you list on your policy. This payout happens when you, the policyholder, dies. This promise is upheld and guaranteed through the premiums you pay to your insurance company throughout the life of the policy.

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Think of it like sprinkles on ice cream, where AD&D are sprinkles and your existing life insurance policy is the ice cream base.

There are different types of life insurance available to consumers, but some of the more popular policies include:

  1. Term Life – Type of life insurance designed to last a certain number of years, then ends. Common terms are 10, 20, or 30 years.

  2. Whole Life – Type of life insurance that accumulates cash value and stays with you for life so long as premiums are paid.

  3. Burial or Final Expense – Type of life insurance that pays a small death benefit that can be used to help pay for burial and final expenses. However, the death benefit can be used however the beneficiaries wish.  

To be clear, life insurance is designed to help you protect and provide financial security to your family in the event you are no longer able to provide the financial support they need.

What is AD&D?

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance provides coverage to the policyholder in the event they suffer from a covered accidental death or dismemberment. AD&D does not act as a replacement to life insurance, but rather as a supplement to an existing life insurance policy. Think of it like sprinkles on ice cream, where AD&D are sprinkles and your existing life insurance policy is the ice cream base. AD&D insurance has limitations on coverage and claims, meaning that it is often harder to get a payout. Unlike a lot of other policies, AD&D insurance also has two major parts.

Accidental Death

AD&D policies typically pay a death benefit to the beneficiary in the event the insured accidentally dies. In other words, AD&D policies only pay a death benefit to the beneficiaries listed in the event the insured dies in what the policy considers to be an accident. Some AD&D policies do not pay out a death benefit in the event the person covered by the policy dies while partaking in a ‘high-risk’ hobby (e.g. scuba diving, sky diving, and free climbing) listed in the policy. Due to its limitations, it’s paramount that customers have a clear understanding of what is covered in their AD&D policy, as failing to do so can result in no payout.


In addition to accidental death, AD&D insurance also provides coverage in the event you suffer a dismemberment. While the injuries covered differ with each insurance company and policy, AD&D generally provides a benefit to those who experience a dismemberment of some kind during the time the policy is active. Some AD&D policies may even provide a payout in the event of loss of speech, loss of hearing, and different forms of paralysis.
Despite the benefits of an AD&D insurance policy, AD&D does not replace general life insurance. There are no replacements for life insurance coverage. Speak to a licensed insurance agent for more information on AD&D and find out if AD&D is right for your family.

  1. Investopedia, Guide to Life Insurance, 2020
  2. Investopedia, Accidental death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D), 2020

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