An accident health insurance policy provides coverage, usually in the form of payment, for injuries resulting from an accident. This type of policy can offer you the financial resources necessary to support yourself and your family when injury due to an accident occurs.
Accident Health Insurance Basics
Accident health insurance pays for the expenses that you may incur as a result of an accident. It is sometimes called "supplemental insurance" because it steps in to provide you with coverage where your traditional health insurance policy leaves off. Accident policies can be added to a basic health or life insurance policy or be purchased separately.
The protection these policies offer vary, but can include repayment for:
- Lost income due to time off work
- Medical expenses not covered by your other policy
- Transportation expenses, living expenses, and domestic assistance costs affiliated with your injuries
- Ambulance bills, hospital bills, and other similar expenses not fully paid for by regular insurance
- The loss of a limb or death
In many cases, accident health insurance kicks in after your primary insurance ends. For example, if you fall in a park and break your arm, you might get a bill from the hospital for $1,000. If your insurance only pays $600, you will have to come up with the remaining $400 out-of-pocket. If you already have an accident health insurance policy, your $400 will likely be covered, depending on your particular plan.
Searching for a Policy
Several insurance companies offer accident policies. Notable ones include:
- Humana: This insurer offers two accident plans, including one that covers off-the-job accidents. Both policies pay for actual expenses incurred up to policy maximums.
- American Fidelity Insurance Company: This company offers an "accident only insurance" policy. However, its policies may only be available through your employer.
- Aflac: This insurer's accident insurance plan provides cash payments directly to the insured individual or to the recipient of the insured's choice. The former option allows the insured to use the cash payments as he or she sees fit.
Preparing to Purchase an Accident Policy
Prior to purchasing an accident health insurance policy, review the policy limits of your current health insurance plan. Determine how short you think those limits would fall when it comes to covering your family and yourself should an accident occur. Also consider policy limitations, such as whether there are any coverage exclusions for injuries resulting from an accident.
Subsequently, determine the amount of coverage you need. Your previous analysis of your current policies will help you identify how much extra coverage you would like so that you feel protected against an accident.
When investigating accident policies, consider:
- Premiums and copayments: What are the monthly and per-accident costs for owning this policy? Are those costs justified by the amount of coverage purchased and likelihood of having an accident?
- Coverage exclusions: An accident health insurance policy is designed to protect you after you exhaust coverage limits on your traditional health insurance policy. Will the coverage in the policy be adequate? What is excluded under its purview?
- Policy changes: How often can the policy change and how does the insurer notify you of those changes?
- Policy rules: Does the policy require that you only see certain physicians or other specialists when receiving care for injuries after an accident? If so, how do the doctors and specialists approved under the accident policy compare to those approved under your other health insurance policy?
Buying Your Policy
Insurance companies offer different types of accident health insurance policies. Before settling on a plan, shop around and also speak to your employer to find out if you are eligible to receive discounts on supplemental policies purchased through your work benefits program.