Accidental Death & Dismemberment

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Accidental Death & Dismemberment

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) is dependent on the type of accident that causes the insured to have bodily injury which results in the insureds death.   There are three main types of AD&D coverage that can be found in travel policies:

  1. Accidental Death & Dismemberment - without any modifying clauses usually signifies the broadest form which includes coverage for most types of accidents (except those specifically excluded from coverage). 
  2. Common Carrier Accidental Death & Dismemberment - the phrase "common carrier" restricts coverage only to those accidents that occur while riding as a passenger on a "common carrier".   Common carriers are usually defined as any individual or firm that advertises to transport people or property for hire at scheduled times over published routes.
  3. Flight Accident Death & Dismemberment - the word "flight" modifies this coverage to accidents that occur while riding as a passenger on a licensed, commercial, airline on a scheduled flight over a published route.  Some coverages might include coverage for "charter" flights too.

Common Carrier and Flight coverages will usually include coverage while boarding and alighting from the covered carrier.

Claims procedures for this type of coverage usually require two main documents:

  1. Death certificate showing that the insured person has died due to a covered accident; and
  2. Documentation that the accident was covered according to the terms of the policy.  This might include a copy of the airline ticket or passenger manifest if the accident occurred while on a carrier.

Beneficiary Designation:  accidental death and dismemberment benefits are usually paid to a named beneficiary who has an insurable interest in the deceased travelers life.  Insurable interest is an insurance concept that says only person/s or entities that are entitled to benefit from the death of an insured should be those that will suffer an immediate or future financial loss because of the insured's death.   Many companies ask for a beneficiary designation at the time the policy is applied for and others might have contingent beneficiaries listed in order of preference in the policy.  In the absence of a beneficiary designation and a contingent beneficiary provision any death benefits would be payable to the travelers estate.

NOTE: Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage is NOT life insurance.  It is restricted to deaths that are caused solely by accidents and will not cover deaths caused or contributed by pre-existing medical conditions or by sickness. Unfortunately, some websites list AD&D coverage as Life Insurance which can cause confusion and is usually considered to be a misleading advertisement.

The biggest cause for delay in processing a claim concerns the amount and quality of the information that you provide.  Always provide the insurance company the information that they requested - do not assume that they know it even though it might be apparent.  Also make sure you copy everything that you send to the insurance company.

As with all claims, the burden of proof is on you so the more information you have and the closer you follow the insurance company's instructions the faster they will be able to handle you claim and the more accurate they will be able to pay you.