What to know about supplemental accident insurance before you buy

Supplemental accident insurance adds an extra layer of protection to your health insurance. It provides a cash benefit to help you with out-of-pocket costs stemming from accidental injuries.

Nobody plans to get tangled up in an accident. However, if you have an active lifestyle or want to make sure you cover yourself "just in case" something happens, supplemental accident insurance may offer the best way to help yourself or your family members.

Let's go into the details of supplemental accident insurance so you know what to expect, how it works, how much it costs, and more. Let's take a look.

What is supplemental accident insurance?

Supplemental accident insurance, also called accident insurance or personal accident insurance, helps you handle out-of-pocket costs you may pay after an accidental injury.

Supplemental accident insurance pays cash benefits for injuries that result when you or a family member experience an accident. You pay a monthly premium in exchange for coverage.

Once you get supplemental accident insurance after suffering an accident, you can use your lump-sum cash benefits for supplemental accident insurance however you want.

For example, let's say you have a bike accident. You break your leg during the accident and tap into supplemental accident coverage to cover your expenses. You might want to use the money for copays and deductibles. You can also use the money you receive through supplemental accident insurance however you want — you can even use it to take a vacation to recover from your injuries.

What does supplemental accident insurance cover?

Coverage for supplemental accident insurance differs, depending on the injuries covered in your plan. However, take a look at some of the types of injuries that a supplemental accident insurance policy may cover due to accidents:

  • Broken bones
  • Dislocations
  • Burns
  • Dental injuries
  • Eye injuries

Supplemental accident insurance also covers services related to care and post-injury care, such as the following:

  • Ambulance services
  • Emergency room care
  • Urgent care
  • X-rays
  • CAT scans
  • Hospital treatment
  • Surgeries for injuries
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

It's a good idea to go over the details of your plan so you know what's covered and what's not. If you need additional information, ask your insurance carrier.

How does supplemental accident insurance work?

Let's walk through an example of how supplemental accident insurance might work.

  1. First of all, you may choose to get supplemental accident insurance through an insurance professional or through your job. You may get supplemental insurance during open enrollment at your job, which usually occurs between November and January.
  2. If you already have an insurance company you're comfortable with, ask your agent about adding this type of insurance to your existing coverage.
  3. You can typically get protection quickly once you apply for a supplemental accident insurance policy. (Note that prior to getting coverage, some insurance companies don't require you to get a medical exam or a test to qualify and others do.)
  4. Within days of receiving your application, you may get coverage, depending on the insurance company you choose. You pay a monthly premium for coverage. You may wonder whether you get supplemental accident insurance even if your health insurance covers every cost, and the good news is that you can still get supplemental accident insurance benefits!

Let's say that after you have your bike accident, you get taken by ambulance to the ER. Your X-rays find that you have compound fractures in both your right leg and right arm.

Unfortunately, you haven't met your deductible for the whole year, so your regular medical insurance doesn't cover everything. You submit your claim to the insurance company you bought it from. You receive the cash shortly after your claim has been approved.\

How much does supplemental accident insurance cost?

Most types of supplemental insurance don't cost too much. The same is generally true for supplemental accident insurance.

Look into your insurance company's plan for cost details, but premiums typically set you back between $5 and $50 per month. Several factors determine how much you'll pay, including the type of plan you choose, your age, and how much coverage you think you want and need.

Your premiums depend on your age at the time of purchase. In addition, your health status may affect your premium costs. Note that smoking and tobacco use may also affect your premiums. Ask several insurance carriers about cost details to determine whether you can fit the premiums into your monthly budget.

Is supplemental accident insurance worth it?

Whether you get supplemental accident insurance depends on your family's needs. For example, you may want to get supplemental accident insurance if you have an active lifestyle or a limited budget for unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses. You may also want to get it to supplement your life insurance coverage or if you cannot get life insurance due to ineligibility.

In addition, if your health insurance carries higher deductibles or copays, you may prefer to take on a supplemental accident insurance policy.

In certain situations, you may decide you don't need a supplemental accident insurance policy. For example, if you have ample emergency fund savings or a health savings account (HSA), you may decide that you can use these to pay for extra expenses outside what your health insurance doesn't cover.

Deciding if you need supplemental accident insurance

You probably don't want to envision an accident happening to you or one of your family members. (Really — who does?) However, you may not realize truly how easy it can be to get supplemental accident insurance to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

If you get hurt, it's great to know that you have supplemental accident insurance to back you up. Always shop around and compare coverage from different insurance companies before you make a final decision. Know the ins and outs of the type of coverage you can get from your policy.

You may also want to consider getting accidental death insurance, which pays money to your beneficiaries in the event that you pass away due to an accident. Your lifestyle and other factors may play into whether you choose to get this type of insurance.

To learn more about accident insurance, speak with a licensed insurance professional for more information


Melissa Brock is the founder of College Money Tips and a full-time freelance writer and editor. She loves helping families navigate their finances and the college search process.

The information and content provided herein is for educational purposes only, and should not be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. Breeze does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, reliability or usefulness of any testimonials, opinions, advice, product or service offers, or other information provided here by third parties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.