You’ve got medical, dental and vision insurance—plus a flexible spending account thrown in for good measure. If you have an accidental injury, you’re financially covered… right?
Not entirely. Even the best health insurance may leave you with unexpected costs, medical debt, stressful days and sleepless nights. And that’s especially true if you have a high deductible health plan or limited network.
Say, for example, you fall while hanging holiday lights. That single event could come with multiple expenses—from riding the ambulance and staying in the hospital1 to getting medical procedures, medications and more. An average trip to the ER costs around $1,233 and even after you’re discharged, you might still need follow-up care, crutches or rehab. And all of that is in addition to other everyday expenses, like taking a taxi if you can't drive, or ordering food delivery.
Those dollar signs add up fast. Luckily, accident insurance can help put extra money in your bank account, even before the medical bills hit your mailbox.
What is accident insurance?
Accident insurance provides you with a one-time, lump-sum payment to use at your discretion for designated accidents like concussions or broken bones.2 It's designed as a supplemental plan, meaning it’s to be used in conjunction with, but not a replacement for, a regular health insurance plan.
The money you get from accident insurance comes in the form of a check that's made out to you, not your healthcare provider. Just file the claim, and in most cases, it gets processed within 10 days.3 Best of all, you can spend the money however you want: towards your deductible, coinsurance, out-of-network care, rides to work, groceries, childcare or any other daily living expenses.
Still not convinced you really need accident insurance? Here’s why you do:
1. You’re not as invincible as you might think.
We’d all love to think we’ll never get in an accident, but they’re more common than you’d expect. Car crashes, sports injuries, throwing out your back during yoga, slipping on ice in your driveway—the list goes on.
In fact, in the U.S. emergency rooms get about 30 million visits annually because of unintentional injuries (that’s more than the entire population of Australia!). Be sure to consider accident insurance for your whole family as kids are even more prone to accidents—each year, more than 775,000 14-year-olds and under are treated in ERs for sports-related injuries.
Even if you think you or your kids will never get hurt, it's best to plan ahead.
2. Accidents can put anyone out of work—even office employees.
If you get in an accident, you might need to take off work for physical therapy or follow-up care. And in some cases you might not be able to work at all due to broken bones or the inability to drive.
When that happens, working fewer hours can really make money tight, especially if you're on the hook for multiple medical bills. That's why many people like knowing they have accident insurance to provide extra cash during income loss.
3. With accident insurance, it doesn’t matter if you have a preexisting condition or change jobs.
As long as you’re actively working, you get guaranteed coverage.4 That means no questionnaires or biometric exams to take - and you’re covered no matter your health situation. This comes in handy if a prior medical issue has put you at risk for falls or other accidents.
You also get portable coverage.5 Portability means that if you change your job, you can keep your plan, as long as you meet certain criteria. Check with an accident insurance plan administrator at your workplace to learn more.
4. Accident insurance covers more than just injuries.
Many plans come with ancillary benefits for limb loss, accidental death, paralysis or blindness. Having that extra protection can keep you (or your loved ones) from absorbing the full financial impact of a catastrophic accident.
How can I sign up for accident insurance?
Many employers offer accident insurance as part of their benefits packages, making it easy to sign up. If you have access to it through your employer, it can potentially save you time and money. Here's how:
- Buying through your employer gives you the convenience of getting a policy without the need to compare or shop around for different options.
- Depending on how your employer does it, you might have the option to auto-deduct the premium from your paycheck, which can remove the hassle of a monthly bill.
- You might also get the benefit of discounted group rates by going through your employer.
Indeed, accident insurance may reduce financial stress. And open enrollment is the perfect time to consider protecting yourself and your family with accident insurance. Ask your benefits administrator (or your spouse’s) if they offer accident insurance, which plans are available and how to sign up. Then, consider adding an accident plan to your benefits elections for yourself and your family.
Want to learn more? Check out our overview on getting financial protection with accident insurance here.