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When it comes to getting life insurance, there are different choices, which can make it difficult to choose the right one for your needs. Especially for young people, choosing between the term life and accidental death & dismemberment may be a difficult one without understanding what they are and their differences.

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What is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance covers your beneficiary with a pre-determined amount of benefits in case you should pass away within the time frame of the coverage. Unlike whole life, term life has a specific time limit in which the coverage is enforced. However, it is also considerably less expensive than whole life insurance for the same amount of benefits that are provided. Read here more about term life policy and its advantages.

Term life is very popular and works well with all age groups as it provides inexpensive coverage for loved ones in case something should happen to you.

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental death and dismemberment is a form of insurance that only pays if the cause of death is determined to be from an accident. In addition, the policy will also pay if the person loses a limb or sight or becomes paralyzed due to an accident. Such insurance may also cover fingers and toes as well. Depending on the insurance company, they may utilize different packages for those who want this type of insurance.

Quite often, they are provided by employers as a benefit in case the worst should happen to an employee. It is often part of a group insurance plan.

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Four general types of this insurance are available;

  • Group Life
  • Travel
  • Voluntary
  • Dependents

Group life policies will have AD&D insurance as part of their overall plan, especially if the business purchases this insurance to cover their employees in addition to the workman’s compensation. Many travel insurance plans will also have this form of insurance in case something happens on business trips or company excursions.

Voluntary is a separate form of AD&D that provides elective benefits to the individual, while dependents are usually additions to the standard plan that covers an employee’s family. However, such insurance can be purchased independently if so desired.

Term Life vs. AD&D:

When it comes to selecting which insurance is best for your needs, there are some considerable differences between the policies. Generally speaking, term life insurance offers far greater coverage but is generally more expensive than its AD&D counterpart. However, there are limitations to the AD&D coverage that may not make it the right choice for your needs.

Obviously, if AD&D is part of your employer’s plan where you are automatically enrolled, you’ve already chosen that form of coverage. However, if you are considering this form of insurance as a rider or addition to your policy, you’ll need to know what it can provide.

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Cost: This variable factor is AD&D and is often used as a rider on another insurance plan. In fact, many people with either group or individual coverage will have AD&D added on as a rider to that plan for an extra monthly expense.

For stand-alone policies, getting upwards of $250,000 for just $10 a month for AD&D is possible, depending on your age and risk factors. Term life insurance for the same amount of coverage is generally two to four times or more expensive again, depending on the age and risk factors of the person being covered.

On the surface, AD&D is certainly a substantially cheaper policy to purchase than term life. However, other differences need to be considered starting with your age, the number of dependents, and the risk factors involving your occupation. For example, if your line of work puts you in danger of dying or losing a limb to an accident, such as working in manufacturing around large machines, your AD&D coverage may cost considerably more.

Term Coverage: In choosing between term insurance or AD&D, the term is far broader as it covers most forms of death. Even young people can pass away from diseases and other causes that are not accidental, so consideration must be considered.

AD&D Coverage: What this form of insurance does provide as a rider to your existing life insurance plan is the ability to cover certain types of serious injuries that may not otherwise have any coverage. For example, if you lose a limb in an automobile accident away from work, your workman’s compensation may not cover such a loss. Also, your general life insurance plan is ineffective since you did not pass away. However, having the AD&D benefits, in this case, will provide the needed coverage.

Defining Accidental Death: Since AD&D insurance riders generally pay twice the amount for the policy coverage, insurance companies are often wary of paying it if the cause of death cannot be proven beyond a certain degree that it was accidental. There are cases of insurance companies disputing cases in which the coroner cannot fully determine the cause of death. So, this means that if there was some question as to how the deceased met their fate, it might result in the AD&D coverage not paying off.

Which One is Right for You?

When choosing between life and accidental death and dismemberment, it is important to remember that the overall benefits make the term a far more palatable policy. The term will pay for most forms of death and provide health benefits at a low, affordable cost. AD&D, however, may be less expensive in certain ways, but the overall benefits are far narrower in scope. If you pass away from an accident, the benefits can be much greater, but the odds are against you, even for younger people. So, term life insurance is the one that you should really consider for you to cover your family in this time of grief.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.