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What Accident Insurance Looks Like When You Need It

Natalie Burg

If you experienced an injury due to an accident, what would happen to your budget? Let’s say you’re a healthy, active teacher in your 30s. One weekend, you’re cleaning out the gutters on your home, lose your footing, and fall from a ladder, badly breaking your arm.

Odds are, you’d end up with a bunch of medical bills. Your health insurance would cover part of them, but not all. And though you might still be able to work, you would need to go to several doctor’s appointments. Those might require childcare. You also might need to pay for alternate transportation, since you can’t drive. It could end up costing a lot—if you don’t have Accident insurance.

No one wants to think that an accident is likely to injure them. But unfortunately, it happens a lot.

Americans sought medical care for 48.3 million preventable injuries in 2019.

National Safety Council

Here’s how Accident insurance helps people deal with the financial cost of injuries. With those expenses covered, you can focus on recovery, rather than your budget.

The State of Accident Insurance in the U.S.

Accidents happen everywhere. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says private employers reported 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2019.

The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s changed the way Americans worked and lived. It also made accidents a bigger part of daily life. That’s why Accident insurance first emerged around that time. But even though things like factory work and rapid travel are safer than they were then, injury risks are still on the rise in the U.S. In 2019, The National Safety Council reported a 99% increase in accidental deaths over 27 years.

Accidental injuries come at a high cost to people, too.

“With the increase in the number of high-deductible health plans, which require employees to pay a large deductible prior to their health insurance beginning to cover expenses, many Americans need help to cover this initial cost,” says Liz Supinski, director of research projects and insights for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “Without Accident insurance, they would need to pay that large deductible out-of-pocket, not to mention all the other potential expenses that often accompany an injury.”

How An Accident Insurance Plan Works

Accident insurance is often described as a supplement to other insurance policies. That’s because it’s designed to cover gaps between those other policies. For example, let’s take the example of the teacher with a broken arm:

  • If she was unable to work because of the injury, Disability insurance would cover some of her lost income. But that would only help cover her regular expenses, not her extra medical bills.
  • Her health insurance would only cover costs after their deductible was met. Then she’d still have to pay co-pays and other bills her insurance doesn’t cover.
  • Workers’ compensation couldn’t cover the injury because it didn’t happen at work.
  • The injury wasn’t severe enough to be covered by Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance.

What Does Accident Insurance Cover?

Accident insurance works with the policies above to provide people with more financial security. It provides money to pay medical bills, transportation, childcare and other accident-related expenses. Other insurance options don’t often cover those costs.

“While an accident is already a stressful time for a worker, it could be even more stressful if they didn’t have Accident insurance to cover other, often unexpected, out-of-pocket expenses during this time,” says Supinski.

How Accident Insurance Helps When Injuries Happen

Let’s take a closer look at the example of the injured teacher to see how Accident insurance would help.

The teacher’s fall from the ladder happened in autumn. It’s early in the school year, so she had sick days to use for her initial doctor’s appointments and recovery. She injured her non-dominant arm, so she was able to resume teaching after a few days. However, she had to get an X-ray and a cast. Her bills added up to $2,500.

She hadn’t met her health insurance’s deductible yet, so she ended up owing $1,300 after meeting her deductible and co-pays. Her employer-provided group Accident insurance policy gave her up to $6,000 of coverage for a fracture, so she was covered.

The teacher could work but wasn’t able to drive. She carpooled to work with a coworker, but needed to use a rideshare service to get to and from medical appointments related to her injury. She took three rides to the hospital, which cost $40 each for a total of $120. Her Accident insurance provided $300 for up to three trips. It also provided $25 each day for childcare, which she needed to utilize during her three appointments.

Without her Accident insurance, her injury would have cost her at least $1,500 out-of-pocket—even though she had other forms of insurance. But Accident insurance filled the gaps between those insurance policies, so getting better was her biggest concern, not how to pay the bills.

There When You Need It

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your Accident insurance. But having it and not needing to use it is much better than needing it and not having the coverage you need for the big expenses that come along with an injury. That’s why, says Supinski, employees often look for it when reviewing their employers’ benefits.

This extra funding helps you so you may not need to dig into your emergency fund, savings, investments, 401(k), or other financial products you may have in order to pay for those expenses.

Liz Supinski, director of research projects and insights for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Supinski says “Having these extra funds, and thus not having to use as much, or any, of their other financial resources, helps them to continue on their plan for retirement or other financial wellness goals with a lessened impact compared to if they didn’t have Accident insurance.”

Consider how Accident insurance could benefit you if you were to be injured. Lowering the cost of an accident can make your recovery easier. Though you may go for years without needing it, having Accident insurance at the ready can be a big help to your finances and your health when you do.

Please help us make your visit even more helpful by commenting below with any questions you still have about Accident insurance.

This informational material shall not be considered financial advice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for any financial, investment, or tax-related decisions. Those seeking resolution of specific financial, legal, tax, or business issues, questions, or concerns regarding this topic should consult their own financial, investment, tax, legal, or other business consultants, advisors, or other professionals.

2 Responses to "What Accident Insurance Looks Like When You Need It"
    • Susan Wesselmann | November 17, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      Where do I find a list of covered and non-covered “accidents” as these articles are very generic?

      • Laura Benware | December 7, 2020 at 2:18 pm

        Hi Susan, thanks for your question. Accident is a term that is usually defined in the policy. In general, an accident is a sudden, unexpected, unforeseen accidental event that occurs while the coverage is in effect and results in an injury requiring treatment by a physician that is independent of illness or other causes. An accident can be anything from stepping off a curb wrong and twisting an ankle, to a serious car accident, etc.

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