For those with active lifestyles, high-risk jobs, or accident-prone kids, accident insurance may seem like a no-brainer. Chances are, it’s been part of your benefits package for years, and you keep renewing it just in case. But if you haven’t used your accident plan, have found that your claims are denied when you try to use it, or don’t understand what it even does, then you’re not alone.
So what is accident insurance exactly, and why do you need it?
Accident insurance is a type of supplemental health insurance plan designed to pay a one-time lump sum that you can use as a cushion against expenses your health insurance doesn’t cover. But accident plans typically offer only limited coverage and have stringent rules you must follow before receiving a benefit. Consider these four factors before enrolling in or renewing an accident insurance policy so you don’t get stuck with a plan that doesn’t work for you.
1. Understand what’s covered.
Did you know that accident plans cover only 19%* of conditions that require urgent medical attention? So it’s possible you or a family member will need to go to urgent care or the ER for a health issue that isn’t covered by your accident insurance plan. What’s more, traditional accident plans are designed to cover accidental injuries, not illnesses. Your benefits depend on the type of injury you have, such as fractures, lacerations, and dislocations. Make sure you understand what’s considered an accident for your accident insurance by reading the policy documents.
2. Make sure you know how to file a claim.
Having accident insurance might provide peace of mind, but that can quickly turn stressful if it’s not easy to file a claim. Look for an online or paper claim form, and be sure to review the instructions. How long will it take to receive your benefit? What kind of documentation is required? This documentation is technically called your “proof of loss,” and knowing what’s required in advance can help you collect the right information from your providers along the way to ensure your claim is approved.
3. Evaluate the premiums.
Accident insurance — like most supplemental health insurance plans — is considered a voluntary benefit, which means the premiums are often paid by you (the employee). Check out what it will cost you per paycheck, per month, and per year, and consider whether those dollars are best spent on an accident-only plan or something else that covers a broader spectrum of illness and injury.
4. Look for a plan with broader coverage.
It’s impossible to know for sure whether you or someone in your family will be accidentally injured in the coming year. Instead of gambling on accident insurance, you could look for a supplemental health insurance plan with broader coverage.
Brella, for example, covers 13,000 conditions, including all kinds of injuries and illnesses. In fact, we cover 76% of conditions that would require urgent medical attention. Plans with more wide-ranging coverage have a greater chance of being useful if you or a loved one has an unexpected health issue during the year.
The bottom line? Before you sign up for any kind of accident insurance or supplemental plan, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand what’s covered, how to claim your benefits, and what it will cost. Then, look for the best way to put your hard-earned dollars to work as you prepare financially for tomorrow’s health issues.
If you’re interested in Brella, you can read more about our plans here or ask your employer or broker to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Source: Statistic aggregated based on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) annual reports on emergency room diagnoses for working-age adults in the U.S.