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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

Would an accidental death policy pay for a cocaine overdose?

No, typically an accidental death policy would exclude death caused by intoxication or illegal drug use. Other exclusions usually include loss caused by the commission of a felony by the insured, active duty or training in the military or suicide.

Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) policies pay out a benefit if you die from an accident or lose a limb or eyesight. Some also provide benefits for paralysis or coma. Policies specify that to receive benefits, the injury or death must occur within a certain time frame after the accident, and your death must be a direct result of the injuries sustained in the accident. The policy would not pay out if death resulted from a physical or mental illness.

AD&D coverage is sold through standalone policies, which can be purchased individually or through a group. Coverage may also be offered as a rider on life insurance policies. Many employers offer AD&D insurance for their employees because it provides coverage to supplement life and disability insurance at a relatively small price. Accidents account for only about 5 percent of deaths, which is why the premiums for AD&D are low.

AD&D insurance should be considered a supplemental policy, not a replacement for life insurance, which provides protection whether you die from an accident or illness.

For more, see the basics of accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

Last updated: Apr. 26, 2011