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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Basics of Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance company's pitch for AD&D insurance might go something like this: If you lose your hand or use of

A company's pitch for AD&D insurance might go something like this: If you lose your hand or use of your eye, we'll pay you $100,000. If you happen to die in a dastardly way, say by decapitation or in a fiery plane crash, we'll double that amount and give your beneficiary $200,000. All you have to do is pay a mere $7.95 a month. Interested?

While some insurers might use more subtle tactics to drum up business, these examples are typical ways an AD&D policy might pay out. The policies, which are often riders on a basic life or health insurance policy, are relatively inexpensive and easy to understand. At first blush, purchasing an AD&D policy might seem like a wise investment for anyone. If you die accidentally, your beneficiary stands to collect lots of money. If you lose an arm or other limb, you would collect a healthy sum. And if you are younger than 45, the odds are you will die in an accident before some other cause of death.

But is AD&D really a good deal? Insurance experts say it's probably not, when you consider the odds of making a claim. You're more likely to die from natural causes than from an accident if you are older than 40 or 45. You're also more likely to become disabled by a back injury than you are to lose a limb. And if you do lose a limb on the job - or hurt your back - workers compensation will most likely cover your injury.

Furthermore, AD&D fails to cover death from "natural causes" or disease. In other words, if you die a less-than-spectacular death, the policy won't pay off. For protection against the more likely risks, like dying of old age or cancer, you're better off putting your monthly premium payment toward a standard life insurance policy, experts say.

AD&D "creates the illusion of having a lot more coverage," says Michael Snowdon, an academic associate at the College for Financial Planning in Greenwood Village, Colo.

Jerry Rosenbloom, a professor of insurance and risk management at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, recommends taking the money you would spend on AD&D and investing it in other forms of insurance. AD&D protection is too limited, he says.
"If you need the protection, you need it from any cause - be it an accident or something else,'' Rosenbloom explains. With a term or whole life insurance policy, you're covered in case of accidental or natural death. "If you have adequate protection against anything, you really don't need AD&D,'' Rosenbloom says.

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