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Know the difference: Supplemental accident insurance and auto liability insurance

Approximately 4.8 million people in the U.S. were injured in car crashes in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.1 While Americans were driving fewer miles due to the pandemic, they weren’t safer on the road, and traffic accidents have remained one of the leading causes of injury in the U.S.2

Car accidents can be expensive, too—the cost of vehicle repairs and medical bills can add up fast. Even in a minor accident, the cost of damage to a vehicle could quickly exceed the $1,000 of emergency savings that only 39% of Americans have on hand to cover unexpected expenses.3

Driver safety is a special concern for young people: Teenagers are at highest risk of traffic accidents, but adults between 20 and 34 are at higher risk of death or injury in a car accident than older adults are.4 And for young people on a lower income and with less money in the bank, the expenses that result from a car accident could cause serious financial strain.

Most drivers are required by law to carry auto liability insurance to cover damage to another driver’s car—or the medical expenses of someone else injured in the crash—in the event the driver is found at fault in a car accident. But auto liability insurance doesn’t cover everything. Employers can help protect their staff members and look out for their financial health by offering additional plans like supplemental liability insurance that provide benefits for various types of accidental injuries, including those from car accidents.

Auto liability insurance vs. full coverage auto insurance

Auto liability insurance typically covers damage you cause to another driver’s vehicle in an accident where you’re found to be at fault. It also usually covers the medical bills for anyone you injure in the accident. But it doesn’t cover damage to your own vehicle or medical expenses you may have if you’re injured in the accident. While drivers should carry auto liability insurance to protect others if they cause an accident, liability insurance alone won’t protect you from expenses of your own.

That’s where full coverage auto insurance comes in. Full coverage auto insurance helps cover the cost of repairs to your own vehicle, whether it’s the result of an accident or due to other causes. But while some policies allow you to add on medical payments coverage to help with medical expenses if you’re injured in a car accident, it comes at an additional cost, and it isn’t available in all states or with all policies. Many young drivers especially may forgo full coverage auto insurance to save money, which puts them at financial risk if they’re injured in a car accident. That’s where supplemental accident insurance comes in.

How supplemental accident insurance compares

Accident insurance offers benefits to policyholders if they’re injured. Unless otherwise assigned, those benefits are paid directly to them and can be used to help cover whatever expenses they have, such as medical copays and deductibles, and even everyday expenses like cab rides. And unlike full coverage auto insurance, benefits are also available to policyholders if they’re injured in other kinds of covered accidents, not just auto accidents.

Other coverage to consider

In some cases, car accident injuries can be severe enough to keep an employee out of work for months or even permanently. An employee may also require long-term care after a serious auto accident. Short- or long-term disability insurance can help cover the medical expenses stemming from a major illness or injury and help make up for lost income if an employee is unable to work. Long-term care insurance may also help cover the expenses of rehabilitation or in-home care that policyholders could require if they are permanently impaired by injuries from a car accident.

A car accident can happen anytime, to anyone. But with the right protection in place, your employees can feel confident that they’ll have the resources they need to help recover from an accident, physically and financially.

Ready to help protect your employees on the road? Contact your Aflac benefits advisor or visit

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