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Accident Insurance vs. Health Insurance

Health and accident insurance are two types of plans that serve distinct purposes. While health insurance has a wider scope and covers both illnesses and injuries, accident insurance offers more specific coverage that focuses mainly on accidental injuries. In many cases, policyholders can get more enhanced coverage by opting into both these policies. Read on to learn how accident and health insurance work and some key differences between the two types of plans.

How accident insurance works

Accident insurance offers a lump sum payout to policyholders who suffer a covered accidental injury.1 As with other types of insurance, you'll pay monthly premiums to receive coverage. Accident insurance is usually supplementary to health insurance. You can buy personal accident insurance, though some people can also receive coverage through their employer.

What does accident insurance cover?

Every insurance company will have its own list of covered injuries and treatments. You can request a list when you're getting a quote. Aflac's accident insurance helps cover both major and common accidents. The list includes a wide span of events, from emergency situations to more common accidents. An accident insurance policy can help with expenses associated with ambulance fees, intensive care costs, diagnostic tests and exams, physical therapy, and rehabilitation costs.

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How health insurance works

Health insurance is a contract between an insurance company and a policyholder that enables the company to cover the policyholder's medical costs in exchange for monthly premium payments. Many Americans receive health insurance coverage from an employer, some have private health insurance, and others have federal health insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid.

Typically, insurance won’t cover 100% of your medical bill. Depending on your insurance provider and policy, you may pay a portion of the total costs or pay a deductible (fixed minimum amount), with insurance payments kicking in if your bill exceeds the deductible.2

What does health insurance cover?

Health insurance covers a wide range of medical treatments and services, though the specifics will depend on your provider. Usually, doctor's services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, pregnancy, and childbirth are covered.3

Differences between accident insurance and health insurance

Health and accident insurance are meant to work together, but each is a different product that offers its own benefits. Here are some of the main differences between the two types of plans:


One big difference between health and accident insurance is that the health insurance may cover treatments and medicines for illness, chronic health issues, and injuries, while accident insurance works by paying benefits regardless of your health insurance. However, health insurance usually covers immediate treatment you receive following an accident, but accident insurance is designed to help alleviate the financial burden caused by accidents. This includes medical treatments that may not be covered by health insurance, and since it's paid to you and not the doctor, you can also use the funds to help cover other essential expenses.


As health insurance covers many types of treatments and procedures, premiums may be more expensive compared to accident insurance premiums. Health and accident insurance premiums depend largely on factors such as your age, health status, desired coverage, and deductible. That said, the premiums you’ll pay are relatively affordable when compared to the out-of-pocket costs of getting treatment.

Waiting period

The waiting period, or elimination period, is the amount of time before your coverage is activated. For many health insurance plans offered by an employer, the waiting period can be up to 90 days.4 Accident insurance typically has no waiting period, and coverage begins immediately, but keep in mind that waiting periods may differ from one insurer to the next.

Claim settlement process

Health insurance policyholders usually don’t have to file their own insurance claims. Instead, the doctor or hospital usually sends a bill to the insurance company. In the rare case that you do have to file a claim, you'll need to fill in a claim form along with paperwork for the treatment you received.

Accident insurance policyholders typically always file their own claims. This is because the insurance will usually disburse the payout to you rather than to the healthcare providers. Your claim will include relevant documentation indicating that you're undertaking a covered service or treatment. It's a good idea to ask your insurance company what documentation you’ll need to file each claim.

Should I have both accident and health insurance?

Getting both accident and health insurance is a great strategy for many people. Health insurance will not cover all your expenses after an accident, so you can rely on accident insurance to help manage some of the treatment and rehabilitation costs you may get. Additionally, since the accident insurance payout can be used for any expenses, you can help cover essential costs like groceries and rent while you recover.

Benefits of getting accident insurance to supplement your health insurance plan

Getting both health and accident insurance helps you cover all your bases when it comes to your health and well-being. Here are some benefits of getting both policies:

Get additional coverage

Accident insurance is a type of supplemental insurance that works with your major medical insurance plan to provide more enhanced coverage in the event of an accident.

Lower out-of-pocket costs

Getting an accident insurance plan in addition to your primary health insurance can help minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Consider chatting with an agent to figure out the best way to help plan deductibles for health and accident insurance.

Gain peace of mind

Having both accident and health coverage can help give you some much-needed peace of mind knowing that you’ll be covered in case the unexpected happens.

Get a quote for accident insurance

Looking to supplement your existing health insurance with an accident insurance policy? Aflac’s accident insurance can help provide the coverage you need at reasonable rates. Start chatting with an agent today to learn more about accident insurance and get a quote.

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