Personal accident insurance

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A guide to personal accident insurance

Have you ever wondered how you might cope financially if you had a serious accident or injury that means you’re unable to work? Here’s everything you need to know about personal accident cover.

What is personal accident cover?

Personal accident insurance is designed to provide a lump-sum pay-out if you suffer a serious injury or death as the result of an accident. It can protect you and your family against loss of income and help them with bills and other expenses. Like life insurance and income protection cover, it’s a type of personal insurance.

Also known as personal injury insurance, personal accident cover is often included in life insurance and car insurance policies. It can also be bought separately, but before you do so, read any existing policies carefully to make sure you’re not already covered.

There are two main types of standalone personal accident cover.

  • Accidental death insurance: this will pay out a lump sum if you die in an accident.
  • Accidental permanent injury insurance: you’ll receive a payment if you’re injured permanently – for example, if you lose a limb or lose your sight.

What accidents can personal insurance protect me from?

Personal accident insurance can cover you against many injuries and accidents, including:

  • An accident or injury at work
  • Injury caused by violence
  • Injury or death caused by a road traffic accident
  • Total and permanent disability
  • Injury caused by a slip or spill
  • Loss of (or loss of use of) body parts.

The pay-out you receive will depend on the level of cover you have and how severe the injury is. A policy might pay out more for the loss of a limb than the loss of an eye, for example.

Who should think about personal accident insurance?

One reason that you might choose personal injury cover is to protect yourself if you’re self-employed. You could cover yourself against any loss of earnings if an accident or injury prevents you from doing your job.

Personal accident insurance is popular with people who work in environments where serious accidents are more likely to happen: for example, on construction sites or in prisons.

What doesn’t personal accident insurance cover?

Typically, personal accident insurance won’t cover:

  • Illness – personal accident insurance covers death and injury caused by accidents. If you want cover for sickness, think about income protection insurance or critical illness cover
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Injuries that aren’t permanent – a broken leg, for example
  • Injuries sustained while playing sport professionally
  • Injuries caused by drug or alcohol abuse.

Every policy is different, so check carefully to make sure you get the cover you need.

What should I look for when buying personal accident cover?

It’s important to check that the policy you choose covers the accident risks you face. For example, if you take part in dangerous sports, like rock climbing or horse riding, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for accidents involving these activities.

How much does personal accident insurance cost?

It varies, depending on your personal circumstances and the level of cover you want, but standalone cover can start from as little as £2-£4 a month.

Where can I find a personal accident policy?

It’s worth noting that no two personal accident cover policies are the same. There’s a wide range of policies out there, so it’s important to decide on the one that suits your needs. With that in mind, you might want to talk to someone – for free – at our partners LifeSearch. They’ll be able to offer you expert advice, including how to make a claim. Their friendly team can be contacted on 0800 072 1147.

Lines are open Monday to Friday: 8am–8pm

Saturday: 9am–2pm

Sunday: 10am–3.30pm

We don’t compare standalone personal accident insurance, but you can get quotes from a wide range of personal accident insurance providers and policies by comparing life insurance with us. It could take just a few minutes to get precious peace of mind.

Author image Kara Gammell

What our expert says...

“Many of us wrongly adopt the ‘it-will-never-happen-to-me’ mentality when it comes to personal accident insurance. But, for most households, putting your head in the sand could have serious consequences. Fortunately, with a little planning, you can help safeguard yourself and your family from financial problems.”

- Kara Gammell, Finances expert

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between personal accident insurance and life insurance?

Life insurance pays out if you die during the policy term, whether this happens as a result of illness or accident. Personal accident insurance only covers death and injury as the result of an accident.

Can accident insurance cover my family?

Yes. It’s possible to buy policies that cover you and your family or you and your partner.

What counts as a personal accident?

Definitions can vary, so it’s important to check your policy to understand exactly what the provider considers to be an accident.

Page last reviewed on 02/02/2023
by Helen Phipps