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What is personal accident cover in car insurance?

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If you take out fully comprehensive car insurance, your policy will likely include personal accident cover. If not, you can usually add it as an optional extra.

It can provide financial support in times of great distress, such as in the aftermath of a life-changing injury or death following a motor accident. 

But what exactly does personal accident insurance cover? Do you need it? Read our guide to find out more.

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  • Personal accident cover is included as standard with most comprehensive car insurance policies
  • You can generally claim for loss of sight, hearing or limbs and death
  • Add-on extended personal accident cover will have higher claims limits and include a wider range of claimable injuries

What does personal accident insurance cover?

Personal accident cover will usually pay out for some or all of the following, up to the maximum claims limit stated on your car insurance policy:

  • Permanent or total loss of sight in one or both eyes
  • Permanent or total loss of hearing in one or both ears
  • Permanent loss of any limb above the wrist or ankle
  • Permanent loss of the use of any limb above the wrist or ankle
  • Permanent, total disablement
  • Death

As the policyholder, you’ll always be able to claim if you were travelling in or getting in or out of your car at the time of the accident.

Depending on the provider, you may also be able to claim on your policy for your partner or any named drivers. However, other people in the car who aren’t a partner or named driver are unlikely to be covered under your policy. 

What isn’t covered?

Depending on your provider, you may not be able to claim with standard personal accident cover if:

  • Your injuries don’t meet the thresholds set by your provider
  • Your accident happens outside of the UK
  • Your injury or death isn’t directly and solely caused by the accident
  • Your injury becomes apparent more than three months after the incident
  • You’re driving without a valid licence
  • You’re driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • The injury or death occurs from suicide or attempted suicide
  • You weren’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident
  • Your injury occurred while taking part in a rally

What is included with add-on personal accident cover?

If you choose to add extended personal accident cover to your car insurance policy, it may include the following benefits, depending on your provider:

  • A much higher claims limit
  • A wider range of claimable injuries
  • A cash benefit if you, your partner or a named driver are admitted to hospital following an accident
  • Physiotherapy costs 
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Counselling therapy

Do I need personal accident cover with my car insurance?

If you take out comprehensive car insurance, personal accident cover will typically be included as standard.

However, if you have a third party or third party, fire and theft policy, you may be unsure whether you need to add personal injury protection, it’s already included or you need extended cover.

To help decide, you should ask yourself:

  • Could you afford to support yourself and your family following a life-changing injury?
  • Would your loved ones need a payout were you to be killed in an accident?
  • Does the standard level of personal accident cover provide a payout that is high enough for your needs? 
  • Would you want to be covered for a broader range of injuries than those included in your provider’s standard personal accident cover?
  • Do you have other policies, such as life insurance or income protection, that already provide the necessary cover?

Having personal accident cover in place can give you added peace of mind that you would have financial assistance if anything were to happen. 

What should I look for when comparing personal accident insurance?

When comparing car insurance, you should pay attention to the following aspects of personal accident cover:

  • The maximum claims limit
  • The types of injuries you can claim for
  • Who, aside from the policyholder, can make a claim
  • Any exclusions and exemptions
  • Additional benefits, such as medical expenses

How do I make a personal accident claim?

If you need to make a personal accident claim:

  1. Ensure everyone involved gets the necessary medical attention 
  2. Keep a record of or request any medical documentation associated with your injury following the accident
  3. Contact your insurer as soon as possible and outline the scope of your claim
  4. Claim on the other driver’s insurance if they were at fault, or on your own personal accident insurance if you were at fault
  5. Wait for the relevant insurance companies to investigate the claim and process any payouts 

If serious injuries are involved or there is a dispute over who is responsible, your car accident claim could go to court. However, very few claims reach that stage.

How much will I receive from my personal accident claim?

The amount you’ll receive from your personal accident claim will depend on the severity of the injury, the impact on your earnings and your policy’s claims limits.

Standard personal accident cover included with a car insurance policy typically ranges between £5,000 and £7,500 per person per accident. 

Add-on policies, meanwhile, can help cover limits anywhere from £50,000 to £150,000.

Car accident personal accident cover FAQs

If the accident was your fault, you should still be able to claim on your personal accident cover, as long as:

  • Your injuries fall within those included by your provider
  • You have done nothing to disqualify yourself from making a claim, such as failing to wear a seat belt or driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both

The cost of adding personal accident cover to your car insurance policy depends on your provider and your personal profile. It typically costs between £10 and £30 a year.

Connor Campbell

Finance Writer

Connor Campbell is an experienced personal and business finance writer who has been producing online content for almost a decade. 

Connor is the personal finance expert for Independent Advisor, guiding readers through everything they need to know about car insurance and home insurance. From how much it costs to the best insurance providers in the UK, he’s here to help you find the right policy for your needs. 

In his capacity as writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet, Connor explored a number of topics close to his heart, such as the impact of our increasingly cashless society, and the hardships and heroics of British entrepreneurs. His commentary was featured in sites such as The Mirror, the Daily Express and Business Insider

At financial trading firm Spreadex, meanwhile, his market commentary was featured in outlets such as The Guardian, BBC, Reuters and the Evening Standard

Connor is a voracious reader with an MA in English, and is dedicated to making life’s financial decisions a little bit easier by doing away with jargon and needless complexity.