The weekend is coming up and you’ve got plans. Maybe it’s a bike ride on your favorite trail, a baseball game for the kids, cleaning out the gutters that you’ve been putting off all season, or driving across town to meet friends for dinner and a movie.
Whatever your plans, we’re pretty sure a trip to the emergency room isn’t on the list.
But accidents happen — more often than you might think. And they’re more expensive to treat than you might believe. The Centers for Disease Control reports 40 million Americans a year suffer an injury severe enough to visit an emergency room. Ready for the tab? The average emergency room visit now costs more than $2,000 — 40% more than a month’s rent for most people.
(But don’t think staying home will help. The number of distracted walking injuries — mostly involving cell phones — has risen dramatically in the past decade. And most of those accidents happened at home.)
When accidents happen, they’re often followed by a series of bills.
“Health care costs continue to rise and many Americans do not have a financial safety net when unexpected health events occur,” said Simon Milazzo, Accident product expert at Unum. “Even with major medical insurance in place, experiencing a loss of work due to an injury or illness can be financially devastating to individuals and families. Out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays or co-insurance, deductibles and other expenses quickly add up.”
That’s where accident insurance can help.
Accident insurance provides lump-sum and daily benefits for covered accidents that can help you pay those bills. The payments are sent directly to you, and you can use the money for whatever you need. And most accident insurance plans don’t “coordinate” with your other insurance. That means your payments aren’t reduced by any other insurance you have.
Many employers offer accident insurance on a voluntary basis as part of their benefits package. That means employees who want this protection select and pay for it themselves, with no cost to the company. If you or your spouse’s employer doesn’t offer accident insurance now, you can ask them to add it.
Buying accident insurance at work is usually very affordable. For example, a policy that provides coverage for just you, as the employee, for accidents outside of work could cost less than $5 per week (premiums may vary by location and type of coverage). A two-parent family can often purchase this same coverage for less than $8 weekly.
So go ahead and enjoy your weekend. But, ahem, you may want to put the cell phone down while taking your walk.