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Definition of Accidental Death

An accidental death is a death which results from an unusual event which could not be foreseen and was not intended by any person involved. If you have a life insurance policy to cover accidental death the amount of the policy is generally paid to the beneficiary, but the policy will have certain restrictions, such as the age of the insured and whether the death occurred within a specified time after the accident.

For example, the insurance requirements for an accidental death policy may state that a "covered" death must have been caused by external, violent, and accidental means, a disease or infection resulting directly from an accidental injury and beginning within 30 days after the date of the injury. The most common causes of accidental deaths include falls, car accidents, poisoning by liquids or solids, drowning, suffocation, burns and fires, gas poisoning, shooting death, death by machinery, and surgical and medical mistakes.

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