Personal accident cover on car insurance

Personal accident cover offers compensation for death or injuries sustained in a car accident. Find out whether you should include personal accident cover on your car insurance policy and how to make a claim.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 27 February 2023  | 3 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

What is personal accident cover on car insurance?

Personal accident cover may be included as standard on your car insurance policy, or it could be available as an optional extra. It pays out if you die or are seriously injured in a car accident and you can’t claim compensation from a third party.

So if the accident was your fault, your personal accident cover could pay out.

To qualify for a payout, your injuries would have to be of a certain severity or result in your death.

Payments are designed to help you financially should an injury leave you unable to work again. Or if you need to adapt your home because of your injuries. If your death is caused by a car accident, the payment is there to help take care of your family.

Key points

  • Personal accident cover offers compensation for injury or death after a car accident when you can’t claim from a third party and if the accident was your fault
  • Cover isn’t included as standard on all policies but can usually be added at extra cost
  • Gather all the details you can following an accident and contact your insurer as soon as possible

What does personal accident insurance cover?

It will differ between policies but personal accident cover will typically pay out up to a maximum agreed amount if you’re injured in a car accident, or while getting in or out of your car, and the injury results in:

  • Death
  • A permanent disability that means you can’t work for the rest of your life
  • Permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Permanent loss of hearing
  • Loss of a limb or the use of a limb

Do you need personal accident cover?

You might not want to think about it, but how would you and your family cope financially if you were in a serious car accident?

If injuries prevented you from working, your income may be in danger, especially if you sustain a permanent disability.

It’s also important to think about whether your dependants would struggle to make ends meet if you died.

Personal accident cover can give you peace of mind that they’d receive some financial compensation should the worst happen. Although the payout will be a lot smaller than what they would receive from a life insurance policy.

What isn't covered?

Personal accident cover included in your car insurance policy may not cover all the passengers travelling in your car. Some will only cover the policyholder, others may include cover for the policyholder’s spouse and any named drivers.

Some policies also place restrictions on age, like only covering people under 80 years old and children aged 16 or under are generally not covered.

You’ll also need to check your policy to see if it covers injuries that happen while participating in sports, such as rally driving.

And it might be the case that the policy only applies if you’re driving in the UK.

Conditions of your cover

You may find that your cover will become invalid in the following circumstances:

  • Death or accident that’s the result of suicide, attempted suicide or self-inflicted injury
  • Injury resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Injury caused by failing to wear a seatbelt
  • Injury or death that occurs more than a set amount of time after the date of the accident, as stipulated in the policy (this could be three or six months, for example)
  • Driving without a valid licence

Will car insurance cover personal accidents as standard?

It’s important to not assume that personal injury cover is already included on your car insurance policy, especially if you don’t have comprehensive cover.

We checked 325 comprehensive car insurance policies on Defaqto and found that 96% included personal accident cover as standard, while a further 1% allowed it to be added as an optional extra.
But it’s a very different story for third party, fire and theft policies. Out of 148 policies checked, only two included personal accident cover as standard. It could be added as an optional extra to 12% of policies.[1]

Can I take personal accident cover out separately?

Yes, you could look at a standalone income protection insurance policy like accident, sickness and unemployment cover (ASU). It pays you a monthly income that’s a proportion of your normal salary (typically up to 70%) if you have to stop working because of an injury, illness or if you’re made involuntary redundant.

It’ll cover you for accidents you may have at work, playing sports, or in everyday life - not just when you’re driving your car.

How much does personal accident cover cost?

Personal accident cover may be included as standard on your car insurance policy or available to buy as an add-on.

The amount you pay will depend on the level of cover you opt for as well as factors like your age. It’s best to compare cover on a range of policies to find the right cover for you.

The average cost of personal accident cover is £30[2].

Remember that this is just an average though – your quotes will depend on other factors like your age, the car you drive, mileage and driving history.

*[2]Average cost of car insurance add-ons bought through Go.Compare in May 2023 - July 2023.

How to make a personal injury claim

Firstly, get medical treatment for yourself or anyone else who's been hurt. Call the emergency services to the scene of the accident.

You’ll need medical documentation from your hospital or doctor’s surgery to support your claim. Keep all your receipts for accident related expenses too (e.g. public transport required for medical appointments and tests; prescription fees or emergency private care).

Contact your insurer as soon as possible to report the accident and begin your claim.

If the accident was the fault of another driver, then your claim will be against their insurer. If it's not another party's fault, you'll need to claim against your own personal accident cover.

As each accident is different, the time it takes for an insurance company to investigate the claim and pay out varies.

Your insurer has up to 8 weeks to resolve your complaint and provide you with their final response. If you're not happy with their response, then you can take it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

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[1]Last checked 3 January 2023

*[2]Average cost of car insurance add-ons bought through Go.Compare in May 2023 - July 2023.