Advertising is big business, and many companies focus their budget on making memorable commercials; these commercials sometimes break away to become pop culture icons in their own right. Aflac is one such company. Most people now readily associate the brand with the talking white duck, although not all people know exactly what Aflac is or what services it provides. What type of insurance does Aflac carry? What does it do? Do you need a policy with Aflac?

Who is Aflac?

Aflac stands for American Family Life Assurance Company. Initially founded 1955 as a life insurance provider, the company quickly shifted its attention to cancer insurance and extended health benefits. Now many individuals purchase an Aflac policy through their employer as a payroll deduction. Aflac offers cancer insurance, disability insurance and other types of supplemental medical insurance. It is currently the largest provider of supplemental health coverage in the country and in Japan, where it also operates.

Aflac is best known for its commercials featuring a talking white duck. The duck first appeared in 1999 in a series of commercials where prospective policyholders would be seen complaining about their medical concerns and wishing there was some way they could be paid for expenses that their medical coverage would not pay for; a white duck would continuously quack “Aflac” without notice, growing more and more exasperated at being annoyed.

There have been over 30 Aflac duck commercials released since then. The Aflac duck was initially voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, but was changed to Daniel McKeague in 2011. Modern Aflac commercials incorporate the duck in more and more outlandish situations, including providing counterpoint to a beatboxing pigeon.

What is Supplemental Insurance?

In the event that you become injured or seriously ill, supplemental insurance pays for expenses not covered by your regular health insurance policy. For example, an Aflac policy will pay to supplement your income if you must miss work for an extended period due to a medical problem. It will also pay for costs associated with treatment, such as travel expenses to a specialist or certain medical expenses not paid by your insurance.

If you are involved in an auto accident and your medical expenses are not paid through your auto insurance, Aflac or a similar supplemental health policy may be able to cover your doctor’s bills. Of course, what your insurance covers is dependent on what type of coverage you purchase from the company. If you carry cancer insurance only, for example, the policy will only provide extended medical benefits in the event that you become diagnosed with cancer; it will not pay for short term disability caused by other types of medical issues.

What makes Aflac unique is that it pays benefits directly to the insured rather than paying the medical providers. Unlike most health insurance providers, which deal with doctors and hospitals for billing, Aflac provides payments to the insured to use for any appropriate expenses. For individuals suffering from serious medical conditions, this extra money can be extremely helpful.

Does Aflac sell car insurance?

Aflac does not offer car insurance coverage. Only life and extended medical benefits are available through Aflac. In the event of a severe accident with ongoing injuries, your car insurance company may contact Aflac to pursue extended health benefits, but that is the extent of the relation between Aflac and auto insurance.

Recently, Allstate Insurance has begun selling extended health benefits. Allstate is a major insurer of automobiles and homes, and also provides coverage for life insurance and commercial properties. The extended health benefits are available to corporations, and Allstate has already purchased some of Aflac’s corporate accounts. Therefore if you previously had Aflac through your employer, your extended health benefits may now be paid by Allstate.

As cancer insurance and other types of extended medical benefits begin to gain in popularity, more auto insurance companies may begin to offer this type of coverage. At this time, Aflac still holds the vast majority of these policies, but the market may become diversified in the future as competition begins to intensify.

Should I buy Extended Health Coverage?

Many companies provide affordable extended health benefits through payroll deductions. You can purchase an Aflac policy alongside your regular medical policy, usually for an affordable rate, and carry coverage for emergencies. Many people appreciate the security that extended medical benefits provides.

Some people believe that extended medical benefits are a waste of money that would be better if it were saved or invested. These people believe that the odds of qualifying for extended medical coverage are so low that the vast majority of insureds would never need to use the policy.

Whether or not you decide to buy extended medical benefits through your employer or independently, it’s a good idea to know exactly what is covered under this type of policy and how much it would be to obtain coverage for yourself or your family. By obtaining a free quote, you can decide if it is worthwhile to purchase a policy from Aflac. An insurance representative will be happy to discuss the options with you when you call the company; together, you can decide what the best choice is for you and your family’s needs.