When you’re covered by ACC, and when you’re not
Injuries caused by accidents
What kinds of things does “accident” cover?
An “accident” means a specific event where your body is subject to some force or resistance outside your body (including when you’re injured in a fall), or where you move suddenly to avoid an external force or resistance, or where you twist your body in some way.
The term “accident” also includes:
- breathing in or swallowing a gas, liquid or foreign object on one specific occasion (long-term exposure at work to harmful substances like asbestos can also be covered under a separate ACC category (see: “Conditions caused gradually: Covered only if work-related”)
- burns, or exposure to radiation or rays on one specific occasion (but usually not sunburn: see below, “What aren’t “accidents”?”)
- absorbing chemicals through your skin over a period of up to one month
- a maternal birth injury that occurs during labour and childbirth (see below).
What aren’t “accidents”?
The following things aren’t “accidents” and won’t be covered by ACC:
- injuries not caused by any specific event – for example, if you develop muscle pain after a long drive
- injuries like slipped discs that are caused by sneezing or coughing fits (because they’re caused by forces inside your body, not external forces)
- catching common illnesses like colds or flu by breathing in viruses or bacteria
- sunburn, hypothermia and other conditions caused by exposure to the elements (sun, rain, cold, wind and so on), unless your normal activities are restricted by the condition for at least a month
- damage to your teeth or dentures (false teeth) caused by natural use of those teeth or dentures. So if you break a tooth while eating, ACC won’t cover you.