Women make this big mistake when it comes to life insurance

Personal finance

Moms may want to reevaluate their worth in the household.

While the majority of fathers (78%) and mothers (79%) say their own death would have a “substantial” impact on their family’s quality of life, women cite a lower amount of life insurance needed for the family if they were to pass away, according to new research from Haven Life.

“Men are much more likely to be the primary earner, and there are some antiquated viewpoints that life insurance is only needed for the primary earner in the family,” said Brittney Burgett, a spokeswoman for Haven Life, an online provider of term life insurance.

Robert Daly | Caiaimage | Getty Images

The research was based on a survey of of 385 respondents in a targeted population: married or in a lifelong domestic partnership, with a child (or children) under age 18 living at home, and in the age range of 18 to 55.

Of the men surveyed, 79% said they had life insurance, compared with 67% of women. In that group, the amount of coverage through individual policies averaged $423,000 for men and $231,000 for women (a difference of $192,000).

The same disparity existed among respondents without life insurance: The amount that men said they’d buy for themselves averaged $355,000. For women, the average was less than half — $175,000.

“Don’t undervalue how much life insurance a parent needs by basing it solely on income,” Burgett said. “A stay-at-home parent might have no income, but if something happened to them, someone else would have to step in to handle child care and the other tasks that the parent did.”

Some household roles tend to be more evenly divided between men and women, including pet care, managing finances and care of elderly family members, according to the survey.

However, others are less evenly split, such as child care and housekeeping (see chart). Either way, if something happens to the parent who handles those roles, the surviving parent would need a way to cover them.

For instance, the cost of center-based care for an infant ranges from about $5,000 annually in Mississippi to north of $23,000 in Washington, D.C., according to a 2018 report from Child Care Aware of America.

Overall, if a stay-at-home parent were paid for the work they do, they’d earn an annual salary of more than $162,000, according to Salary.com.

The survey also showed that a higher share of men (about 19%) than women (8.5%) think stay-at-home moms do not need life insurance.

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