Life insurance helps protect the financial well-being of the people you love, providing them with some security even if you aren't around to take care of them.
But there is a life insurance gap. Women are significantly less likely to have life insurance than men, and confusion and uncertainty about life insurance play a role in that disparity.
Here's what to know about life insurance for women, and why women need coverage.
How many women are insured?
According to Life Insurance and Market Research Association's (LIMRA) 2023 Insurance Barometer Study, 49% of women in the United States have life insurance compared to 55% of men. The gender gap in life insurance ownership has persisted for the entire 13 years since the inaugural Barometer Study. Estimates are over 100 million Americans don't have the coverage they need, and women make up a significant portion of that number.
When it comes to women and life insurance, there are many reasons women don't purchase coverage, such as not being the primary breadwinner. But, according to LIMRA, some of the most common reasons include:
- Cost: Women are more likely than men to overestimate the cost of life insurance. While some women may worry about the coverage cost, there are many types of life insurance policies available, fitting virtually any budget.
- Other financial needs: Some cite other financial priorities, such as saving for retirement, instead, even though life insurance is a need separate from that of a retirement plan.
- Confusion: There's also a lack of education about life insurance. As a result, many women may not be fully aware of the benefits of life insurance.
Tools such as life insurance calculators can run the numbers and better understand your needs. That can help you determine which type of coverage is best for you.
What happens if someone doesn't have life insurance?
One of the biggest reasons why women need life insurance is if you decide to try and get by without it, it may significantly impact your family's finances. Life insurance is important because it helps provide financial protection for your family. Your loved ones can use your death benefit to help replace your income, cover a mortgage, pay off debts, and avoid major changes to their lifestyle.
However, without coverage, your loved ones may feel financial insecurity.
If you're a single mother or the breadwinner in your family and don't have coverage, your family may struggle to meet their financial needs if you die unexpectedly. Financial protection matters for single women too. You may ask, why would a single person need life insurance? Well, beyond financial security, your death benefit can help your parents or siblings cover your funeral expenses.
Why women can benefit from life insurance
Women can benefit from life insurance just as men can, but sometimes there are misconceptions that life insurance isn't necessary if a woman makes less or doesn't work. However, as women make gains in the workforce, get raises, and become business owners, there are several reasons why women need life insurance.
- If you own a business, life insurance can help keep your business operating, pay off outstanding debts, or replace your salary.
- If your family depends on your income, they may struggle financially without your income, even if you aren't the primary earner.
- If you have a mortgage or other debts, life insurance can help your loved ones pay them off. A life insurance death benefit can also help fund educational expenses.
Many women may not purchase a policy because they are stay-at-home parents and their spouse is the breadwinner. But that discounts the significant financial value stay-at-home parents provide to the family. If you were to pass, your spouse would need to cover the cost to replace all you do for your family. Your life insurance can help pay for those needs.
Is life insurance cheaper for women?
A variety of factors go into determining the cost of your life insurance premium. So, who pays more for life insurance by age, male or female? Typically, life insurance rates are lower for women than man, considering similar policies and health status.
In general, women tend to live longer than men. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average woman can expect to live a little more than five years longer than a man. Because of that, life insurance premiums tend to be cheaper for women if all else is equal.
Can women get life insurance while pregnant?
Women can purchase life insurance coverage while pregnant. In general, you'll find the application process will move more quickly if you are in your first trimester, don't have any pre-existing conditions, and haven't had any previous complications with pregnancy.
If you're later in your pregnancy or have had complications during past pregnancies, you may need to wait until after the baby is born for your coverage to begin or pay higher premiums.
So, if you're thinking about growing your family and reviewing the financial considerations that come with it, you may want to add life insurance to the list.
Closing the life insurance gap
Gender imbalances impact many areas of life, and that includes women and insurance coverage. So it's essential to educate and empower women in their financial lives. Learning the basics of life insurance can help.
Every woman plays an essential role in her household, so taking a proactive role in protecting and providing for your loved one's matters. Life insurance is a tool that can help create financial stability, reduce risk, and let your family know you're still looking out for their needs even after you're gone.
Ready to learn more about your life insurance options? Get started with a free-term life quote.