When it comes to being fiscally responsible, millennials tend to get a bad rap. But in reality, younger workers are ahead of the game in many financial regards. A good 80% of millennials follow a budget, compared with just about 40% of the general population. And 51% have money set aside for emergencies. But if there's one area where millennials are falling short, it's life insurance.

A frightening 75% of millennial parents are currently without life insurance, according to a study conducted by online platform Bestow. And a big reason boils down to not wanting to research it. In fact, 67% of young parents claim they don't have time to sift through their options, and millennials on a whole aren't willing to spend more than two hours on the process.

Young, smiling couple seated together with boy, girl, and dog


Clearly, this data is problematic for a couple of reasons. First, regardless of age, it's a dangerous idea for parents to go without life insurance. But secondly, because life insurance can be a sizable expense, to expect to sink two hours or less into researching it is just plain unrealistic. And the sooner more young parents realize all of this, the better.

You need life insurance

Let's be clear about one thing: If you have children, then you absolutely need life insurance. There's no question about it. What you will need to determine, however, is how much coverage to purchase, and that's not something that's automatically clear cut. You might think a $500,000 death benefit will suffice in protecting your family, but that may not cut it if your goal is to leave behind enough money to pay for your kids' college education.

Of course, the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premium costs will be, so that's something you'll need to weigh as well. Furthermore, don't make the mistake of assuming that if one parent is a full-time caregiver, he or she doesn't need insurance. If something happens to that parent, the surviving one will need to pay for child care to work -- and that's a cost life insurance can help absorb.

Now the good news is that if you're younger, you have a pretty good shot at scoring a decent premium rate -- assuming you don't have any major health issues. That's just another reason why it pays to get moving on insurance -- that, and you never know when the unexpected might occur. It's a hard thing to think about, but nobody is immune to tragedy.

Which type of life insurance is right for you?

Hopefully, by now you're convinced that you need a life insurance policy. The question is: Should you buy term life insurance, or whole life insurance?

Term life insurance provides coverage for a specified period of time, and as such, it's generally much less expensive than whole life insurance. On the other hand, term life policies don't accumulate any cash value over time, whereas whole policies do. This means that if you don't end up passing away before the end of your policy's term (which is what you want, of course), your family doesn't get any financial benefit from that policy (though you get the benefit of having lived, so there's that).

Whole life insurance, on the other hand, provides coverage for your entire life. Furthermore, whole life insurance policies accumulate cash value, which means you can cash one out at any time and collect a lump sum instead of a death benefit. Why might you do that? Say you're 65, retired, and your kids are grown adults in good financial shape. You might choose to utilize that cash rather than wait for your family to get it after you die.

The downside of whole life policies, of course, is that they're more expensive than term policies. On the other hand, some people use them as investments, or as a means of forced savings, so if you can swing the higher premiums, you'll have more flexibility down the line.

No matter what type of life insurance you choose to get, the key is to secure coverage sooner rather than later. Being young doesn't make you invincible, and there's no reason your children should have to suffer financially if the unspeakable does indeed come to be.