Women Are Less Likely to Have Life Insurance Than Men. Here Are 3 Reasons They Aren't Buying It

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  • New data reveals that men are more likely than women to have life insurance.
  • The reality is that it's important to put coverage in place no matter your gender.

Why aren't women buying life insurance? One survey has the answer.

Many of us are familiar with the gender pay gap, where men commonly outearn women with similar qualifications. Well, apparently there's a life insurance gap, too.

According to a recent survey by Life Happens, 53% of men report having a life insurance policy in place, compared to 46% of women. And there are reasons women remain uninsured. Here are three that were recently cited.

1. It’s too expensive

For 39% of uninsured women surveyed, the reason for not getting life insurance boils down to cost. But actually, there's an easy way to make life insurance more affordable, and it's choosing a term life policy over a whole life policy.

With a term life policy, you're covered for a specific time period only. That may be 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years. Also, your life insurance policy won't accumulate any sort of cash value. If you buy a 30-year term policy and you don't pass away during that time, your policy won't be worth anything once it expires.

Whole life insurance, on the other hand, covers you for the rest of your life and does accumulate a cash value. But whole life insurance can be considerably more expensive than term life insurance, to the point where it's just not affordable for a lot of people. And so if cost has been a barrier to getting coverage, it pays to look at term life insurance.

2. I have other financial priorities right now

A good 37% of uninsured women said they have other priorities that take precedence over buying life insurance. That's understandable. If you have costly credit card debt, for example, you may want to knock out your balance before spending money on life insurance premiums.

But remember, you never know when a tragic accident or illness might occur, and so life insurance is the sort of expense you really can't afford to put off. Imagine you're delaying the purchase of life insurance to pay down a $5,000 credit card balance. If you were to pass away, leaving your family without your income, they might stand to lose a lot more than $5,000.

3. I’m not sure how much or what type to buy

For 22% of uninsured women, not knowing which type of coverage and how much to buy has been a barrier to getting life insurance. As far as coverage type goes, we just discussed the benefits of term life insurance over whole life. As far as what benefit to pay for, it really depends. But a good rule of thumb is to secure enough coverage to replace 10 to 12 times your annual income.

That said, there are different formulas you can use. If you can't afford a lot of insurance, you may decide to instead buy a policy that will replace a few years of income plus funeral expenses and existing debts. But either way, you have options if you're on a budget.

Life insurance is an important thing to have. If you've been holding off on getting it, it pays to bump it up on your list of priorities -- especially if you have several people in your life who depend on you financially.

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