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How Your Gender Affects Your Life Insurance Rates, and Why Women Need Coverage Too

December 24, 2015

life insurance rates cheaper for women
We are all aware of the much publicized gender gaps that exist in just about every professional arena there is, most notably: employment, compensation and employee benefits. But there is another gender gap that doesn’t get nearly as much attention, and that’s the insurance gender gap.

When it comes to things like health insurance and disability insurance rates, this gap tends to favor men—women generally pay higher rates for health and disability insurance due to the risk factors related to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the fact that women tend to visit their doctors more often than men, thus using their insurance more often. However, when it comes to life insurance, women actually pay less for their premiums, on average, than their male counterparts.

Why is life insurance cheaper for women?

Like almost everything insurance-related, it all comes down to statistics. For instance, on average, women live about 5% longer than men. And, they are also statistically three times more likely to visit the doctor at the first indication of a health issue, whereas men are more likely to wait until a health problem becomes more severe before finally visiting a doctor. Since life insurance providers take these statistical factors into account, being a woman is likely to lower your premiums right off the bat – provided, of course, that you are not a heavy smoker, drinker, or partake in other particularly risky activities.

Women are still underinsured

You would think that since policies tend to be less expensive for women, more women would be covered, but that simply isn’t the case. In fact, even though women make up roughly 49% of the American workforce, only about 43% of working women in the U.S. have life insurance policy. What’s more, even those who do have coverage are often woefully underinsured. Women have an average of $129,800 of individual life insurance coverage, whereas the average for men sits at around $187,100.

Why do women need life insurance?

Quite simply, women continue to make up a greater and greater share of the workplace than ever before, and their coverage should reflect that. Women are now the primary breadwinners in about 40% of households nationwide. And women bring home at least 25 percent of the family’s earnings in 60% of American households. When it comes to caring for a family, these are significant numbers.

Could you support your family if 25% of your income suddenly disappeared? If you are responsible for some, or most of your family’s income, having a good life insurance policy can provide a crucial safety net in the event of tragedy.

What about stay-at-home moms?

It is a common misconception that if you don’t earn an income, you don’t need coverage. This is because many people tend to discount the monetary value of the work involved with being a stay-at-home mom. It is a full-time job, plain and simple. It’s physically and mentally taxing, and involves long hours.

Consider the daycare and childcare costs your family saves as a result of one person staying home to take care of young kids. Then consider what might happen if that person was to pass away without any sort of coverage. With a life insurance policy in place, your spouse would have the extra money he or she needs to pay for necessary childcare services and/or take some time off work to care for the kids personally.

What about single women?

Life insurance can be absolutely vital for single women in certain circumstances. For single mothers with young children, life insurance will provide protection for your kids should you happen to pass away (if they’re really young you might consider making your benefits payable to a trust rather than directly to your children). Similarly, if you are caring for any other dependents (elderly parents, a disabled sibling, etc.) life insurance is probably a good idea. But, if you are single, debt-free and have zero dependents, you probably don’t need coverage for the time being.

In financial matters, it is important to be informed about your options. A loss of a major source of household income can be financially devastating for the grieving loved ones you leave behind. Get started with an online life insurance quote today to see life insurance coverage you may be able to obtain.