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While we're striving towards a more equal society, statistics show that men still form the majority of main breadwinners, which is why the focus has been on them to get things such as life insurance, income protection and/or critical illness cover. However, recent research suggests that households would only be able to pay the bills for seven months should something happen to the lady of the house.
The survey from Scottish Widows found that women are underestimating the importance of their role in the household, spending 23 hours per week on childcare and chores outside of their normal working hours. These are important tasks which would be costly to get done with paid support should something happen to the main caregiver – so costly, in fact, that many households would not be able to afford it.
As a result, 76% of women said that their household would struggle to fulfil everyday responsibilities or pay bills if they were to fall ill or die. Women are also less likely to believe that they can live on one income, with 51% believing they can compared with 65% of men.
Despite this outlook, however, 34% of women say they've not taken out life insurance because they don't think they need it, or it's not a priority, while 9% say they'd rather risk not having critical illness cover than take out a policy.
Instead, 25% of women are planning to rely on state benefits should they or their partner be unable to work, with 54% not even having a will or guardianship arrangement in place. Given changes to the Bereavement Support Payment system, this is a highly risky gamble, especially for cohabitees.
What's more, women seem to place a lot more value on their possessions than on their life or health, with 81% having some sort of possessions insurance in place, but only 33% having cover for their own life and health.
Jackie Leiper, protection director at Scottish Widows, commented: "One of the most important things a woman can give her family is security, but financial protection is still too far down the priority list because women simply don't recognise their own value."
Jackie continued: "It's crucial that everyone – no matter what stage of life they're at – considers whether they have the right protection in place to ensure their loved ones aren't left coping with financial strain on top of emotional trauma if the worst were to happen. And that applies to working women and full-time mums alike. We all need to recognise the monetary value of women's time and effort in the household, and to safeguard it accordingly."
So, regardless of your gender, if you have people who are depending on you, consider taking out some form of life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, or combination thereof. It may turn out to be cheaper than you'd think, especially if you combine your cover, and could give your family some well-deserved peace of mind.
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