Life insurance: it’s necessary, but most of us don’t enjoy buying it. Purchasing a policy can bring to mind worst case scenarios that may be difficult to think about. The negative associations people often have towards life insurance can lead to hasty decisions so they “just get it over with.” But this less than careful planning can leave people vulnerable to being underinsured—having less cover than they actually need.
Underinsurance is a big problem in New Zealand. Kiwis of all ages and income levels are underestimating the amount of life insurance cover they may need, creating a gap estimated at $195 billion.1 Women are especially likely to fall into the underinsured category. But why?
Overworked, but undervalued
Despite advances in equality, women worldwide still devote more hours to housework than men. Women in the Asia-Pacific region clock an average of four hours each day, whilst men average less than two.2 Women are also more likely to be their family’s primary caregiver3, shouldering much of their household’s physical and emotional workload.
Salary.com, an American job site, estimated in 2016 that the work done by stay-at-home mums is worth around $196,000 NZD per year! Even women with full-time careers outside the home could be due a “mummy bonus,” as working women are also responsible for the majority of housework and childcare.2
The work women do in the home is important. And yet, it is still undervalued, even by women themselves. A similar salary study4 found that only 7% of women thought the job mums do is worth a six-figure salary. Eleven percent valued household work at just $10,000 per year. This undervaluing translates to life insurance. Women generally have lower amounts of life cover compared to their income than men do, even amongst higher paid women.1
Whether you work outside the home or as a stay-at-home mum, the contribution you make is in many ways unmeasurable. However, your family would certainly feel the impact if you were no longer able to support them.
Two income households would miss the extra money, even if you’re not the primary breadwinner. But beyond a traditional salary, the financial contribution women make to the home is often overlooked. Hiring someone to do jobs such as childcare, cooking, housekeeping, and shopping would cost a lot if you were unable to perform these tasks.
A serious injury or untimely death can also take an emotional toll on families. Whilst money can never erase the pain, it can help people cope by covering mental health services or in-home nursing fees. It could also help provide for household expenses, giving your loved ones less to worry about during a trying time.
Life insurance is one way to value your contribution to the household and help protect your family’s financial future. Whether you earn a paycheck or keep the home running smoothly—or both!—life cover may be an important part of your financial planning.
A life insurance payout could help cover anything from lost income to expenses such as after school care, housekeeping or takeaway meals during busy times of the year. Many policies cover more than just death by providing living benefits that are paid out whilst you’re still alive. These can include diagnosis of a terminal illness or if you suffer a serious injury.
And there’s a silver lining when it comes to women and life insurance: it’s typically less expensive for women than for men! A number of factors help women take advantage of lower premiums, including longer life expectancy and higher probabilities of seeking preventative medical care.
Momentum Life can help
Purchasing life insurance is a big decision, but Momentum Life is here to help. Our agents can provide an obligation-free quote. Providing peace of mind to your family could be as easy a simple phone call.
1. Massey University, Exploring Underinsurance within New Zealand. 2011
2. Sydney Morning Herald, Mummy tracked: Why women still do many more unpaid chores than men. Feb 2016.
3. Stats NZ, Gender and unpaid work: findings from the Time Use Survey. July 2001.
4. Business Insider Australia, Stay-At-Home Mums are Completely Underestimating Their Market Value. May 2013.