American Women and Insurance – 2021 Survey

by Ladder Team

As a historic International Women’s Month comes to a close – one that marks a year since COVID-19 was declared an international pandemic – and we look ahead to Financial Literacy Month next week, Ladder releases its new survey on American Women and Insurance.

The events of the past year have impacted each and every one of us, but women perhaps most of all as an unprecedented number disappeared from the workforce, resulting in what many have dubbed a “she-cession.” According to the National Women’s Law Center, since the pandemic started, women have lost more than 5.4 million jobs, with many also disproportionately losing the long-term financial security that comes in the form of benefits like access to a retirement plan and employer-sponsored life insurance.

Despite the events of the past year, however, or perhaps due to them, 38% of women reported spending more time than usual thinking about long-term financial security since the start of the pandemic.

However, while findings indicate that American women have a renewed focus on long-term financial security, there is still work to be done to get there.

  • 40% of women either don’t have, or don’t know if they have, life insurance
  • Of those who do not have life insurance, 43% have thought about getting it

What matters most?

For women who have life insurance, peace of mind ranked as most important to them.

  • 28% reported getting life insurance for peace of mind
  • 27% reported getting life insurance to provide financial security for their partner/spouse
  • 27% reported getting life insurance to provide financial security for their children
  • 5% reported getting life insurance to provide financial security for someone else besides their partner/spouse or children

With women reporting “peace of mind” as their number one reason for getting life insurance in our survey, and naming “security” among the top 5 reasons money is important to them in a recent Ellevest survey, it’s clear that protecting their financial lives is just as important as building it.

What are the roadblocks?

Perhaps the biggest myth for women to shake is the belief that secondary earners and stay-at-home partners don’t need life insurance. 

  • 70% of married women in our survey reported being either the secondary earner or a stay-at-home partner
  • 38% of women think that secondary earners and stay-at-home partners don’t need life insurance

While life insurance is often thought of as something that could help replace income, it’s crucial to remember that child care and the other household tasks that the partner handled would have to be taken care of by someone else if the worst were to happen. And that work could be very expensive.

Salary.com put a figure on it, valuing the profession of stay-at-home parent in 2019 at $178,201 a year.

While paying out that kind of salary isn’t feasible for most, one thing that is within your reach is life insurance. After all, if a stay-at-home parent’s time and efforts have significant value, then their absence would be a financial, as well as emotional, hit. Viewed through that lens, life insurance absolutely makes sense for stay-at-home parents.

As we move forward into Financial Literacy Month, let’s celebrate the newfound focus we’re putting on long-term financial stability, and take steps to build that strong foundation more and more of us are trying to achieve.

Findings based on a March 2021 survey of 497 American women respondents ages 18 – 64.