The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Who Buys Life Insurance in the U.S.? Why? And, When?

October 27, 2014

young American family taking a photographMost households in the U.S. have some life insurance coverage but often do not carry as much coverage as they believe they need, according to research conducted by the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA). The most common reason, LIMRA cited is that the policyholder hasn’t gotten around to shopping for more coverage.

The consumer studies by LIMRA provide a snapshot of life insurance buying habits in the U.S., including people’s concerns and factors that prompt people to buy life insurance to help safeguard their family’s future.


Life Insurance Coverage in the U.S.

Percentage of households that have life insurance: 70%

Percentage of households that have individual life insurance: 44%

Average amount of life insurance coverage for adults: $167,000, which is  $30,000 less than the average coverage amount in 2004.

Number of households that say they need more life insurance: 58 million

Buying Life Insurance

The LIMRA research found that 86 percent of respondents said they’d use the Internet to look into life insurance before buying, but only 16 percent said they’d like to actually buy insurance online. Eight percent of respondents considered themselves very likely or extremely likely to purchase life insurance in the next year.

Of people who have life insurance and say they want to review their coverage, or who thought that they might need more, only half actually shopped for life insurance.

Financial Priorities

Many respondents in the LIMRA study thought that they couldn’t afford life insurance. Among people who didn’t have coverage but believed that they needed it, 86 percent thought that it was too expensive for them to be able to afford.

Most people had other financial priorities. Nearly seven in 10 selected “money for a comfortable retirement” as their top financial priority. Less than 40 percent gave priority to concerns that life insurance coverage traditionally addresses, such as premature death, funeral expenses, and leaving behind an inheritance.

Everyday expenses such as energy costs, food, clothing and transportation were the most heavily cited reasons for limiting people’s ability to save toward their financial goals.

Family Life

Life events such as getting married, having children or buying a house motivated 41 percent of respondents to shop for life insurance.

In four out of 10 households that have children, the mother was either the only income earner or the primary earner. On average, women had 69 percent of the amount of life insurance coverage that men had.


Is life insurance – or increasing your coverage – too expensive for you? To find out if you guessed right, click here for a fast, free, online quote.

Life insurance is often more affordable than people think, and once you check purchasing coverage off of your to-do list, you will gain peace of mind in knowing that their family’s financial future is more secure. Or, if you prefer to find out from a real live person, call Gerber Life Insurance Company at 1-800-704-2180 and ask our helpful and friendly representatives.

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