September 7, 2012

Insurance Ownership Increases Feeling of Financial Security

Consumers still need help determining how much coverage they need

Purchasing insurance policies helps Americans feel more financially secure, a poll conducted in August by Northwestern Mutual found. More than two-thirds of people who own auto, health, homeowners or renters, or life insurance say owning insurance makes them feel more secure, according to results released on Tuesday.

"Individuals are increasingly looking at their long-term financial situation as one part building savings and assets, and one part protecting those savings and assets. Taking this dual approach is what allows these individuals to feel confident about their financial security," David Simbro, senior vice president for Northwestern Mutual, said in a statement. "The interesting point about life insurance, in particular, is that it stands alone in its flexibility to both address critical risks and help meet long-term financial goals."

Major life events are the most common catalyst for people who purchase life insurance. Almost a third of respondents said they purchased a policy after getting married, while 22% said they bought it after the birth of a child. One-quarter said they purchased life insurance as part of their retirement planning.

However, some people may need help determining how much coverage to purchase. One-third said they weren’t sure what they needed to cover. Eleven percent didn’t include the cost of childcare in their estimate for how much their loved ones would need if they passed on, and 15% didn’t include education costs.

“There are many factors that impact what type and how much insurance you need, and getting it right for your personal situation is best accomplished via a thoughtful planning process with the help of a trusted financial professional," Simbro added.

While 30% of respondents said that life insurance provides the greatest peace of mind knowing their family would be provided for following their death, more than half said this was their main motivation in purchasing a policy. Other uses, such as funding an inheritance, were far less common, with just 6% saying they bought a policy to do so.

“Death benefit needs are often the primary purchase motivation, but the living benefits of permanent life insurance are often more deeply understood and appreciated once coverage is owned,” Simbro told AdvisorOne by e-mail.

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