Typical U.S. adults think family breadwinners should have an average of about $589,000 in life insurance coverage but have only $300,000 in coverage.

Researchers at New York Life Insurance Company, New York, have publishing that finding in a summary of results from a recent telephone survey of 1,003 U.S. adults ages 25 and older who have dependents and also have annual household incomes over $50,000.

Researchers asked the participants to estimate how much coverage their families would really need, rather than using the usual rules of thumb to determine how much coverage the participants might need.

The difference between the median estimated coverage need and the median amount of coverage that the participants actually had suggests that the typical U.S. family faces a coverage gap of about 49%, the New York Life researchers write.

Despite the size of the gap, 80% of the participants said they are at least somewhat confident that they have enough life coverage, and 64% said their families’ standard of living would not decline if the breadwinner died.

In reality, the survey results suggest that the typical household breadwinner had only enough coverage to cover 4 years of expenses, the researchers report.

Only 43% of parents who stay home to rear children have individual life insurance, and the median value of those parents’ death benefits is just $50,000, the researchers report.