Many of America’s parents are leaving their children unprotected against financial loss stemming from the death of a household breadwinner.

That’s the sobering conclusion to be drawn from a new survey by Bankrate.com. Conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International (PSRAI), the survey reveals that nearly 4 in 10 Americans with children under age 18 (37 percent) don’t have life insurance. And about one-third of the parents who do have insurance, have no more than $100,000 of protection.

“These numbers mean that over 20 million households with dependent children either don’t have any life insurance or don’t have nearly enough,” said Doug Whiteman, Bankrate.com’s insurance analyst.

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 42 percent of Americans lack life insurance and about half of those who have it are covered for $100,000 or less.

  • 1 in 4 insured people with annual household income of $75,000-plus have $100,000 or less in coverage.

  • More than 1 in 10 women (11 percent) and 5 percent of men say they have life insurance, but they don’t know how much.

View the charts highlighting findings from the survey on the next page.