Eight out of ten Britons consider broadband essential, compared to just under four in ten (39%) who consider protection to be essential, a survey has found.
Mobile phones were essential for 71% of those surveyed, compared to 28% who thought financial security for dependents if they became critically ill was essential.
Having financial security if a partner was unable to work was considered a priority for 18% of those surveyed in the poll of 5,144 adults, conducted by YouGov for the Scottish Widows Protection Report.
Life insurance was the most commonly held product, 33% of those surveyed having a policy, compared to 8% for critical illness (CI) cover and 4% for income protection (IP).
Those with mortgages were most likely to have protection products, although among those aged 45-54 42% had a mortgage while 43% had life insurance.
The 35-44 age group were most likely to have CI and IP policies, with 17% having CI and 7% of those having IP.
In the 45+ age groups those surveyed were more likely to have life insurance than a mortgage, however those over 55 were less likely than average to have CI or IP policies.
More than a third (35%) had non-mortgage debt and just under a quarter said they either didn't know how long they'd manage or would run out of money within five months if they lost a significant income.
Esther Dijkstra, head of protection at Scottish Widows, said: "The Mortgage Market Review has changed the way lenders look at our lifestyle and expenditure.
"This greater scrutiny, along with more people taking mortgages and potentially longer repayment terms means that we should be reassessing our financial priorities.
"Yet more people pay attention to making sure their possessions are insured than their own lives.
"Although short-term priorities tend to dominate when it comes to the way we assess our needs and spending, it is more important now than ever to have an appropriate plan in place at the right time to protect our homes and families."