An estimated 1.6 million (21%) British parents haven't got life insurance, potentially because they can't deal with thoughts of their own death, according to research from the University of Sheffield and comparethemarket.com.
The study alluded to this fear which psychologists are calling ‘Terror management theory', causing the human brain to naturally suppress thoughts of death so quickly that they don't even surface - creating a disconnect that prevents action.
The consequent inability to lessen the financial impact of death is potentially putting children at risk and would lead 1.78 million (23%) of families to be unable to cover rent / mortgage within one month.
The poll also found that nearly a third (31%) of uninsured parents would be more likely to take up a life policy it if it was renamed ‘Love Insurance', alluding to any payout being a gift of ‘love' rather than a payout in the event of someone losing their life.
The findings come from a study of 2,000 parents by the Institute of Inertia - a partnership between comparethemarket.com and the University of Sheffield.
The researh also revealed that 47% (3.63 million) British parents do not have life insurance and 44% have never discussed the financial implications of death with their partner.
The research found many British families would significantly struggle if tragedy caused the loss of the main breadwinner:
· 1.78 million (23%) would not be able to cover the rent/mortgage within one month
· 4.64 million (60%) would need additional government benefits within four weeks of their partner's death
· 2.89 million (37%) would need to use food banks within four weeks of their partner's death.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of parents say they don't have a policy because they wouldn't personally benefit and 36% have little to no understanding of what life insurance represents.
The same poll found that nearly a third (31%) of uninsured parents would be more likely to take up a life policy it if it was renamed ‘Love Insurance', alluding to any payout being a gift of ‘love' rather than a payout in the event of someone losing their life.
Dr Thomas Webb, a social psychologist at the University of Sheffield and Chair of the Institute of Inertia, said: "Through this study, the Institute of Inertia has highlighted an opportunity to reposition life insurance as a gift of love in order to help overcome the conscious and unconscious barriers that prevent consumers from protecting their families.
"Planning for the things we can't control may seem like a futile exercise, but not when you are actually ensuring that your family is taken care of in the unlikely event of your sudden death."
Simon McCulloch, Director of Insurance at comparethemarket.com, said: "It is common human behaviour to avoid thinking about mortality, but this can often contradict our instincts to protect those we care for the most: our families.
"There seems to be a significant gap in understanding the benefits of life insurance and how it would help support a bereaved family. Reframing life insurance could ensure more families are protected against the financial burden that is often associated with tragedy. Life insurance gives peace of mind to the living and allows parents to show their love and care posthumously."