Coverage shortfall presents new opportunity for advisors

New data suggests that women are especially vulnerable financially and life insurance is a key part of the solution

A NerdWallet survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. has found some troubling statistics when it comes to the financial preparedness of women at the time at spouse dies.
“The average life expectancy of Americans is at historic highs, and women are leading the way — now outliving men by an average of nearly five years,” says John Kuo, senior strategy analyst at NerdWallet. “Couples appear ill-prepared to face this reality with sufficient life insurance coverage.”
According to NerdWallet, 43% of those surveyed who owned life insurance felt they’d be financially unprepared should their spouse die. Although 67% of those surveyed had insurance coverage on at least one spouse, most are still very concerned about paying the bills upon the death of their spouse.
Women are especially concerned about their future with 49% suggesting that mortgage payments, college tuition and bill paying would be adversely affected compared to 37% of men. Interestingly, the survey also found that more women than men would find it difficult to find household financial documents in an emergency.
“This is an area where the longevity gap — which favors women — collides with the pay gap, where men earn more,” says Kuo. “The result is that women are often more financially vulnerable when their spouse dies.”
While increased life insurance coverage isn’t the complete solution, the survey results do suggest that this would at least reduce the stress felt by the surviving spouse.’s recent survey on life insurance coverage found that only 2% of Americans have life insurance coverage of $1 million or more with almost half the population not having enough.