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Do you need life insurance?

Life insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but it can offer some comfort that your loved ones will be taken care of, financially, if you pass away.

New research on behalf of HSBC reveals two in five people in the UK have life insurance (43%), with another one in five (20%) saying they have critical illness protection.

Half of Brits (50%) who decide against getting life insurance blame rising living costs and the need to tighten their budget. However, despite those financial concerns, one in five people in the UK without life insurance (20%) agree it’s a good way to make sure they’re looking after their families.

Brits with a policy said the main reasons they were prompted to get life insurance were:

  • buying a home (19%)
  • having a child (14%)
  • planning for funeral costs (10%)
  • retirement planning (9%)

Here, we look at when you may, and may not, need life cover to help you decide if it’s right for you.

Reasons why you may need to get life insurance

It’s worth considering life insurance if you have people who depend on you financially, such as:

  • a partner who relies on your income or your contribution to the household
  • children or young dependents
  • other dependents who rely on you as a caregiver

Having life insurance means that your family will receive money after you’re gone. This money can help take care of them at a difficult time. The money could be used to: 

  • cover new costs, such as childcare
  • replace your income so your family can continue to pay the household bills
  • pay off big debts like a mortgage

Every family’s circumstances are different. It’s important to think about how yours would change if you were no longer around, as hard as that may be.

When you may not need life insurance

You may not need life insurance if:

  • you’re single and have no dependents
  • your partner earns enough money for the family to live on and can afford to pay for any new costs they may face, such as childcare
  • you already have enough cover in place

If you’re not the main earner of your household, you may think you don’t need life insurance. But don’t overlook your contribution. 

For example, if you’re a stay-at-home parent – would your partner need to pay for childcare so they could continue to go to work? According to the MoneyHelper, the average cost of sending a child under 2 to nursery in the UK is:

  • £138 per week – part-time (25 hours)
  • £264 per week – full-time (50 hours)

Do you already have life insurance?

You may already have some life insurance through your employer. If so, check what’s included to see if you need extra cover. 

Think about how much cover it gives and for how long. Does the term match how long you will need it for? You also need to consider what would happen if you changed jobs, as you’ll no longer be covered through your employer.

Talk to loved ones

Talking to loved ones about financial arrangements after you pass away is a difficult subject.

It’s not something we like to think about, but it’s really important to be open and practical so you all know what the long-term plan is. 

Start having conversations about how your family will manage financially if you, or your partner, passed away. It can help you understand if you should get life insurance – and how much cover is required

If you’re unsure about what’s right for you, our protection advisers can help you decide.

Other things to think about

The more practical discussions you can have with your family now, the better – it can make a difficult time just that little bit easier.  

So, while you’re on the subject, you may want to make sure your family knows:

  • where they can find a copy of your will
  • contact details for executors and the solicitor
  • details of any financial plans, policies and covers
  • how to get hold of other important paperwork, such as property deeds, bank statements and pension statements
  • if there are any joint debts that may need to be settled, such as credit cards or loans

It’s not easy to think about life insurance and what will happen after you’re gone. It’s a selfless act to think of others without any benefit to yourself. But it can make a world of difference to your loved ones and give them one less thing to worry about. 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Sticky and Censuswide for HSBC. Total sample size was 2,008 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2 to 8 December 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).