Women generally insure themselves for much smaller sums than men, resulting in an insurance gender gap, although both buy life insurance and critical illness cover in roughly equal numbers.

The average level of cover for a man’s life insurance policy is around £130,000, but only around £85,000 for women’s policies, according to an analysis of policies by software company IRESS. The gender insurance gap is even larger with critical illness policies, which pay out if you are diagnosed with one of the listed critical conditions. Here, the average cover taken out by women is, around half the average cover for men.

On average, women earn less than men, by about 10% according to the latest gender pay gap figures. But that isn’t enough to explain the huge difference in levels of cover, which indicate that women seem at higher risk of being under-insured than men.

Insurance experts say couples tend to buy more life insurance for the higher-earner. But both partners should have adequate protection — most families depend on two incomes and a reasonably equal share of childcare.

 

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