Insurance Life Insurance Top Benefits of Life Insurance for Women By Janet Hunt Janet Hunt Twitter Janet Hunt is an expert in car insurance, homeowners insurance, and health insurance with over 20 years of experience covering trends, regulations, and writing company reviews. Her lengthy career in insurance includes stints in customer service and selling personal lines of insurance. She earned her Property and Casualty license in 1995. learn about our editorial policies Updated on November 16, 2021 Reviewed by Samantha Silberstein Reviewed by Samantha Silberstein Twitter Samantha Silberstein is a Certified Financial Planner, FINRA Series 7 and 63 licensed holder, State of California Life, Accident, and Health Insurance Licensed Agent, and CFA. She spends her days working with hundreds of employees from non-profit and higher education organizations on their personal financial plans. learn about our financial review board Fact checked by Emily Ernsberger Fact checked by Emily Ernsberger Twitter Emily Ernsberger is a fact-checker and award-winning former newspaper reporter with experience covering local government and court cases. She also served as an editor for a weekly print publication. Her stint as a legal assistant at a law firm equipped her to track down legal, policy and financial information. learn about our editorial policies Photo: Maskot / Getty Images You might be surprised to learn that as of 2021, only about 47% of women have life insurance, 11% less than their male counterparts. Not only do fewer women than men have life insurance but the death benefit is also well below that of men — about 22% less. Women have become increasingly dominant players in today’s American workforce. Some women are the sole breadwinners for their families and as such, are looking for financial security a life insurance policy can provide. Whether a woman has an executive position or is a stay-at-home mom, life insurance is an important protection to have. Here are a few of the top benefits for women who have life insurance. #1 Financial Security for the Family For women with a family, especially those who are the primary breadwinner, they are worried about how their family will be taken care of financially should they die suddenly. A life insurance policy can give peace of mind knowing that the family’s financial needs will be taken care of and financial obligations met. #2 Ability to Borrow Against the Cash Value Benefit Many types of life insurance offer the option to build cash value which can be borrowed against. For women, this cash value can be accessed for any number of needs; paying off bills, financing a college education; starting a new business, or any number of other financial needs or goals. #3 Living Benefit When Diagnosed with a Chronic/Terminal Illness Have you ever given any thought to what you would do if you were diagnosed with a chronic/terminal illness? How would your bills get paid and who would provide for your family’s financial needs? Some life insurance policies can be endorsed with a rider to add coverage for a chronic/terminal illness if you are ever diagnosed with one of these conditions. You can use the money to pay for medical expenses or for living expenses for you and your family. #4 Taking Care of Elderly/Disabled Family Members The role of caregiver is familiar to many women and as you began to approach middle-age, you may have elderly or disabled parents or other family members to care for. You can have the security of knowing their care will continue after you are gone by adding them as a beneficiary to your life insurance. Types of Life Insurance Policies When choosing from types of life insurance, there are several different options to consider. Here are a few of the most common. Term Life Insurance: A term life policies give you life insurance coverage for a specific term of time; generally in 10-, 20-, 25-, or 30-year increments. Most term life insurance policies pay a straight death benefit without any cash accumulation value although some term life policies do offer the option of converting to a whole life policy at the end of the policy term. Whole Life Insurance: Whole life insurance is coverage that lasts for a lifetime and also accumulates a cash value that can be borrowed against. Whole life insurance earns interest at a fixed rate determined when the policy is purchased. Premiums remain level through the life of the policy. Universal Life Insurance: The main feature of a Universal Life Insurance policy is its flexible premium. Any overpayment of the premium is credited to the cash value of the policy. There is an increasing death benefit. The cash value earns an increasing interest rate over time and the policyholder can borrow against the interest earned. Indexed Universal Life Insurance: An indexed universal life insurance policy allows policyholders to allocate earnings to interest-bearing indexed accounts with a cash value that can grow. IUL earnings are tax-deferred. One good think about this type of policy is that the cash value portion can be used to make the insurance premium payments if the policyholder wants to stop or delay making out-of-pocket premium payments. Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance: The Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance Policy (GUL) is a hybrid policy that is a combination of both term and whole life insurance. The coverage is not written in a term of years but rather is age-specific and is generally written for policyholders up until their 80s. You can choose the age that the coverage ends. The GUL policy is more affordable than a typical whole life policy and can be customized to increase the cash value. Variable Universal Life Insurance: The premiums for a variable universal life insurance policy are paid into a savings account. The policy has sub-accounts that are invested. This account has the potential for higher earnings but also is subject to market fluctuations and policyholders could potentially suffer a substantial loss in earnings. How Much Life Insurance Do You Need? No one can tell you the exact amount of life insurance you should purchase. However, when making the determination of how much life insurance you need, think about how much it would cost to pay off outstanding debts (college tuitions, student loans, mortgages, car loans, etc.). Additionally, if you have dependents/spouses, what amount do you feel would be adequate to help them live comfortably? You can also add coverage to your life insurance policy through riders. There are life insurance riders that can be added to cover children, disability income, accidental death, critical illness and more. Considerations Generally, the sooner you purchase a life insurance policy, the better. Life insurance rates are statistically lower for women than for men because of a longer life expectancy and an overall good health expectancy when compared to that of men. If you buy a policy when you are young, the rate will be lower than if you wait until you are middle-aged or a senior. If you are thinking about purchasing life insurance, check out these best options for life insurance: best term life insurance policies and best whole life insurance policies. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Life Happens.. "Women and the Life Insurance Gender Gap." Paradigm Life. "Why Women Need Whole Life Insurance."