In This Issue

Why Women Need Life Insurance

It’s the best promise a woman can make to those she loves

March 30, 2009
By Donna Kozik

ERIE Policyholder Carolyn Gasse-Bachman has given her life—and life insurance—a great deal of thought.

In fact, before they were wed, Carolyn and her husband-to-be, Don, discussed life insurance quite a bit. “Since we were in our 40s when we got married, we talked openly about providing for our children,” says Carolyn, now the mother of a 10-year-old and a 14-year-old.

“I am a professor and my husband is a charter bus driver,” she continues. “But even if I was a stay-at-home mom, and if something happened to me, Don would have to change careers.”

Don would not be able to travel for days and weeks at a time, which his job requires. Instead, he’d have to enroll in job training, while having to worry about care for his children.

That’s why the couple’s first major life insurance policy was for Carolyn through her employer. But soon after, they purchased an Erie Family Life policy for Don. As Carolyn says, “it doesn’t matter where the money is needed—if it’s needed, it’s needed.”

Insurance for two

Most U.S. households are dual-income households. That makes an impact on budgets both now and in the future. Dr. Steven Weisbart, vice president and chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute, points out that many couples make financial commitments based on those two incomes. Those decisions may leave surviving family members in a struggle if not protected.

This is risky considering that more men on a whole are protected by life insurance than women. According to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA), a leading life insurance research firm, nearly 1 in 3 women have no life coverage at all. The largest age range for women who are less likely to have insurance than men is 45 and older.

When thinking about how much life insurance a family needs, Weisbart says couples overlook “hidden income,” or the valuable non-cash services or non-cash payments that don’t appear among the household budget items. “For example, if the woman has a job with a lower salary but substantial health insurance benefits, the family would have a large outlay to continue those benefits,” he says.

Carolyn and Don’s Erie Insurance Agent, Lamar Benner of Benner Insurance in Strasburg, Pa., agrees that such financial burdens on the family budget don’t need to happen. He notes that coverage is available for both a husband and wife for much less than most people think.

“If the loss of even one income would impact the family, there is a need to protect it,” he says.

Carolyn says she often encourages women to have adequate coverage on themselves because they just don’t think about it enough. For her, it seems especially important if they have children or the loss would impact their husbands’ careers.

“His loss of me would mean a change of world for him,” she says. “That’s why life insurance is needed—I want to protect my husband and children as much as I can.”


Donna Kozik is a writer, editor and marketing consultant located in San Diego. She is the co-author of 29 Days to a Smooth Move, a household moving manual.

More ▶