As increasing financial pressure bears down on middle-class families, ever more are cutting life insurance from their household budgets. About 35 million US households, almost a third, now have no life insurance whatsoever, up from 24 million households in 2004. Many households have recently lost employer-sponsored coverage due to layoffs or because of cutbacks in employee benefits, the Wall Street Journal notes.
And the people going without life insurance may be those who need it most: Seven in 10 households with children under 18 said they would have trouble meeting expenses within several months if a primary wage earner died, according to a recent survey. And even if they want it, many don't know where to get help buying it: Nearly 80% of respondents say they don't have an insurance agent or broker. "Clearly, more American families are living on the edge, surviving paycheck to paycheck, and, as our new study suggests, too many are without the safety net that life insurance provides," a spokesman for an industry-funded insurance research organization said.