It's something nobody ever wants to talk about — and hopes that no one ever has to face: The unexpected loss of a spouse or family member.
According to a recent Bankrate survey, 42% of families do not have life insurance. Plus, nearly half of people who have life insurance do not have enough to cover their needs if their spouse passes away.
Of course, no one ever wants to think something like the loss of a spouse could happen to them. But, the reality is, it sometimes does, leaving family members without the money they need for basic necessities. Though we should hope that nothing like this ever happens to us, we should still be prepared.
Read more: How to shop for term life insurance
A family whose life insurance policy became their safety net
Cathy* (not her real name) told Cheryl Lock at LearnVest.com about a fateful day many years ago when her life changed forever.
Cathy shares that she and her husband James (not his real name) were married in 1978 when she was just 21 years old.
"As soon as we became pregnant, James started talking about life insurance – but I was hesitant. I was 24, but James was already thinking like an adult. It’s not that I wasn’t an adult; the topic of life insurance was just scary. I was pregnant with our yet-to-be-born child, and the last thing I wanted to think about was one of us dying," she says.
One morning, James left without seeing her. She says, "Whether he kissed me goodbye while I slept, I’ll never know."
Read more: What happens to your policy if a life insurance company goes out of business?
She was at a hair appointment when her brother, Paul, came to get her. "Cathy, we have to go," he said. He worked with Cathy's husband in the construction business.
When they arrived at the hospital, the other construction workers had a difficult time looking Cathy in the eye. "That's when I knew," she says. Cathy was just 26 years old when James passed away.
Cathy's story is a reminder that life is precious and also fragile. No one is completely immune to situations like hers.
But in spite of this, Cathy feels very fortunate that her husband felt so strongly about life insurance. If he hadn't, she and her daughter would not have been provided for.
Read the rest of the story here.
Choosing the right life insurance for you
Clark says of life insurance, "It's distressing to me how few people with young kids have life insurance. The problem is the insurance that's best for people with dependents is not touted by the industry as a general rule." He recommends getting term life insurance for an amount 10 times your income.
For specifics on getting life insurance, check out our Life Insurance Guide.
Read more: Choosing the right insurance for you and your family