The idea of life insurance goes back to at least as far as the ancient Romans. You may never live to enjoy the benefits (unless you opt for a policy with a savings element) but for those you leave behind the financial security is essential. So why are as many as 30% of Britons not using life insurance to protect their loved ones?
People give plenty of reasons why they don't need, or can't afford life insurance. We look at some of the most common - and why those reasons don't make much sense.
I can't afford it
We are just coming out of recession - and with budgets still tight some of us are putting off buying life insurance. It's a false economy - those we leave behind will still need financial security, whether the economy is up or down. Life insurance is not as expensive as you might think. To put it in context, insuring your mobile phone, or buying a fancy coffee once a week could well cost more than some types of cover.
I don't need cover
Even those who are single with no dependants may need life insurance to cover funeral costs. These are soaring. The average funeral cost in the UK is now around £3,000 while Londoners pay an average £4,600. That's quite a burden for those you leave behind. But there is another reason. If you are single now, this might not always be the case. The sooner you start a life insurance policy, the less it can cost. Should a family come along, you'll be able to provide financial protection for less.
Getting cover won't do me any good
Of course, you will never see any return on a standard policy, although you can arrange cover with a combined savings policy, which could mean a useful payout for you while you can still enjoy it. However, none of us knows what the future holds - and if we were to become ill, we might spend our valuable time worrying about how our dependants would manage.
My employer gives me it
Your employer might have some cover in place, but it's probably not as much as you would want for a partner or children who depend on you and when you leave your job, you'll leave your cover behind.
My partner is the breadwinner
The main breadwinner may need to replace the family income. But even a partner who does not go out to work still makes an economic contribution. How much would it cost to replace a homemaker, and cover costs for childcare? Both partners need cover, to protect each other and their dependants.
It can wait
Actually it can't. None of us know what's round the corner - and the younger we are when we buy a policy the less it can cost.
But I don't know the best way to buy it
Buying it could not be easier. Your financial adviser will have a full understanding of what's on the market and can help you find the policy that fits your needs and your budget.