March 15, 2016

Americans Find Life Insurance Nearly As Complicated as Taxes – So Why Aren’t They Turning for Help?

66 Percent of Americans Find Life Insurance Complicated, Despite Vast Resources

Arlington, Va. — Americans’ perception that purchasing a life insurance policy is complicated, combined with the lack of propensity to turn to help, could help explain why 100 million adult Americans are without life insurance protection today. According to a new Life Happens survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans under the age of 40 and more than half (54%) of the general population view the purchasing of a life insurance policy as complicated.

This is on par with the perception of other financial to-dos, as well. Two thirds of Americans perceive filing taxes as complicated. With taxes, most Americans turn to outside experts for help. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the majority (60 percent) of individual tax returns are filed by a tax preparer. But when it comes to purchasing life insurance, Americans need further guidance in the face of perceived complexity. Luckily, resources and tools are readily available to better understand the costs and benefits associated with life insurance.

“The fact that the majority of Americans view life insurance as complicated provides an opportunity for the future,” said Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens. “As an industry, we need to better address consumers who feel confused by the process, and provide the resources necessary to reach those who would benefit from owning life insurance. For consumers, there are vast resources available to better understand the benefits of life insurance, and advice for jump-starting the process of purchasing a policy.”

Life Happens suggests the following resources for individuals who need life insurance but view the product as complicated:

  1. Life Insurance 101 provides a solid understanding of life insurance and will give you the confidence in beginning the process of purchasing a policy.
  2. Online Life Insurance Calculators give people a good working idea of the amount of life insurance they need, which instills confidence when searching for specific policies to purchase.
  3. The Product Selector helps determine which type of policy (term vs. permanent) best suits your specific needs.

Survey Findings
In general, which do you think is the most complicated? Please select the three you think are the most complicated to do.

  • 67% Understanding and using the latest technology
  • 66% Doing my taxes without the help of an accountant
  • 57% Navigating directions without a GPS
  • 54% Purchasing a life insurance policy
  • 48% Putting together IKEA furniture
  • 7% Other

Survey Methodology
This research was conducted by KRC Research from Sept. 7-9, 2015 via an online survey of 1,022 adults in the United States.

About Life Happens
Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. The organization does not endorse any product, company or insurance advisor. Since its inception in 1994, Life Happens has provided the highest quality, independent and objective information for people seeking help with their insurance buying decisions. The organization supports the insurance industry by providing marketing tools and resources and convening the industry each September for Life Insurance Awareness Month. Life Happens is supported by more than 140 of the nation’s leading insurance company and financial services organizations. To learn more, visit

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