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Money taboo leaves families short of cover

Four piggybanksFamilies are leaving themselves short of vital cover because they are reluctant to discuss taboo subjects such as money and death, research suggests.

Most UK families are neglecting life insurance because they find discussing their finances and mortality "uncomfortable", according to a report by insurance provider Aviva.

This has led to a situation where households are more likely to have a satellite TV subscription than life insurance, according to the annual Family Finances report.

This is despite the fact that life insurance would help surviving family members cope financially in the event of the main earner’s death.

Taboo topics

Sex was the only greater taboo than finances when it came to discussions within families, according to the report.

Louise Colley, head of protection sales and market at Aviva, says: "No-one likes to dwell on poor health or mortality.

"But by denying that illness – or worse – is even a possibility, people are stopping themselves putting measures in place to protect their loved ones.

"Too many people assume that someone else will step in and look after their families if they weren't there to provide for them, but the reality is very different."

The insurer also found that families were more likely to have mobile phone insurance than cover against serious illness, such as critical illness insurance.

This is despite the fact that mobile phone insurance can often be overpriced and unnecessary.

Households were also more likely to have extended warranties than insurance which covered against the main earner being unable to work, through redundancy or illness, for example.

‘What ifs’

Colley adds: "People need to ask themselves just how they would pay for their accommodation, their food, and all the other costs of living, should they suddenly lose an income.

"While no-one likes to think about 'what ifs', by not even considering these scenarios, people could be putting the future financial security of their families at unnecessary risk."

Aviva pointed out that the cost of life insurance was typically low in monthly terms when compared to other outgoings.

The average satellite TV package costs almost £36 a month, its report found, while the typical monthly life insurance premium was less than £21.

You can also set up your life insurance policy in trust to cut tax bills and red tape.

Matthew Lloyd, head of life insurance at, says: "Dealing with the subject of death can be difficult for many families to think or talk about.

"But preparing for the worst by protecting your family finances with life insurance and a will can give you peace of mind should you or a spouse die."

Guardianship issues

Lloyd says there are also other issues to consider.

"Every parent wants to know that if anything happens to them their child will be cared for.

"Part of that can be by making arrangements for their guardianship, and part can be around providing for them financially.

"Parents should consider appointing guardians in their will and make sure it is kept up to date.

"Should you die without a will or if you don't appoint a guardian in your will the court will make that decision, potentially taking time and causing distress at an already highly emotional time."

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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris

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