Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Written by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Reviewed by Mathew B. Sims
Editor-in-Chief Mathew B. Sims

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2022

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Insurance is one of those bittersweet concepts to most people. On the one hand, it’s one more expense to add to your neverending list of bills. On the other hand, it’s a financial safety net you need to know exists.

A recent report about life insurance statistics, however, has dropped jaws to the floor across the country.

Non-profit organizations LIMRA and Life Happens join together each year to perform their insurance barometer study. This study surveys consumers all around the US to find out about life insurance in their household as well as their opinions about it.

The 2019 Insurance barometer study has revealed some shocking trends and fascinating insights.

Looking to compare life insurance prices? We can help. Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from multiple insurers.

Life Insurance Ownership Is Declining

Most people would agree that having life insurance is a positive step in life. It’s a safety net that lets any of us protect our families if the worst happens, whether that happens tomorrow or in 50 years.

Unfortunately, the numbers are diminishing. When LIMRA and Life Happens began their annual barometer studies in 2011, 63% of American adults owned life insurance. This year (2019), it’s down to 57%.

This declining trend, however, started much earlier, though. Earlier studies conducted by the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) report that in 1989, the life insurance ownership rate was a whopping 77% but continued to decline every year after.

Part of our mission at Top Quote Life Insurance is to start driving those numbers back up.

Why Is Life Insurance Ownership Declining?

The reasons for the decline in life insurance aren’t fully understood.

Some people assume that because the average life expectancy is increasing, fewer people feel the need for life insurance. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t match up.

The increase in life expectancy is primarily happening among higher-income people. The Americans with the most significant declines in life insurance ownership are those with lower incomes.

Knowing that low-income families are those who are skipping out on life insurance tells us that affordability may be part of the problem. Or, more accurately, assumptions about affordability could be the issue.

People often assume they can’t afford life insurance. Sometimes they don’t look for quotes because they don’t think they can take on another expense. Unfortunately, this can lead to a drastic financial burden left on the surviving family members.

What We’re Doing to Increase Life Insurance Ownership

Our goal for Top Quote Life Insurance is to not only make life insurance accessible to more people but to spread the word about how affordable it can be.

We aim to offer people at all income levels a way to find out how much life insurance would cost as well as an easy way to apply for coverage. To make this happen, we provide within our website a simple to use online quote comparison tool.

The online quote tool allows our customers to easily compare rates from over two dozen of the nation’s most highly rated life insurance companies. It requires very minimal information for the online quote tool to instantly start displaying life insurance rates. Based on the criteria inputted into the quoter, rates will show from the most affordable life insurance companies down to the most expensive life insurance companies.

As an independent life insurance agency, we have contracted with multiple life insurance providers to offer our clients affordable life insurance options regardless of their income status or even the state they live in. Our hope is that this will help people realize that they can afford the security of life insurance and conveniently shop from the privacy of their home.

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Making Life Insurance Simpler to Get

Another crucial statistic that came out of the 2019 barometric survey was a further insight into the question of how to help more people get life insurance. The answer: make it simpler to obtain.

In fact, the study found that 47% of people would be more likely to buy life insurance if the underwriting process was simplified.

What Does Simplified Life Insurance Mean?

“Simpler” is a broad term, but it isn’t hard to see why it’s a common request. Traditionally, when applying for life insurance, you are generally required to take a medical exam as part of the application process. This can become extremely difficult to fit into an already busy schedule making it an easy reason to put off purchasing life insurance altogether.

In fact, around 76% of Americans work more than 40 hours per week. That doesn’t include the many hours we spend managing our households, caring for children, and fulfilling other obligations.

With all that on their plates, it’s no wonder so many people want life insurance to be easier to get. While “simple” means different things to different people, the overall agreement is that people want a quicker process for getting life insurance, and they don’t want medical exams.

How Life Insurance is Getting Simpler

The good news is that the life insurance industry is listening. Life insurance companies are continually implementing new ways to streamline the entire application process to provide less time to apply and qualify for life insurance coverage while avoiding the potential need for a medical exam.

For this to happen, several life insurance providers are answering that need for simplified underwriting by utilizing digital data. They’re collecting public information and data from sources such as LexisNexis, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB), Motor Vehicle Reports (MVR), and Prescription Checks (Rx) to help aid in underwriting to assess a customer’s risk without the need for an exam.

The underwriting is not the only process that has been simplified either. Most applications can now be done online or by telephone and signed either electronically or by voice signature. This in itself eliminates the need for snail mail, which can take days to receive, complete and mail back.

We’re also honored to say that our website is playing a role in providing a simplified way to get affordable, fast life insurance. We recently published our list of the best no medical exam life insurance companies to help our customers to choose the best simplified, no medical exam life insurance coverage.

But this is only one way, don’t forget, you can also instantly compare life insurance rates from multiple life insurance companies all at once without going through a lengthy process with one insurer after another.

Life Insurance Awareness Needs Work

As we see in some of the other results from the 2019 barometer study, Americans perceive a few barriers when it comes to getting life insurance. They worry about how extensive the process will be and about whether they can afford it.

It turns out that knowledge is a barrier, as well.

Only 46% of Americans say they feel knowledgeable about life insurance. The numbers are even lower for disability insurance at 38% and long-term care insurance at 35%.

The less a person knows about a subject, the more intimidating it seems to them. It’s easy to see how a busy and financially-strained family would feel like it would take too much time to both learn about and purchase insurance.

How We Can Educate People About Life Insurance

As these numbers show us, the overall awareness about life insurance needs to change. People may have a general idea about what it is, but they don’t understand the types of life insurance or how a plan would work.

This is why we’ve built the resource section of our website. Our experts answer common questions about life insurance, offer tips and insights, and more.

On top of the general information, we delve into further details. We offer an extensive amount of articles on the different types of life insurance options to multiple reviews on the many available life insurance companies. We feel that this allows our customers to learn about and insurance company before applying with them.

At the same time, it’s essential to recognize that one organization can’t do this alone.

We hope that the 2019 barometer study will show insurance providers how important it is to inform their customers and ramp up more education programs.

Life Insurance Combination Products Are Wanted

A life insurance policy provides death benefit protection to a beneficiary. It is a contract between the policy owner and the life insurance company that is providing insurance coverage. The contract works by making premium payments to the life insurance company in exchange for death benefit protection.

Should the insured pass away while the coverage is active, the life insurance company pays out a lump sum payment to the named beneficiaries. The death benefit payment received is, in most cases, tax-free and can be used; however, the beneficiaries need to.

This is the basics of how life insurance works. But what about newer combo life insurance products? You know, life insurance that you can use while you’re alive.

Many Life Insurance Policies Can Now Provide Living Benefits

One of the most positive statistics noted in the 2019 Insurance Barometer Study and one that we think can significantly improve life insurance ownership overall are life insurance combo products.

Many life insurance companies have begun to offer life insurance products that can provide not only death benefit protection but also provide a combination of long-term care benefits, critical and chronic illness benefits as well as disability income benefits.

These are newer features are known as living benefits and consumers are interested.

One in five out of 42 million Americans surveyed stated that they would be very to extremely interested in a life insurance policy that could provide both life insurance protection as well as the ability to receive an income from their life insurance coverage.

Your one-stop online guide for life insurance quotes. Get free quotes now!

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Social Media is an Increasingly Common Informative Source

There is a bright side to that statistic about how little Americans know about life insurance: consumers are trying to change it. People are actively looking for financial advice about life insurance and other topics.

Interestingly, 62% of people use social media as one of their resources. Unsurprisingly, younger consumers turn to social media more often than their older counterparts.

Is This Good News or Bad News?

There are positives and negatives to the fact that people are getting information from social media. The good news is that it shows that they want to learn. The bad news is that not everyone on social media is spreading accurate information.

What the life insurance industry needs to take away from this is the fact that they need to be more active on social media. The more insurance providers and other knowledgeable people we have spreading information, the more informed our customers will be.

Where Are These Life Insurance Statistics Coming From?

Any statistic is only as good as its source. What makes this barometer study reliable and who is collecting the information?

As we mentioned above, there are two organizations that join forces to conduct this study: LIMRA and Life Happens.


LIMRA stands for Life Insurance and Market Research Association. This global non-profit has been hard at work since 1916.

LIMRA’s primary focus is on conducting independent research in the life insurance industry. They get to the bottom of what customers want and help insurance providers deliver products that meet those needs.

The barometer study is one of LIMRA’s annual projects, but it’s a small part of their work around the globe.

Life Happens

Like LIMRA, Life Happens is a non-profit organization that focuses on the life insurance industry. This organization focuses on the industry in the US, however, and has been active since 1994.

Life Happens’ mission is to help Americans get access to information about life insurance. They also improve education to other similar products like long-term care insurance and disability insurance.

While LIMRA focuses on research, Life Happens spends most of its resources on education. They use public outreach to educate Americans about how important these products are for financial security and about how to find them.

How to Avoid Becoming a Life Insurance Statistic Yourself

Life insurance is all about security and safety. If you want to avoid being among the growing number of Americans without life insurance, educating yourself is the first step.

Learning about the latest life insurance statistics is helpful, but it’s only the beginning. You also need to find out more about life insurance and how it works and what your options are.

To explore your choices for life insurance and discover how affordable it can be, start gathering life insurance quotes today.

Ready to Compare Life Insurance Rates?

It’s free, fast and super simple.

Ready to Compare Life Insurance Rates?

It’s free, fast and super simple.

Looking to compare life insurance prices? We can help. Enter your ZIP code to get free quotes from multiple insurers.