Uninsured women in Scotland leave families seven months from financial hardship – Scottish Widows

Jackie Leiper
Jackie Leiper

Lack of financial protection among women is leaving families in a precarious situation, research from Scottish Widows has found.

Despite saying that their households could only pay the bills for seven months should they not be able to work or pass away, just under four in ten (37 per cent) women in Scotland have life insurance and only 7 per cent have critical illness cover.

The research suggests that many women are underestimating the value of their role within the household. More than four in ten (42 per cent) Scottish women say they’ve not taken out life insurance because it’s not a financial priority or they don’t think they need it, higher than the 36 per cent of women who say in the same in the UK as a whole. And one in ten (9 per cent) Scottish women who don’t have critical illness cover say they’d rather take the risk of not having it than take out a policy.

However, on top of any day jobs, women in Scotland spend at least 23 hours a week on childcare and chores such as school runs and housework – tasks which they believe their families could not afford to pay for should the worst happen to them. Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Scottish women also say their household would struggle to complete everyday responsibilities or pay for household bills if they were to fall ill or pass away.

Lack of planning is leaving many families in a vulnerable position. When asked how they’d cope should they or their partner not be able to work for six months, a quarter (24 per cent) of women in Scotland said they’d rely only on state benefits. And almost six in 10 (57 per cent) do not have the protection of a will or guardianship arrangement in place for their families. But with a new Bereavement Support Payment system now in place, which may result in a significant reduction in the period over which support will be available, it’s more important than ever for women to review their financial protection needs.

This is especially the case for cohabitees, who still don’t qualify for bereavement benefits. Women in cohabiting relationships who take out or already have financial protection, should ensure it’s set up correctly so that, should the worst happen, the right monies go to the right people as quickly and tax-efficiently as possible.

Women in Scotland place more emphasis on insuring their possessions than their life. While almost two thirds (65 per cent) of them say they pay attention to protecting their home contents, this figure drops to just four in ten (39 per cent) when it comes to insuring their own life and health.

What’s more, women are failing to save enough to keep their family afloat in case of the unexpected happening. Six in ten (60 per cent) of women in Scotland that are not saving for the long term are not because they can’t afford to, or because there’s always something else they need to spend money on.

Jackie Leiper, protection director at Scottish Widows, said: “One of the most important things a woman can give her family is security, but financial protection is still too far down the priority list because women simply don’t recognise their own value.

“It’s crucial that everyone – no matter what stage of life they’re at – considers whether they have the right protection in place to ensure their loved ones aren’t left coping with financial strain on top of emotional trauma if the worst were to happen. And that applies to working women and full-time mums alike. We all need to recognise the monetary value of women’s time and effort in the household, and to safeguard it accordingly.”