My wife is working. Why do I need Life Insurance?
Updated: Feb 2, 2019
I was on a flight last week and the person sitting next to me was a very friendly guy. We instantly started chatting. He was telling about the passion that he and his teenage son had for high-end cars. His son wanted to buy BMW that they couldn’t afford at that time. But he said he would buy one in some time.
He went on explaining about some latest technology of cars, without realizing that he was talking to a person, who at best can describe car as ‘a very useful thing that can take people from one place to another’, till I made an honest confession about my knowledge of cars. I of course know slightly more also, about car. It requires petrol to be filled in, more frequently than planned (an actuary whose best estimate assumption about filling petrol always goes wrong). Don’t even try to imagine his face after confession about my knowledge of cars.
We then started talking about life insurance. He promptly returned the favor by confessing about his knowledge of insurance, although unintentionally. But with a difference. He was genuinely interested in knowing more about life insurance. One question he asked me, made me think. ‘My wife is working. She earns a decent salary. Why do I need life insurance?’.
Many life insurance professionals get confused by this question. The usual pitch for life insurance is, ‘what will happen to your family if something happens to you?’ There is an underlying assumption in this pitch that the person is the only earning person in the family. But what if, wife or some other person in the family is earning?
My reply to him after few minutes was ‘it depends on how you want your family to live, in case you are not around. Do you still want your son to buy a BMW as per your original plan?’. He was silent for a minute. We then spent the rest of the time discussing how much life cover he should buy, based on his income and age.
Actuarial warning: high-end cars driven by youngsters have higher probability of accident. Drive slowly. You don’t have to test the speed limit of car, the manufacturer already did.