Life insurance statistics

Stats to help you understand life insurance — who has it and how much it costs.

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Published July 2, 2019

Stats about who has life insurance and why


Percent of American adults who have life insurance


Of American adults with life insurance, the percent who only have group coverage — which usually isn’t enough (and is rarely portable)

Income replacement

The most common reason for purchasing life insurance (44%), followed by burial expenses and wealth transfer (35% each)

10x to 12x

The multiples of your annual income that most financial advisors recommend you need when buying life insurance for income replacement


Percent of life insurance policies are purchased via independent agents (like Policygenius advisors, who are not beholden to any one insurance company)


Percent of life insurance policies purchased via affiliated agents (meaning they only sell products for one insurance company)


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Stats about the cost of life insurance


How much more permanent life insurance (like whole life insurance) costs vs. term life insurance


Average percent increase in your insurance costs as you age, assuming your health stays the same


The average cost difference between sequential health ratings (preferred vs standard, for example)

2x to 3x

How much rates for smokers cost vs. rates for nonsmokers (but a year after you quit smoking, most companies will offer you nonsmoker rates)


The average difference between the least expensive and most expensive rate for the same person across insurance companies


Percent difference between premiums for men and women(with women paying nearly ⅓ less than men, on average)


Policygenius data

2019 Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens and LIMRA

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.