Utah: Highest in marriage, lowest in life insurance


Weddings and life insurance are not often synonymous, especially in Utah, which currently has the lowest rate of people covered should worse come to worse.

About 57 percent of Utah residents are married, but only 40 percent are covered by life insurance. (Photo illustration by Sarah Hill)

Fifty-seven percent of Utah residents are married, and only 40 percent are currently covered by life insurance. Idaho is ranked second-highest in marriage rates in the nation, with 56.5 percent of its citizens being married. Idaho also has low life insurance rates, with only 43 percent coverage.

Bankrate, a consumer financial service company, attributes these statistics to the fact that these two states have a large concentration of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which emphasizes marriage and families. Steve Miller, owner of the Steve Miller Insurance Agency, thinks life insurance rates are low in Utah because people tend to get married young and don’t yet see the necessity.

“I suppose that young couples in their 20s feel somewhat invincible, or maybe from a budgetary aspect feel that they can’t afford life insurance, or that it’s simply not a priority at that stage of their life,” Miller said.

He emphasized even people in peak physical condition can fall victim to a fatal incident.

“You are not immortal. People do die at all ages from accidents and illness,” Miller said.

Courtney Barnum, a therapeutic recreation major from Las Vegas, thinks insurance is important for couples at any age. She and her husband have access to life insurance provided as a benefit through the company he works for, and they decided to take advantage of it. Barnum feels if something were to happen to her husband, she would be lost without their insurance.

“Life insurance is so important to have at any point, even being so young,” Barnum said. “There is always a debt to be paid when someone passes. I don’t currently have a job, so I would be in a really bad place if my husband died before I graduated. We are also really bad about saving money, so life insurance is nice to have as a safety net.”

Barnum attributes the low insurance rates in Utah to a low prioritization.

“I think Utah is ranked lowest for having life insurance because it isn’t on people’s minds. They will think about it later in life or when they start to have kids, but there are many more pressing financial needs at this point in our lives,” Barnum said.

Mandy Faucette, a former BYU student from Richland, Wash., and her husband Jordan, a current BYU student, are expecting their first baby in June, and she agrees with Barnum; it makes life insurance more necessary. Though they do not currently have it, expecting a child has made it more of a priority.

“In our situation, preparing for the arrival of a baby in the family definitely adds to the financial stress,” Faucette said. “Health insurance for me throughout the pregnancy and then after the baby is born is another large expense. However, we think it will be worth it.”

Faucette thinks young couples do not buy life insurance simply because they don’t have the money.

“I believe Utah has the lowest rank for life insurance because a large majority of married couples are here in Utah to attend college. Married college students are on a very tight budget, and when you put a baby in the picture it makes things even more difficult financially,” Faucette said.

Despite a couple’s priorities, financial situation, age or position in life, Miller says that young couples do have the one resource necessary to invest in life insurance.

“At whatever age, it has been my experience that the reason people ever buy life insurance can be condensed down to a single reason — love,” Miller said.

Miller advises the purchase of life insurance not only because it is the responsible and intelligent thing to do, but it locks in a lower cost for an insurance contract as well.

“You should lock in a low rate while you are young and likely to be at your most healthy stage of life. Lock in a policy that will last many years before you become sick or ill or experience adverse underwriting conditions,” Miller said.

Along with this, Miller said investing in life insurance now can help secure a needed future loan, that can be a foundation for more complex investments later in life and that relying on employers is not always stable. He said it is worth sacrificing a little each month to ensure the financial security of your current family and future family.

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