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Vicki Gunvalson: Women don't have enough life insurance

Women and life insurance

I believe women are underinsured for many reasons. Women are getting busier than ever before — so busy, in fact, they may not stop to plan for their family needs or own futures. As contributors to family income, caregivers of children and aging parents, and household managers, women shoulder a large share of family responsibilities.

Vicki Gunvalson

Whether married or with or without dependent children, women have very distinct life insurance needs. However, one-third of married women in the U.S. have no life insurance, and about 7 in 10 women acknowledge it's a necessity, according to a 2012 report from Limra.

See also: 10 tips when shopping for life insurance

The best time to buy life insurance

It takes two wage earners to support a modern family. Even though breadwinning isn't gender-specific anymore, life insurance coverage — which replaces income of a deceased spouse — isn't adequate across the board. Many times, only the husband insures himself with life insurance.

Assuming there are children living at home, it still will take a nanny or baby-sitter to replace the duties of a parent if he or she were to pass away.

The time to buy life insurance is when you are healthy, which will guarantee your insurability. If you're a woman with financial responsibility or obligations, you should consider life insurance. With longer life expectancies and therefore lower premiums than for men, there is little reason for women to pass up coverage.

See also: 5 factors that may influence your life insurance rates

How much coverage do you need?

Do you have life insurance? Is it enough? Will your coverage protect your family and fulfill your responsibilities if you were to pass away? Many factors — including lifestyle, income potential and expenses — will determine how much life insurance is appropriate for you.

At my company Coto Insurance & Financial Services, I focus primarily on women's needs. I make sure there's adequate coverage for both spouses.

Vicki Gunvalson is owner of Coto Insurance & Financial Services in Orange County, and star of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”

See also: How to compare life insurance quotes

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