Most people believe the current economic climate has made life insurance more relevant, but a majority have not calculated their need and many avoid discussing the topic at home, according to a survey by ING.

The majority of respondents, 78%, view life insurance as a valuable financial tool, but, despite historically low rates, ING says more than half of the uninsured cite cost as a factor. Employed respondents without access to life insurance as a workplace benefit were seven times more likely to have no coverage at all.

But many of the problems are not related to the workplace at all: 54% of parents have not determined their family's adequate protection level and 45% of married survey participants rarely or never discuss what would happen to family finances should they or their spouse die.

"Life insurance is one of the least discussed components of a family's financial plan, yet it plays such an integral role in providing for a secure future," says Butch Britton, CEO of ING U.S. Insurance. "Without candid conversations among spouses, family members and financial professionals, many Americans risk being underinsured and having inadequate coverage in the event of a loss.

Some 44% of those questioned had little or no confidence that their coverage was sufficient and nearly a quarter of those age 25 to 34 thought they were too young to purchase life insurance.

However, ING reports that the 56% of those who felt very or extremely confident and knowledgeable about their coverage rises to 70% for those who purchase life insurance face-to-face with a financial professional.

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