I hope this doesn’t come off as arrogant, but the simple fact of my life is this: My family — as smart and capable as my husband and children are — would not function highly without me.

This isn’t to say that they haven’t done just fine when left on their own for several days while I’m on business trips — they have. But did everything get done as well as it would have with me around? No. Upon my return, there were piles of laundry to do, my daughter’s hair was a mess and they all usually ate takeout every day I was gone. They all were alive (obviously, the most important thing), but it lets me know that over the long term, they would struggle mightily in my absence.

I thought of this when I read an article from EBN sister title Financial Planning, showing that women undervalue the work they do at home, and thus undervalue the amount of life insurance they need.

According to Penn Mutual’s third annual Worth for Women Survey, when women were asked to put a dollar value on the work they do as part of the “second shift” (that’s the cooking, laundry doing, hair braiding, etc. women do outside of their jobs), they estimated their value around $25,000 a year. Yet, when asked to list the number of hours they spent on each task, Penn Mutual reports that men overestimated the value of what they do by nearly 13%, while women underestimated their worth.

In fact, when Penn Mutual calculated the actual median value of services, a women’s contribution to the home was $34,256 and men’s was $19,322. In addition, men were 9% more likely to overestimate their contribution by $30,000 or more, while 36% of women underestimated their value by at least $30,000.

“As a life insurance company, we often see evidence that women underestimate their value to their families—with serious or tragic consequences when that work has to be replaced by outsiders after the untimely death of a wife or mother,” says Tracy Marrocco, director of women’s marketing for Penn Mutual. “Far too many families fail to account for this value, leaving women uninsured or under-insured.”

I have a business trip coming up this month, plus it’s Life Insurance Awareness Month. Perhaps it’s the perfect time to consider increasing my life insurance coverage.

What do you think? Do you agree with Penn Mutual that women in particular underestimate their value when it comes to buying life insurance, or is it a problem for both genders? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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