28 Life Insurance Statistics & Facts


Investing in life insurance as early as possible gets you the best price and the highest benefits. The latest life insurance statistics, however, show that most people fail to understand the importance of this coverage. Nearly half of all Americans have no life insurance, and most of them overestimate the costs of this investment.

Are you among the people without life coverage? Would you like to discover the average policy costs and the total value of premiums? Just scroll down to find the most important statistics on the global and American life insurance industries.

Life Insurance Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • The total world life insurance direct premiums written reached $2.65 trillion in 2017.
  • The average price of a $100,000 30-year term policy is $156 per year.
  • American life premiums reached $145.4 billion in 2018.
  • Independent agents hold 51% of the US life insurance market.
  • Americans in California, Texas, and New York spend the most on life insurance.

General Life Insurance Facts & Trends

1. In 2018, the US life insurance premium market was the largest one in the world.

The total value of the direct premiums in the country reached $593.4 billion. Japan and China came next on the list. Their life insurance markets in 2018 were $334.24 billion and $313.37 billion, respectively. Still, as you will see below, the largest company on the global market is based in Hong Kong.


2. Denmark had the highest value of life insurance premiums per capita among European countries.

In 2019, the value per capita for this segment in Denmark was $4,590. Ireland and Finland come right after with $4,356 and $4,019. EU life insurance data shows that the top-five group ends with the UK and Luxembourg. Their life insurance values per capita in 2019 were $3,532 and $2,995, respectively.


3. The United Kingdom had the highest amount of total direct life insurance premiums written in 2018.

This country’s direct premiums written totaled $235 billion, according to life insurance stats. The other European countries leading in this regard are France, Italy, and Germany. Their direct premiums written in 2018 were $165 billion, $125 billion, and $96 billion, respectively. Iceland, Latvia, and Estonia, on the other hand, noted the lowest figures here. The amounts of their direct life premiums equaled $50 million, $57 million, and $113 million.


4. In 2017, the total world life insurance direct premiums written were $2.65 trillion.

This figure wasn’t much higher than the ones recorded in 2016 and 2015. Namely, the total world life direct premiums written those years were $2.58 trillion and $2.54 trillion. The overall life and nonlife direct premiums in 2017 were $4.89 trillion, global life insurance facts show. Meaning, life premiums represent more than half (54%) of the total share.

(Insurance Information Institute)

5. The net value of direct life/health insurance premiums written in 2017 was $594 billion.

This figure represents a negative change by 2% compared to the $597 billion recorded in 2016. In 2008, more shockingly, the net value of these policies written was $607 billion. The net worth of property/casualty insurance premiums, in contrast, has been growing over the years. In 2017 it was $558 billion, which is by 26.8% higher than the $533 billion seen in 2016. These life insurance trends show that life/health insurance has reached its peak.

(Insurance Information Institute)

6. In 2019, the largest life insurance provider worldwide by market capitalization was based in Hong Kong.

That’s right, the AIA Group from Hong Kong topped the list with a market capitalization of $122.2 billion. In second and third place, we have China Life Insurance (China) and Prudential (United Kingdom). Their market capitalization in 2019 was $114.2 billion and $60.2 billion, respectively.

The top five list is rounded up with China Pacific Insurance (China) and Japan Post Holdings (Japan). These companies recorded significantly lower market capitalization than the first two with $47.9 billion and $44.5 billion, respectively. Life insurance industry statistics show that Prudential from the United States has earned sixth place. The company’s market capitalization stood at $42.4 billion in 2019.


7. Cover burial and other final expenses are the top reason for owning life insurance.

For 91% of policyholders, this was the top reason for investing in this type of insurance. Other popular answers include helping replace lost wages (66%), transferring wealth (63%), and paying off a mortgage (51%). Paying for home expenses, supplementing retirement income, or providing funds for college education are far less popular with 48%, 45%, and 31%, respectively.

Then, 21% of the participants said that a parent or a relative bought the policy for them, while  25% didn’t remember the reason as they had the policy for a long time. These life insurance facts and statistics show that most people get such policies to help their families after they die.

(GP Agency)

8. People with life insurance are more likely to have other types of insurance than the rest.

About 74%, 79%, and 43% of individuals without life insurance have auto insurance, medical insurance, and homeowners insurance. These figures are significantly lower than those among people with life policies. Namely, 89%, 88%, and 64%, respectively, among such policyholders hold the above-mentioned types of insurance as well.

(GP Agency)

9. Most people who own life insurance think that they have enough coverage.

Over three-fourths (76%) of policyholders claimed to have enough coverage, as suggested by life insurance statistics. Only 19% and 5% of individuals with life insurance responded that they didn’t have enough coverage or weren’t sure. Nobody said that they didn’t need any life coverage.

Among those who don’t own insurance, the situation is different. Here, only 24% of the participants claimed to have enough coverage. Most of them (39%), however, were aware that they didn’t have enough coverage. 20% and 17% said that they didn’t need any coverage or didn’t know how to respond, respectively.

(GP Agency)

10. Individuals from all generations wish that their spouse/partner would invest more in life insurance.

About 33% of all participants said they wish their spouse invested more in coverage, according to GP Agency’s life insurance facts. Only 16% responded that they have no information regarding the life insurance of their spouse/partner.

When divided into Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, the situation is similar. Respective 21% of Boomers, 36% of Gen Xers, and 42% of Millennials believed their partners should step up their game. About 9%, 19%, and 22% said that they didn’t know the life insurance fund of their spouse/partner.

(GP Agency)

11. Most people believe that they can survive one month after the loss of the primary wage earner.

About 20% chose this option, while 15% claimed they could face financial adversity after just a week. Approximately 13% believed they could survive for six months, while 16% didn’t even know what to expect. Life insurance stats show that these figures are identical among both insurance owners and individuals without such coverage. Meaning, many people aren’t aware of the benefits of a life insurance policy.

(GP Agency)

12. The costs of essential living expenses are the top reason for not investing in life insurance.

About 63% of all participants agreed on this, regardless of their generation. Approximately 62% of Millennials, 69% of Gen Xers, and 58% of Boomers blamed this for their lack of life coverage. Other common reasons include additional living costs (50%), building savings accounts (37%), and managing debt (42%). Life insurance data show that missing information and not being approached play roles as well, with 40% and 23%, respectively.

(GP Agency)

13. Consumers aren’t informed on the actual costs of a life insurance policy.

The average cost for a $250,000 term life insurance for a 30-year-old person in good health is about $160 a year. Almost half of Millennials (44%) think that the annual costs are $1,000 or more. About 24% of all the other generations share this misbelief. Only 6% of Millennials and 7% of other generations think the yearly price of such coverage is under $100. Approximately 21% of Millennials and 28% of other generations estimate the cost between $100 and $299, as indicated by life insurance statistics.

(GP Agency)

14. Gen X consumers are most likely to purchase life insurance online.

About 32% of consumers from this generation said they would do research and purchase a policy online. Boomers and Millennials come in next with respective 29% and 28%. Consumers from the Silent generation are the least likely (only 7%) to complete their research and purchase via the Internet, life insurance trends show.

(GP Agency)

15. Life insurance-related online activity is declining.

Life insurance-related online activities have been decreasing despite the rise of the Internet. In 2017, 55% of consumers visited life insurance company websites, and 52% were looking for information on the topic online. In 2018, only 49% and 45% performed the same activities. What about the share of consumers who tried purchasing or bought a life insurance policy online? About 32% and 31% of all consumers did this in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

(GP Agency)

16. Over one-third of consumers believe that the sale of life policies will increase in the next five years.

Life insurance facts and statistics reveal that 36% of all consumers think this rise in sales won’t be significant. About 32% believe the policy sales will increase a lot, and 26% foresee the same levels of sales. Only 6% think that the number of sold life policies will decrease in the next five years.

(GP Agency)

17. More and more consumers prefer simplified underwriting.

The main reason for 72% of consumers is simplicity. About 65% of the participants said that simplified underwriting was unbiased, while an additional 65% believed it provides transparent information. Not requiring a medical exam is another common benefit of simplified underwriting, per the life insurance statistics. Consumers also like that it comes without the need to see a doctor or face-to-face communication.

(GP Agency)

18. Social media presence of life insurance providers is becoming more and more important to consumers.

Millennials pay attention to this, especially. Namely, 39% of Millennial consumers said they would like to communicate with their life insurance agents via social media. A bit smaller share (22%) of all consumers, regardless of their generation, responded positively to this question. To Millennials, the overall social media presence of agents is quite essential, with Facebook getting the most votes.

(GP Agency)

US Life Insurance Facts & Stats

19. Life insurance premiums stateside reached $145.4 billion in 2018.

The annual change for the life insurance premium in 2018 was 6%. Namely, in 2017, the premiums totaled $137.1 billion, while in 2016 they were $115.0 billion. The stats show that in 2015 the amount of the premiums was the highest in the period between 2014-2018 at $151.4 billion. Their total amount in 2014 was $133.9 billion.

(Insurance Information Institute)

20. Direct life premiums in 2018 went over $181 billion.

This amount represents almost one-fourth (24.8%) of all direct premiums. It is, however, lower than the $184 billion recorded in 2017. The largest life insurance market share of direct life premiums comes from ordinary life. This segment contributed $142 billion, while group life premiums came next with $38.48 billion. 

(Insurance Information Institute)

21. Life insurance total benefits and claims in 2017 reached nearly $700 billion.

Their exact amount was $696 billion, which is the highest one recorded between 2013-2017. The largest share ($308 billion) went to surrender benefits and withdrawals for life contracts. Disability, accident, and health benefits contributed $126 billion, while annuity benefits with$77 billion. Death benefits in 2017 totaled $74 billion.

(Insurance Information Institute)

22. The value of individual life insurance in force in the US surpassed $12 trillion.

More precisely, it totaled $12.12 trillion in 2018. Life insurance statistics show that this value is good and higher than the figures recorded in 2017 and 2016. Those years, the total values of life policies in force were $11.93 trillion and $11.99 trillion. The highest value in the period between 2008-2018 of $12.34 trillion was seen in 2015.


23. The number of life insurance premiums in 2019 dropped by 3%.

Both annualized premiums and face amounts, however, increased by 5% each. The number of universal life policies dropped the most by 5%, while the number of variable universal life improved by 5%. Term life policies didn’t note any significant changes in their number. The number of whole life policies dropped by 5%, show the life insurance facts.


24. The average annual price of a $100,000 30-year term policy is $156.

This cost per year applies to 30-year-old males that are in good general health. A person older by 10 years will have to pay a yearly average of significantly higher $216. These figures show how a single factor can dramatically impact the average price of life insurance. A 10-year delay, in fact, can cost you about $1,800 more over the full term of the policy, according to life insurance trends.


25. Prudential Financial is the largest life insurance company in the United States.

Their assets in 2018 were valued at $577.91 billion. MetLife and New York Life came second and third with assets worth $409.62 billion and $324.78 billion, respectively. TIAA-CREF and the American International Group complete the top five list. Their respective assets in 2018 were valued at $316.04 billion and $285 billion, according to life insurance industry statistics.


26. In 2019, MetLife was the top writer of life and annuity insurance by direct premiums.

The market share of this company was 13%, and its premiums written totaled $95 billion. Prudential came in second with a market share of 7.7% and direct premiums written worth $53.20 billion.

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance was the top writer of individual life insurance. The company’s life insurance market share in 2019 was 8.4%, and the direct premiums written equaled $11.27 billion. Finally, MetLife was the leader in group life insurance too. In this sector, the provider held a 20.8% of the market, and its direct premiums written reached $7.32 billion.

(Insurance Information Institute)

27. People in California spend the most on life insurance.

In 2018, the amount of Californians spent on life insurance policies was $356.98 billion. Texas was next on the list of top spenders on life insurance with $275.72 billion. Other states whose citizens invest in this type of insurance are New York and Florida. People who live there spent a total of $218.55 billion and $188.85 billion on life policies, respectively. Wyoming, Alaska, and Montana came at the bottom of the list here, according to life insurance statistics. Their residents invested only $4.59 billion, $7.36 billion, and $7.4 billion respectively on life insurance.


28. The insurance sector in the US represents 3.1% of the country’s GDP.

The banking industry meanwhile contributed 2.9%. These figures show how important the insurance industry is for the US. The taxes paid by policyholders on premiums totaled $21 billion or 2.2% of all taxes states collected in 2017. This industry is also a huge employer of about 3.32 million people, but also a charitable giver. The latest charitable giving stats show that the insurance industry has given over $31 million in local community grants.

(Insurance Information Institute)


What percentage of life insurance policies pay out?

Nearly 90% of life insurance policies lapse. Meaning, only about 10% pay out. Death claims represent only about 2% of all policies. Millions of dollars of death benefits, as a result, go unclaimed.

How many Americans have life insurance?

About 57% of Americans hold a life insurance policy, and most of them have 45 years or more. These figures show that 43% of US citizens have no life insurance, but also that younger Americans don’t invest in it.

How much life insurance does the average person have?

In the US, the average life insurance owned is about $126,000. This amount is significantly lower than the average need of approximately $459,000. Meaning, the average underinsurance among Americans is over $300,000.

Who is most likely to buy life insurance?

More than half of policyholders in the US are over 45. So, individuals from this age group are the most likely to invest in this type of insurance. Younger generations give priority to mortgage payments and retirement savings, so they often overlook investing in life insurance.

How much is a 500k life insurance policy?

Several factors determine the rates of a $500,000 life insurance policy., including length alongside the holder’s age, sex, health, and state of residence. For example, a 25-year-old healthy male would pay $31.51 per month for a 30-year term life insurance. A female would pay $25.69.

At what age should you get life insurance?

Life insurance is a serious investment, and generally, the sooner you get it, the better. So, it’s optimal for parents to purchase this type of insurance for their kids. Alternatively, you could turn to a life insurance company as soon as possible. 

If you wonder why you should purchase life insurance early in your life, let us explain. Life insurance data reveal that the cost of this insurance grows with each passing year. So, if you get it early, you save money. Life insurance also helps households deal with debt, health issues, and even death. Even though often overlooked, life insurance is equally important as retirement savings and mortgage payments.

What is not covered by life insurance?

Self-inflicted injuries and death resulting from such injuries aren’t covered. Death due to STDs like AIDS also results in rejected claims. Providers won’t cover death resulting from intoxication and natural calamities like tsunami either. Insurance companies reject claims on homicide due to criminal activities, too.

Do Millennials buy life insurance?

Despite the best time to invest in life insurance being under 35, Millennials fail to do so. In fact, people from this generation overestimate the cost of a life insurance policy and, therefore, don’t purchase it. Over 50% of Americans with life insurance are 45 or older.

Life insurance stats show that only 34% consider themselves informed on the topic. Among Baby Boomers, in contrast, 52% believe they are insurance-savvy. This lack of knowledge is one another reason why Millennials are the least likely generation to invest in life insurance.

The Bottom Line

While many consumers overlook the importance of life insurance, this coverage has been among the best investments for millions of Americans. Paying $100-$200 a year for this type of insurance can help you deal with serious issues later on in your life.

Like these life insurance statistics show, it’s the cheapest and smartest to get your policy as early as possible. So, if you’re among the 43% of consumers without life coverage, no time like the present to invest in that.

References: Statista, Statista, Statista, Insurance Information Institute, Statista, GP Agency, LIMRA, Statista, Insurance Information Institute, Statista, LIMRA, Investopedia, Statista, Statista, Statista

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