The Mother's Day Index: Mom's value down this year. So what's for dinner?

From patching up skinned knees to chauffeuring kids around town to investigating what teenagers are up to after school, moms do a little bit of everything.

And those little bits add up fast.

life insurance for momsWe took an informal look at the various tasks a typical mom does and how much a family would have to spend to pay professionals to do the same things. (See tasks and compensation below, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.)

The total: $61,426 a year -- which doesn't include the salary mom might make at her job. It's an important reminder that all moms need life insurance.

Life insurance for Mom's value

Unfortunately, too many women remain uninsured or underinsured, according to LIMRA, a global life insurance research and consulting firm.

Last year almost six out of 10 women owned some sort of life insurance, which is about equal to men's life insurance ownership, LIMRA says. But the amount of life insurance coverage purchased for women is only about 69 percent of men's coverage, and married households are less likely to buy individual life insurance for wives than for husbands.

"Both parents should be insured," says Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education.

Too often couples assume that a stay-at-home parent doesn't need to buy life insurance because he or she isn't a breadwinner. The loss of income isn't the only financial hit a family would suffer if a parent died, however. Someone would have to take over all the tasks that they performed.

"All those services have a price and could be a significant expense for a family to replace," says Steven Brostoff, a spokesperson for the American Council of Life Insurers.

The cost of child care could run $30,000 a year, Feldman says. A family would need about $1 million in capital to produce that much income from investment returns.

"Who has that?" he asks. "That's why having life insurance is so important."

Another common mistake couples make is assuming that in-laws will step in to help with the children, Feldman adds. "But sometimes in-laws aren't capable of doing it physically or financially, and their out-of-pocket costs would still need to be taken care of."

How much life insurance does Mom need?

Although both parents should be insured, they don't have to be insured equally, Feldman says. The amount depends on the cost of replacing the parent's income and the critical services they provided. Couples should also consider future earning potential, such as a stay-at-home parent's plan to return to the workforce.

"There's no single rule of thumb for the question of how much life insurance you need," Brostoff says. "We recommend talking to a professional life insurance agent."

But one thing is certain: "Something is better than nothing," Feldman says.

The Mother's Day Index 2011

The original article can be found at Mother's Day Index: Mom's value down this year. So what's for dinner?