Women and Life Insurance

29-year-old Christina Heim is a divorced, single-mother of seven-year-old, Elizabeth. Although Christina receives child support, she provides the majority of personal and monetary care. So, it's no surprise that Christina has a life-insurance policy to cover the unexpected.

Christina Heim ("I have some life insurance through my work, but probably not enough, though.")

Whether it's divorce or the loss of a spouse, it's always good to prepare yourself for unforeseen occurrences. When it comes to life insurance ... most women either don't have a policy or are under-insured. Here's what every woman should know.

Single/working mother: If you're a single parent like Christina, you shoulder most of, if not all, the responsibilities of raising your family and are arguably the most in need of life insurance. However, a report from the 2011 Genworth Financial Life Jacket study found that 66% of single mothers lack a policy. Life insurance is a necessity for anyone with dependent children.

Married/with children: Marriage shouldn't exclude a woman from life insurance. Today, 61% of women bring home a paycheck. Without a life insurance policy, your family would not be able to manage the same lifestyle similar to the one you currently enjoy with a double-income.

Stay-at-home moms: Life insurance isn't just for the moneymaker in the house. A stay-at-home mom's contribution to the household is significant and is worthy of a policy.  Vicki Gunvalson, CEO of Coto Insurance ("There is need for it. Death can happen to a spouse, divorce can happen, many situations can happen that are unpredicted. And life insurance is needed because the reality is if that woman died and she's taking care of the children, the husband would have to pay for someone for that care.")

Single women: Even without children, a single woman still has financial responsibilities. You may not need such a significant policy as someone with dependents, but there's a chance that debts you leave behind will be paid before your beneficiaries. And you don't want to leave your family with funeral costs.

Proper coverage: How much life insurance you need depends on the number and ages of your children, your income level, debt level and the value of your assets. To calculate your policy needs, Bankrate.com has a life insurance calculator.

Want to learn more about life insurance? Just log onto Bankrate.com and head to our insurance tab on the main page. I'm Kristin Arnold.

Copyright 2012, Bankrate Inc.