Skip to Content
Financial advisor working with a professional woman to create a life insurance policy that fits her needs.
Life Insurance

Understanding your clients' fear of death and life insurance

Death is a natural part of life. Or so the saying goes. Of course, when it comes time for a client to sit down and start planning for reality of death, it's often a challenging conversation.

People don't like to talk about it because it is uncomfortable and scary. Unfortunately, that fear can cause even typically very rational clients to act illogically. For example, fear of death can make clients put off buying life insurance. Some even think that buying a policy is like tempting fate and makes death more imminent.

The responsibility might fall on you to help clients overcome this fear. With empathy, understanding and practical insights you can help your clients reduce their fear of buying life insurance.

Encourage them to think about a lasting legacy

For most people, the important things in life are health, happiness and family. People want to protect their families, and life insurance is one way to help do that.

Rather than telling a client they must have life insurance in the event of their death, reframe the conversation. Put the ball in their court and put focus on their family and lasting impact. Ask, "What would you like to leave as your legacy after you're gone?" Or, "What kind of long-term financial wishes do you have for your loved ones?"

These questions might be a great way to open the door to discussing life insurance and how their loved ones may use a death benefit to pay off debts, cover educational costs or build for the future.

Offer clear and honest information

A big reason why so many people don't have life insurance is that they've heard so many incorrect myths and misconceptions about it. A 2020 study from LIMRA found that over 41 million Americans say they need life insurance, and yet they don't have it.

The biggest reason? The cost. The study found that 65% of respondents say they don't have life insurance because it's too expensive. Over 50% of millennials overestimated the yearly cost of a $250,000 policy for a healthy 30-year-old.

Sit down with your client and run the numbers. It can help them see that what they think they'll pay for their coverage needs, and what they'll actually pay, can be very different.

Highlight how age and health impacts premiums

If you're working with younger clients, try to convey how their health plays a significant role in life insurance premiums. The younger and healthier they are, it's likely the less they'll pay for their coverage.

Many people are also scared of life insurance because they don't want to undergo the medical exam. They're afraid of the discovery of some undiscovered illness, or they'll turn out not nearly as healthy as they think.

If that's the case, highlight types of life insurance policies don't require an exam. And for those that do, it's often a quick and painless visit, typically under 30 minutes. Also, you can highlight that in the long run, it's better to be aware of any conditions or potential issues rather than remain in the dark.

Reinforce healthy habits

For some of your older clients, discuss healthy lifestyle habits. In addition, remind clients that older people in good health can still get affordable life insurance coverage.

Building healthy habits include visiting the doctor regularly for preventative checkups. Men, especially, tend to avoid going to the doctor. A recent study found 67% put off a doctor's appointment as long as possible. While women do go for checkups more regularly, they're also underinsured compared to their male counterparts.

Some other healthy lifestyle habits to mention:

  • Eating a balanced diet with lots of greens
  • Reducing stress at work and home
  • Getting regular exercise

Don't forget to talk about mental health, too. Many people struggle with mental health issues, including stress and anxiety, which impacts their physical health. According to the Office on Women's Health, nearly 20% of women report struggling with mental health issues every year.

Empathy wins the day

While planning for a difficult conversation, empathy and kindness are vital. As an expert with deep knowledge of life insurance, you have the opportunity to educate with the facts and banish myths, which can help remove some of the mental barriers and fears your client has against buying a policy.

Need help combatting other reasons clients avoid buying life insurance? Learn how to dispel the myth that life insurance is too expensive.



Arrows linking indicating relationship

Related Articles