COVID-19 Is Pushing More Americans To Write Wills, Buy Life Insurance


COVID-19 has upended American life and resulted in nearly 91 million cases and over one million deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There aren’t many positives that have come out of the pandemic, but one favorable result is that COVID-19 forced Americans to think about the time when they will no longer be here.

COVID-19 leads to more wills
A recent Forbes Advisor survey found that 64% of people who made out wills said they did so because of COVID-19. That is especially true for younger adults. More than 70% of people between
the ages of 18 and 41 said COVID-19 inspired them to make out a will.

While COVID-19 led people to create a will, there are other reasons that would prompt those without a will to put one in place. Survey respondents said having a child (22%) is the most common reason, followed by having savings and/or other assets (18%) and getting married (17%).
But not everyone has a will. The survey found that 40% of those surveyed, including 46% of women, said they don’t have a will. The most common reason for not having a will is that they don’t have money or assets to leave to loved ones.

  • Nearly one-third (30%) of respondents said they don’t have money or assets, while 26% said they don’t know where to start, 25% said they haven’t had the time and another one-quarter believe writing out a will is too expensive.Pandemic influences life insurance purchases COVID-19 isn’t just inspiring more wills. The pandemic is also leading people to think about life insurance. [See]Nearly half (46%) said they’ve considered buying a life insurance policy or additional coverage because of COVID-19. That includes 58% of men and more than half of people aged between 18 and 41.
  • Three-quarters of respondents said they have some form of life insurance. The bad news is that one-quarter (24%), including 33% of men, rely solely on an employer-based policy. That can leave them without enough coverage.Work-based life insurance is a nice perk and can supplement individual life insurance, but a policy through work often has low death benefits and they’re connected to the employer. That means you lose coverage when you change jobs.
  • One-third of respondents (33%) said they have an individual life insurance policy and 18% of respondents said they have both an individual life insurance policy and an employer-based policy.
  • Most respondents agreed that a death could lead to money problems for their family. More than half (53%) said their family would face financial hardship if the primary earner died. Only 9% said they don’t expect financial hardship if that were to happen.
  • A potentially major problem is that a large percentage of older people surveyed said they don’t have any life insurance, including 39% of those between ages 58 and 76, and 25% of those age 77 and over.Older people may no longer have as much of a need for life insurance. They may have already paid off their mortgage, funded their children’s college education and socked away enough money to handle final expenses. But if they still have debts when they die, not having a life insurance policy could leave loved ones scurrying for funds.Survey methodologyThis online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults was commissioned by Forbes Advisor and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. Data was collected between Feb. 4 and Feb. 7, 2022. The margin of error is +/- 2.2 points with 95% confidence. This survey was overseen by the OnePoll research team, which is a member of the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).For a complete survey methodology, including geographic and demographic sample sizes, contact


Les Masterson is a deputy editor and insurance analyst at Forbes Advisor. He has been a journalist, reporter, editor and content creator for more than 25 years. He has covered insurance for a decade, including auto, home, life and health insurance.