A newly released life insurance survey is raising concerns about the considerable difference between the amount of coverage Americans say they want and the amount they actually have. Experts say this “life insurance gap” could put many typical families at serious financial risk if their breadwinners were to die. New York Life, who commissioned the 2013 survey, reports that the average American family says they want enough life insurance to cover their expenses for 14 years. However, that same family typically has coverage for just three years.

“My question is: what happens in the fourth year?” said New York Life Co-President Chris Blunt in a press release. “If you pass away, your paycheck goes away and your family is still in need of income.”

As reported by Forbes Magazine, the median life insurance shortfall last year was $320,000. In other words, the median amount of life insurance coverage American families said they needed was $540,000, but the amount they actually had was just $220,000.

In 2008, the shortfall was significantly smaller at $289,000. Some analysts think too many people let their policies expire when the great recession hit that year. Insurance experts say they generally recommend that breadwinners get coverage as young as possible, and then maintain those policies throughout their lives. Generally speaking, the older one is, the more expensive and difficult buying a new policy becomes.

The gap reportedly varies significantly by region. People living in the western part of the country have the biggest gap, $457,000. The Midwest had the smallest life insurance gap, at $229,000.

If your an individual looking to fill the gap in your life insurance coverage a term life policy would be the most inexpensive way to do that.  A 10 year term policy can be really affordable at any age if you are healthy.  For example a 40 year old healthy male could get a $500,000 10 year term for around $30 a month. 10 year term policies are the best way to cover a short term gap in coverage. Once you qualify for the rate it gets locked in for the entire term, this way you can to budget around the cost and not have so much uncertainty.

If you’re in need of an independent life insurance agency that can help you find you the most affordable quotes online, visit the Local Life Agents website today.