Utah, other large LDS populations highest in marriage but lowest in life insurance

Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 10:00 a.m. MST

Portrait of a recently married couple, Taylor and Breanne Miller in Salt Lake City May 9, 2012.

Brian Nicholson, OKespaÑol

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Marriage ranks high in Utah, but life insurance hasn’t become a priority yet.

With 57 percent of the residents married, Utah has the highest marriage percentage in the nation. But nationally, it is the seventh lowest in life insurance, according to a release by Bankrate.

Of the more than 2 million people over age 15 who are married in Utah, only 38.5 percent are covered by life insurance. Considering the high rate of marriage, this ranks the state low in those covered.

Idaho is second in marriage rate with 56.5 percent married. It is the ninth lowest in life insurance with 43 percent covered. Wyoming has a 55.4 percent marriage rate with 50 percent covered by life insurance.

Bankrate said these states have a high marriage rate because of the large concentration of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The LDS Church emphasizes strong families.

"The (LDS) Church has long emphasized the importance of life insurance in (its) teachings and encouragement of provident living and self-reliance," Steve Miller, owner of the Steve Miller Agency, an insurance and financial services agency in Provo, Utah, told Bankrate. He said he was surprised by the findings.

But there could be a reason for this trend. Idaho and Utah have the youngest median marriage age. The median marriage age for women in Idaho is 23.3, in Utah 23.3 and in Wyoming 24.2, according to the Population Reference Bureau. The low age could affect the low life insurance.

"Life insurance is not going to be a big priority while you're young and tight on resources," Julie Hanks, an author and the owner of Wasatch Family Therapy in Salt Lake City, told Bankrate. "Those are things like rent, food and tuition."

A way to show love is through life insurance, said Stephen Rothschild, chairman of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education. He said it would be a great Valentines present.

"The only reason to purchase life insurance is because you love someone," Rothschild said to Bankrate. "It seems a lot less superfluous and much more lasting than a box of chocolates or a dozen roses."

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com

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