In 2016, 44 percent of American renters have renters insurance.
That’s a respectable number, and it’s continuing to improve. But when you dig deeper into the numbers, you’ll find a more serious problem.
48 percent of male renters have renters insurance, nearly half. Conversely, only 41 percent of female renters have coverage.
That’s a 7 percent difference in renters insurance coverage by gender.
Women who lack renters insurance also are more likely to lack the money they need to recover after a loss, as a direct result of the Gender Pay Gap. It’s difficult enough for anyone to recover from a loss using only their own funds without insurance, and women are often worse off following a loss.
That’s further compounded by the fact that many female-led households contain children. Children have their own personal property that costs a great deal of money, and children bring additional costs to the family budget as well.
Pew Research states that the average woman would need to work until April 14 of the following year to earn an equivalent amount of money as a man who worked for just one year.
When money is tight, one of the first things a person will cut is bills that don’t show a direct and immediate benefit. When women cancel or don’t have renters insurance because of a budget concern, that puts them at significant additional risk.
Women At Risk: How The Gender Insurance Gap Is Made Worse By The Gender Pay Gap
The Insurance Gap isn’t just an issue of risk. It’s also an issue of security and quality of life. Many of the women who are impacted by the Pay Gap have exited dangerous situations and are working hard to start over and make a new life for their family. After a loss such as a fire or theft, that woman who is a victim may well feel that she is worse off than she was before leaving. The Insurance Gap is actually dangerous to women because it can force them back into dangerous situations they had already left.
Overwhelming anecdotal evidence shows that when women take time off from work to which they are entitled, they are viewed with additional suspicion and put their careers at risk. Most men could call their boss and explain that their apartment had a fire, and the boss would have the decency to give them a few days to take care of things and be happy that everyone is safe. Most women would receive a very different response wondering when they were coming back, or if, as well as a strong implication that taking the time off is bad for their future and career.
In addition, many women still work in traditionally female-dominated professions such as nursing. These professions also tend to have non-traditional hours and often do not offer flexibility to take a few personal days to recover from an uninsured loss. The combination of risking their careers and lacking flexibility and time off makes it substantially more difficult for women and their dependents to recover after a loss or a significant theft, with or without insurance.
The Pay Gap, and the Insurance Gap, both get larger when looking at low income households. As we’ve stated elsewhere, the people who most need renters insurance so that they can recover from a crisis are often the ones who can least afford it. Instead of working to improve their lives, these individuals end up working harder just to keep themselves above water after a loss.
As one gets older and closer to retirement, the Gender Pay Gap and the Gender Insurance Gap grow wider. If one must suffer a loss without insurance, the time to do it is when one is young and has few responsibilities. A major loss just before retirement could force a woman to delay retirement for a decade or more. The team at Effective Coverage is doing everything we can to prevent this from ever happening to any renter.
Effective Coverage is a national provider of renters insurance focused on bringing coverage to every renter in America. As part of our core values we focus on education and working to make coverage available and affordable to everyone.
To find out more about our mission, call (800)892-4308.