Let’s face it, when people think of life insurance, they usually don’t think of adrenaline pumping, heart-pounding, high-speed excitement. Well, that’s all about to change with the announcement that groundbreaking—and record breaking—racecar driver Danica Patrick will become the new national spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month this coming September.
The annual campaign was developed by the nonprofit organization Life Happens to raise awareness about the nearly 100 million Americans who are currently uninsured, or under-insured, and to encourage them to get the coverage they need.
As someone whose profession involves driving around a track at 200 mph surrounded by nothing but metal, asphalt and concrete, risking her life is just part of her day job. Therefore, Patrick’s appointment as national spokesperson makes perfect sense. But as she herself said: “Driving racecars is risky. Not having life insurance is riskier.” And she has a point. According to the latest Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, one-third of all U.S. households would immediately have trouble paying for basic living expenses if their primary wage earner died unexpectedly, and 50 percent of U.S. households would begin feeling the financial impact in just six months. And this includes people who already have life insurance but are simply underinsured.
But for Patrick, life insurance is much more than a sound investment or a necessary requirement of having a risky job. For Patrick, life insurance is a personal part of her family history. “As teenagers, both my parents lost their fathers. Neither had life insurance,” she says in a national TV and radio PSA set to air this summer. She goes on to say that as a result of their loss, her family was forced to sell off their family farm just to make ends meet. And despite her personal tragedy, Patrick’s family still managed to rebound from their personal loss and financial hardship. Many Americans aren’t so lucky. Without substantial savings, investments or assets to offset their sudden loss of income, many are left with nothing when unexpected tragedy strikes.
According to the research, most Americans (nearly 86 percent) understand the risks of living without life insurance, and recognize the importance of getting coverage. But, be that as it may, the levels of those insured in this country remain at record lows. Let’s hope that Life Happens, with the help of Ms. Patrick, can help to turn this trend around and put America on the fast track toward the financial security and peace of mind that comes with knowing your family is protected.