Simon Read: Women make more claims but have less cover

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There's a gender imbalance when it comes to taking out protection insurance, according to Friends Life.

The insurer analysed its customers to discover that while women hold only 42 per cent of critical-illness policies, they accounted for 51 per cent of all critical-illness claims made last year.

That points towards a general undervaluing of the importance of a woman's role, maybe even by women themselves.

Protection insurance can seem expensive, especially when times are tight, but it can be invaluable when dreadful things happen. Getting a largish cash sum can help ease financial worries caused by a cancer diagnosis, for instance.

If a woman is the family breadwinner, sorting out good protection cover – if you can afford it – is important. If both partners in a family are working, then each separate income may be crucial, too, and should be protected. Women who have no cover should think about getting it.