You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Stay-at-home mums do almost £30k of unpaid work a year yet two thirds do not have life insurance

Posted on 14 December 2016

When it comes to life insurance, most families think about household income, but what about the value of whoever stays at home to look after the kids?

New research from leading life insurance provider SunLife has found that on average, mums are worth £26,241 a year to the family thanks to all the unpaid work they do, rising to £29,812 for stay at home mums.

But more than two in five mums don’t have life insurance, and this rises to almost two thirds for stay at home mums, and this is worrying, says SunLife Protection Director Mark Jones:

“If you work part time or you’re a stay-at-home parent and don’t earn a salary, it’s easy to think you don’t need life insurance. But the fact is, if something happened to you, your partner may have to reduce their working hours to look after your children, or pay someone else to do all the roles you do – and that’s not cheap.”

A mum’s worth

SunLife’s research shows that on average, mums spend more than two days (48 hours 24 minutes) cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, being a taxi driver first aider, doing homework and generally tending to the needs of their children. And when you work out what it would cost to employ someone to do these tasks, using the average salaries for the jobs these are most like (teacher, cleaner, taxi driver etc) the value is £26,241.

  Chef Cleaner Laundry Nurse Taxi Teacher Childcare TOTAL
Hours 7.7 7.7 4.3 4.6 3.7 4.2 16.3 48.4
Salary £2,931 £2,948 £1,543 £2,495 £1,614 £5,963 £8,747 £26,241

For a stay at home mum, the tally reaches 56 hours and 36 minutes, which puts the value at almost £30,000 (£29, 812). Mark continues: “A stay-at-home mum or dad makes a huge contribution, and any family would be affected both practically and financially if you passed away unexpectedly.”

Not enough cover?

Those that do have life insurance have £120,437 on average, dropping to £106,152 for stay at home mums. And while this would cover the average outstanding mortgage of £85,000 and average household debt of £8,0001, it doesn’t take into account the average household spending of £5312 a week and does not consider university fees (£27,000)3 or pre paying for a funeral (£3,897)4. And of course, it does not factor in the average ‘mum value’ of £26,241.


Next steps

Our calculator value of mum can help you work out what you are worth, then our life insurance calculator can help you work out the cover you need.

Mark concludes: “It is common for parents with a young family to choose term life insurance, as it means you can get cover during the time your little ones rely on you most. For example, you could choose a 10, 15 or even 20-year term that covers you until your children can stand on their own two feet.

"Of course, replacing a parent is impossible, but a pay-out could help to cover some of your family’s day-to-day costs and take some of the emotional, practical and financial stress out of a terrible situation.”

Find out more about life insurance.


1. Average outstanding mortgage £85,000, average unsecured household debt £8,000. Source: Bank of England

2. UK households spend £531/week on average which is £27,627 per year or £2302.30/month. Source: Office for National Statistics

3 University fees are currently £9,000 a year. Source:

4. The average funeral costs £3,897. Source: SunLife Cost of Dying report 2016