How painful is the life insurance talk?

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I think we can all agree that the prospect of discussing our own mortality ranks somewhere near the top of the list of things we’d rather avoid.

But just how painful is the life insurance talk? So painful that no one has ever bothered to compare it to other similarly distasteful above-ground activities.

Until now.

To celebrate Life Insurance Awareness Month in September, Penn Mutual corralled 800 consumers nationwide and put the question to them bluntly: Which of the following activities would you rather do instead of talking about your life insurance needs?

They found that:

  • 50% would rather do their taxes.
  • 48% would rather sit in the middle seat on an airplane.
  • 41% would rather stand in line at the DMV.
  • 41% would rather get selected for jury duty.
  • 40% would rather change a flat tire.
  • 39% would rather be without their smartphone for a week.
  • 35% would rather use a port-o-potty.
  • 35% would rather buy their own burial plot.

Ouch! That port-o-potty one in particular had to hurt!

Penn Mutual had so much fun with the survey that the 168-year-old life insurance company took it to the street for an entertaining 2-minute “Would You Rather?” video. It expands the alternatives to include using someone else’s toothbrush, eating a “fairly big” bug or finding a hair in your food. Nobody actually chose the bug, mind you, but one guy gave it serious consideration.

“This year we wanted to take a lighthearted and educational approach to enlightening the public about what life insurance can really do,” explained Penn Mutual chief marketing and digital officer Jeff Fleischmann. “Life Insurance Awareness Month provides an opportunity to teach consumers about the important role of life insurance, while also bringing to life the benefits permanent insurance can provide throughout a lifetime, such as paying for college or supplementing retirement income.”

To make that last point marginally meme-worthy, Penn Mutual also posted a “Did You Know?”  video, which includes these interesting life insurance facts:

  • 43% of Americans have no life insurance.
  • More than 137 million people in the U.S. do own life insurance.
  • Life insurers paid out almost $107 billion in policy benefits in 2013.
  • You can use some life insurance while you’re alive. Permanent life insurance builds cash value that can pay for college funding, retirement income and emergencies.

So why not check out these 6 myths about buying life insurance?

It’s easier than eating a bug.

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