NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Consumers view life insurance as a necessary evil. The joke among life insurance marketers is that under the term "necessary evil" in the dictionary is a photo of your life insurance policy.
Americans know they need life insurance -- 85% of consumers say so -- but the buying process can be confusing, and that causes hesitation in the market, flattening out life insurance policy purchases over the past three years
"Life insurance has never been as inexpensive or easy to buy -- especially with the anticipated growth of online and nontraditional purchasing channels -- yet, millions of consumers continue to put off the decision," says Marvin H. Feldman, chief executive of the Life Foundation, which conducts an annual survey on consumers and life insurance. "Insurance professionals and our industry play a critical role in helping to educate the public on the wide range of options available and should continue to work together to help people get the life insurance coverage they know they need."
Still, even industry professionals know life insurance remains one of the most misunderstood areas of insurance.
"Who needs insurance, how much does it cost, and when should you get it?" asks Patrick Bet-David, chief executive of People Helping People, a Woodlands Hills, Calif., financial services company. "If you ask 10 different people on the street you're likely to get 10 different answers -- from 'I'm too young' to 'It's too expensive' to 'I'd rather invest the money.'"