Life cover and critical illness insurance probably aren’t at the top of most mums’ wish lists this Mothers’ Day! Yet, along with the chocolates and flowers, they could be just what many families need to consider investing in.

New research from our partners Scottish Widows shows that more than half - 60% - of women with dependent children have no life insurance in place, leaving their families in a vulnerable position if the worst were to happen. And when it comes to critical illness cover the figure is even more startling, with just 13% having a policy in place.

This lack of planning is leaving many families at risk financially. More than three in 10 (31%) women admit their household would be in danger of financial hardship if they lost their income due to unforeseen circumstances, such as being diagnosed with a critical condition. A quarter say they could pay their mortgage for a maximum of just three months, while 39% would have to dip into savings.

And when asked how they would cope should they or their partner not be able to work for six months, 29% of those questioned said they would rely solely on state benefits, while more than half - 57% - don’t have the protection of a will or a guardianship arrangement in place for their children.

Scottish Widows’ research also suggested that many mothers underestimate the value of their role within the household. Almost a quarter (24%) say that they haven’t taken out life insurance because it’s not a financial priority or they don’t think they need it, while seven percent of mums without critical illness cover say they’d rather take the risk. Yet, on top of their ‘day’ jobs, mums spend almost 23 hours a week on housework and chores such as preparing family meals, helping children with homework, getting children ready for school, carrying out the school run and watching children play sport - tasks which they believe their families could not afford to pay for should anything happen to them.

And with changes to bereavement support payments coming into effect last year, resulting in a significant reduction to the period over which support is available to many families, it’s more important than ever for mums to review their financial protection insurances.

Scottish Widows protection specialist Johnny Timpson said: “Many mothers don’t consider having insurance as a necessity, with almost a fifth saying they don’t rate having critical illness cover as a financial priority. But there’s also the value of a mother's contribution to the home, outside of employment.

“It’s just as important for full time mums to be insured; just because someone doesn’t earn a salary, it doesn’t mean their contribution in the home shouldn’t be protected as it could be very costly to replace. The value of protection is to provide long term peace of mind about having financial security in place for your dependents. And changes to bereavement benefits mean that it’s more important than ever for mothers to review their financial protection needs and seek advice to make sure their household is covered.”

The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that 1 in 20 children will experience the death of one or both parents before the age of 16. Life insurance and critical illness cover can allow the surviving parent or guardians to provide vital stability, such as keeping everyone together in the family home and maintaining a regular routine.

These types of protection insurances can be cheaper than you think and you can tailor the policy to suit your circumstances. Compare life insurance and critical illness cover with our online comparison tool or call our experienced team on 0800 862 0949.