The average British family revealed

The average British family lives in a £1930s semi - and is sleepwalking into a potential nightmare

young couple preparing to watch ...

In the cosy average British family, David and Susan live in their semi-detached, 1930s three-bedroom house with their only child (statistically they only have 0.7% of a child, but let's round up). The couple drive a Ford Focus, have £35,000 of belongings, and dream of one day being able to afford a new kitchen. However, they are risking it all.

The average family was identified by Aviva research. There's some comfort in knowing you are reasonably average. Psychologically we like knowing that we are making roughly the same kinds of decisions about our home and our family as everyone else. In the absence of any certainty about what life holds, as pack animals we actively seek out the average as being a useful guide to the best way to stay alive.

Sleepwalking into a crisis

However, the same research revealed that the average family could be sleepwalking into a nightmare if anything was to go wrong. A shocking 31% of people have no contents insurance. It means that if they are a victim of theft, fire or flooding, they could lose more than £30,000 worth of belongings - with no way of replacing them. Aviva calculated that a combined total of £139.6 billion worth of possessions are at risk because of this.

Just over a third of people have life insurance either. Given that the average family is still paying a mortgage, they are leaving themselves open to an enormous risk. If an income earner was to die, the rest of the family will be struggling not only with terrible emotional upheaval, but also with the stress involved in not being able to afford mortgage payments.

The study found that just 11% have critical illness (which pays a lump sum if you suffer specific illnesses or injuries) and 8% have income protection - which helps cover their salary (or part of it) if they are unable to work because of their health.

The study highlighted that this leaves 11.7 million households unprotected. Of course, there's a good chance that when it comes to income protection and critical illness insurance, a number of families will have done the calculations and felt that the cost of these policies is prohibitive. However, with something as cost-effective as life insurance, this is highly unlikely to be the case.

The average person, therefore, may well be taking a huge risk of losing everything if they are hit by the unexpected. The danger is that when we look around and all the other Susans and Davids making the same mistake, we draw comfort from it, instead of realising there's a good chance we're all just sleepwalking into the same potential nightmare.

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