Research from Scottish Widows reveals that British households are lamentably unprepared for the loss of a breadwinner's income. The research identified a "protection gap" that meant serious financial hardship for families if a main earner was to fall ill or die.
Over 10 million households are now dependent on more than one salary, to maintain an acceptable standard of living.
Over 50% of take-home pay goes on essentials such as mortgage repayments, managing debt, food, gas and electricity bills.
The study warns that many families would face serious financial hardship in the event of the worst happening.
Nick Kirwan, protection-market director at Scottish Widows, said:
"The majority of the population is walking a financial high wire without a safety net.
Nobody knows what is around the corner, but we have to accept that all too often illness does strike and accidents do happen.
If people don't start to take responsibility for their own financial futures then they could be left in a position where they can't even cover the essential expenditure in their lives."
It is not unreasonable to assume that Scottish Widows would like to sell these underprotected families some protection.