Consumers chose chocolate over protection

Of those surveyed, 43% said protection was too expensive despite some premiums starting at £5 per month. In contrast, the average family admitted spending £7 on chocolate, £17 on pets and £28 on digital television.

Jennifer Gilchrist, senior product development manager, Bright Grey, said: “Everyone needs to treat themselves from time to time but by not building up a financial safety net many could find their entire quality of life compromised by illness or even the death of a family member.

“It is particularly concerning that a quarter of all people have not even considered what they would do in the event that something like this might occur.”

Nearly a quarter accepted that they would have to drastically reduce their living costs in order to survive in the event that the main breadwinner was diagnosed with a serious illness, suffered a disability or died – demonstrating the value of cover in helping to maintain an everyday standard of living.

One in five people would rely upon their savings in the event their income should cease.

The average amount of savings that Britons can access immediately is £9,883, which is a £1,170 increase on figures from 2012, but still is unlikely to support a family for long considering that the average UK household expenditure exceeds £2,000 a month.

Meanwhile a quarter of those surveyed had not considered how they might cope if the worst happened and a small minority plan to rely exclusively on government support.

Gilchrist said: “The high cost of living combined with a lack of adequate protection means that many could find life extremely difficult without a source of income.

“Watching a loved one experience an illness or losing a family member is difficult enough without additional financial stress. Ensuring that a realistic and viable contingency plan is in place will ensure that families can have peace of mind.”