U.S. life insurance: number of policies in force 2008-2018

In 2018, there were approximately 266.9 million of life insurance policies in force in the United States.

Life insurance policies – additional information

The year after the economic recession, the total number of life insurance policies in force dropped from around 335 million to 289 million. When money is tight, it appears that consumers think life insurance is something they can’t afford, instead of a tool which can be used to protect their loved ones in an emergency. Furthermore, even though the economy has since improved, the number of life insurance policies which people have has not been able to bounce back to what it was before the crisis.

While the face value of individual policies shows an upward trend as does the face amount of all policies since 1992, both show only a partial recovery since 2008. Furthermore, the number of life insurance policy purchases seems to have been on the decline since well before the crisis.

So what is actually important for consumers when it comes to life insurance? According to a consumer study carried out in January 2017, the most important factors for consumers involved being certain that they understand what they are buying and the ability to chat with a person. This means that clarity and communication are vital.

Total number of life insurance policies in force in the United States from 2008 to 2018

Number of policies in millions
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Release date

October 2019


United States

Survey time period

2008 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded.

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Statistics on "Insurance industry in the United States"

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