Only just over half (55%) of the nation had life cover, with young people the least likely to have a policy in place.
One in five valued it so strongly that they would not give it up for a new job that did not have it.
The results came from surveys conducted by So Smart Money and Canada Life and suggested that employers highlighting their life insurance benefits could improve the attraction of staff.
According to the So Smart Money research, 76% of all adults believed life insurance was important while 45% were not covered.
Millennials (18-24-year-olds) were most likely to think life insurance was significant (80%) but were least likely to have life insurance with over half (56%) without cover.
Perhaps surprisingly, those aged 55-64 were most likely to believe life insurance was not important, with one in four thinking so.
Research by Canada Life Group Insurance found 78% of the 600 respondents believed employers valued them more if they provided life insurance.
And the same number felt the benefit would be an important consideration in any job move, with 71% of employees who purchased their policy saying they would feel more valued if it had been provided by their employer.
And one in five (18%) would not be willing to sacrifice it for a new job.
Over half (54%) of employees surveyed who had employer-funded cover saw it as a “must have” benefit with a third (32%) saying it provided peace of mind and ensured their families were protected. A fifth (22%) said it reduced or negated costs they would have to find to purchase these benefits.
Over a quarter (27%) of employees with employer-funded life insurance believed it was more important than private medical insurance, 26% said it was more important than receiving an annual bonus, 16% rated it more highly than the provision of income protection during ill health or injury.
So Smart Money managing director Dean Jones said: “Despite people knowing how important life insurance is, many people still don’t have it.
“Nobody likes to think about passing on, but unforeseen events do happen, and you have to be ready for such an eventuality.”
Canada Life Group Insurance marketing director Paul Avis added: “Employee benefits offerings can increase how valued an employee feels.
“Many group protection products can be brought in at a comparatively low cost so, by reviewing their current benefits offering, employers can take the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Those who fail to take note of this could risk missing out on hiring or keeping some of the best talent available.”