Cost and scepticism about insurance are making people reluctant to buy protection against financial shocks, according to a new study.
The Financial Services Council, which represents the life insurance industry, said more than half of those surveyed had given no thought to what they would do to protect themselves against personal loss, such as income, illness and death.
Council chief executive Richard Klipin said many people were gambling by deciding not to provide some sort of financial safety net to protect themselves.
"The research indicates that a stigma still remains in New Zealand around discussing, managing and engaging with financial risk," Mr Klipin said.
"Adding to this high stakes gamble, the research also found that two thirds of New Zealanders don't have sufficient savings to cover an unexpected short-term loss of income."
Mr Klipin said people spent more time on checking out insurance for their cars, home and contents, than the implications of someone in their family dying.
He said many people had the view that the state, through the public health system and ACC, would help them in the case of injury and illness, as would family and friends.
But he also accepted that affordability of insurance was also an issue.
"There is more work to do around products, features and benefits, the affordability and ultimately the trust and confidence that consumers will get paid out when they claim."