12:56 11 June 2013
A couple of weekends ago I found myself stuck in a car park when my steering wheel refused to turn. There's a phone number on my tax disc holder for breakdown assistance, but the first call I made was to my Dad.
Whenever I have a problem with my car, or when something needs fixing in my house, my Dad is the first person I call - even if it's just to see if he's ever had similar problems and experience fixing them.
If I'd had to pay for all the odd jobs he's helped me with over the years I'd have spent a fortune - and research says I'm not alone. According to Saga, Dads give up two and half days a month to helping their children, with DIY at the top of their to-do lists.
It begs the uncomfortable question (to those lucky enough to be able to answer it): what would you do if your Dad wasn't around anymore? As Father's Day approaches, here's a sobering look at the true value of a father and, if you're a Dad yourself, why taking out life insurance should be top of your to-do list.
Research by Saga last year found 46% of children had called upon their Dads for help with DIY, 42% rang with a home emergency and 40% called for advice on money matters.
Saga says that, if Dads were paid the average wage for the work they do for their kids every month, it'd result in a bill of £3,387 each year.
Based on figures from Legal & General, we think the value of a Dad is actually greater than this. As you'll see in our infographic, a typical Dad spends 50 hours a week on chores and childcare - which amounts to a value of £21,306 over the course of a year.
Those 50 hours are made up of looking after the kids (20 hours), cooking (5.5 hours) and tidying up (4.5 hours). The rest of the time is spent doing other chores such as gardening, chauffeuring the kids around, and shopping.
And this is just the work they do around their own homes - without including all the help they give to their kids who have already flown the nest.
There's probably something in it for the Dad too, though - even if it's only the satisfaction of passing on the torch of knowledge as these little jobs come up. I think in my case, I suspect my Dad must get some joy out of telling me what to do and watching me fail miserably.
For example, when my outside drain was blocked by some errant tree roots, causing problems with the toilet and sink in the bathroom, it probably gave him great amusement to see me lying on the ground, head in a putrid sewer and heaving as I attempted to rip out the slippery roots with all the strength of a soppy teenager.
He once showed me how to change a car battery. Of course, he knew full well that sparks would fly as I attached the crocodile clips to the new battery, but he omitted telling me so he could watch me jump out of my skin when it happened.
You can't put a price on that kind of entertainment...
It's awfully morbid to think about, but as a father you'll want to know your family will cope when you're gone and they can't call upon you for help.
After all, the average salary for a British male last year was £28,700 (says the Office for National Statistics) - which would be a big hole to fill if something were to happen to you.
Life insurance can provide a safety net against this kind of thing and comes in many forms, which are as follows:
Critical illness cover and income protection
Of course it's not just death that could leave your family struggling. A critical illness could leave you unable to work, which is where critical illness cover and income protection come into play.
Critical illness insurance covers your mortgage, rent and other bills if you're forced to stop working because of an illness paying out a lump sum.
The coverage varies from one policy to the next, but basic policies will insure against illnesses such as cancer and heart attack, while more comprehensive policies will also protect against ailments such as Alzheimer's disease. You can read more about critical illness cover in our guide here.
Instead of paying out a lump sum, income protection provides regular payments to cover what you'd be earning if you hadn't fallen ill.
It comes in both short and long term policies. Short term policies, known as accident, sickness and unemployment (ASU) cover, make up your income shortfall if you're out of work temporarily.
Long term income protection plans cover you until you're able to return to work or the policy term comes to an end (typically at your retirement age). They don't provide cover if you lose your job.
You can speak to a MoneySupermarket advisor about critical illness cover or income protection plans for free on 0800 1422012.
Happy Father's Day to all the long-suffering Dads out there - I hope you get a day without any phone calls about leaky sinks or flat tyres.
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