Researchers found 22 per cent of Scots could only afford to pay household bills for a maximum of three months if they or their partner were unable to work due to long-term illness.
A total of 27 per cent could only make a maximum of three monthly mortgage payments while one in five (21 per cent) said they are not sure how long they would be able to pay their mortgage.
The study found Scots are more likely to prioritise paying for internet connection and mobile phones than life or critical illness cover and a third (33 per cent) plan to raid their savings if they were unable to work.
Eight in 10 (80 per cent) Scots consider internet connection as essential while 69 per cent see a mobile phone as a necessity while a third (32 per cent) think it is essential to provide financial security for dependants if they become critically ill and 43 per cent think it is essential to provide security for dependants if they die.
Of the 5,161 people studied 39 per cent of people have life insurance and just one in 10 (10 per cent) have critical illness cover.
Johnny Timpson, protection expert at Scottish Widows which commissioned the research, said: “While none of us ever want to think about the worst, our findings show that there are an alarming number of households who could face a significant financial struggle in the event of an unexpected loss of income.
“No matter what our personal circumstances, it’s vital for all of us to ensure we have an appropriate plan in place to protect our finances, helping avoid the need to dip into our savings, which could present even greater challenges further down the line.”