Joint Life Insurance

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By Sarah Watts
Updated on Tuesday 16 February 2021

A young adult couple with their young child

If you’re in a long-term personal relationship, you may consider taking out a joint life insurance policy. But is a joint life insurance policy worth it and is it more beneficial than having an individual policy each?

To answer these questions and more, this handy guide is her to help answer your most commonly asked questions about joint life insurance and how it all works.

In this guide:

What is joint life insurance and how does it work?

How is joint life cover different to single life insurance?

The benefits of getting joint life insurance

Can you get joint life insurance for unmarried couples?

Life insurance: Joint or single?

What is joint life insurance and how does it work?

Joint life insurance is an insurance policy that provides cover for two people in a personal relationship. When one person dies during the insurance term, a compensatory payment is made to the surviving partner and the policy ends, no longer providing cover for the survivor.

How is joint life insurance different to single life insurance cover?

The main difference is that a joint policy is usually cheaper than buying two separate single policies, but a joint policy only pays out for one person when they die and no longer provides cover to the survivor.

A single policy, however, provides cover for each party when they die, so even if one partner dies, the other is still covered and won't have to purchase a new life insurance policy (which would be more expensive due to the fact the surviving partner is likely older with potentially more health risks).

What are the benefits of getting a joint life insurance policy?

The benefits of a joint life insurance policy are that it’s cheaper than taking out two separate (single) policies and it pays out for whichever party dies first. A joint life insurance policy is usually beneficial for young couples seeking short-term cover.

A joint life policy could also benefit young parents as not only will the policy payout if the ‘breadwinner’ of the family dies first (or equally benefit either surviving policyholder if they both work), but it will also cover the financial cost of losing a stay-at-home-parent.

Losing a stay-at-home-parent could prove costly to a surviving working parent who would then either have to stop working or work fewer hours to care for their family, or start paying for childcare.

So if you’re a young couple with young children, taking out a joint life insurance policy until such time as the children become a more independent age, could be cost-effective and beneficial to you both and provide the cover you need, should the unthinkable happen.

Then, at a later date when the joint policy expires and before you get too old or suffer from health problems (both of which make life insurance premiums more costly), you could take out a single life insurance policy each to fully protect your loved ones, in the event of your untimely death.

So overall, the drawbacks of joint life cover ending after the death of one policyholder would be less disadvantageous for new parents or young couples who want cheaper, short-term cover.

However, it is highly recommended that you speak to a life insurance broker for specialist advice on what would be best for you (both in terms of the policy and the cost).

Can you get joint life insurance for unmarried couples?

Yes, you do not have to be married or even in a personal relationship to take out a joint life policy.

Bear in mind that if you split up with a partner and wish to cancel your joint life insurance policy, you will lose all the money you have paid into the joint insurance policy to date. Plus, should you then take out a new single insurance policy, your age or health at that time could significantly increase premiums.

Should I buy joint or single life insurance?

To help you decide whether to buy joint or single life insurance, below is a table summarising the pros and const of joint and single life insurance policies so you can see, at a glance, which policy might best suit your particular needs and circumstances. Again, it is always worth speaking to a life insurance advisor for expert advice.

Joint vs single life insurance

Joint Life Insurance

Single Life Insurance






Only pays out for one party

Pays out for both parties individually

More expensive than a joint policy

Either party covered for less money

Won’t provide lifetime cover for both parties

No need to take out another policy later in life

Need to take out 2 separate policies

Best for young couples/families or business partners

Not the best option for older couples

Best for long-term cover for both parties

Pricey option for younger couples

For more information about life insurance, take a look at our related guides:

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