"A joint policy has pros and cons so think carefully about your and your loved ones' needs. You can save time and money by only having 1 policy but that also means you only get 1 payout. It also means that the surviving partner is no longer covered and might find if difficult to find cover if they're older."
How does it work?
Joint life insurance works much like standard life insurance:
- We'll ask you some personal details about you and your partner
- You choose how much cover you want
- You choose how long you want to be covered for
- Compare from a range of life insurance providers and buy the policy that's right for you
- If you or your policy partner dies during this time, your loved ones get a cash payout
Your policy pays out differently depending on how you set it up. There are 2 different ways to do this:
First death policies - Pays out after the first death in a joint policy. After that, the second person is no longer covered and needs a new policy.
Second death policies - Pays out only after both people die but this can be years apart. A lump sum will be paid out when both people pass away.
What types of joint life insurance policies are there?
There are 2 types of policy lengths available to you:
Level term or term life insurance has a fixed premium and a fixed lump sum of money that pays out. The amount you decide on is the amount paid out when someone dies.
Decreasing term or mortgage life insurance is slightly different. The amount you choose decreases over time as long as you or your partner are still alive. The decreasing payout is designed to protect against a loan or mortgage.
Pros and cons of joint life insurance
- They’re usually cheaper than 2 separate life insurance policies
- Your loved ones get a payout no matter who dies. As you’re both insured, you know that whoever's left behind is provided for.
- Having a joint policy means one lot of admin. This makes it easier to keep track of what you’re covered for, when you need to pay, and how much your payout is.
- Both parties are covered for the same exact amount
Your loved ones only get 1 payout as joint policies only pay once. If you both get a separate policy, your loved ones get 2 payouts if you both die.
If you separate it could end your policy because both policy holders have to share a single address. Even if you're months or years in, you risk losing everything you’ve paid in so far.
It could be more expensive than 2 separate policies if 1 of you is in poor health, a lot older or has a high risk job.
What our life insurance expert says
How much joint life cover do we need?
Figuring out how much cover you need is important. Too much and you could be paying more than you need to. Too little, and your payout might not cover what you want it to.
- Your family’s outgoings
- Your mortgage
- Your debts
- Funeral costs
- Your family’s outgoings. How much would they need to keep on living comfortably after your death?
- Your mortgage. How much do you have left to pay? Even though the amount decreases over time, it’s best to ensure you have enough cover to pay it off completely.
- Your debts. If you have any outstanding credit card or loans, factor this into your cover amount.
- Funeral costs are more than £4,000 on average. If you think your loved ones may struggle to afford this, factor it into your cover amount.
How much is a joint life insurance policy?
- The type of policy
- The length of cover
- The amount of cover
- Your age
- Your health
- Your job
The type of policy. A decreasing mortgage life policy could be a cheaper option. But think about if it meets your and your loved ones' needs.
The length of cover. The length of your policy determines how much your monthly payments are.
The amount of cover. The more you choose to leave for your loved ones, the more your payments cost.
Your age. The younger you are, the cheaper your policy tends to be.
Your health. If you're a smoker or a heavy drinker, expect to pay more for your policy. Your height and weight also play a part in how much you pay.
Your job. If you have a high risk job or enjoy dangerous hobbies, life insurance could be more expensive or harder to get. Our guide on life insurance exclusions explains all.
What else do I need to consider?
Before you choose a life insurance policy, there are a few things you should consider:
- What your budget is
- What cover level you choose
- Your future and relationship
- How long your family will be dependent on your income
- How long you want to pay
What your budget is. Joint life insurance should work out cheaper than 2 individual life policies. But you still need to make sure you can afford your joint policy. Try to work out a balance between leaving enough behind for your loved ones but also affordable monthly payments.
What cover level you choose. Look over the different types of life insurance policies and try to work out how much cover you need. You should take time to calculate your joint monthly expenditure, including your mortgage payments and all your outgoings. Look at each of your earnings and think about whether you both need the same level of cover.
Your future and relationship. Review your policy from time to time, especially if your circumstances change. A relationship breakdown can bring joint life insurance policies to an end, in which case you might decide to get a single life policy.
How long your family will be dependent on your income. If you have a young family, think about how long they'll need to be supported for. A payout that runs for as long as they’ll need financial support could be a good idea.
How long you want to pay. The longer your cover term, the longer you have to keep paying. Most people have their policy last around 25 to 30 years. This is usually long enough to cover their mortgage and the time in which their kids will depend on them financially. However, a whole life insurance policy could also be an option.
Why choose Confused.com?
- We’re 100% independent. This mean we're not owned by an insurance company and we're 100% unbias. We’ll show you our best prices, in an unbias order, no matter who they’re from.
- Our experts are dedicated to helping you, our customers, find the best deal we can offer.
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What other types of life insurance are there?
is individual cover that pays out when the policyholder dies.
pays out an amount that decreases over time, usually in line with your mortgage
pays out a lump sum if you're diagnosed with an illness covered by your policy
covers your bills if you're injured or ill and are unable to work. Short term policies and longer ones available
covers the cost of private medical care, helping you avoid NHS waiting lists to get the cover you need, quickly
Life insurance guides
Still confused about joint life insurance? Learn all you need to know here
Looking to avoid tax on your pay-out? Then writing it in trust may be for you
Need to update your policy? Here's some quick tips on how to do it
Find out how to review your policy to check who'll get your pay out