Joint life insurance

Cover 2 lives on a single policy

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What is joint life insurance?

Joint life insurance covers 2 people on a single policy but only pays out once. If one person dies, their loved ones get a cash pay out but the surviving partner is no longer covered. If both people die, the policy pays out to their chosen loved ones.

A joint policy is usually cheaper than taking out 2 separate life insurance policies. You both need to be living at the same address to get cover.

You can cover:

  • You and your spouse
  • You and a partner

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.

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What our life insurance expert says

"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."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at
Home & lifestyle insurance expert logo

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.

Try our life insurance calculator to estimate how much cover you need

How much is a joint life insurance policy?

The cost of your policy will depend on a number of different factors. These include:


  • 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.

Does joint life insurance cover critical illness?

Critical illness cover isn't offered as standard, but you can get it as an optional extra.

If you become seriously ill or suffer a severe injury, you get the payout while you’re still alive and are free to spend it as you wish.

Many people use it to cover their outgoings if they're too ill to work, or to make changes to their home if they're left with a disability.

What do I need to get a quote?

We’ll need a few details before you can compare joint life insurance policies. Having the following information before you begin will help:

  • Yours and your partner's age
  • Your medical history
  • Whether you have any pre-existing conditions
  • How much cover you want
  • How long you want to be covered for

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Can a joint life insurance policy be put in a trust?

Yes, a joint life insurance policy can be placed in a trust. If you die during the term of your life insurance, the payout forms part of your estate.

This is the sum total of everything you leave behind. Writing your life insurance policy in trust means your beneficiaries can get the full life insurance payout tax-free, even if the estate is over the £325,000 inheritance tax threshold.

Putting your joint life insurance in trust should also allow your loved ones to get the payout faster. This is because funds from the policy can be paid directly to trustees rather than going into the estate.

What happens to our joint life policy if we separate?

You normally have to end your policy if you and your partner separate. This is because joint life policies only cover policyholders living at the same address.

Some insurers will allow you to split your policies and keep your cover, but this isn’t included as standard. Contact your insurer if this is something you’re interested in.

If you do have to cancel your joint policy but still want cover, standard life insurance may be the best option. Read our guide for the pros and cons of life insurance for a single person.

Why choose

  • 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.
  • We're FCA regulated. That means we follow their strict guidelines to do the right thing for you so you know you’re in safe hands.
  • We treat your personal details very carefully and take your privacy and security extremely serously.

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Page last reviewed: 05 October 2023

Reviewed by: Matthew Harwood

Confused Life is provided by Direct Life & Pension Services Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered office; 2nd Floor Gateway 2, Holgate Park Drive, York, United Kingdom, YO26 4GB. Registered in England and Wales No 2467691. Our service is free and compares a wide range of trusted household names. is an intermediary and receives commission from Direct Life & Pension Services Ltd which is based on a percentage of the total annual premium if you decide to buy through our website. We pride ourselves on impartiality and independence – therefore we don’t promote any one insurance provider over another.