What is joint life insurance?

A joint life insurance policy covers two lives simultaneously.

You pay one monthly premium, there’s one contract and the terms of the policy protect both named parties.

With over 40% of all policies being joint[1], it can be an ideal option for:

  • Married couples
  • Long-term partners
  • Business partners
  • Couples on a tight budget

On average, joint life insurance can save you approximately 25% in comparison to two single policies. Although, you could save up to 40%.

But what’s the better option?

At Reassured we can provide you with all the information you require to determine if joint cover is the best option to meet your needs, whilst comparing quotes to save you money.

Simply get in touch with Reassured today…

How does a joint life insurance policy work?

Joint life insurance involves making one application which will include information regarding both applicants.

This information will then be used to determine the level of risk you pose to the insurer as a collective and your monthly joint premium will be calculated accordingly.

Once in place, cover protects both lives under the same terms until the policy expires or one party passes away.

If either party passes away during the period of cover, a claim can be made and a pay out issued.

This will either be after the:

  • First death - This is the most common type of joint policy. The pay out will be made to the surviving party upon the first death. Cover will then expire.

Or

  • Second death - Also known as ‘joint survivorship life insurance’. This is when the pay out will be made after both parties have passed away.

Please note, joint life insurance only pays out once, meaning once a claim has been made, the policy ends.

How much is joint life insurance?

As with individual policies, the cost of joint life insurance is calculated based on the level of risk you pose and will vary depending on the personal circumstances of both parties.

During the application process insurers will take into consideration certain key factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Health & lifestyle
  • Smoking status
  • Medical history
  • Weight/BMI

This information, along with the details of your policy will allow insurers to calculate the level of risk insuring you both and your premium will be set accordingly.

The main benefit of arranging joint life insurance is that it can save you up to 40% compared to two single policies.

This is because there’s only one premium to pay between both parties.


The table below shows the average cost of two single life insurance policies vs a joint policy.

Quotes are based on non-smokers for a level term policy with a term length of 20 years for £100,000 of cover:

Age Joint life insurance Two single policies
20 £6.34 £8.08
25 £7.16 £9.98
30 £8.26 £10.56
35 £10.70 £12.24
40 £14.59 £16.06
45 £21.31 £23.42
50 £34.97 £35.60


Is joint life insurance cheaper?

Yes, as you can see from the table above, securing a joint policy is cheaper than two single policies.

However, as your premium will be calculated using information about both parties, if one partner is seen to be more high risk (for example, they smoke and/or have a pre-existing medical condition) the lower risk partner could end up paying more than is necessary.


The table below shows the price comparison between a completely non-smoker joint policy vs a joint policy where one party is a smoker.

The quotes are based on a level term policy for £100,000 of cover over a 20-year policy term:

Age Completely non-smoker 1 x smoker
20 £6.34 £7.16
25 £7.16 £8.17
30 £8.26 £10.16
35 £10.70 £14.47
40 £14.59 £21.95
45 £21.31 £34.27
50 £34.97 £57.35


In this instance, it could be beneficial to obtain quotes for both single and joint cover to determine the most cost-effective option.

This will allow each partner to pay a fair amount for their cover.

Two single policies will offer more comprehensive cover by potentially providing two pay outs to help cover every financial obligation for your loved ones.

For a more in-depth joint vs two single policies comparison contact Reassured to obtain your free quotes.

What does joint life insurance cover?

Joint life insurance covers all the causes of death an individual policy does, this includes any natural or accidental cause of death.

By having the pay out made directly to the surviving partner, the funds can be used to cover essential financial commitments to help minimise financial stress.

A pay out from joint life insurance could be used to cover:

  • Remaining mortgage balance
  • Rental payments
  • Household bills and utilities
  • Other daily living costs
  • Additional childcare costs
  • Funeral expenses

Alternatively, the funds could be left as an inheritance for the surviving partner to spend as they wish.

As joint life insurance is often taken out by those who share financial obligations, these are the aspects you’ll want to cover to make sure they’re taken care of if the worst were to happen.

However, as there’s only one pay out provided by a joint policy, once the pay out has been made the surviving partner will need to secure a new policy to cover any additional costs for their loved ones (such as funeral costs and future living costs).


What won’t be covered?

Any exclusions added to a joint policy will be the same as with individual cover.

If either party has any pre-existing medical conditions, these will likely be added as exclusions to the policy, meaning you won’t be able to make a claim for this reason.

Suicide won’t be covered for the first 12 months of the policy and if non-disclosure is found this will invalidate the policy.

Non-disclosure refers to not being completely truthful on your life insurance application. Not only is this a form of insurance fraud but it can also prevent a pay out from being made to your loved ones.

For example, if either (or both parties) declare that they don’t smoke but then pass away due to a smoking-related illness, insurers have the right to deny a pay out.

As a result, you should always be honest and forthcoming during the application process.

For any specific questions regarding what life insurance covers, contact our team who’ll be able to provide you with all of the information you need.

How much joint life insurance do you need?

Enter your financial commitments to understand the level of joint cover you require.

?

£121,687 is the estimated average outstanding mortgage per household in the UK.

Our property is generally the largest financial commitment any of us will make.

Your life insurance should cover this significant debt should you no longer be around.

£
?

According to Money Advice Service, full-time childcare in the UK now costs £242 a week.

The loss of a parent could result in the need for additional childcare whilst the surviving parent increases their hours to account for lost income.

Your life insurance cover should factor in this additional required outgoing.

£
?

The average level of debt (minus a mortgage) in the UK is £15,385.

Factoring in any outstanding debts in your name when arranging life insurance ensures this burden is not passed to loved ones.

£
?

You may wish to leave your loved ones an inheritance or lump sum gift upon your passing.

Factoring in the gift amount when arranging your cover will ensure the pay out amount will be sufficient to provide your loved ones with this selfless gesture.

£
?

According to SunLife, the average cost of a UK funeral is now £4,417, whilst the total cost of dying is £9,493.

This is a 130% increase over the past 16 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

A significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

£
?

If you are one of the 65% of the UK who are lucky enough to have savings, this could be used as protection if you were to pass away.

Any pay outs from existing life insurance policies and investments can also be used as financial protection for your loved ones if you were no longer around.

Factor this into your required cover amount.

£ -

Your total cover estimate

£ 0

Let us find your best quotes.

How does a joint life insurance application work?

The application process for joint life insurance is almost identical to singular cover but requires both parties to provide information.

Information regarding your age, health, lifestyle and smoking status, as well as your policy details will be collected.

These details will be assessed to determine the level of risk you pose and your premium will be calculated accordingly.

The application will either be accepted immediately and cover will commence or it may be referred and further information (such as your medical records) may be required.

In rare instances, if significant high-risk factors are identified, your application may be declined.

The good news is, even if you’ve been declined elsewhere, at Reassured we may be able to secure you a suitable policy.

Our specialist impaired risk life insurance team has helped secure cover for 45% of applicants declined elsewhere.

What’s the best joint life insurance?

Securing a joint policy can offer a financial safety net, in the form of a substantial cash amount, for one partner in case the other partner was to pass away.

But the best option for you will depend on what it is you’re looking to protect.

Most commonly, term life insurance is taken out on a joint basis. This includes:


But it’s also possible to secure joint:

Unfortunately, it’s not currently possible to secure joint income protection or joint over 50s plans.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about these joint policy types.

Alternatively, contact Reassured to determine the best type of joint life insurance to suit your needs.

Term life insurance

  • Cover for a specified period of time (up to 40 years)
  • Level or decreasing term options
  • Lump sum pay out
  • Cover amount up to £1,000,000
  • Affordable cover from 20p-a-day

Term life insurance is the most common option when taking out a joint policy.

This is because it tends to be the most affordable form of cover and can be ideal for young married couples who’ve just bought a home and/or started a family together (and may be on a budget).

This policy type offers cover for a specified period of time (the term) and if either party passes away during this time, a pay out will be made.

Level term life insurance will provide a fixed sum assured, ideal for protecting large expenses for the surviving partner such as an interest-only mortgage, family living costs and leaving an inheritance.

Whereas, with decreasing term life insurance, your sum assured will reduce over time - making it an ideal option for protecting a repayment mortgage.

When arranging term life insurance as a joint policy, the pay out will made directly to the surviving policyholder.


The table below shows the price breakdown for both joint level and decreasing term life insurance.

Quotes are based on non-smokers over a 20-year term for £100,000 of cover:

Age Joint level term cost per month Joint decreasing term cost per month
20 £6.34 £5.59
25 £7.16 £5.75
30 £8.26 £6.38
35 £10.70 £7.74
40 £14.59 £10.38
45 £21.31 £14.16
50 £34.97 £20.48


Why not contact our award-winning team to compare level term vs decreasing term life insurance on a joint basis?

Whole of life insurance

  • Provides lifetime cover
  • Guaranteed lump sum pay out
  • Cover amount up to £1,000,000
  • Affordable cover from 27p-a-day

Whole of life insurance as a joint policy, as with a single policy, may be suitable if both partners are in the later stages of life and still in good health.

This is because a whole of life insurance policy provides lifetime cover and guarantees a pay out to the surviving partner, making it an ideal option for providing an inheritance and covering expensive funeral costs.

To keep cover in place, you’ll be required to pay premiums for the rest of your life.

As your medical wellbeing will be taken into account to calculate the cost of your premium, if you have less than favourable health, paying inflated premiums over your lifetime could lead to you paying more into the policy than it will pay out.


The table below shows the price breakdown for a joint whole of life policy.

Quotes are based on non-smokers for £100,000 of cover:

Age Joint whole of life insurance cost per month
20 £68.16
25 £75.26
30 £83.94
35 £95.16
40 £117.10
45 £146.06
50 £180.60


If joint whole of life insurance seems well suited to meet your needs, contact Reassured to obtain your free quotes.

Family income benefit

  • Cover for a specified period of time
  • Monthly (tax-free) payments up to £5,000 (per month)
  • Term length up to 40 years
  • Helps with family budgeting
  • Affordable cover from 20p-a-day

Family income benefit differs from a traditional life insurance policy by providing monthly instalments rather than a lump sum pay out.

It can be taken out on a joint basis to help the surviving partner with long-term family budgeting.

The payments will commence from the date you pass away until the end of the policy term.

For example, if you have a 30-year policy term with a monthly pay out amount of £2,000 and pass away 10 years into the policy, your surviving partner will receive £2,000 a month for the remaining 20 years of the policy.

As with term life insurance, family income benefit can be an affordable option for young couples.

Funeral plan

  • Lock-in today’s funeral prices
  • Guaranteed acceptance
  • Arrange your funeral in advance, (relieving your loved ones from this task)
  • Range of plans to suit every need
  • Affordable payment terms

Similar to a joint life insurance policy, it’s possible to take out a joint funeral plan which will cover two people simultaneously.

A joint funeral plan can secure the cost of a funeral at today’s prices and only involves making one set of payments, but this will only pay for one funeral.

Once the funeral plan has paid out it will no longer be valid, leaving the surviving partner to fund a second plan.

For this reason, it’s likely to be most beneficial to take out two funeral plans to ensure both partners' funerals are planned and pre-paid for.

Funeral plans offer a range of payment terms, from paying in full to monthly instalments, making this an affordable option.

Funeral plans through Reassured start from just £19.11 per month*.

How is joint life insurance paid out?

Upon the passing of one policyholder, a lump sum pay out will be made to the remaining policyholder.

Joint life insurance will only pay out once, usually upon the first death.

At this point, the policy will expire and the surviving partner will need to secure new cover.

On occasions, cover may be arranged on a survivorship (or second death) basis. This means the pay out will be made upon the second death, as opposed to first.

In both instances, if the term of cover ends before either party passes away, no pay out is made and cover expires.

As with all forms of life insurance, the sum assured forms part of the policyholder’s estate, making it subject to inheritance tax (40% over £325,000).

However, it’s possible to detach the pay out from your estate by writing your policy in trust.

Keep reading to find out more about writing your policy in trust…

Do I need joint life insurance for a mortgage?

No, you’re not legally required to secure life insurance when taking out a mortgage.

If you’ve purchased a house with your partner, and have a joint mortgage, you may wish to take out a joint life insurance policy to protect this shared asset.

If one partner were to pass away, the funds from the policy could be used to help the surviving partner pay off the remainder of the mortgage and remain in the family home.

When taking out joint mortgage life insurance (either a level or decreasing term policy) you can choose to have your policy term align with your mortgage term.

In the case of decreasing term life insurance, you can even have your sum assured reduce inline with your remaining mortgage balance.

Speak to a friendly member of our team about protecting your mortgage.

Can married couples get joint life insurance?

Yes, it’s common for married couples to take out joint life insurance to protect shared assets and financial responsibilities. This could be:

  • A mortgage
  • Family living costs
  • Debts or loans
  • Funeral costs

The funds from a joint life insurance policy can help to ensure there’s minimal financial disruption for the surviving partner at an already stressful time.

By securing a joint life insurance policy married couples can save up to 40% compared to two single policies.

Contact Reassured to find the best policy for you and your partner.

What if I get divorced?

Typically, after a divorce, there are two common outcomes for a joint life insurance policy:

  1. Both parties must agree for one to take over the policy
  2. The joint policy gets cancelled and both parties secure new single policies

Only a small number of insurers provide the option to split a life insurance policy or to remove one party making it into a single policy.

There could also be further complications if the policy is written in trust.

If written in absolute trust, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make changes to the policy (such as the named beneficiary) if the policy was signed over to you (so your ex-spouse could still receive the pay out if you were to pass away).

When cancelling your policy, any premiums paid in will be lost and you may face having to pay higher premiums if you’re at an older age.

However, taking out a new policy will allow you to secure the right amount of cover to meet your new circumstances and any new financial commitments you may have as a result of your divorce.

If you find yourself in this position, get in contact with an independent life insurance broker who can help you find the best solution.

For more information read our full joint life insurance after divorce guide »

What if I’m not married?

It’s not essential to be married to arrange joint life insurance.

However, joint life insurance is popular among married couples, or those in long-term committed relationships, as a way of protecting shared assets/responsibilities.

This is because the surviving partner will receive the proceeds from the policy.

Therefore, arranging joint life insurance is usually carried about between those who’re financially dependent on one another.

Can I take out joint life insurance with my business partner?

Yes, taking out joint life insurance with a business partner offers protection for the business to remain functioning should the worst happen to either party.

If the worst were to happen, the pay out could be used to pay off business loans, invest in a new partnership or simply to maintain the running costs of the business.

You may wish to secure a separate single policy to protect your own personal financial obligations such as family living costs and/or a mortgage.

Can critical illness cover be added to a joint life insurance policy?

Yes, critical illness cover can be added to a joint term life insurance for an additional cost.

This means, if you’re diagnosed with a serious (but not life-threatening) illness, you can make a claim and receive an early pay out.

This pay out can then be used to help cover any necessary medical fees, adaptions to your home or pay for carers.

As with a joint life insurance policy, if one party makes a claim the pay out will be made and cover will expire.


The table below shows a price comparison between the cost of a joint life insurance policy without critical illness cover vs a joint life insurance policy with critical illness cover.

These quotes are based on non-smokers for a level term life insurance policy, over a 20-year term for £100,000 of life and critical illness cover:

Age Joint policy without critical illness cover Joint policy with critical illness cover
20 £6.34 £27.41
25 £7.16 £34.05
30 £8.26 £48.56
35 £10.70 £68.59
40 £14.59 £96.47
45 £21.31 £141.36
50 £34.97 £223.30


At Reassured we can compare joint life insurance with and without critical illness cover to help you find the right option.

Can a joint life insurance policy be written in trust?

Yes, a joint life insurance policy can be written in trust.

Writing your life insurance in trust passes the rights of your policy over to a trustee, similar to the executor of a Will.

This detaches the policy proceeds from your estate and brings with it three main benefits:

  1. Avoids/reduces inheritance tax (40% over £325,000)
  2. Bypasses the probate process (for a faster pay out)
  3. Provides you with the opportunity to detail how you wish the proceeds to be divided

When writing joint life insurance in trust, it’s commonplace for both parties to detail each other as the main beneficiary.

This allows both policyholders to agree on how the proceeds should be spent (for example, to cover the remaining mortgage balance).

At Reassured, we offer a free trust writing service on the majority of the policies we arrange, ensuring peace of mind that the process has been completed accurately.

Is it better to get single or joint life insurance?

What option is best for you will ultimately depend on your needs and available budget.

For couples on a budget, joint life insurance can be an ideal way to secure some cover to protect their family.

On the other hand, if your budget allows, having two separate policies can provide more comprehensive cover by providing two pay outs after each death, rather than just one.

Joint life insurance 2 single policies
Both lives covered under one policy Two lives covered under separate policies
Can save up to 40% due to only paying one premium You’ll need to pay two separate premiums
Only one pay out will be made and the policy will expire after this Each policy will offer a separate pay out after each death, offering more comprehensive cover
Surviving partner will need to secure a new policy at an older age Greater cover amount can be secured
Unlikely policy can be split in the event of divorce Two separate policies won’t be greatly affected by a divorce (you’ll simply want to change your beneficiary if you named your partner)


If it’s within your budget it can be possible to secure more than one life insurance policy. This could be a joint policy with your partner to protect only your shared assets and your own personal policy to protect other aspects of your life.

Why not enlist the help of a life insurance specialist, such as Reassured, who can take you through a full single vs joint comparison and provide you with all information needed to make a fully informed decision?

Tips for cheap joint life insurance

  • Always compare quotes to secure the best deal
  • Reduce the cost of premiums by living a healthy lifestyle
  • Arrange cover as young as possible to avoid increasing costs because of ill health or old age
  • Choose the best type of cover for your needs to prevent paying for unnecessary cover
  • Calculate exactly how much life insurance you need to avoid paying for more protection than you require

Alternatively, you can enlist the help of a life insurance expert (such as Reassured) who can do all the hard work for you and compare multiple offerings from some of the UK's leading providers to find you the best deal.

Compare joint life insurance quotes

Choosing whether to go for a single or joint life insurance policy is a very personal decision.

Generally speaking, and if your budget allows, two single policies offer much greater financial protection.

If you’re still unsure of the best option to take, getting in touch with an award-winning life insurance broker (like Reassured) could help you make an informed decision.

We can present you with all of your options and, whichever you choose, help you secure the right policy at the best price by comparing multiple quotes.

Why not save yourself both time and money by enlisting our services, the best part is we don’t charge a fee for our quotes.

Sources:

[1] https://www.moneyexpert.com/life-insurance/divorce/

*£19.11 per month pricing includes a £75 discount only available to Co-operative members and is based on a 50-year-old purchasing a Co-operative Simple Funeral Plan at £3,020 over the maximum term available of 25 years (total amount repayable £5,733.40) as of 1st March 2021

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