Should we take out single or joint life insurance policies?

5 min Read Published: 05 Nov 2021

Deciding whether to buy single or joint life insurance policies can seem confusing so we've explained the difference between these options and the pros and cons of joint vs single life insurance.

Should we take out single or joint life insurance policies?

Should we take out single or joint life insurance policies?An important element of getting your finances in order is to make sure that you are fully covered in the event of death, especially if others rely on your income. There is sometimes confusion with couples, or business partners, as to whether they should take out single or joint life insurance policies.

There are benefits and drawbacks with both single and joint life insurance policies and these are explained below.

Single life insurance

  • single life insurance policies will cover each partner in the event of death
  • if both partners die within the term of their policy then two amounts will be paid out
  • different terms and levels of cover can be arranged on each policy
  • no need to insure both partners in a marriage or business
  • often more expensive than joint policies - BUT NOT ALWAYS!
  • in the event of the first death life cover will still exist on the partner
  • if partners no longer live together they can take ownership of their individual policies

Joint life insurance

  • only one sum assured will be paid out if either policyholder dies
  • payment will normally be made in the event of the first death
  • if payment is made during the term the surviving partner will have no life insurance cover, replacing this cover could be more expensive due to age or health
  • is usually sufficient if all you wish to cover is a mortgage or loan especially if you wish to buy a decreasing term life insurance to cover a repayment mortgage, as only one payout will be required but it may have to be cancelled and replaced if circumstances change in the future (eg: the relationship breaks down and you wish to separate your life insurance)
  • generally cheaper than two single policies
  • if both partners die at the same time then only one amount is paid out, if there are dependent young children then two single policies would provide extra cover

How does the cost of single and joint life insurance compare?

Different insurance companies will assess individual applications differently. So I suggest that you obtain a joint life insurance quote and then a separate quote for what it would cost for two single life insurance quotes by speaking to an independent life insurance specialist*. As a Money to the Masses reader, you can receive up to £100 cashback if you decide to buy your life insurance through the specialist.

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Find the best value life insurance policy

The table below shows examples of monthly premiums for £100,000 of level term life insurance over a 25 year term if comparing the price of 2 single life insurance policies with the price of a joint life insurance policy. The quotes assume that the insured individuals are in good health, non-smokers who do not partake in any dangerous activities.

Cost of £100,000 of life insurance for 2 single policies compared with a joint policy

Age Monthly premium for 2 single life policies Monthly premium for a joint life policy
35 £12.94 £10.44
45 £26.56 £24.24
55 £68.68 £64.84

Further reading:

Do I need mortgage life insurance?

How can I reduce my life insurance premiums?

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