Single or joint life cover?

If you’re a couple taking out life insurance, you might ask whether you should take it on a single or joint life basis.

What’s the difference?

A single life insurance policy covers one person, and pays out the cash sum if that person dies during the policy term.

A joint life insurance policy covers two people on a 'first death' basis, so the cash sum pays out if one of the people dies during the policy term, and then the policy ends.

Remember, with two single life policies there’s a potential for two payouts. A joint life policy only pays out once and would leave the surviving person without any life insurance.

There are pros and cons to both single and joint life insurance policies. Here are some factors to consider:

Budget - one joint life policy could be cheaper than two single life policies. This depends on your personal circumstances.

Cover - do you both have exactly the same life insurance needs? Does one of you need to have more cover than the other?

What to do when a relationship breaks down

If a relationship breaks down, you may not want to still hold a joint policy. It’s possible to change a joint policy into two single policies. Bear in mind this could affect the premium you pay.

If you claimed on a joint policy, the second person would be left without life insurance. Reapplying later in life can be more expensive as premiums increase with age, and changes in your medical history could make it more difficult and costly to get cover.

So, when you make the decision between single and joint life insurance make sure you’ve considered all of the options and choose the cover that suits you best.

Good to know

Direct Line's Life Insurance is provided by Legal & General

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Things you need to know about Over 50s life insurance:
Premiums stop after your 90th birthday but you still enjoy cover for the rest of your life. In the first year, if you die from natural causes we will refund any premiums, or if you die as a result of an accident, we will pay your cash sum. After the first year regardless of the cause of death we will pay your cash sum. Depending on how long you live, the total sum paid in premiums may be more than the cash sum payable on death. If you stop paying your premiums before the end of your policy your cover will stop 30 days after your missed premium and you won’t get anything back. This isn’t a savings or investment product and has no cash value unless a valid claim is made. Inflation will reduce the buying power of your cash sum in the future.

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