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 in the relationship, and pays out a cash sum if that person dies during the policy term.

If you take out two separate policies, they will have no impact on each other. So if one of you makes a claim, the other will not be affected.

This also means that if you both die in an accident, dependents could receive two potential payouts (one for each individual policy).

Depending on your situation, single life policies could be a better option if one of you needs more cover than the other.

A joint life insurance policy covers two people on a ‘first death’ basis, paying out a cash sum if one partner dies during the policy term. The policy will then end.

Depending on personal circumstances, a joint life policy could end up being cheaper than two single life policies and can sometimes lower your premium.

Being joint policyholders means either of you can make a claim, so it’s not just one person who has to deal with all the communications with the insurer.

However, a joint life policy only pays out once before ending, and so would leave the surviving person without any life insurance.

What to do if a relationship breaks down

If your relationship breaks down and you no longer wish to hold a joint policy, it’s possible to change it into two single policies.

This means each partner has their own life insurance cover and can protect dependents as they choose.

Just bear in mind that, because premiums increase with age, reapplying for life insurance can turn out to be more expensive compared to what you had previously paid. Any changes in your medical history could also have an effect.

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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