Life Insurance for Married Couples

Life insurance is a wise financial investment for most adults. However, many married couples may wonder if the monthly costs are worth the security life insurance can provide.
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Life Insurance for Married Couple

Written by Brian Greenberg
CEO / Founder & Licensed Insurance Agent

Last updated: November 25th, 2022

Reviewed by Rebecca Thrift
Licensed Insurance Agent

This is especially true for young married couples who may not yet be making plans for the end of their lives. So is life insurance a smart idea for married couples? Today, we’ll answer this question and provide more details on how life insurance works.

Is Life Insurance a Smart Idea for Married Couples?

Life insurance is a smart idea for anyone, including married couples. Getting a life insurance policy can be especially important if you and your spouse rely on one another’s incomes to support your lifestyle.

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Do Married Couples Need Life Insurance?

Yes, married couples should have life insurance. It will help cover expenses if one spouse dies, including final expenses such as a burial, funeral, and any medical costs. But this isn’t the only reason married couples need life insurance.

Married couples should consider getting enough life insurance to help cover their significant expenses, especially if they rely on the two incomes to pay them. These big expenses might include a mortgage and car loans, for example. When purchasing a policy, aim to get enough coverage to pay these expenses if you’re no longer a dual-income household.

How Does Life Insurance for Married Couples Work?

Married couples can get separate life insurance policies, which operate the same as any other policy. However, they can also choose to get a joint policy, which comes in two options, called first-to-die and second-to-die.

A first-to-die policy will pay the death benefit (or your total coverage amount) when the first spouse passes away. This helps the other spouse cover final expenses and (if you choose enough coverage) any big-ticket debts. In some cases, there will be enough life insurance money left over to help pay the costs of living for the surviving spouse for a short period.

A second-to-die policy is also called survivorship life insurance, and the death benefit is only paid out after both spouses have passed away. This type of joint life insurance policy is generally used to leave something to children or other relatives after both parents have passed away. Although the death benefit can be used to help pay final expenses for the second policyholder, it can’t be used to pay those costs for the first policyholder to pass.

What Is the Difference Between Joint and Separate Life Insurance Policies?

A joint life insurance policy has both spouses listed as policyholders. Separate life insurance policies are when each spouse has their policy, where their partner isn’t listed as a policyholder.

What Type of Life Insurance Is Best for a Married Couple?

Separate life insurance policies are generally the best option for married couples, as they provide ongoing coverage regardless of any life changes. For example, were you and your spouse to separate or get divorced, each party would still have their own policy. The only changes that might need to be made are who the beneficiaries are. With a joint policy, a divorce can cause confusion over who decides the beneficiaries and who owns the policy.

Can a Couple Get Life Insurance as a Domestic Partnership?

Yes. Most insurance providers allow domestic partners to get a joint life insurance policy or take out policies on one another. However, some providers require couples to meet additional considerations. For example, some providers require domestic partners to either own assets together (such as a home) or to have children together.

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How Much Does Life Insurance for Married Couples Cost?

The cost of life insurance for a married couple varies significantly based on numerous considerations, so it’s hard to pinpoint an exact range. A few considerations for monthly premium costs include:

  • The type of life insurance policy you choose (term, whole life, no medical assessment, etc.)
  • Whether you decide to get a joint policy or separate policies
  • The health and age of each spouse (especially any preexisting conditions)
  • Where you live
  • The insurance provider you choose to go with

The only way to get an accurate cost estimate is to shop around online or call life insurance providers in your area.

Is a Joint Policy Cheaper for Married Couples?

A joint policy is generally cheaper for married couples when compared to getting two separate life insurance policies. However, there may be specific circumstances where the opposite is true.

Where Is the Best Place for Married Couples to Purchase Life Insurance?

The best place for a married couple to get life insurance is by searching online. Insurist provides an easy-to-use search option to get free quotes on joint or separate life insurance policies for married couples.

Key Takeaways

Life insurance is a smart idea for everyone, including married couples. The best policy options for married couples are joint policies, which are generally more affordable than two separate policies. Married couples should aim to get enough coverage to cover any big-ticket debts, like car loans and mortgages.

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