• Joint Life Insurance: Covering Two Lives in One Life Insurance Policy

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    Life insurance is a must for everyone who wishes to secure the financial stability of their loved ones. In most cases, life covers are designed in such a way that the primary breadwinner of the family gets coverage against his/her unexpected demise. Nowadays, it is very common to see families where both spouses earn. Hence, life coverage is essential for both these individuals. Due to this requirement, many companies in the market have started offering joint life insurance policies that can be used by couples to protect two lives under a single policy. Before we discuss which policy is suitable for one’s requirements, let’s take a look at the general aspects of joint life insurance.

    What is a joint life insurance policy

    A joint life insurance policy is a type of life insurance policy that extends additional coverage to the spouse of the primary life insured. This policy extends coverage to the spouse irrespective of their employment status. Some of the notable features of a joint life insurance policy are listed as follows:

    • Most joint life plans in the market provide coverage for up to 50% of the sum assured amount for the spouse of the primary life insured.
    • The policy continues to remain active after the death of either of the two spouses. Following the death of one of the spouses, the surviving spouse will receive the sum assured amount as per the terms of the policy.
    • If both spouses die unexpectedly during the policy term, the compensation amount will be provided to the nominees named in the policy document or the legal heir.
    • If the spouse is not an earning member, the combined sum assured amount chosen for a joint life cover cannot exceed the maximum sum assured amount available for the primary insured.
    • There are policies that offer a waiver of premium benefit following the death of the primary life insured.
    • Some policies also have provisions to provide a fixed monthly payment to the spouse following the death of the primary insured.

    How it works

    Joint life insurance policies are mainly designed to provide coverage for non-working spouses who take care of the families. If the spouse is also working, it makes sense to opt for two separate term insurance covers. A joint life cover provides benefit against the death of one of the spouses. The surviving spouse can use the money to ensure the financial security of his/her family. An additional premium might be charged to provide coverage for the spouse. In most cases, insurance companies put a cap on the sum assured amount available for the spouse.

    Consider an example of a couple opting for joint life insurance. The husband, the earning member of the family, opts for a sum assured amount of Rs.50 lakh. In this case, the homemaker wife is eligible for a sum assured of Rs.25 lakh. If the husband dies during the policy term, the wife will get Rs.50 lakh from the insurer. If the wife dies during the policy term, the husband will get Rs.25 lakh from the insurer. In case of single payout plans, the policy will cease upon payment of death benefit for either of the spouses. If both individuals die simultaneously, the nominee will receive the benefit available for each of the individuals.

    Difference between joint life insurance and separate life covers

    The key differences between a joint life insurance policy and separate life covers for spouses are given as follows:

    Joint life insurance plans Separate life insurance covers
    They offer life insurance coverage for couples under a single policy. They offer life insurance coverage through separate policies.
    They offer the same terms and conditions for both spouses. Spouses can choose policies based on their individual requirements.
    If one of the spouses die during the policy term, the compensation will be provided to the surviving spouse. If the policyholder dies during the policy, the death benefit will be provided to the nominee as mentioned in the policy.
    If both spouses die simultaneously, the nominee will get a single payout of the combined sum assured amount. If both spouses die, the nominee will receive double payment from the separate life insurance covers.
    In the case of divorce, this policy will get affected as there are no provisions on how to split the premiums and benefits. In the case of divorce, these policies will not be affected as they are held separately.
    The availability of riders are limited as very few insurers provide these add-ons for joint life insurance. Policyholders can choose rider covers as per their individual requirements and affordability.


    Joint life insurance covers and separate life covers come with their own set of advantages. Joint life covers are highly useful when providing coverage to non-working spouses since they may not qualify for life insurance coverage on their own. If this is not the case, it is better to opt for separate covers as the cost is almost the same. Also, the benefits offered by joint life covers may vary from one insurer to another. Before you opt for a joint life policy, you must weigh in the pros and cons by comparing it with individual life insurance policies. You may also consult with a financial expert to understand how joint life insurance can be useful for your specific needs.

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