If you’re looking at taking out life insurance or critical illness cover with your spouse or partner you have probably considered a joint policy. This gives you the peace of mind that you will be financially secure if either of you were to die or to suffer a serious illness.
However, it can pay to take out separate policies rather than one joint policy. In our guide, we look at the advantages of buying individual cover rather than a policy in your joint names.
What’s the difference between single policies and a joint policy?
If you take out joint life insurance or critical illness cover then you and your partner will be protected by a single plan. Any successful claim that you make will mean that the sum assured is paid and the policy will generally end.
Separate policies means that you and your partner are each covered by an individual, standalone plan. You can choose your own level of benefit and a claim on one plan has no impact on the other policy.
Joint cover only pays out once
If you decide to take out a joint policy you should remember that it will only pay out once. So, it a husband and wife with a joint life insurance policy both died in an accident, their dependents would only receive one pay out from the policy.
Similarly, a joint critical illness cover plan would also pay out only once. If a wife contracted cancer the plan would pay out and cease. If the husband subsequently developed a critical illness, there would be no ‘second’ payout.
5 reasons why you should consider separate policies
- Double the cover
Taking out separate policies effectively doubles the amount of protection you have in place.
If a husband and wife took out a joint life insurance policy for £100,000 and they both died in an accident the policy would pay £100,000. If they had taken separate policies, each would have paid out £100,000 on death – a total of £200,000.
Similarly, separate critical illness cover policies would ensure that each person received a payout if they were diagnosed with a serious condition.
- Easy to ‘split’ the policies
In the event of separation or divorce, it is hard to split a joint life policy. If one of the parties didn’t want to continue with the cover, the policy would probably end unless the other partner paid the premiums.
Cancelling a joint life policy could mean you pay more for cover if you subsequently decided to take out protection. This is because you are older and your medical history may have changed.
Separate policies mean that you can keep your own protection in place even if you were to separate/divorce.
- Tailor the benefits to your needs
In many cases, a couple do not need the same level of cover. One partner may be the main breadwinner and they may need a higher sum assured. Or, if you have children, the stay-at-home parent may need a high level of cover to ensure the cost of childcare could be met if anything were to happen to them.
Separate policies means that you can tailor your cover to your needs.
- It can be cost-effective
Separate policies rarely cost twice as much as a joint life policy. In some cases, two single life policies may only be 10-20 per cent more expensive than a joint life policy.
Doubling the level of cover doesn’t mean you double the cost.
- Ensure your cover is paid to the right person
If you have separated from your partner, there could be issues over who benefits from a joint life policy, particularly if one of you has remarried or has children with their new partner.
Separate policies avoids this issue as you retain control over who will receive the payo