At Legal & General America (LGA) we love to help married couples start off on the right foot by educating them on the importance of getting life insurance protection early. We’ll help you understand the benefits of coverage, your options and how much coverage you’ll need.
Why newlyweds need life insurance
A life insurance policy can help you set a financially secure foundation for your marriage, and provide a “just-in-case” plan for your partner. You can plan for the long-term as well, whether that means covering a new home, an expanding family, or paying off mutual debts.
If one of you were to pass away, a life insurance death benefit payout can provide a safety net so your loved ones can get their life back on track as soon as possible.
Five ways life insurance can support a surviving spouse:
- Provides income replacement – It’s common for one spouse to earn more than the other. If something tragic were to happen to the person who makes more, life insurance can ease the financial burden on the surviving spouse. The death benefit
payout can be used to supplement the family income, as if that salary were still there.
- Protects your spouse from the burden of significant debt — Mortgage and auto loans taken on as a family are doable but can take a major toll on a single individual. This becomes more difficult if there are also childcare and education costs
to worry about. Having life insurance means your spouse could pay off loans like these, or make future payments on time without going further into debt or dipping into savings.
- Covers you through unexpected health changes — Once your coverage is in place you’ll have life protection for the full length of your policy regardless of how your health changes. This is one of the benefits of getting coverage while you’re
young and healthy, And, if you have a term policy with LGA and choose to convert to a permanent option, you will not have to take a medical exam to extend your coverage.
- Supplements employer-provided life insurance — The coverage provided by your employer is rarely tailored to reflect your family’s specific needs. Purchasing your own policy means you’ll receive the exact amount of protection you
need, when you need it, no matter what your job situation looks like now or in the future.
- Gives your loved one control over the future — It may be difficult to anticipate what the future holds, and the costs associated with it, like a mortgage, or childcare for for children you don’t yet have. A life insurance policy allows you to start that conversation with your partner, make plans on your own terms, and prepare for uncertainties as life changes. You may even use it to set up a legacy or endowment for a family member or cause you wish to support.
Joint life insurance vs. individual policies
When seeking the best life insurance for married couples, many people ask about the difference between joint life insurance and individual coverage. In short, “joint” covers two people under one policy, while individual is meant to cover one
spouse. Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of each.
Joint life insurance
Sometimes called a “dual policy”, joint life insurance is designed to cover two people under one policy, typically married couples or domestic partners.1 Joint coverage is generally offered as a permanent life policy and comes in two forms:
- With a first-to-die joint policy, the surviving spouse will receive a death benefit, but the policy will then terminate, leaving them without coverage.
- With a second-to-die joint policy, also called “survivorship life insurance,” the death benefit is not paid until both spouses pass away.
This coverage can be good for estate planning, covering a partner who may not qualify on their own, or for couples who just want one policy and one payment. Joint coverage isn’t the right fit for everyone though. It can be a more expensive choice for some families, especially if one partner has health issues. Costs could also be an issue if a surviving spouse still needs coverage and has to buy a new policy. And, while some policies include divorce riders, things can become complex if a couple splits up.
Often, separate policies tend to be a better fit. While joint life insurance is not available through LGA, we offer individual life insurance options to fit your needs and budget.
Individual life insurance
Individual life insurance is designed to cover one person, with a single death benefit payout provided if they pass away. Each partner would need to qualify for individual coverage based on their health condition, age, and gender, but would have their own policy. Individual policies make it easier for couples to maintain their own coverage in the event of a loss and still get the financial support when they need it most. Single coverage can come in the form of either a permanent or term policy.
Term life is the most common option for couples as it is often a more affordable choice. Term life is meant for covering a person for a specific period of time, such as 20 or 30 years. This is good for couples who want to protect income, debts and lifestyle
but may not need a lifetime of coverage. Add-ons to a policy, such as a children’s rider, can be included for a shorter duration allowing families to customize their coverage even more. And, if coverage needs to be extended, a term policy
may be able to be converted to a permanent plan (like universal life insurance)
without having to take an additional medical exam.