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Exploring Joint Life Insurance in Canada Options for Couples 2024

7 Proven Tips For Joint Life Insurance in Canada
7 Proven Tips For Joint Life Insurance in Canada

Getting life insurance in Canada with your partner can provide vital financial protection for your family. Joint life insurance covers both of you under one policy and offers potential savings compared to individual coverage.

This comprehensive guide examines the ins and outs of joint life insurance in Canada to help you make an informed decision.

What is Joint Life Insurance in Canada?

Life Insurance for Couples or also known as Joint life insurance in Canada provides coverage for two people under a single policy. It pays out a lump-sum death benefit when the first or second insured individual dies.

This payout can help the surviving partner or beneficiaries manage final expenses, cover debts, replace lost income, and more.

Joint life insurance policies often cost less than individual policies because pricing uses a joint mortality rate.

However, joint life insurance limits flexibility – both people are insured for the exact amounts under the same terms.

Who Should Consider Joint Life Insurance in Canada ?

While joint coverage isn’t suitable for everyone, certain couples may benefit from a joint policy:

  • Young couples – Joint policies can provide affordable protection for those with limited budgets.
  • Older couples – Last-to-die policies support estate planning and leaving inheritances.
  • Couples with health differences – Allows higher-risk persons to be insured.
  • Business partners – Can fund buy-sell agreements with first-to-die coverage.
  • Mortgage coverage – Replaces income to continue paying the mortgage if one partner dies.

Joint insurance works best when both partners have similar insurance needs. For maximum flexibility, combining joint with individual policies may be optimal.

What are the primary types of Joint Life Insurance in Canada
What are the primary types of Joint Life Insurance in Canada

Types of Joint Life Insurance policies in Canada

In Canada, there are three primary types of joint life insurance policies available. Here is an overview of each:

First-to-Die Life Insurance

First-to-die life insurance policies pay out a death benefit when the first insured partner passes away. This type terminates after the payout.

Typical Uses

  • Paying off debts like a mortgage
  • Replacing income of deceased partner
  • Funding business buy-sell agreements
  • Covering funeral costs and final expenses

First-to-die insurance provides immediate financial support to the surviving partner. It’s useful when both incomes are similar or when paying off shared debts is the primary goal.

Last-To-Die Life Insurance

Last-to-die life insurance policies pay out a death benefit only after both partners pass away. The surviving partner keeps paying premiums after the first death.

Typical Uses

  • Estate planning and equal distribution of assets
  • Leaving an inheritance for children
  • Paying estate taxes

Last-to-die insurance is ideal for legacy planning since the payout happens at the second death. The surviving partner gets no money at the first death.

Combined Life Insurance

Combined life insurance is when each partner gets a policy from the same insurer. It’s not genuinely joint coverage, but some pricing discounts may apply.


  • Maximum flexibility to customize each policy
  • Paying out two death benefits (one per policy)

Combined policies give tailored coverage for each partner’s unique needs. The drawback is the potential added costs versus an actual joint policy.

Pros and Cons. How much does Joint Life Insurance cost?
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
Pros and Cons. How much does Joint Life Insurance cost?

What are the Pros and Cons of Joint Life Insurance?

Joint policies have advantages and disadvantages to consider:


  • Cost save money on life insurance – On average, joint life premiums are 20-40% cheaper than two individual policies.
  • One application – Only one medical exam and application must be completed.
  • Ability to insure higher risks – May allow unhealthy partners to be covered.


  • Limited flexibility – Partners must have the same coverage amounts and terms.
  • One payout – First-to-die policies won’t provide a second benefit.
  • Difficult to separate – It is complicated to divide policies in divorce/separation.
  • Higher reapplication costs – Survivor may need to reapply at increased age/premiums.

Joint life insurance is right for some couples but not others. Assess your needs carefully based on the pros and cons. Combining joint with individual policies is one way to optimize flexibility and cost.

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Where Can I Buy Joint Life Insurance in Canada?

Many top insurance companies offer joint life insurance policies in Canada:

Sun Life

  • Has both joint first-to-die and joint last-to-die permanent life insurance products.
  • Also provides combined policies with individual pricing discounts.


  • Provides a 3% savings incentive when partners choose equal coverage amounts and terms.
  • Has affordable rates but fewer built-in policy benefits.

IDC Insurance Direct Canada

  • Offers joint life insurance for up to 5 people under one policy.
  • Typically, it has higher premium costs compared to other insurers.

RBC Insurance

  • Allows customization through optional benefits and riders.
  • Quick underwriting process and highly rated customer support.

Canada Life

  • Features a Children’s Life Insurance Rider to add coverage for kids.
  • Includes a separation option to divide joint policies after divorce.

When buying joint coverage, comparing costs across insurers is crucial to finding the best rate. Using a Life insurance brokers can help navigate options.

How Much Does Joint Life Insurance Cost for Canadian ?

The premium for joint life insurance depends on the following:

  • Ages of both applicants
  • Gender
  • Health and lifestyle factors
  • Amount of Coverage
  • Term length

On average, joint coverage provides 20-40% savings compared to two separate policies. However, the cost difference may be reduced for couples with health issues.

Here are sample monthly costs for healthy, non-smoking couples of different ages:

Ages$250,000 Coverage$500,000 Coverage
Source : Joint Life Insurance of

Exact premiums must be quoted individually. Term policies lasting 10-30 years have lower premiums than permanent insurance. Costs rise with age, so locking in rates early provides savings.

Read More: Life Insurance for Smokers

What are Some Alternatives to Joint Life Insurance?

Joint policies have drawbacks like a lack of flexibility and difficulty separating after divorce. Some alternatives to consider:

Individual Life Insurance

  • Apply for separate customized policies for each partner.
  • Lets you tailor coverage amounts, terms, and benefits.

Group Life Insurance

  • Check for coverage from employers that insure spouses.
  • Premiums are paid via payroll deductions. Limited portability.

Buy-Sell Agreements

  • Fund with term life insurance policies instead of permanent joint coverage.
  • Provides tax-preferred payout to buy a deceased partner’s share.

Spousal Rider

  • Add a small amount of coverage for a spouse to an individual policy.
  • Typically, $10,000 – $50,000 maximum.

Evaluating alternatives helps ensure you make the optimal insurance choices. A combination of different policies may be the best approach.

How To Determine The Amount and Purchase Joint Life Insurance in Canada
How To Determine The Amount and Purchase Joint Life Insurance in Canada

How Do I Apply for Joint Life Insurance?

Here are some tips for applying for joint coverage:

  • Get quotes – Compare costs from top insurers. Rates can vary greatly.
  • Consider an advisor – They can provide guidance on the best joint or individual options for your needs and budget.
  • Review policy features – Understand the death benefit, exclusions, riders, conversion options, and other details. Make sure the policy aligns with your goals.
  • Discuss disclosure – Be open with your partner about your health history, family history, lifestyle, finances, and anything that could impact your application.
  • Complete one application – For joint coverage; you’ll go through medical underwriting just once together. Answer all questions fully and accurately.

Purchasing joint life insurance involves researching policies, comparing costs, and going through a coordinated application process. This upfront effort provides lasting financial security.

How Do I Determine the Right Amount of Joint life insurance Coverage?

Determining the right amount of joint life insurance requires estimating the total costs your family would incur if you or your partner passed away.

Factors to consider:

  • Income replacement
  • Mortgage payoff
  • Final expenses
  • Education fund
  • Emergency savings

A general guideline is to purchase 10-15 times your annual household income in total life insurance protection. An insurance advisor can help determine the right amount.

Compare Individual and Joint Life Insurance Policies

Here is an overview comparing individual policies to joint life insurance:

FactorIndividual Life InsuranceJoint Life Insurance
CostTypically more expensiveUsually cheaper (20-40% savings)
FlexibilityCustomize each policyBoth insured equally under same terms
ApplicationSeparate medical exams/underwritingOne simplified application
PayoutsDeath benefit per personOne payout total
SeparationEasy to maintain independentlyDifficult to divide in divorce

Analyze your income, debts, dependents, and future goals to determine if joint coverage is the right approach. Combining joint with individual life insurance policies is also an option. Discussing your needs with an advisor can provide clarity.

Tips for Purchasing and Managing Joint Life Insurance

  • Compare premium costs across top providers to find the best rate
  • Consider using an insurance advisor to help select the right joint or individual options
  • Optimize flexibility and cost with a mix of joint and individual policies
  • Discuss health histories openly with your partner before applying
  • For joint coverage, go through one streamlined application process together
  • Review policy features to ensure the terms match your needs
  • Re-evaluate coverage if your finances or relationship status changes
  • Understand options if you need to separate a joint policy after divorce

The Bottom Line

  • Joint life insurance can provide protection for couples at lower costs
  • It works best for specific situations like budget-conscious couples, mortgage coverage, and estate planning
  • Individual policies offer more customization but may cost more
  • Shop policies carefully and combine joint with individual coverage for maximum value
  • Consult an advisor to ensure you get the right life insurance strategies for your needs

Gaining life insurance as a couple ensures your family has financial security. While joint coverage isn’t for everyone, understanding how it works allows you to make an informed decision.

What are the two main types of joint life coverage?

Joint life insurance covers two individuals : First-to-die life insurance and Second-to-die life insurance.

How Does a Joint Life Insurance Policy Work in Canada ?

With joint life insurance, both partners complete one application and go through a single underwriting process. Premiums are based on a joint mortality rate formula. The policy pays out a lump sum death benefit when the first or second partner dies, depending on the type – first-to-die or last-to-die.

What are the benefits of joint life insurance?

The main benefits are potential cost savings, an easier application process, and the ability to insure higher-risk individuals. On average, joint life premiums are 20-40% cheaper than two separate policies. Joint insurance also allows one simplified application rather than two.

What are the downsides of joint life insurance?

Downsides include less flexibility (both people are insured equally), only one death benefit payout, complications separating policies after divorce, and higher costs to reapply for the surviving policyholder later.

Who should consider joint life insurance in Canada ?

Younger couples, older couples using it for estate planning, couples with very different health profiles, business partners funding a buy-sell agreement, and those wanting basic mortgage coverage may benefit most from joint insurance.

How much does joint life insurance cost for Canadians ?

Cost depends on factors like age, gender, health, lifestyle, amount of coverage and term length. On average, joint life insurance costs 20-40% less than two separate policies. A healthy 30-year-old couple may pay $30-$60 monthly for $500,000 in coverage.

Can I separate a joint life insurance policy after divorce?

It can be complicated to divide a joint policy after divorce. Some insurers allow policies to be split within a certain timeframe. Otherwise, limited options are cancelling the policy, transferring it to one spouse, or maintaining it jointly.

How much joint life insurance do we need?

Estimate your total costs related to income replacement, debts, final expenses and emergency savings. A general guideline is 10-15 times your annual household income. An insurance advisor can provide a needs analysis.

Should we get joint or individual life insurance?

Joint insurance works well for budget-focused couples with similar needs. Individual policies allow customization but may cost more. Many couples optimize with a combination of joint and individual coverage.

How does applying for joint life insurance work in Canada?

Both applicants complete individual applications when applying for joint life insurance in Canada. The insurer reviews applicants’ age, health, lifestyle, etc., to assess risks and set premiums. Both people must undergo medical exams and tests.

Is joint life insurance more affordable in Canada?

Yes, joint life insurance is typically more affordable than two individual policies in Canada. Insurers offer discounts for joint coverage as the risk is spread over two lives. Premiums are based on the younger age of the two applicants.

Can you convert a joint life insurance policy to an individual life insurance policy later in Canada ?

Many joint life insurance plans in Canada can be converted to two individual policies without providing new evidence of insurability. This allows each person to customize coverage, for example, after divorce. Check if conversion is available when purchasing the joint policy.

What happens to a joint life insurance policy when one person dies in Canada ?

When the first insured person passes away, the surviving policyholder pays the death benefit. The joint coverage then terminates. The surviving policyholder must apply for a new individual life insurance policy if they want coverage.

Can you get joint term life insurance policy in Canada?

Yes, joint-term life insurance plans are commonly available from Canadian insurers. They provide temporary coverage for 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. Premiums are lower than permanent joint policies, but coverage expires at the end of the term.

Is medical underwriting required for joint life insurance plans in Canada?

In most cases, yes. Like individual policies, joint applicants in Canada need to complete medical exams and questionnaires about their health and lifestyle. This allows the insurer to properly assess and price the risks of insuring both lives.

Can same-sex couples get joint life insurance coverage in Canada ?

Yes. With same-sex marriage legal in Canada, same-sex couples can qualify for all the same joint and spouse life insurance policies as heterosexual couples. Domestic partners may also be eligible.

Aricle Sources

For a deeper look at our dedication to accuracy, transparency, and independence, please refer to the Lifebuzz Editorial Policy. We take great pride in being Canada’s most trusted life insurance news source :

  1. Joint Life Insurance of CNBC
  2. What is joint life insurance? – Ratehub
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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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