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Life insurance for recently-married couples

Vow to look out for your new spouse's future — even after "till death do us part."

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Hopefully, you and your spouse have a long time before either one of you needs to worry about what will happen to your finances when the other dies. But taking out a joint life insurance policy now can keep you both financially secure — and save you money on premiums later.

Why should newlyweds or married couples consider life insurance?

There are many reasons why it makes sense for married couples to think about taking out life insurance, such as:

  • You want to make sure your partner is taken care of. Life insurance can make sure that if something happens to you, your spouse won’t have to worry about financial problems. A life insurance policy can pay for funeral expenses and provide a financial safety net if they need to take time off of work to grieve.
  • You’re thinking about kids. If you and your spouse want kids in the future, a life insurance policy can make sure that they’re provided for if an unexpected tragedy occurs and you’re not there to support them. Life insurance is cheaper when you’re younger.
  • You’re taking on debt. If you’re relying on two incomes for your mortgage payment, car payments and credit card bills, life insurance can help make sure that if something unexpected happens to you, your partner isn’t left to shoulder a huge financial burden on their own.
  • Life insurance is cheaper when you’re younger. The increased health risks that come with old age mean that buying a policy becomes more expensive as you grow older.
  • You need to plan for the future. Getting married means growing up, and growing up means making responsible decisions. By taking out life insurance, newlyweds can establish a strong financial base for their new family and protect themselves from the uncertainties of the future.
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How do I compare couples life insurance?

When shopping for a life insurance policy, factor in:

  • Your financial commitments. Start by making a list of your assets and savings, and then subtract any debts, including your mortgage, car loan and any credit cards. This is the amount of money — or debt — you’ll be leaving for your spouse and any children. Is it enough to pay for any future financial needs, like retirement for your spouse or college for your child?
  • Your budget. Next, consider how much you can afford to pay for premiums each month or year.
  • Your coverage needs. What type of life insurance coverage do you need? For example, do you only need a policy with a death benefit for a set amount of time or lifetime coverage with a death benefit and the ability to build cash value?
  • How long you’ll need coverage. A term life insurance policy is the more affordable option and only covers you for a specified amount of years, where whole life insurance offers permanent protection and a cash value component.
  • A medical exam. Certain comprehensive policies may require you to see a doctor, but if you’d prefer to avoid it, you can go with a policy that doesn’t require a medical exam.

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Types of life insurance coverage for newlyweds

If you’ve decided to buy life insurance, the next step is choosing what kind of coverage to get. You can either take out two separate policies, or a joint policy that covers the two of you. Either way, the goal is to make sure your untimely death doesn’t put your new partner under significant financial pressure.

Separate policies

These are your options:

  • Term life insurance provides protection for a set period of time – usually 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. It’s the cheapest and most straightforward policy, and it pays out a guaranteed death benefit when you die. When you’re choosing a term, think about your financial obligations, and take out a policy that lasts as long. For example, if you took out a 20-year mortgage, consider buying a 20-year policy. That way, if you die prematurely, your beneficiaries — like your spouse — won’t be saddled with the repayments.
  • Permanent life insurance lasts your entire life, and the most common policies are whole life, universal life and variable life. Along with offering lifetime coverage, permanent policies build cash value over time. Once you’ve accumulated enough cash value, you can take out loans against your policy while you’re alive. And when you die, your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit.

Joint life insurance

Typically, joint life insurance is cheaper than buying a separate policy for each person. If you go this route, there are two types of policies to choose from:

  • First-to-die life insurance pays out when the first person dies, and the funds typically go to the surviving spouse – who can use that money to cover funeral costs, pay off debts and maintain their lifestyle. But the surviving spouse will no longer have coverage.
  • Second-to-die life insurance pays when the second spouse dies. Also called “survivorship life,” it’s often taken out by wealthy couples who want to leave their children the money they need to pay estate or inheritance taxes.

Compare top life insurance companies

Name Product Issue age Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage Term Lengths Medical Exam Required
Prudential
18 - 75 years old
$100,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 30 years
Yes
Customize your term life insurance with a long list of life and disability riders. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
Transamerica
18 - 75 years old
$25,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on policy
Purchase a policy worth anywhere from $25,000 to $10 million, with the option to skip the medical exam. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
MassMutual
18 - 80 years old
$2,000
$10,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30 years
Depends on policy
Purchase term life insurance up to age 80 with Finder's #1 ranked company. Get a free quote from this A+ rated insurer on Policygenius.
AIG
AIG
20 - 85 years old
$5,000
$2,000,000
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years
Yes
Buy term life insurance all the way up to age 85, and choose a policy that lasts up to an incredible 35 years. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
John Hancock
18 - 65 years old
$25,000
$1,000,000
10, 15, 20 years
Depends on policy
Score a low rate on term life insurance with discounts and rewards for your healthy habits. Get a free quote on Policygenius.
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Alternatives to life insurance

Aside from life insurance, you can explore these coverage options:

  • Disability insurance. This insurance provides a percentage of your salary as a monthly benefit if you’re unable to work because of an illness or injury. It’s useful for anyone who relies heavily on their income in order to provide for their family and meet ongoing expenses.
  • Critical illness insurance. If you’re diagnosed with a serious illness, such as a heart attack, stroke or cancer, critical illness insurance will pay you a lump sum benefit. It can be used to help cover medical and rehab costs, replace lost income and cover any day-to-day expenses.
  • Accident insurance. Also known as personal injury protection, this type of policy pays a lump sum if you suffer an injury as a result of an accident. This benefit can be used to help you take time off work, hire someone to help out around the house, cover your medical expenses and help you keep up with your bills.

Do newlyweds usually take out life insurance?

The best time to get a life insurance policy is as soon as possible. Premium prices go up as you age, making it ideal to get a policy while you’re young — especially if you’re taking out whole life insurance.

But a lot of people don’t think about getting life insurance when they’re healthy, single and debt-free. Getting married, buying a house, having kids and taking on debt are the most common catalysts that lead people to start comparing policies.

Bottom line

It’s a good idea for newlyweds to consider taking out life insurance. Policies cost less when you’re young, and it can help mitigate the risks of merging your finances. Compare life insurance policies to find an option that fits both your needs and your budget.

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