Understanding The Basics Of Survivorship Life Insurance

Survivorship life insurance is a unique type of life insurance policy that offers coverage for two individuals, typically spouses, under a single policy. Also known as second-to-die life insurance, it provides a death benefit that is paid out upon the death of the second insured individual. This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of survivorship life insurance, how it works, its advantages, factors to consider when choosing a policy, and tips for finding the right coverage.

What is Survivorship Life Insurance?

Survivorship life insurance is designed to provide financial protection for couples or families. Unlike traditional life insurance policies that pay out upon the death of the first insured individual, survivorship life insurance pays the death benefit when the second insured person passes away. This feature makes it an attractive option for estate planning purposes, as the death benefit can be used to cover estate taxes or provide an inheritance for beneficiaries.

How Does Survivorship Life Insurance Work?

Survivorship Life Insurance

Survivorship life insurance works by insuring two individuals under a single policy. The policyholder pays regular premiums, and upon the death of the second insured person, the death benefit is paid out to the beneficiaries named in the policy. This type of policy is typically offered as a permanent life insurance option, meaning it provides coverage for the entire lifetime of the insured individuals as long as the premiums are paid.

One key feature of survivorship life insurance is that it generally has lower premiums compared to individual life insurance policies. This is because the insurance company assumes the risk of paying the death benefit only after the death of the second insured person, making it a more cost-effective option for couples.

Advantages of Survivorship Life Insurance

There are several advantages to choosing survivorship life insurance:

  1. Estate Planning: Survivorship life insurance can be a valuable tool for estate planning purposes. The death benefit can help cover estate taxes, ensuring that heirs receive their intended inheritance.
  2. Affordability: Since survivorship life insurance covers two individuals under a single policy, the premiums are generally lower compared to individual policies. This makes it a cost-effective option for couples looking for life insurance coverage.
  3. Guaranteed Insurability: Survivorship life insurance often includes a guaranteed insurability rider, which allows the policyholders to purchase additional coverage without undergoing a medical exam. This can be beneficial if there are changes in health conditions that could make it difficult to qualify for new coverage.
  4. Charitable Giving: Survivorship life insurance can be used as a way to support charitable causes. By naming a charity as a beneficiary, the policyholders can leave a lasting legacy and support a cause they care about.

What’s the Difference Between a Joint Life and a Survivorship Policy?

While joint life insurance and survivorship life insurance are similar in that they both cover multiple individuals under a single policy, there is a key distinction between the two. Joint life insurance pays out the death benefit upon the first insured individual’s death, while survivorship life insurance pays the benefit after the death of the second insured person.

The main advantage of survivorship life insurance over joint life insurance is its affordability. Joint life insurance premiums are typically higher since the policy pays out upon the death of the first insured person, which poses a higher risk for the insurance company.

Factors to Consider for a Survivorship Life Insurance Policy

When choosing a survivorship life insurance policy, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  1. Coverage Amount: Determine the amount of coverage needed to meet your financial goals, such as estate planning, paying off debts, or providing for dependents.
  2. Policy Riders: Review the available policy riders and choose the ones that align with your needs. Common riders include an accelerated death benefit, long-term care, and guaranteed insurability.
  3. Premiums and Payment Frequency: Consider the affordability of the premiums and choose a payment frequency that fits your budget, such as monthly, quarterly, or annual payments.
  4. Insurer’s Reputation: Research the insurance company’s financial stability, customer service, and claims-paying history to ensure you’re choosing a reliable provider.

Tips for Finding the Right Survivorship Life Insurance Policy

Finding the right survivorship life insurance policy requires careful consideration. Here are some tips to help you in your search:

  • Assess Your Needs: Evaluate your financial goals, estate planning needs, and long-term objectives to determine the coverage amount and policy features that suit your situation.
  • Compare Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple insurance providers to compare premiums, coverage options, and policy terms. This will help you find the best value for your investment.
  • Read the Fine Print: Carefully review the policy documents, including exclusions, limitations, and policy riders. Ensure that you understand the terms and conditions before making a final decision.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consider consulting with a licensed insurance agent or financial advisor who specializes in life insurance. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.

Get Survivorship Life Insurance from Cribb Insurance

Survivorship Life Insurance in Bentoville

If you’re considering survivorship life insurance, Cribb Insurance is here to help. With our expertise in life insurance and a commitment to finding the best coverage for our clients, we can guide you through the process and help you secure the right policy to meet your needs. Contact Cribb Insurance today to get started on protecting your loved ones’ financial future.


Can I name multiple beneficiaries for my survivorship life insurance policy?

Yes, you can typically name multiple beneficiaries for your survivorship life insurance policy. This allows you to designate how the death benefit should be distributed among your loved ones or organizations.

Is survivorship life insurance only for married couples?

No, survivorship life insurance is not limited to married couples. It can also be suitable for business partners, siblings, or any two individuals who have a shared financial interest.

Can I borrow against the cash value of a survivorship life insurance policy?

It depends on the policy and the insurance company. Some survivorship life insurance policies allow policyholders to borrow against the cash value, while others may have restrictions or require repayment.

Can I convert a survivorship life insurance policy into an individual policy in the future?

In most cases, it is possible to convert a survivorship life insurance policy into individual policies for each insured person. This conversion may require underwriting and could result in higher premiums.

How long does survivorship life insurance coverage last?

Survivorship life insurance provides coverage for the lifetime of insured individuals as long as the premiums are paid. It is a permanent life insurance option that does not expire after a certain number of years.

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