Survivorship Life Insurance – What You Should Know

When it comes to life insurance, married people have two choices, individual policies or joint policies. Most couples buy separate policies for each person. But for some couples it makes more sense to get a single policy that covers both people. Choosing to buy a policy together you can buy a joint policy or a survivorship policy. A joint policy is known as a first-to-die policy. Meaning that though both people are covered the benefits are paid out when one of them passes.


Survivorship policies are called second-to-die insurance, meaning that benefits aren’t paid until both members pass away. Most couples don’t choose survivorship policies because it takes longer for the death benefit to pay out. However, survivorship policies are useful for estate planning and a source of money for children or grandchildren who may always depend on their parents. Below we’ll go into detail about how survivorship policies work so you can decide if one is right for you. 

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How Survivorship Life Insurance Works

A survivorship life insurance policy can either be a term or permanent policy. A term policy covers you for a certain number of years before you have to renew it. A permanent policy, on the other hand, covers you for the rest of your life as long as you pay the premiums. Most policies for survivorship life insurance are permanent. Most people buy survivorship coverage with permanent whole life or universal life insurance instead of term life insurance.


The reason is simple: most couples who buy a survivorship policy don’t want protection for a short time. Survivorship policies don’t pay out until both people who are covered die. So, when the first person covered by the policy dies, the second person must keep paying the premiums to keep the policy going. When both policyholders die, the death benefit is paid to whoever the policyholders named as their beneficiary. Permanent life insurance builds up cash value that can be used if necessary.

Reasons To Have A Survivorship Policy

Estate Planning

Typically couples with a high networth often buy survivorship life insurance so that their children will pay less in estate taxes once they pass away. When the first spouse dies, the other spouse will not have to pay taxes. However, if their combined assets are worth more than the federal exemption level, beneficiaries have to pay federal estate taxes once the second spouse dies. There are currently 12 states plus the District of Columbia that have even lower estate tax thresholds. And 6 states have inheritance taxes. If both spouses die at the same time, a survivorship policy can help pay estate taxes and other costs immediately. It can also help make sure that the beneficiaries get an equal share of the assets. Especially if the assets, such as a family business, are hard to sell.

Business Succession

Survivorship policies don’t necessarily have to be a married couple, it can be any two people, even business partners. When both business partners pass away, a survivorship policy can give the money needed to transfer the business to its new owner. If there is more than one new owner, the death benefit can be split amongst each of the business partners to make sure there is enough money to take over the business.

Caring For Permanent Dependents

If you have a child with special needs or another person who will always depend on you. A survivorship life insurance policy will make sure that you leave enough money for them to be taken care of for the rest of their lives. The money from the policy could be put into a special needs trust. So, that if both parents die, the child will still have some money.

Coverage With Medical Issues

When one spouse can’t afford individual life insurance because of a medical condition, but the other is in good health, a survivorship policy can be a cheaper way to get coverage.

More Affordable

Most of the time, buying a permanent life insurance policy can cost five to fifteen times as much as buying a term life insurance policy. But permanent survivorship life insurance policies can sometimes be cheaper in the long run than buying two separate policies.

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You Need Cash Value

Survivorship policies can be set up so that the cash value of the policy helps the spouse who is left behind. Even though the death benefit won’t be paid out until both of the policyholders have died. Some permanent policies can build up a cash value that can be used while one of the spouses is still alive. If the policy builds up enough cash value, the surviving spouse can take out a loan from it to pay for funeral costs or policy premiums while the policy is still in force.

Policy Costs

In general, it costs more to buy two separate $1,000,000 policies than to buy a single $1,000,000 survivorship policy. It’s easy to see why. With two separate permanent policies, insurance companies have to plan for a total payout of $2,000,000. However, when two people are covered by a single life insurance policy, the total payout is only half as much. Individual life expectancy is also longer than joint life expectancy, since one insured person usually dies after the other. This means that second-to-die policies may be cheaper than first-to-die policies. But the actual cost of a life insurance policy can vary a lot depending on many things. Such as age, health, lifestyle, type of insurance, and the insurance company. Riders are extra features that can be added to a policy to make it fit the needs of the policyholder. Here are some examples: 


  • Estate Preservation Riders – These are used for tax planning purposes when extra death benefits may be needed in the first few years of the policy. 
  • Level Term Rider – Provides extra coverage for each insured person up to age 95. The rider, which each insured person must apply for on their own, can usually be changed to a whole-life policy if it is done before a certain age. 
  • Monthly Deduction for Death and Disability Waiver – This benefit, which only applies to one of the insureds. Can help make sure the policy stays active by waiving premiums if the couple’s income drops because of death or disability.

Survivorship Pros and Cons

A survivorship life insurance policy can help you and your spouse take care of your family after you’re gone. However, this type of life insurance has some drawbacks. Before you buy a life insurance policy, you should think about the pros and cons to see if it’s the right choice for your family.


When deciding on a survivorship policy, most couples think about how much it will cost. Whether it’s first-to-die or second-to-die. The premiums on a joint policy are likely to be more affordable than the premiums on two separate policies. First-to-die policies cost more money than second-to-die policies. The ability to make your inheritance equal is another benefit of a survivorship policy. Forbes says that if you have more than one beneficiary, you can set up the policy through a trust that will divide your death benefit equally among all of your dependents.


Lastly, the process of getting a survivor policy is less strict than getting other types of life insurance. This means that if you or your spouse have health problems that might keep you from getting a traditional life insurance policy, you may still be able to get coverage through a survivorship policy.


Most couples think about how much it will cost when they choose a survivorship policy. Whether it’s first-to-die or second-to-die, the premiums on a joint policy are likely to be cheaper than the premiums on two separate policies. Policies that pay out more when the first person dies are called “first-to-die” policies. A benefit of a survivorship policy is that you can make sure that everyone gets the same amount of your inheritance. Forbes says that if you have more than one beneficiary, you can set up a trust that will divide your death benefit equally among all of your dependents.


Lastly, it’s easier to get a survivor policy than it is to get other types of life insurance. This means that even if you or your spouse have health problems that might keep you from getting a traditional life insurance policy, you may still be able to get coverage through a survivorship policy.

Life Insurance With EZ

Not sure what kind of policy you need or where to start? You have to compare plans to find the best one for your needs because there are so many different kinds of life insurance. You could use online tools or talk to an agent. Everyone has their own needs, priorities, and ways they can spend their money. At EZ.Insure, we know that you and your family want the best coverage. But we also know you have to stay within your budget.


So, we will do everything we can to find you the best policy at the best price. And we want to make it as easy as possible for you to do so! We’re here to help, and the best part is that everything we do is free. We will help you with everything, from answering all of your questions to helping you choose a policy and finish the enrollment process. We will also help you after your plan has started. To get started, just type your zip code into the bar below or give us a call at 877-670-3560.

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What is the Accelerated Death Benefit?

A life insurance policy is a great way to make sure your family is financially protected after you’re gone, but what if you become ill and your family needs financial help while you are still alive? Luckily there is a way to get benefits from your life insurance while you are alive. When looking for a policy consider adding an accelerated death benefit rider to your policy, which will provide you with money to be used for medical expenses if you become seriously, or terminally, ill. Do you have a family history of getting sick in your later years, do you just want to be cautious, or do you just want to be cautious? No matter what the reason, before you purchase a life insurance policy, find out how an accelerated death benefit rider can benefit you, and how it works. 

What Is an Accelerated Death Benefit Rider?

sick person in a wheelchair being pushed by a young female
An accelerated death benefit rider is beneficial to those who are terminally ill, and need help paying their medical bills.

This type of rider allows you, the policyholder, to receive a portion of your death benefits before you pass away if you become terminally ill. It is a standard feature on most term life insurance policies; if it is not included in your life insurance policy, you have the option to add on this rider for an additional monthly premium fee. Generally this rider is meant to help with medical expenses, but you can use the money for anything you choose.  

How Does an Accelerated Death Benefit Rider Work?

If you have an accelerated death benefit rider, most insurance companies will pay out if the insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and is expected to live no more than 1-2 years past their diagnosis. Every insurance company has guidelines on how much they will pay out on an accelerated death benefit rider; some will pay anywhere from 50-75% of your policy death benefit, and some will charge a one-time processing fee, usually $150. It is best to compare policies from different life insurance companies to determine which policy will provide the coverage amount you think you might need. 

It is important to note that the benefits you receive for your medical expenses will be deducted from the death benefit your beneficiary will receive after you pass away.

Qualifying For An Accelerated Death Benefit

Accelerated death benefits are best for people with shortened life expectancies, or for those who have major medical bills due to an illness. The rider is triggered under the following medical circumstances:

  • Terminal illness– This is the most common reason to make a claim on an accelerated death benefit rider. To receive your benefit, you will need to provide certification from your doctor or a medical professional proving that you are terminally ill and have a life expectancy of 12-24 months. illustration of a doctor with a picture of kidneys next to him on the wall
  • Critical illness– You can also use this rider if you are diagnosed with a condition that will leave you with a shortened life expectancy, including cancer, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, major organ transplant, or paralysis. 
  • Chronic condition– Any condition that prevents you from performing 2 of the 6 daily activities for living (eating, bathing, toileting, continence, getting dressed, and mobility) will also allow you to make a claim.
  • Long-term care– If you must be permanently confined to a nursing home, hospice care, or an assisted living facility, you can use your benefits.

An accelerated death benefit rider will provide you with extra money to help with large medical bills that stem from a terminal or critical illness. Claiming on this rider should not be confused with borrowing cash value from a whole life or universal life insurance policy, but those permanent policies will likely also have the accelerated death benefit rider built in. 

To learn more about accelerated death benefits and any other riders that you think could be beneficial to you, consider using online tools to see what is available, as well as working with an agent who will help you compare plans and decide which is the right fit for you. To get you started, we have provided the top insurance companies that offer life insurance policies below; each can give you hassle-free assistance and the most competitive rates in the nation. Always check multiple sites to make sure you have bargaining power and know the advantages of each company. Make sure a hard time isn’t made harder by a financial burden, check life insurance rates today.