30 July 2014

  • 28 per cent increase in opposite sex co-habiting couples in past decade, and 68 per cent rise in same sex co-habiting couples

  • Finances a major factor for living together unmarried

  • Yet only a quarter would rely on life insurance if their partner were to pass away

The number of unmarried co-habiting couples is increasing rapidly, according to new analysis1 from Santander Insurance. Yet only a quarter (23 per cent) of unmarried couples who jointly own or plan to jointly own a property would rely on their partner’s life insurance to cover their partner’s financial commitments should they pass away or become terminally ill2.

The bank says unmarried co-habiting couples are less likely to have life insurance, and is warning that the product is just as important for those who are unmarried as those who are.

There was a 28 per cent increase in the number of unmarried opposite sex co-habiting couple families between 2003 and 2013, 41 per cent of which had dependent children living with them1. Over the same time period there was a 68 per cent increase in the number of same sex co-habiting couple families, six per cent of which had dependent children under their roof1.

The findings2 reveal that finances are a major factor behind many co-habiting couples not being married. One in four (24 per cent) says they can’t afford to get married, and 7 per cent live together to save money on housing costs.

Nearly one in five unmarried co-habiting couples (18 per cent) says neither of them wants to get married, and 10 per cent say one of them doesn’t want to. Fourteen per cent say they are ready to live together but not yet ready to marry, and nine per cent say they are living together to find out if they are compatible before they get married2.

Of those unmarried couples who jointly own or plan to jointly own a property, 23 per cent would rely on life assurance if their partner passed away or became terminally ill, while one in four (24 per cent) would sell their joint property, eight per cent would rely on help from family and friends and one in 20 (five per cent) would risk repossession. Another 15 per cent say they don’t know what they would do2.

Mark Russell, Head of Marketing at Santander Insurance, said: “Modern families come in all shapes and sizes nowadays and there has been a significant increase in the number of unmarried family units. However, unmarried couples tend to consider life insurance less than married couples, so we want to make sure this audience is aware of the importance of financially protecting themselves for the eventuality that their other half passes away or becomes unable to contribute.

“A good number of these family units include dependent children, which makes it all the more important that life and critical illness cover are in place.”

Families by family type1

Family type  2003  2013 Percentage change
Opposite sex co-habiting couple family  2,232,000 2,859,000 28% 
Same sex co-habiting couple family  53,000  89,000 68%



Notes to Editors

  1. Santander Insurance analysis of ONS Families and Households, 2013

  2. Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,003 UK adults from 23rd – 27th May 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria

Santander UK is a leading financial services provider in the UK and offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. At 31 December 2013, Santander UK serves more than 14 million active customers with c. 20,000 employees, c. 1,000 branches and 50 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.

About Us
Banco Santander (SAN.MC, STD.N, BNC.LN)
is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain, with a presence in 10 main markets. Santander is the largest bank in the euro zone by market capitalization. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.24 trillion in managed funds, 103 million customers, 13,927 branches – more than any other international bank – and 182,958 employees at the close of 2013. It is the largest financial group in Spain and Latin America. It also has significant positions in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Germany, Poland and the northeast United States. Santander registered EUR 4.37 billion in attributable profit in 2013, an increase of 90% from the previous year.

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