Funeral cover

Read our funeral cover guide to help ensure that the financial and emotional stress faced by friends and family in the event of your death is kept to a minimum.


In order to save your family the trouble and strife, it's important to make sure your life insurance policy includes enough cover to pay for your final send-off.

The cost of a burial is likely to be significantly more than you expect - and the price is rising

After all, it's not just the cost of living that can rocket with inflation. Dying can be very expensive, too.

Research carried out by Mintel on behalf of Sun Life Direct shows that funeral costs rose to an average of £7,248 in 2011. Worryingly, more than half the people questioned during the survey thought it would be much less.

It really makes sense to plan as soon as possible. The more you think about your funeral, the less your loved ones will have to when the time comes.

What are your options?

There are a few different options when thinking about the cost of your funeral. One is to factor it into your life insurance policy by making sure your cover includes a sufficient sum to meet the costs.

Umbrella

Of course, that's not much use if you've opted for term insurance and survive longer than your policy, so think about the following:

Life plans

As an alternative to term insurance you may want to consider a whole of life insurance policy, which would pay out an agreed amount on your death.

You often see these kinds of policies advertised as 'over-50s' plans (although you can take one out from age 16) and some people take them out simply to help their family with the cost of their funeral.
 
If you're not entirely sure how much cover you need or what the best insurance is for you, it's worth speaking to an impartial adviser from our partner LifeSearch. Just call 0844 409 9713. You can also request a call back through the Gocompare.com site.¥

A funeral plan

Some people choose to buy a pre-paid funeral plan. These are often advertised as 'freezing the cost at today's prices'. You can usually buy these through a local funeral director.

What's included varies, depending on policy, the provider and the price. You can pay for a policy that simply covers the funeral director's costs, or one that pays for the entire thing, including a plot and the wake.

You may be asked to pay a one-off, up-front cost, or you may spread the cost over a number of months. Be aware that by spreading the cost you'll probably pay more overall.

You might assume that the state will cover some of the cost of a burial, but few people get official help

Some of these plans have been heavily criticised for not covering all the expenses, leaving the family to have to make up the short-fall.

Make sure you ask the provider what happens if they go out of business, or if there are outstanding payments when you die. Also, if you enjoy travelling overseas ask what happens if you die abroad.

As always, you need to ensure you read all the small print carefully, so that you know exactly what's included and whether you're happy with that.

Pay out of your estate

If you are planning on using your savings to pay for your funeral, you should note that, unless it's a joint account (where the surviving joint owner immediately becomes the sole owner and can access the whole account without any break), any money held in your accounts will be frozen and will form part of your estate.

Funeral costs can usually be paid out of the deceased's estate and most banks will release the money to the executor or administrator to help pay for the funeral if they are shown an itemised bill and a copy of the death certificate.

Alternatively, if a solicitor has been appointed then talk to them about any costs you need to charge to the estate.

Balloon

Isn't there any state help?

You might assume that the state will cover some of the cost of a burial, but few people get official help.

While there is help available if you're on a low income and need to arrange a funeral, an assessment will need to be made on your circumstances to determine whether you qualify and, if so, how much you will receive.

State financial support could potentially help to pay for things like the coffin, burial/cremation fees, travel costs (of people and of the body), flowers and the funeral director's fees.

To find out more about all these areas, see the official Gov.UK information on funeral payments.

If your husband, wife or civil partner has died before retirement, and they had been making National Insurance payments, you may be able to claim a Bereavement Payment.

Ask your nearest Jobcentre Plus for a Bereavement Benefits pack.

By Felicity Hannah