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Compare The Top 5 Funeral Insurance Providers

Your funeral is probably something you would rather not think about. But there is one thing you should be thinking about sooner rather than later: how will your funeral be paid for. The average funeral costs around £4,000 these days. Is this a sum your family could afford to pay at the drop of a hat? Funeral Plans provide a way to pay for your funeral now so it’s all taken care of when the time comes.

Read on to find out more about funeral plans, see if they’re a good idea for you and the things you need to think about when choosing the plan that’s right for you.

What is a funeral plan?

We gave a brief explanation of funeral plans above, but here’s what you need to know in more detail.

A funeral plan lets you pay for your funeral upfront. Think of it as a pre-paid funeral. This has two advantages for your relatives. The first is that they don’t have to pay for it themselves. Even the simplest funerals can be surprisingly expensive – more than many people could afford to pay without saving up for it.

Of course, your relatives can choose to pay for your funeral using money from your estate. The good news is that this cost would not be subject to inheritance tax. On the other hand, paying for the cost of a funeral from your estate could mean you would be leaving your relatives less money than you’d hoped to.

Who sells them?

There are funeral plan providers who sell funeral plans. Our comparison tool makes it easy to compare providers so you can choose the provider that is right for you. Alternatively, you can choose to purchase a funeral plan from your local funeral director. The advantage of this is that you have a local point of contact if you have any queries.

On the other hand, it is always worth researching the market before you accept their plan to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Are they worth having?

Funeral plans can be a good idea for several reasons.

The first is the financial reason. As we discussed above and will talk about more below, funerals can be very expensive events, even if you are trying to keep the costs down. Without a funeral plan in place, these are costs that your relatives will have to pay for in one way or another.

They might choose to pay for it out of their own pockets, which could leave them in debt, or they could pay for it out of your estate, which will mean you will be leaving them less money than you had hoped for.

The second reason is because it gives you more of a say in your funeral plans. When you take out a funeral plan you take decisions about the sort of funeral you would like.

It is your opportunity to consider things like flowers, music and the coffin. These are all things that will make your funeral more personal to you and more meaningful for your family.

The third reason is because it will relieve your relatives of a lot of stress at what is already a difficult time. A funeral plan means you have already taken care of the costs as well as a lot of the planning.

It will save them having to make lots of decisions about funeral arrangements that they do not really have the energy to think about. By doing this you will be minimising the distress for your family, allowing them to say goodbye without worry and financial burden when the time comes.

In short, a funeral plan gives you and your family peace of mind.

If you would like to explore funeral plan options, our comparison tool makes it easy. You simply choose the level of cover you want (bronze, silver, gold or platinum), fill in your details and we’ll give you a list of all the providers you can choose from.

Do funeral plans provide good value?

There is no doubt that funerals can be expensive events.

Cremation using a funeral director costs an average of £3,214. Burial using a funeral director costs £4,136. These are significant sums of money, but they are not all the costs involved in a funeral. They only cover collection and care of your body, a basic coffin, a hearse and managing a simple service. If you would like flowers or music at your funeral, this will be extra.

Similarly if you would like more than a basic coffin. Then there are the mourners to consider. If you would like there to be a funeral wake or funeral tea to celebrate your life, there are the additional costs of a venue, food and drink to consider.

Because funerals cost such a significant sum, paying for them in advance makes good financial sense. After all, how many of us have sums like this lying around to spend when we need to?

There is another factor that makes funeral plans good value. This is that you are paying for your funeral at today’s prices rather than the prices when you die. This is a big benefit because funeral costs are rising each year at well above the price of inflation. In fact, funeral costs in the UK have risen by over 100% since 2004.

By buying your funeral plan now, you can beat those prices rises, regardless of how far in the future the funeral service takes place or however much prices may increase in the meantime.

How do I pay for a funeral plan?

Most funeral plan providers will offer you a choice of paying either as a lump sum or spreading the cost by paying in monthly instalments, usually over one to ten years.

Instalments are a good option if you don’t have the lump sum to invest but be aware that by paying in this way you will probably end up paying more because of the administration fees and interest that will be applied.

This is particularly the case when paying instalments over the longer term, which could potentially add up to 26% more to the cost. So if you can, it will benefit you greatly to pay for your policy by lump sum, or with fewer instalments.

Once your plan is in place, your provider will either put the money in a trust fund or invest it in an insurance policy that pays out when you die, so that the funds are available to pay the funeral director and other providers when they are needed.

This is controlled by the Financial Conduct Authority, so you can rest assured that your money is safe. Also, the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), has a code of conduct that all of its member providers must comply with.

What does a funeral plan include?

Funeral plans can differ significantly in what they cover. Most will not pay for everything you need for your funeral, but it all depends on the policy, the provider and the price. While one plan might simply cover the funeral director’s costs, another might pay for the entire thing, including a plot and the wake.

For example, consider whether you would like to go for a cremation or a burial. Most funeral plans can be tailored to suit either, but there are significant cost differences between the two, as with burial there is the cost of a burial plot to consider. A provider might guarantee the price of cremation, but only pay a contribution towards burial costs. It all depends.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to know exactly what your funeral plan covers and have a full understanding of the costs before committing. For example, you might want to consider the following:

  • pink-bullet-pointDo I want a small family funeral service or commemorative funeral service?
  • pink-bullet-pointDo I want funeral cars and if so how many?
  • pink-bullet-pointDo I want a church service, crematorium memorial service or another type of service?
  • pink-bullet-pointWhat will happen to the body?
  • pink-bullet-pointWho will arrange and supervise the event?
  • pink-bullet-pointIs the burial plot included?
  • pink-bullet-pointIs the headstone included?
  • pink-bullet-pointAre any costs for burial and cremation capped?

Of course, you may have many other features you’d like to consider, or maybe you are not sure of all the options available to you. This is especially true of course if you have a special request for your funeral, perhaps one with a personalised touch, or one of an unusual nature. Examples of this might be anything from a specific type of coffin, be it a green coffin or a wicker coffin, or it could be something a little different such as a burial at sea.

How do I know I have the right plan?

You can ensure you have the right funeral plan for you by considering all the different aspects of the funeral and whether you want it all covered under your funeral plan.

However, funerals arrangements can be complicated, especially if you have specific requirements. Utility Saving Expert will help you make sure you get the right funeral plans to suit your needs. Simply discuss your requirements with one of our friendly funeral plan experts.

We will compare prices of some of the biggest UK funeral plan providers and then we’ll come back to you with a list of options to choose from, or the best option for your specific requirements.

Once you have made a choice, you should make sure to examine the policy carefully, so that you know exactly what’s included and what’s not included before you commit to buy.

Are they safe?

The cost of your funeral plan is likely to be a sizeable sum. You will therefore want to know that your money is safe and your funeral costs will be covered when the time comes. This is particularly true when you consider that it may be many years before your family needs to put your plans into effect.

On the other hand, if you choose to pay by instalments, there is always the possibility that you will die before you have finished paying them. You will need to get answers to questions such as these before you commit to a funeral plan provider.

There are also some other things you need to bear in mind when you are checking whether your funeral plan is a safe investment.

The Financial Conduct Authority doesn’t directly regulate funeral plans. However, to safeguard your plan, your provider will either place it in a trust fund or invest it in an insurance policy that pays out when you die. The Financial Conduct Authority does have rules governing trust funds and insurance policies so your money is safeguarded by these.

There is a professional body for providers called the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), which has a code of conduct that all its members must comply with.

If you pay for your funeral plan upfront on your credit card, you may have some protection because of this. This is because you may be protected under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Under this Act, a credit card provider must protect purchases over £100 if there is a problem with goods or services you have paid for, or if the company you are buying from goes out of business.

If you choose to pay for your plan using monthly instalments, you could also consider paying these using your credit card. This means your payments may be covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 in the same way as if you were paying the entire amount up-front on your credit card.

Who plans my funeral and how will they know about my plan?

Of course, having a funeral plan is one thing. But who will be planning your funeral and how will they know that you have a plan in place?

Most funerals are arranged by your nearest relatives or by a close friend. The person planning the funeral must be over 18 years old. The hierarchy of people responsible for planning a funeral is in this order:

  • pink-bullet-pointSpouse or partner
  • pink-bullet-pointChildren
  • pink-bullet-pointParents
  • pink-bullet-pointSiblings

If there is no one to take care of your funeral arrangements, your local authority will arrange it.

When it comes to making sure that the people planning your funeral know about your arrangements, you can let them know in your will. If you have very detailed requirements, it may be better to set these out in a separate letter.

Note that your funeral wishes are not legally binding. Ultimately, it is up to your executors or administrators to make these decisions. However, if you have made it clear what you want to happen about your funeral, your instructions will usually be followed.

Make sure that any details about your funeral wishes contain information on your funeral plan and provider. When the time comes, most funeral providers will put your funeral plan into action after a simple phone call. This means your loved ones don’t have so much to think about or so many arrangements to make.

What questions do I need to ask my adviser and provider?

Even if you are saving money in the long run, a funeral plan is still a sizeable investment to make. It is therefore worthwhile taking the time to check you are getting exactly what you need from your plan.

Here are some of the questions you could consider asking. They will help you see how flexible your plan will be. They will also help you understand more about what is important to you in your funeral plan and what is less important.

The cost

  • blue-bullet-pointAre there any cancellation charges?
  • blue-bullet-pointWhat is included in the funeral plan and, more importantly, what isn’t?
  • blue-bullet-pointHow long will I be paying instalments for?
  • blue-bullet-pointIs there interest to pay on the instalments?
  • blue-bullet-pointWhat happens if I die before I have finished paying all the instalments?
  • blue-bullet-pointIf there are any other expenses for the funeral, what happens?

The flexibility

  • blue-bullet-pointCan I cancel the plan if my circumstances change? (For example if you have arranged the funeral for your spouse but you end up separating.)
  • blue-bullet-pointCan I choose my funeral director?
  • blue-bullet-pointWhat happens if my funeral director goes out of business?
  • blue-bullet-pointCan I have a funeral of a different standard to the one I have chosen?
  • blue-bullet-pointHow easy is it to change the details of my funeral plan?

Practical questions

  • blue-bullet-pointWhat happens if I die abroad or away from home?
  • blue-bullet-pointWhat is the process for telling you that my funeral plan needs to be cashed in?
  • blue-bullet-pointHow do you work with my relatives in terms of cashing in the funeral plan and making the funeral arrangements?

Compare funeral plans

The next step is to use our comparison tool. You choose the level of funeral plan you would like to have – bronze, silver, gold or platinum.

green-bullet-point Bronze is the most affordable level. The Bronze plan offers all the necessities of a traditional funeral within your means.

green-bullet-point Silver is the most popular level. It offers everything covered in our Bronze plan but with the benefit of third party costs.

green-bullet-point Gold is the perfect level for those who require all the essentials but wish to include a limousine for family members.

green-bullet-point Platinum is the superior level. It provides all the essentials of our other plans but with two limousines and superior coffin.

Once you have the options, you can make an informed choice about which plan best suits your requirements, budget and circumstances. You’ll soon have your funeral plans arranged, which means that you can get on with enjoying life instead, safe in the knowledge that all the arrangements are taken care of.

Call us today on 01242 323131 or use our funeral plan comparison tool. Because whatever your funeral requirements, being organised and dealing with it now can offer peace of mind to you and your family for the rest of your life.

Utility Saving Expert compares all the leading funeral plan providers for you. It’s quick and simple to get an online quote in minutes.

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