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Best Funeral Plan Options for 2020

Thinking about a funeral plan to prepare for the future? Check out our selection of the five best funeral plan providers on the market in 2020.
Haydn Squibb
Author: Haydn Squibb
Last Updated: March 30, 2020

Funeral plans are an increasingly popular way to get your affairs in order for your eventual passing. With a funeral plan, you can ensure that the cost of laying your body to rest is already taken care of.

That’s important because it allows you to leave your loved ones without them having to worry about paying for your funeral out of pocket. The death of a family member is always stressful, but a funeral plan can make sure that it’s not also an unexpected financial burden on the ones you leave behind.

Funeral plans can vary a lot in terms of how much you’re paying and what services you’ll receive at the end of your life. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what funeral plans are and how they work. We’ll also highlight five of the best funeral plans in the UK on the market right now. By the end, you’ll have the information you need to decide whether a funeral plan is right for you and to make an informed choice about which provider to use.

Table of Contents

    Avalon - Best UK Funeral Plan

    Our Rating

    • Cremation options available with and without funeral service
    • Coverage starts after one year of payments
    • No restrictions on date and time of service

    Understanding Funeral Plans

    With a funeral plan, you’re essentially prepaying for all or part of your funeral. The plan lays out all of the services that will be included with your funeral and the cost of those services. Whether your funeral takes place in 5 years or 20, the funeral director guarantees that the services specified in your plan will be carried out at the agreed-upon price.

    Why Purchase a Funeral Plan?

    The number one reason to purchase a funeral plan is to prevent the cost of a funeral from falling on your loved ones. Funerals can be very expensive; the average cost for burial in the UK is more than £4,000. Many people want to ensure that such a large expense is already taken care of so they don’t leave behind a financial burden.

    Another reason why an increasing number of people are choosing funeral plans is that they allow you to plan your own funeral. Without a funeral plan, you may be relying on family members to decide, after your passing, how you would have wanted to be laid to rest. That can add unnecessary stress during an already mournful time. With a funeral plan, you get to make your final wishes clearly known.

    What Does a Funeral Plan Include?

    Most funeral plans have a few things in common. Almost every funeral plan covers the cost of care for the deceased body and the cost of the funeral director’s services. On top of that, many funeral plans include either cremation or a coffin.  

    That said, different plans and providers can still vary widely. Some funeral plans will cover a burial service and coffin, but not an accompanying church service or headstone. In that case, your family would be responsible for the costs of those extra services if desired. More expensive funeral plans may include a much longer list of services, leaving few or no additional costs for your loved ones. These differences are part of the reason why it’s so important to compare funeral plans.

    Paying for a Funeral Plan

    Funeral plans can be paid for upfront in a lump sum, but many plans allow you to pay in monthly installments. If you do pay in installments, your plan will take effect after one or two years’ worth of monthly payments. If you die before the plan is paid in full, you’ll still be covered and in many cases your family won’t be asked to pay the balance.

    Funeral Plans vs. Over-50s Life Insurance

    Before diving into buying a funeral plan, it’s important to understand the difference between that and an over-50s life insurance plan. Whereas a funeral plan guarantees the cost of your funeral service, an over-50s life insurance policy pays out a sum of money to your family upon your passing.

    That’s an important distinction because the money from a life insurance policy may or may not be enough to cover the cost of your funeral. This is particularly a problem if the insurance payout doesn’t increase in response to inflation, but the cost of funeral services does. In addition, since you’re paying for the insurance policy every month until your passing, you’re essentially betting against your own longevity.

    For these reasons, funeral plans are often the preferred option when it comes to preparing for funeral costs.

    Best Funeral Plans in 2020

    1. Safe Hands - Best for Burial

    Safe Hands is one of the larger funeral plan providers in the UK, with a network of more than 1,600 independent consultants to help craft your plan. This is also a trustworthy provider since the money you pay towards a funeral plan is held securely in a trust until the time of your passing.

    All Safe Hands funeral plans completely cover body handling and preparation, as well a hearse, bearers, a coffin, and all of the funeral director’s fees. One of the biggest differences among plans is whether or not your family gets an additional disbursement to pay for uncovered services. The basic Topaz plan, which costs just £2,390, doesn’t come with a disbursement. The more premium Pearl plan, for £3,495, includes a £1,200 disbursement. Note that all Safe Hands plans are tailored for cremation, not burial, so cemetery services will cost extra.

    Another advantage to Safe Hands is that the payment options are fairly flexible. If you want to pay in monthly installments, the company doesn’t charge any additional fees as long as you are fully paid within two years. If you pay over a longer period, your plan takes effect after the first two years’ worth of payments.

    • Plan Costs: £2,390 to £4,095
    • Instalment Payments: Yes
    • Time to Plan Coverage: 2 years
    • Funeral Types: Cremation
    • Body Collection: Within 25 miles

    Our Rating

    • Comprehensive: All plans cover funeral director fees
    • Provides Disbursement: Most plans come with a disbursement to pay for extra fees
    • Flexible Payment: No interest charges if you pay within two years
    • Cremation Only: Burials are not covered

    2. Coop Funeralcare - Best for Installment Payments

    Coop Funeralcare isn’t the cheapest funeral plan provider, but the plans on offer are fairly comprehensive. All plans include body collection up to a 50-mile radius of an in-network funeral home and all fees associated with burial or cremation are covered.

    However, it’s important to note that not every plan from Coop Funeralcare is maximally convenient. The basic Simple plan, which starts at £3,295, restricts the dates and times on which your family can hold your funeral. For the ability to hold a funeral on any day, you’d need to upgrade to a Bronze plan for £3,595.

    One especially good thing about Coop Funeralcare is that you can make your monthly instalment payments very low. The company allows paying over a period of up to 25 years, as long as the plan is fully paid by the time you turn 80. As long as you’ve made 12 monthly instalment payments, you are fully covered by the plan. Just keep in mind that interest charges will raise the cost of your plan as you extend the payment period.

    • Plan Costs: £3,295 to £4,199
    • Instalment Payments: Yes, up to 25 years
    • Time to Plan Coverage: 1 year
    • Funeral Types: Cremation and burial
    • Body Collection: Within 50 miles

    Our Rating

    • Cremation and Burial: No extra fees associated with either type of funeral
    • Quick Coverage: Funeral plans take effect after 12 monthly payments
    • Expanded Body Collection: No charges for body collection up to 50 miles
    • Expensive: Coop doesn’t offer barebones plans at low cost
    • No Disbursement: There’s no disbursement to cover extra services your family desire

    Age Co Funeral Plans - Best for Budget Funerals

    Age Co offers some of the best prepaid funeral plans if you’re on a tight budget. The company’s Basic plan costs just £2,895 and includes a £1,200 disbursement to help with religious services, cremation and burial fees, and anything else your family might want. You can even customize your plan with a number of special requests, many of which don’t incur an extra charge.

    There are some restrictions on Age Co’s cheap funeral plan, but they are relatively minimal. The dates and times of your funeral may be limited, and your family can only choose from around 800 funeral directors rather than the full network of 1,300 directors. If you want to eliminate these restrictions, Age Co offers the Ivy plan for just £3,295.

    Age Co also offers instalment payments, allowing you to pay the full price of your plan over a span of up to 25 years. You’re immediately covered under the plan as soon as you sign up. However, Age Co will only honour the agreement if your family pays the remaining plan balance in full at the time of your death. So, if your plan isn’t fully paid, your loved ones could be left with the bill.

    • Plan Costs: £2,895 to £3,895
    • Instalment Payments: Yes, up to 25 years
    • Time to Plan Coverage: Immediate coverage
    • Funeral Types: Cremation and burial
    • Body Collection: Within 50 miles

    Our Rating

    • Disbursements: All plans include £1,200 disbursement
    • Minimal Restrictions: Plans allow burial or cremation and offer special requests
    • Budget-friendly: Funeral plans start at just £2,895
    • Full Payment Required: If you die before paying in full, your family has to finish paying for the plan

    Avalon Funeral Plans - Best for Cremation

    Avalon stands out for offering two different cremation plans. If you’re planning on a cremation rather than a burial, this provider can help you tailor your coverage and pay less in the process.

    A basic cremation with no funeral service starts at just £1,895, which is incredibly affordable. That covers all doctor’s fees and crematorium fees, so there’s absolutely nothing more your family will pay out of pocket. If you prefer a funeral service, Avalon offers a cremation plan with a service at the crematorium for £2,695. There’s no limit on the number of attendees and your family gets to choose the date and time.

    Avalon also provides peace of mind if you decide to pay for your plan in monthly instalments. After you’ve made one full year of payments, you’re fully covered by the plan even if you die before paying in full. Your family doesn’t even have to pay for the remaining balance of your plan.

    • Plan Costs: £1,895 to £4,245
    • Instalment Payments: Yes, up to 25 years
    • Time to Plan Coverage: 1 year
    • Funeral Types: Cremation and burial
    • Body Collection: Anywhere within the UK

    Our Rating

    • Inexpensive Cremation: Options available with and without funeral service
    • Coverage After 1 Year: Your family does not have to pay the remaining plan balance if you pass
    • No Restrictions: Your family can choose the date and time of your service and there’s no limit on attendees
    • Expensive Burial Plans: Burial funeral plans start at £3,645

    Golden Charter - Best for Local Funeral Services

    Golden Charter stands out for having a network of more than 3,000 funeral directors across the UK. That means that there is almost always a local funeral home in your network and your family has a better chance of getting the funeral director they want. Most of the in-network funeral homes are local, family-run businesses that care about helping your family through the grieving process.

    Golden Charter’s basic funeral plans are a bit bare-bones in their coverage, however. The Value plan, which costs £2,895, only covers body collection with 25 miles and only during business hours. While there’s a disbursement included, it’s only £800 as opposed to the £1,200 that other providers offer. Your funeral can also only be held on a weekday with the Value plan.

    Like other funeral plan providers, Golden Charter offers a guarantee that you’ll be covered if you die before fully paying your plan instalments. Coverage starts after two years, and your family doesn’t need to pay the balance if you die before paying in full. You can also feel good about trusting Golden Charter, since the provider comes recommended by the Funeral Planning Authority.

    • Plan Costs: £2,895 to £4,099
    • Instalment Payments: Yes, up to 25 years
    • Time to Plan Coverage: 2 years
    • Funeral Types: Cremation and burial
    • Body Collection: 25 miles

    Our Rating

    • Huge Network: More than 3,000 funeral directors around the UK
    • Disbursement Included: £800 or more to cover additional funeral costs
    • Installment Payments: Full coverage after 24 monthly payments
    • Funeral Restrictions: Value plan only allows a weekday funeral
    • Limited Body Collection: Only within a 25-mile radius and only during business hours

    Conclusion – Choosing a Funeral Plan

    A funeral plan is a good option for ensuring that the cost of your funeral is partially or completely covered long before you pass. That can save your loved ones from the additional stress and financial burden of unexpected end-of-life costs. Plus, choosing your own funeral plan allows you to be certain that you’ll be laid to rest in exactly the way you prefer.

    Although few people want to think about the end of life, choosing a funeral plan is straightforward. Even better, there are options for cremations and burials to fit almost any budget. With our review of the top five funeral plan providers, you can make a decision about whether a funeral plan is right for you and choose the plan that best suits your needs.

    FAQs

    Where does the money I pay into a funeral plan go?

    The money you pay into a funeral plan goes either into a trust or into an insurance policy taken out by the plan provider. Either case ensures that the money is available to pay for the cost of your funeral when the time comes. Importantly, your plan also guarantees a cost for the specified funeral services. So, your family won’t be left to find out that the money in your trust account isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of your funeral.

    What happens if I die before all my installment payments are made?

    If you decide to pay your plan in monthly installments and die before all of your payments are made, most funeral plans will still cover the cost of your funeral. However, there are some limitations to this. Most plans require that you make at least one or two full years’ worth of monthly payments before your funeral will be covered. If you don’t meet this minimum, the funeral company will return the money you have already paid to your family to be used towards the cost of your funeral.

    Will a local funeral home handle my funeral?

    Most of the funeral plans we reviewed work with a network of funeral homes across the UK. But, you should check with your plan provider to make sure that there is an in-network funeral home near your home and family. Generally, most plans have a distance limit on how far your body will be transported to a funeral home without incurring additional, uncovered charges.

    Can I or my family choose a specific funeral director?

    Many funeral plans allow your family to request a funeral director at the time of your passing. However, that request may be subject to approval by the chosen funeral director. Most plans do not guarantee that your family will receive their chosen director.

    Are there fees associated with cremation or burial that are not included in a funeral plan?

    Most funeral plans cover all the costs of a basic cremation or burial, including the fees for required medical examinations and for a crematorium. But, it’s important to check exactly what services a specific funeral plan covers and to ask about uncovered costs before signing up.

    Haydn Squibb

    A journalist, with experience writing across the UK financial and professional service sector. Haydn holds a degree in Media Writing and enjoys covering about a wide range of topics from financial markets and current affairs to home, health and lifestyle. Haydn's work has been published on a number of top tier websites.