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Funeral Cover Options in the UK 2020

Check our our in-depth guide below to learn everything about the different funeral cover options that UK residents can take advantage of.
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Author: Nica
Last Updated: May 5, 2020
How much does a basic funeral cost in the UK?
How much does a basic funeral cost in the UK?

Research studies have shown that funeral costs in the UK have been rising at an alarming rate in the last two decades.

The most popular way to help you or your loved ones from suddenly having to pay a huge amount of money is by having a funeral cover or plan.

Read on to learn more about what are funeral covers, how they work, factors to consider when choosing a funeral cover, the best funeral cover providers in the UK and many more.

Table of Contents

    Avalon - Best UK Funeral Plan

    Our Rating

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

    What is a Funeral Cover?

    A funeral cover is an insurance policy that pays an agreed amount after you or a loved one passed away to cover for the funeral costs.

    In the event of death, not having the financial burden will allow you or your family to focus on mourning instead of worrying who will pay for the funeral. Also, it will ensure you or your loved ones receive the best send-off possible.

    However, you should note that insurance policies vary greatly. While some will cover the entire funeral costs, others will only cover for the funeral director’s fee. Read the terms and conditions of your funeral cover carefully to check what services are included. Some policies may not cover the entire funeral cost, which may still cause your family a financial burden.

    Top 3 UK Funeral Cover Providers in 2020

    1. Avalon - Best for Funeral Plan Versatility

    With over 25 years of experience, Avalon is regarded as one of the best funeral plan providers in the UK. It is well-known for working with independent funeral directors. Working with an independent funeral director is cheaper than dealing with a funeral director employed by a funeral service company.

    Aside from its basic cremation with no funeral service plan that costs only £1,895, Avalon offers three more funeral plans. These are the Standard, Plus and Premium funeral plans. They cost £3645, £3995 and £4245, respectively.

    The Standard funeral plan is the standard plan and includes funeral director services, a basic coffin, hearse, funeral service and transportation of the deceased anywhere within England, Scotland, and Wales. The Plus funeral plan also features the funeral director services, transportation of the body anywhere within the UK and a funeral service. On top of that, there is a veneered coffin, hearse, one limousine and chapel of rest. The Premium funeral plan covers funeral director services, transportation within the UK, use of chapel at rest, high quality veneered coffin, hearse and two limousines.

    Apart from these plans, Avalon also provides a ‘Build your Own’ funeral plan that allows you to customize the elements to fit your preference. However, note that each additional element increases the overall cost.

    However, Avalon’s funeral plans work in a contribution style, which means that although all the basic funeral services are included, it only pays £1,000 for third-party costs for burial and cremation funerals. This means that your family will pay for the additional expenses that can’t be covered by its £1,000 budget.

    Another downside is that none of the Avalon funeral plans offer a procession from the house to the burial site. Additionally, even though you can customize the routes, this can also increase the overall funeral cost.

    Our Rating

    • Flexible payments
    • Works with independent funeral directors
    • Transferrable plans
    • Only contributes £1,000 for third-party costs

    2. Dignity – Most Affordable Funeral Plans

    Dignity is one of the leading and most trusted funeral service providers in the UK. It offers four affordable plans with the price starting at only £2,895 or £18.73 a month. It is known for being the largest single crematorium operator in the UK.

    It offers four funeral plans, namely the Limited, Amber, Pearl and Diamond funeral plans.

    The Limited funeral plan includes the services of a funeral director, transportation of the deceased, care of the deceased before cremation or burial, viewing of the body in a private chapel of rest and a basic coffin.

    The Amber funeral plan features funeral director services, transportation of the deceased, care of the body before the funeral service, chapel rest, a wood effect coffin and mutual agreement on the time and day.

    The Pearl funeral plan has everything included from the above plan plus quality wood effect coffin, procession to the service location and then to the crematorium, one limousine and complimentary thank you cards.

    The Diamond funeral plan has everything offered within the other plans plus viewing of the body at any time, high-quality wood veneer coffin, procession to the service location and then to the crematorium as well as two limousines.

    Dignity guarantees that the funeral director fees are covered by all of its funerals plans, which means that your family members don’t need to pay for this when the time comes. Moreover, it is also among the few providers that also guarantee cremation and celebrant fee, making it a more appealing funeral service provider.

    On the downside, you’ll need to pay for the medical certification fees.

    • Payments can be spread over 12 months
    • Reputable funeral directors
    • Largest single crematorium operator
    • Medical certification fee not covered

    3. Co-op - Best Tailor-Made Funeral Plans

    Co-op is a well-established funeral service provider with more than 1000 funeral directors across the UK. It offers a wide range of payment options and guarantees a burial or cremation funeral if you get any of its funeral plans.

    Similar to Dignity, it has four funeral plans, namely the Simple plan, Bronze plan, Silver plan and the Gold plan. Each funeral plan is tailored to meet your requirements. They cost £3,295, £3,595, £3,950 and £4,199, respectively.

    The Simple funeral plan includes full funeral director services, a chapel of rest, simple coffin, hearse and funeral service. It also includes third-party costs for burial and cremation. However, it has restrictions such as time and date of the funeral service.

    The Bronze funeral plan encompasses all of that on the Simple funeral plan plus embalming, a wood effect coffin and funeral procession.

    The Silver funeral plan offers all aspects from the Bronze funeral plan plus one limousine.

    The Gold funeral plan features all of the elements offered in the above levels together with a high-quality veneer coffin and two limousines.

    Unlike other funeral plan providers, Co-op’s funeral plans also cover the costs for cremation, minister and doctor’s fees.

    Our Rating

    • No extra fees should be paid
    • The Gold package was given a 5-star rating by Defaqto
    • One can pay in 6-12 monthly installments or over a period of 2 to 24 years
    • Plans lack flexibility

    Funeral Costs in the UK

    The overall funeral costs can be higher or lower based on the number and type of services that you choose to get.

    Check out below how much the basic funeral services cost.

    • Funeral directors fee – This uses a significant portion of between 50-66% of the total funeral expenses. Sometimes, it can be as high as £2,595.
    • Doctor’s fee – A fee of £164 should be paid to the doctor that certifies the death of your loved one.
    • Minister/officiator – An average fee of £164 for officiating the funeral service.
    • Cremation fee – Cremation accounts for around 77% of all funerals in the UK due to its affordability compared to burial. The average cremation cost is around £3,900.
    • Burial cost – Currently, the cost for an average burial is £5,000. However, this varies significantly depending on your location. London is considered to have the most expensive rates.

    Types of Funeral Covers You Should Consider

    Standard Funeral Plans

    These plans are the best because they cover all the necessary elements of a decent funeral. Usually, they include the funeral director’s fee as well as third-party costs such as cremation, funeral service and doctors’ fees.

    The best thing about standard plans is that they cover the basics so you will not be financially troubled once your loved ones die.

    Insurance-Linked Plans

    There are various types of insurance-linked plans that are specifically designed to cover funeral expenses.

    The good part about insurance-linked plans is that they are spread over the agreed period of time so you only need to pay small premiums every month. Since you will be buying a specific funeral service, inflation will not be an issue.

    Direct Cremation Plans

    In most cases, these plans are cheaper than standard plans as they have no service or viewing of the body by the family.

    With these plans, some friends and family members may feel sad about not having a chance to say goodbye to the deceased. Nonetheless, it is the most affordable way to get a decent funeral, and some providers will even allow you to upgrade at any time.

    Funeral Directors Fee-Only Plans

    This is where things can get dangerous if you don’t understand what you are buying. These types of funeral plans do not cover third-party costs or disbursements.

    Therefore, you or your family will have to pay for the burial or crematorium services, doctor’s fee and the minister’s fee.

    Factors To Consider When Choosing An Insurance Cover

    Accidental Injury Benefit

    This insurance cover offers financial support in case you get a severe accidental injury such as loss of hearing or speech, blindness, major burns, major head trauma and more.

    You will receive a fixed amount depending on the type of injury.

    Child’s Cover

    This covers provide a lump sum payment for the funeral expense of a child. In addition, it can provide financial benefits in case the child suffers serious illness or injury such as meningitis, paralysis, deafness, blindness, etc.

    In most cases, a child’s cover is an optional extra on top of the funeral policy.

    Sum Insured

    This is the amount you are insured for. The benefit, the amount your family will receive to cover the funeral expense when you die, will depend on the level of your cover.

    The average funeral cost in the UK is around £4,500, while others are extravagant, costing even £10,000 or more. What you need will depend on your financial ability and personal preference.

    Premium Caps

    There are two primary caps available in funeral insurance: sum insured cap and age cap.

    Some policies have a combination of both where you cease to make payments when you reach either one of the caps.

    Premium Insured Caps

    This occurs when the total amount of premium you have paid is equal to the value of the sum insured. It is at this point that you stop paying the premiums.

    Premium Age Gap

    This occurs when you have reached the age stated in the policy, and it means you can stop paying the premiums from that age onwards.

    In most cases, the amount of premiums you pay up to this age is higher than the sum insured.

    Claim Process

    Choose an insurance cover provider that takes a shorter time to pay for funeral services when a claim is made.

    The insurance provider should allow you to make the claims online. Although it is not possible to make the grief period easy for you or your loved ones, preparing ahead of time can save a lot of stress.

    Benefits of Having Funeral Cover

    The first benefit of having a funeral cover is getting protection against the rising funeral cost in the UK.

    Even if you save money to prepare for the funeral expenses, you will never be protected against the surging costs of a funeral in the UK. In fact, in the last two decades, the cost has increased by more than 80% and is set to continue. The biggest advantage of taking a funeral cover early is that you pay for today’s price.

    When you take a funeral cover, you will save your family from the emotional and financial stress of planning your funeral. If you don’t plan early, your family will be faced with a difficult time preparing for your funeral and may struggle to pay for all funeral expenses.

    A prepaid funeral plan offers you the opportunity to plan your funeral based on your specifications. Pre-planning your funeral ensures that your family will be at ease to give you the send-off you wanted. It is an excellent idea to take a funeral plan if you wish to have a contemporary or themed burial. For instance, you can plan your funeral to be a celebration of life instead of mourning.

    With a funeral cover, you only pay for the funeral expenses. Except for the agreed premiums, there are no additional costs for you or your family to pay. The cost will depend on the elements included in the plan. Once you have paid the full amount, there is no more to pay unless other inclusions are made.

    Tips To Reduce The Funeral Costs

    Compare Prices

    Funeral costs vary a lot, and that is why it is essential to compare prices and services, even though it might be difficult. Get a quotation from more than one provider and compare the prices. Choose the one that fits your budget.

    Get Help from Family and Friends

    Instead of paying for certain services such as catering, you can ask for a helping hand you’re your friends and family. You can also ask them to help with other necessary arrangements.

    Charity Collection and Memorial

    It is expensive to buy and maintain a headstone or a memorial plaque. Nowadays, there are numerous ways you can create an online memorial where people can donate to a charity in memory of the deceased.

    Time and Facility

    You can save some money by choosing a cheaper funeral service slot, which is mostly available in odd hours such as early morning or weekends.

    Also, crematoriums run by the local authorities are usually less expensive than private ones. However, you will have to sacrifice some elements such as the viewing of the body or holding a funeral service.

    Coffin

    There is nothing in the UK laws that require you to use a coffin. So, don’t be pressured to pick an expensive casket if you have a limited budget. Instead, you can pick an affordable shroud.

    Natural Burial

    A burial funeral is more expensive because of the inclusion of a burial plot cost. Natural burial locations such as woodlands are often much cheaper than traditional cemeteries.

    The cost of burial plots on traditional cemeteries will mainly depend on where you live. In some locations such as London, the cost can be as high as £18,325.

    Conclusion

    Funerals are far more expensive than most people expect it to be.

    Right now, the average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £4,500, which can increase up to £8,000 if other elements are added. The best way to avoid the financial burden associated with funerals is to take a funeral cover or plan.

    Choose one from our recommended funeral cover or plan providers so you can get the best deals.

    Avalon - Best UK Funeral Plan

    Our Rating

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

    FAQs

    How safe are my funds in a prepaid insurance plan?

    In most cases, a provider will place your funds in a trust fund or invest in an insurance policy that pays out when you pass away. There are rules put in place by the authorities on how such funds should be handled. Check whether the provider you are dealing with is authorized by the Funeral Authority (FPA). Also, if you pay using a credit card, you might be protected by the Consumer Credit Act.

    What does a funeral insurance cover?

    Funeral insurance provides your family with a whole sum to cover for the funeral costs in the event of your death. The elements covered will depend on the plan you get. The type of burial service is also an important factor to consider. Cremations and burials are done and cost differently. Note that most insurance policies do not cover the burial plot. Read the terms of your cover before you sign up to avoid paying hidden costs.

    Does life insurance cover funeral cost?

    In life insurance, your family is given an agreed amount upon your death. It is upon them on how to use the money. Some set aside funds for the funeral cost, although these can run out of hand. Typically, burial costs more than cremation, so it is vital to take an appropriate cover to leave enough funds for burial expenses. It is highly advisable to take a funeral insurance policy to guarantee funds for the funeral cost.

    Does the UK government help in paying for funerals?

    It is possible to get government assistance when it comes to paying for funeral services. However, to be eligible for the support, you need to be receiving certain benefits such as income support universal credit, credit tax credit, etc. The government funeral expenses payment may cover for the funeral service, director's fee, doctor's certificate and travel expenses.

    What are the alternatives for a funeral cover?

    There are numerous alternatives to funeral insurance. You can take a funeral plan that explicitly covers your funeral cost. You can make a lump-sum payment or contribute monthly. Another option is the life plan that is sometimes referred to as the 'whole of life insurance' where your family is guaranteed a fixed sum upon your death.

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    Nica is a BA Political Science degree holder who fell in love with writing after college. She specializes in financial technology and cryptocurrency. At her young age, she was already able to work with founders who graduated from Harvard, tech startups funded by Y-Combinator, CEOs of multi-million dollar blockchain companies, investment companies in London and many more.