Top Burial Insurance Tips:
- Whole-life burial insurance is the only type of policy that will never expire.
- When calculating how much coverage you’ll need, remember to factor in increases in the cost of living.
- For the best rates, you’ll want to buy your policy through an independent agent or agency.
Tips for a Wise Buyer
End of life planning is a topic most of us would prefer to avoid. As we consider our retirement years, we think mostly about having enough money to make it to the end of our life. Many of us overlook the fact that certain expenses continue even after death, yet we want to be sure family members aren’t saddled with thousands of dollars in burial expenses. Losing a loved one is hard enough; no one should have to carry unexpected financial stress during this time of grief. Finding a way to cover your final expenses is a gift you can give to the people you cherish most. Burial insurance is a type of life insurance policy used to cover final expenses after death. Commonly referred to as final expense insurance, funeral insurance, or pre-need insurance, these policies have some differences, which we will cover in this guide.
Benefits of Burial Insurance
Smart buyers will want to weigh all the benefits and limitations before making a choice.
How to Determine Your Final ExpensesOnce you have decided to obtain funeral insurance, you’ll want to figure out how much you will need. The National Funeral Directors Association reported in a 2017 survey that the average cost for an adult funeral was $8,755. That estimate did not include the costs of burial, a headstone, and other cemetery expenses. The average cost of a funeral in 2019 is between $7,000 and $11,000 according to SmartAsset. The costs associated with your funeral and burial are the bulk of your final expenses, but other factors to consider are final medical bills, legal expenses, past due accounts, and credit cards bills. It’s important to take time to estimate how much coverage you’ll need. You will have to do some research to determine what funeral costs are in your area. The Federal Trade Commission has a handy funeral cost and pricing checklist to help you calculate all the costs involved. You may also use a final expense calculator to get you an idea of a total cost.
Types of Burial InsuranceOne size does not fit all when it comes to burial insurance. Knowing what kind of policy to buy can be complicated. In this section of our guide, we will explore each type of funeral or burial insurance policy available so that you can make a well-informed decision.
– Funeral prices are usually locked in. Verify the price guarantee in the contract before you sign.
– Spares loved ones from having to make difficult decisions about your final arrangements.
– Benefits paid immediately.You need to know: Pre-need funeral insurance is usually a whole-life insurance policy that stays in effect your entire life. Some plans name the funeral home as the beneficiary. However, some states prohibit this. 2. Final Expense Insurance is not linked to a funeral provider, and the benefits of the policy are not limited to funeral and burial expenses. Final expense life insurance is purchased directly from an insurance agent. It is usually a form of permanent life insurance and remains in force for as long as you continue to pay premiums and will often accumulate a cash value. Coverages for final expense insurance typically range from $5,000 to $25,000, with some companies offering as much as $50,000 to $75,000. Final expense insurance is more affordable than a traditional life insurance policy since the coverage amounts are usually much lower. However, the cost will depend on your age when you purchase the policy. The older you are, the higher the premiums.
– Covers all end of life expenses, not just the funeral.
– Usually never expires as it is a whole life policy.
– Almost everyone qualifies for coverage.You need to know: You must document your final wishes if you want policy benefits used in a specific manner. You will also need to trust that your beneficiaries will respect your final wishes. Also, some whole-life policies terminate at 100 years, so read the fine print on policy documents. 3. A Funeral Trust is another option to consider. A trust lets you deposit money into an interest-earning trust account. Funds are disbursed to the designated funeral provider or a primary beneficiary after your death when needed for your final arrangements. Advantages of a funeral trust include:
– Your contributions to the fund grow with interest.
– Immediate payout when needed.You need to know: Specific funeral service providers are usually linked to funeral insurance plan benefits. Because of this, be certain to contract with a reliable business that will still be around when you need them. 4. Burial Insurance is usually sold to individuals between the ages of 50 and 85. The benefits are paid out directly to a beneficiary that you choose, but are typically low, between $5,000 and $10,000. These benefits are payable for any end of life expenses, not limited to funeral and burial costs. Advantages of burial insurance include:
– Covers all end of life expenses.
– A good choice for people who have no other life insurance but want to cover final expenses for their loved ones.You need to know: Burial insurance is usually a term life insurance policy, so the plan could expire before you need it and the premiums could increase as you age. 5. Guaranteed Acceptance Burial Insurance is a type of burial insurance policy that provides coverage regardless of your age, health, or any other risk factor. Designed for people who are ineligible for other types of insurance due to high-risk factors, almost anyone will qualify. Because there is more risk for the insurer, these policies typically cost more.
– Age, health, or a previous denial of traditional life insurance are not qualification factors.
– No medical exam or questions asked.You need to know: Guaranteed acceptance burial insurance almost always has a waiting period attached to coverage. You may have to wait one to three years before coverage begins. If something were to happen to you during that time, your beneficiaries would usually only receive a return of the premiums and not the full payout. Funeral Insurance Signing. Source: Getty Images
Weighing the Cost of Funeral InsuranceWith inflation always in play, it’s smart to plan on at least $10,000 to $15,000 for funeral expenses. Once you have an idea of how much money you will need to cover all your final expenses, you can begin figuring out your budget for funeral insurance. You might want to start by putting aside a certain amount in savings. You may also want to experiment with requesting online quotes to get a better idea of actual premiums.
Where to Buy Funeral InsuranceNow that you have a good understanding of the distinct types of burial insurance and a picture of the costs involved, it’s time to decide where to buy funeral insurance. Your best bet for finding the right plan at the lowest rate is to buy your policy through an independent agent or agency.
Our search for the best burial insurance companies
- We searched an extensive list of 12 burial insurance companies
- We evaluated four companies based on our expert-guided buying criteria: best rates, ease of shopping policies, guaranteed acceptance to policies and the ability to get immediate coverage
- We provided you the best burial insurance companies for your consideration
Burial Insurance ReviewsThere are so many companies selling funeral insurance that choosing the best to work with is difficult to do. Luckily, we did the hard work for you. Our in-depth burial insurance analysis focused on each company’s reputation, ease of shopping and other criteria. We researched burial insurance companies, then narrowed the list to our top four based on specific criteria we set by extensive research of government and consumer-related end of life planning information. After doing this research, we determined which companies offered unique features or services. The result was a list of four companies with insurance agents in national and regional markets. After our evaluation, we chose the best burial insurance companies: Mutual of Omaha, Trusted Choice, Gerber, and American National Life Insurance. Each of these companies stood out from the competition.
Mutual of Omaha Burial Insurance Review
Great Rates | Mutual of Omaha offers final expense life insurance through its subsidiary company United of Omaha. Living Promise Whole Life Insurance is the name of the policy designed to cover final expenses with two types of plans: a level benefit and a graded benefit plan.
Trusted Choice Burial Insurance Review
Great for Insurance Shopping |
Gerber Burial Insurance Review
Great for Guaranteed Acceptance |
American National Burial Insurance Review
Great for Immediate Coverage |
Burial Insurance at a Glance
|Type of Funeral Insurance||Advantage||Disadvantage|
|Pre-need Insurance||Future funeral costs at today’s prices||Nontransferable: funeral home cannot be changed|
|Funeral Trust||Earned interest helps defray funeral costs||Irrevocable once the policy is established|
|Final Expense Insurance||Accumulates cash value, covers any end of life expenses||Specific instructions for use of funds must be documented|
|Burial Insurance||Payout can be used for any end of life expenses||Premiums increase; policy could expire before needed|
|Guaranteed Acceptance Burial Insurance||Anyone can qualify regardless of health status||One to three year waiting period for policy to go into effect|
Related Burial Insurance Resources
Readers of this burial insurance guide also found these related articles helpful.
Since life insurance pays a death benefit, what’s the difference between burial insurance and life insurance? This article explains.
Many adult children are responsible for their parent’s final expenses. Read about how to buy burial insurance for your parents including how to bring up the subject.
Frequently Asked Questions about Burial Insurance
How do I know if I need burial insurance?
If you don’t expect to have enough money to cover your final expenses or you don’t want your estate money spent on funeral expenses, then burial insurance is a smart option. Burial insurance also protects your family from unexpected costs depending on the terms of your trust or if your estate gets held up in probate and your loved ones do not have access to these funds. You may need to meet with a financial advisor to figure this out.
How can I control what gets paid for with my burial insurance benefits?
If you buy pre-need funeral insurance, you will have the most control over everything to do with your funeral. Final expense insurance is a good option to cover more than funeral expenses as long as you’re careful to put your intentions for the funds in writing and leave a copy with an attorney or other trusted individual who would immediately be notified of your death.
Do I qualify for burial insurance if my health is failing?
You will likely qualify with more than one company for a guaranteed acceptance policy, but your health and your age can affect the premiums you pay. Another drawback of most guaranteed acceptance policies is that there can be a two- to three-year waiting period for the policy to be in force.
Is there a way to get a discount on funeral insurance?
Not up front, due to regulations. To reduce the cost of this insurance, you could buy a term plan rather than whole-life, but term insurance may expire before the benefits are needed. Consider a pre-need plan to lock in today’s prices for your funeral, which will likely cost more years from now.
If you are offered burial insurance at a seemingly amazing rate, read all documentation carefully and ask questions. These situations usually turn out too good to be true.
I’m still confused about final expenses. What else can I do to come up with these costs?
It’s a good idea to talk to a financial advisor about final expenses and burial insurance options. Check out consumer review websites for recommendations for financial advisors and ask friends and family members about who they’d recommend.
Bottom Line: Review all burial insurance companies carefully to make sure you’re getting a personalized policy specific to your needs.
The Best Burial Insurance Plans
|Burial Insurance Company||Best For|
|2||AAA Life Insurance Company||Great Customizable Coverage|
|3||Life Insurance Savings||Great Guarantee|
|4||Mutual of Omaha Burial Insurance||Great Rates|
|5||Trusted Choice Burial Insurance||Great Insurance Shopping|
|6||Gerber||Guaranteed Acceptance Rate|
|7||American National Burial Insurance||Great for Immediate Coverage|