There are various funeral plans on the market and choosing between them can feel daunting. Funeral plans provide peace of mind that the costs associated with your burial or cremation will be paid for in advance, so your loved ones aren’t burdened with finding thousands of pounds when you pass away.
With a funeral plan, you can often decide on certain details in advance, which gives you greater control over the type of service you’ll have in the event of your passing, in addition to avoiding the rising costs of funerals.
But what sort of costs can you expect when you purchase a funeral plan? The answer can differ enormously, due to a wide range of factors, from where you live to the type of service you want to have and how you choose to pay. We’ve outlined some of the elements which can impact how much a funeral plan costs.
Level of Cover
The biggest factor that influences how much a funeral plan costs is what’s included in your plan. Funeral plans can be purchased from a funeral plan provider or directly from a Funeral Director, and the level of service you receive depends on the plan you choose.
There are typically three types of funeral plan – basic, standard and comprehensive. Basic plans are cheaper but there are typically limitations to the inclusions. For example, you might be limited on dates and times of the funeral. A comprehensive plan, on the other hand, may include a high-quality coffin and procession transport. The more you pay, the more of a ceremony you’ll receive from the Funeral Director.
If you’re purchasing from a Funeral Director directly, are you paying for their services only or their services plus disbursements? Disbursements are third party costs, such as fees for the minister and church or crematorium fees. It’s important to check the fine print of your plan to determine what is and isn’t included, not least because this will affect the cost.
Consider the type of arrangements you want at your funeral, from pall bearers and flowers to the type of coffin you want, to help you find the right plan that not only suits your budget but also meets your expectations for the service you want.
Cremation or Burial
With a burial, there is typically a traditional ceremony which follows a set structure and doesn’t leave as much room for personalisation to the individual who has died. However, this may be of benefit to someone who doesn’t want the pressure of deciding which customisable features they want, such as flowers or music.
A cremation offers greater flexibility, and it can be a more intimate service or resemble a traditional burial ceremony if you’d prefer. Burials need to be carried out in a relatively short amount of time, whereas with a cremation, you can schedule a time and seek out a location that suits everyone close to the person to scatter their ashes. It also gives you more time to come to terms with your loss. But aside from the flexibility and time constraints, there’s also the cost difference to consider.
Choosing a cremation can bring the cost of your service down by thousands, compared to a burial, so it’s a decision that can drastically impact the cost of your funeral plan. A burial includes the cost of a coffin, a cemetery plot, as well as the service itself, and so it’s considerably more expensive than a cremation, which doesn’t involve many of the processes involved with burials.
We all know that living costs differ considerably depending on where in the country you’re looking, but something people are less aware of is the influence location has on funeral costs. A no-frills burial in London can exceed £6,400, while in Belfast, it’s just over £3,000.
Burial plots are becoming harder to find, due to a lack of space in busy cities, which makes them more expensive in such locations, which has led to an increase in people making the decision to choose cremations. Ultimately, where you live will affect the cost of your funeral plan as a result of the variance in funeral fees around the UK.
How will you be paying for your funeral plan? There’s typically the choice to pay a lump sum of between £3,000 and £5,000, or to pay in monthly instalments over one to ten years. You need to be sure you can afford your monthly repayments if you choose the latter, as well as whether you’ll need to pay interest on the unpaid balance. If interest is added on with a repayment plan, you will be paying more overall, so it’s worth checking how much this method of payment will cost you overall.
If you choose to pay for your funeral plan in instalments, rather than a lump sum upfront, you run the risk that you’ll pass away before the plan is fully paid for. If this happens, your family will be required to pay the remaining amount. There are certain plan providers who underwrite their plans so that in the event of you dying before the plan has been paid for, the provider will cover the rest of the cost.
There are many considerations to make when choosing a funeral plan, from the level of cover you want for your service to the way you want to pay for it. A variety of factors influence the final cost of your funeral plan but, whichever type of plan you go for, it’s important to do your research and choose an established company that is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority. This means you can be sure they’ve adhered to a strict code of practice and are fully regulated. This will give you peace of mind that your money is protected and that there’s a procedure in place if you have any issues with your chosen provider.