A funeral plan can significantly reduce the financial burden when someone you love does, helping to pay for the service and the funeral director fees. But how much is included in a funeral plan?

Are all costs covered?

The specifics of what’s included in a funeral plan will vary between providers, as well as the type of plan you decide to buy. Some providers will allow their customers to choose from a range of options to tailor their service for a personalised funeral, while others might have a reduced list for a simpler affair. It depends what type of service you want, what your budget allows and how much you want to personalise the service with your own wishes.

It’s important to remember that not all funeral plans guarantee to cover the whole cost of your funeral, so reading the terms and conditions of your specific plan is essential before you sign up. The reason for this is that some costs are out of the control of the funeral director, such as medical fees and cremation fees, for example.

Where a funeral plan doesn’t guarantee to cover these costs, there’s usually an allowance built-in to the plan to cover such costs, but the shortfall will usually be charged to your estate when you pass away. If you want to be sure that the costs are all covered by your funeral plan, make sure you check beforehand with the provider and the specifics of your chosen plan.

What’s included?

A funeral plan provider usually offers several levels or plans to choose from, starting with a basic funeral and moving up to a more tailored affair, with prices increasing accordingly. When you’re comparing funeral plans, and providers, make sure you’re checking which services are not mentioned rather than focusing on what is included, as this will be the key to finding a plan that best suits your needs and requirements.

As a general rule, the below is included in a funeral service which serves as a useful guide, but bear in mind that this list will vary between providers:

• Guidance and advice to help you make funeral arrangements
• Funeral Director’s fees
• Doctor’s fees
• Making note of any special requests
• Coffin
• Collection and transport of the deceased (hearse)
• Taking care of the deceased until they are buried/cremated
• Burial/cremation fees
• Minister’s fees
• Cost of the religious service

One of the biggest areas of difference between providers is usually whether the essential costs that aren’t under their control will be included, such as cremation fees. Certain providers may only guarantee to contribute to a certain amount, such as to £1,000, and any costs over this amount will need to be covered by the estate or the family of the deceased.

What’s not included?

Just as the level of inclusions will vary between providers, so too will the exclusions. A basic plan, for example, may not include transporting mourners to the service but a premium plan might have this as an inclusion. However, whatever plan you choose, it’s unlikely that the following will be included or covered by the cost of your funeral plan:

• Orders of service
• Memorials
• A wake
• Flowers
• Embalming
• The cost of the burial plot
• Newspaper notices

Some providers do offer the option to personalise the plan, but this may come at an additional fee, so it depends on how much of a bespoke service you would like when you pass away. It’s worth noting that some plans don’t guarantee third-party costs will be covered in full, so even if the costs allocated are protected from the impact of inflation, if these third-party fees exceed the allowance, your estate or your family will need to make up the difference.

Final thoughts

Knowing what’s included in your funeral plan should be an essential element of your research when choosing a provider. Making sure that your provider is regulated by the FPA will ensure that your money is protected and that the provider has met the strict criteria that the FPA sets out to ensure you’re choosing a reputable company for your funeral wishes.