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Comparing funeral plans

Before buying most goods and services you are likely to make comparisons. By comparing what’s on offer, you may decide whether certain choices match your particular needs and requirements, and you may judge the value for money obtained by comparing prices.

Comparing funeral plans involves a similar process, but may be even more important because of the wide variety of plans available.

So, what are some of the considerations to keep in mind when you compare funeral plans?

Local or national provider?

  • your local firm of funeral directors is likely to offer a plan enabling you to choose the arrangements you want when the time comes and to pay for them now, at today’s prices;
  • if the firm goes out of business in the meantime, however, you may encounter difficulties in recovering the money you paid in advance in order to make alternative arrangements;
  • by purchasing your prepaid funeral plan through a national provider, registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), however, you have the reassurance of every best effort being made to obtain alternative arrangements from another local firm of funeral directors – with nothing further to pay;

Security

  • an FPA-recognised provider also undertakes to safeguard the money you have paid by placing it in an independent trust fund or by purchasing a whole of life insurance policy in your name, which pays out the required amount upon your death;
  • in this way, the funeral plan provider is able to guarantee that the costs of the funeral director’s services you ordered are still covered even if you die many years from now, despite the effects of inflation;
  • the Money Saving Expert addresses the question of how those the cost of those services may still be met even if you die 20 years from now, when the amount you prepaid is surely likely to have been overtaken by inflation;
  • the answer lies in the fact that the funeral provider has made a contract directly with the funeral director for the provision of those services, including an agreement that the services ordered will still be provided even if the costs have risen;
  • if there is anything extra to pay for the funeral director’s services, these are met by the funeral plan provider – and neither you nor your relatives have to pay more;

What is covered?

  • when you compare funeral plans, one of the most important comparisons is precisely what is covered by any plan;
  • typically, all plans cover the normal costs of the funeral director’s services – collecting the deceased and transporting the body to the funeral home, care and preparation of the body, provision of a hearse for transport to a cemetery or crematorium and attendance at the funeral ceremony;
  • but some plans also cover additional costs, such as cremation fees and those charged by the minister celebrating the funeral service, whilst others also provide a fixed amount in contribution to burial fees;

Payment options

  • when comparing prices, you might also want to take into account the payment options offered by the plan provider;
  • whilst you might choose to pay for the plan in a single, upfront payment, many providers also offer instalment plans of either a year, two years or as many as 15 years.

Compare funeral plans in order to select the one that matches your particular needs, requirements and circumstances at a price that suits you.