Category Archives: cheap prepaid funeral plans

cheap prepaid funeral plans

Direct Cremation Plans: Good, Bad, Indifferent? We have strong views…

Direct Cremation Plans reviewed

Direct to Cremation?

Direct cremation plans are the cheapest proper prepaid funeral plan. Some of the other low cost “funeral plan” options leave out minor details like the actual funeral. That is just one of the reasons you should ask for our advice! But good direct to crematorium funeral plans do cover all the costs detailed.  Remember that word “detailed” – small print is very important! BUT read on…. or visit our Direct Cremation Plan Reviews page if you have already decided it is the right type plan for your family: we keep a very close eye on the market so we can steer clients away from poor value plans, (even if they do have very persuasive booklets and salespeople!)  One of the tricks of the trade used by some firms is to try to avoid giving you much information so they have a chance to send a well-trained salesman out who has a 4x greater chance of selling you a plan, sometimes because it is the only way to get rid of them!

In summary: a direct cremation plan is a funeral with no service or other family involvement at the time.  No reason you can’t have a celebration or wake afterwards though. It is just so non-traditional that friends and family make be deeply upset if it is unexpected. What we are talking about on this site is prepaid funeral with no ceremony plans.  Burial does not currently feature as an option, but it may well do in future, but the price will then have to include the purchase of a burial plot which will be in an inexpensive area almost certainly far from home.

Direct cremation plans are now being offered by an increasing number of firms, so we now have a list of companies offering funerals without a ceremony (let us know if we have missed anyone), plus our internal research papers so we can guide you to the4 most suitable plan if you go down this route.  That is what we use to offer the best possible advice on choosing the right plan for you, your family and friends, and your bank balance!  Give us a call for advice – you can leave a message out of office hours.

So what is a Cremation with no Service plan?

Cremation with no ceremony or “Direct cremation” plans are where the undertaker collects the deceased and takes them directly to a crematorium of the undertakers choice, often via their offices.  The family have generally have no involvement in the process, which may well all be over before they find out.

The crematorium will rarely be the local one, the choice will be made by the funeral director who will be looking for the cheapest one within reach of their premises. Indeed, one major play is building its own crematorium for the purpose, which will be running 7 days a week 24 hours a day to cut costs further.  Generally speaking transport to the crematorium may be in a (nice) funeral van and not in a hearse.  It will also take place out of normal crematorium peak hours when costs are lower. Very often these services are run from a single location covering the whole of the UK. They will collect a few people, then arrange a trip to the most economical crematorium.  There is no disrespect, they will all be cremated separately.  You will also need to check what happens to the ashes and be clear whether or not you wish them to be returned.

Direct Cremation Plans: a summary.

So the direct to crematorium route is cheap but impersonal. Therefore it does run the risk of upsetting friends and relatives who want to say a more conventional goodbye. Of course, there is nothing to stop people having a memorial service after the event, but that may not be OK with everyone.

With normal prepayment funeral plans, it is possible for the family to make changes to the arrangements after death, to accommodate your or their wishes and needs. With a direct cremation plan, this may not be so easy as the funeral director may come from some distance away. They are likely to collect the deceased and – if the necessary certificates are ready – go direct to a crematorium. In many cases it will not be possible to change the arrangements at all.

We can certainly see that there is a market for direct crem plans. We do have concerns that they may – perhaps unexpectedly – cause great distress to family and friends who are left behind and are perhaps powerless.

So if you want the cheapest possible funeral plan, this is the one. But think twice before buying. Perhaps it would be better to put down a deposit on a more conventional funeral plan and pay the balance in instalments. Just our view!  Why not call us to discuss things? 0800 0588 240.  Or use the enquiry form to the right.

Direct cremation funeral plans.  Are they right for you and your family?

Monthly Funeral Plans: What Are The Options?

Monthly Prepaid Funeral Plans.

pay funeral plan monthly

Monthly Funeral plans

Not everyone can afford to pay for a funeral plan in one go, so most plans offer some sort of monthly payment plan.  You can, of course, go for the Over 50s style insurance which we dislike intensely.  But proper prepaid funeral can also be paid for on a monthly basis. With most prepaid funeral plans, monthly contributions only go on for a maximum of 10 years – then the plan is fully paid.  Even if you miss instalments you rarely lose everything unless it is very early on. Contrast that with monthly premiums for Over 50s Plans which typically have to be paid until you are 85 or 90 and where you do lose every penny if you miss payments.

Ideally, you should be able to put down some money as a deposit, to reduce the monthly cost, but not all providers insist on one.  So what are the normal offers available?

Do I need a deposit for monthly payment funeral plans?

Not necessarily, but if you have one, it gives us a wider range of plans to make recommendations from. Where a deposit is required, the typical amount is £250. Always bear in mind that you must keep up the payments, as you will lose out if you don’t.  But if you start an instalment plan, then hot financial problems, always talk to the company concerned and try to work something out rather than just getting an automatic penalty.  One company does not return any payments to the client at all!

Low cost monthly funeral plans.

Most plans can be paid in monthly instalments.

  1.  The cheapest type is the Direct Cremation Plan.  They are not really ideal, but some of them will allow you to upgrade them to a more normal plan allowing for a service later on.   That option allows for dramatically lower monthly payments.  But we need to make sure that you have a plan which can be upgraded.  In some cases upgrades can be done at almost the last minute.
  2. The next lowest in monthly cost is the group of plans which pay only the funeral directors fees.  The crematorium or burial costs have to be found elsewhere, as do ministers and doctors fees.  But again, the plans can be upgraded later. These can be used as a way of topping up one of the Over 50s life plans as they lose out to inflation – if you already have one.
  3. Moving up slightly are the new breed of cut down plans.   They are typically only perhaps £5 a month cheaper, but they seriously restrict where and when the funeral is held.  But if that fiver is more than you can stretch too, many can be topped up to the normal full plans below later on.
  4. Then we get to standard funeral plans which cover the basics.  Typically, the funeral director is paid in full.  A substantial allowance is put aside (and inflation linked) to cover crematorium fees, ministers or celebrants fees and the doctors fees.  You can allow for limousines for the family and all sorts of fancy things if you wish. But we believe that the main thing is to cover the basics as far as you are able, and keep the monthly payments at a reasonable level!

We’re happy to chat through the options, without obligation, so why not give us a call!

Paying For Your Funeral In Advance: What Are The Pitfalls?

Paying for your Funeral yourself.

Sorting out the cost of your own funeral in advance has many advantages:

  • The family don’t get a large bill which typically has to be paid within 48 hours, before the funeral can go ahead.
  • There is less for them to fall out over, as you have made the arrangements.
  • The funeral has less chance of guilt-tripping the family into spending more money than they need to or can afford.
  • With funeral cost inflation running at around 6%, and savings earning less than 1%, a prepaid funeral plan is a good investment for the family.
  • It is one less  (major) problem for others to sort out.

Paying for your funeral in advance is a great benefit for those left behind.

paying for your own funeralBut it gives you the peace of mind that you have done the best that you can.  Other pages on this site explore the types of plans and the types of plans to avoid.  But if you would like a free no obligation discussion and independent advice, give the Prepaid Funeral Review Research team a call on 0800 0588 240 or use the enquiry form to the right to ask for more information or a call.

One thing which has caused problems in the past is people paying the funeral director in advance.  If they have the necessary Trust

fund

or another formal scheme in place, that is fine.  Many funeral directors are tied to Dignity or Golden Charter, for example, who have all the required protections in place.  Others may not understand the rules and could put your money (and their freedom!) at risk by not doing things properly. It is very rare for this to happen in the UK but it must be better to talk to us before making a decision.

You can pay for your own funeral in one go, or you can break the cost up into monthly payments spread over anything up to 30 years.  Interest-free instalments are available over 1, 2 or 3 years with top prepaid funeral plan providers.  The bigger the deposit you put down, the lower the payments each month, but some firms accept no deposit plans.   But we only recommend monthly payments where clients are sure they can manage the payments every month.  At least with a proper prepaid funeral plan, you won’t lose every penny if you are late with a couple of payments.

Paying for your funeral: what is covered?

Prepaid funeral plans are NOT all the same, which is why our independent advice is so important.   A typical plan will pay the undertaker, who currently charges around two-thirds of the cost of a typical cremation.  Then there is an allowance towards third party costs – things the undertaker pays for on your behalf.  the basic ones are the crematorium fees, the doctors’ fees and the cost for a minister or celebrant to run the service.

But some plans will only cover the funeral directors fees, leaving your family with an increasingly large bill to pay as the years pass by. Best avoided, unless both you and your family understand the situation, as are cheap cut down plans.  We can run through the options, there is no obligation.

Problems With Funeral Prices: Have MPs Been Fooled?

Problems With Funeral Prices – Why The Market Isn’t Working.

Problems With Funeral Prices

Cost of Funerals

It isn’t what some MPs think that is causing the problem. James Dunn, founder at Funeralbooker says: “Co-op Funeralcare’s sales figures (2016 ones, just released) show a widening gap in funeral costs quoted by independents and the largest chain in the UK; with the Co-op as much as 42% more expensive. There needs to be far greater transparency and online availability of the costs associated with funerals and what people should typically expect to pay. At the same time, it’s also vital that bereaved families feel supported and able to explore all their options so that they can choose the type of funeral that best suits their budget and their needs.“

The same authors research indicates that Dignity operate the most expensive crematoriums in the UK.   In fact, 17 out of the top 20 most expensive are operated by Dignity. They charge twice as much as the cheapest crematorium.

Dignity recently bought the Co-ops crematoriums, consolidating their position in the marketplace. I wonder what happened to prices?

MPs have been misled  as to the causes of Problems With Funeral Prices.

MPs have been misled into thinking that increasing sales of prepaid funeral plans are the reason for problems with funeral prices.   The truth is actually the opposite – funeral plan providers help keep prices down, which is why both Dignity (in particular) and the Co-op are increasingly taking tight control of the sales of their plans. One of the new providers is even providing training and support to increase the number of independent funeral directors in an effort to keep funeral costs escalation under control.

In point of fact, regulatory and environmental pressures are a major cause of funeral price inflation.  But Dignity’s crematoriums have a virtual monopoly in most of the areas they are in.  So funeral directors pay their prices or tell families the funeral has to be held maybe 30+ miles away where the nearest non-Dignity crematorium is.  And it might be further.

Cremation facilities are seriously expensive to set up from scratch, so it is hard for anyone to set up in competition. We are pleased to see that some are managing it though.  The harder Dignity push their prices up, the easier it will be for others to compete, but it will never be easy. Perhaps the Competition and Markets Authority should look it Dignity’s crematoriums. In effect, they are local monopolies and should be price controlled.

There is a grave (sorry!) danger of the Co-op and Dignity – who are already working closely together – will use their position in the market to push prices up further. Dignity are growing their profits handsomely – at the expense of grieving families. And they do it by hiding behind the names of the family firms they have bought out so that they look independent.

We are proud of our support of genuine independent funeral directors who tend to offer a better service at a lower cost. We intend to continue to promote the services of independent funeral directors, and the prepaid plans which help to ensure the survival of competition in the market, which is under threat.

Cut Down Cut Price Funeral Plans

Cut Down Cut Price Funeral Plans – A New Breed.

Cut price funeral plans

Why so cheap?

So what is a cut down cut price funeral plan? Should you consider them? We think there is scope for misselling here.  The plans are complicated, and few people read the small print.  We do, to protect our clients.

The funeral plan market is very competitive and the public are always keen to find a cut price bargain funeral plan.  That is great, as long as you understand just how the plan has been set up to keep its’ price low.

These types of plans are always cremation only plans.

So how are they cut down to be cut price funeral plans?

  1. Cremation prices vary substantially depending on the time of day. Typically, the cost will be lower for a funeral starting after 4 pm, or finishing before 10 am. Why? Because those time slots are less convenient for family and friends and the traffic is often worse. So the cut price funeral plans
  2. Crematoriums also vary widely in what they charge. So if the cut price funeral plan provider can choose the crematorium, chances are they can pay a lot less.  The disadvantage is that they might choose a crematorium 4o to 50 miles away.  Couple that with the early or late time for the service, and you can begin to see why these plans won’t suit everyone.
  3. Funeral Directors costs vary widely too, and with cut price funeral plans, you don’t get to chose the undertaker.  The prepaid funeral plan company will choose them.  You won’t get a bad one, that isn’t an issue.  But they may not be local and could be based as much as 30 miles away.

So if you have someone selling you cut price funeral plans, make sure they go slowly through the terms and conditions before you sign up.  And if you do buy a cut down funeral plan, please make sure your family are aware of it.  We are NOT fans in general.  The savings are not enough for the potential problems.