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How To Compare Funeral Plans

How to compare funeral plans.

compare funeral plans.

Comparing Funeral Plans.

Comparing funeral plans is a great job, if you have the time and attention to detail.  If you look over to the right, and down a bit (unless you are on a mobile) you will see a list of the funeral plans we have compared, to make life easier for you.   But they are just the tip of the iceberg.  There are dozens more plans, though almost all of them are just the same old plans with a different cover.

How to compare funeral plans and get it wildly wrong!

Or worse, they may not be real funeral plans at all.  See our article on the most popular type of funeral plan, the Over 50s Plan.  They just are not suitable for use as funeral plans, despite the advertising hinting that they are!

We compare funeral plans prices AND features for you.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

At the Prepaid Funeral Review, our job is to compare funeral plans so that you can get the plan that is right for you. We discus your wishes and budget, which actually doesn’t take too long, because we know the right questions. Then we will look across the market for the plan which suits you best.   We will send you a written recommendation, along with the necessary brochures.  As part of our service to compare funeral plans for you, we’ll also give you the costs of the equivalent funeral plans.

But I will get a better deal if I compare funeral plans myself!

Pretty unlikely, because we are often able to offer a significant discount on plans.  That discount is not normally available direct.  Better still, we guarantee to offer the best price available, even to the extent of discounting every penny we earn!  That is a pretty strong guarantee.  Even better, there is a bonus package which will be worth up to £595 for some people. And perhaps indirectly a great deal more.

Compare funeral plans

Funeral Costs Shock 200,000 Families Every Year

Over 200,000 families fail to plan for funeral costs shock.

funeral costs shock

Avoid the funeral costs shock.

Funeral costs shock 200,000 families every year. say Co-op Funeralcare. Surveys reveal that failure to plan for inevitable funerals is costing next of kin dearly. Over 200,000* families being left without any funds to cover their loved one’s funeral in 2015.

Even in cases where financial provision had been made, the YouGov** survey found that 11% hadn’t left sufficient funds to cover the full cost.

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

As a result of this shortfall, in spite of financial provision having been made, a fifth of families (18%) have had to unexpectedly fund over three quarters of the total funeral cost, equating to over £2,500 on average. With the average funeral now costing over £3,800, the majority of families left to fund any shortfall did this in a range of ways including:

  • 54% – accessed savings of family and friends of the person who passed away.
  • 10% – took out a personal loan.
  • 9% – covered the costs on a credit card.
  • 6% – sought assistance via the Government’s Social Fund.

Measures introduced by the Co-op, to tackle the issue of funeral affordability include improvements to Co-op’s most affordable funeral option, reducing 7% on average off the cost. Co-op has also become the first business to sign an enhanced pledge from campaign group Fair Funerals to tackle funeral poverty and increase price transparency, in addition to re-launching its funeral planning range to offer the UK’s most affordable*** national fully-guaranteed funeral plan. (We would add that you should read our review before considering a funeral plan – Prepaid Funeral Review Team.)

12% said they weren’t aware of the Government’s support via the Social Fund.  Of those that did apply, a third were not eligible for funding.  They then had to find alternative means to cover the funeral cost. This is a situation that is set to continue with nearly half of UK adults (48%) yet to consider how their funeral would be paid for.

Amongst the remainder who have made plans, the most popular way to save to cover funeral costs is as follows.

  • 44% – in a bank and building society savings account. (Please read the link Prepaid Funeral Review Team.) 
  • 20% – via a pre-paid funeral plan.
  • 20% – through other savings and investments. (Please read the link Prepaid Funeral Review Team.) 
  • 16% – via an over 50’s plan(Please read the link. Prepaid Funeral Review Team.) 
  • 13% – via their life insurance. (Unless written in trust or owned by a partner etc, these will not be released until probate has been granted, which could take months! Prepaid Funeral Review Team.) 

For those who have taken out a funeral plan, their intention was to ensure that their families had nothing more to pay to cover funeral costs. Highlighting this, 45% said it was very important that their funeral plan was inflation proof and fully protected loved ones against any future rises in costs. In spite of wanting to put arrangements in place, findings show that as many as 96% of those with a funeral plan don’t know whether it will cover the total funeral cost. (We have news – NO normal funeral plan will cover ALL of the costs, they just cover the costs stated in the plan brochure or provide a fund towards those costs with some form of indexation.  This is especially important for burial plans. If a plot needs to be bought at the time of death.  Prepaid Funeral Review Team.) 

Commenting on the findings, Richard Lancaster, Managing Director for Co-op Funeralcare said: “The end of our lives isn’t an easy thing to think about and as a result thousands of families are being left with a legacy of financial as well as emotional grief following a loss.”

“With a range of measures already launched this year, we are focused on playing our part to tackle the issue of funeral affordability both by reducing the cost of a funeral, and also by making it more accessible for families to make plans and budget gradually for funeral costs.”

Stephen Pett of The Prepaid Funeral Review said: “We welcome the Co-op Funeralcare initiative but would ask them to put their own Terms and Conditions of Business on a footing acceptable to anyone who takes the trouble to read them. THAT is treating customers fairly.”

References

*There were 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2015 according to the ONS. Based on 40% of this figure, 211,862 adults in 2015 were left without financial provision for a funeral in 2015

**You Gov research conducted amongst a sample of 1100 UK adults in May 2016

***According to a comparison of national funeral plan providers, the Simple Funeral plan is the most affordable set plan for both burial and cremation available nationwide and fully covering third party costs. (What they ACTUALLY cover is not ALL third party costs, but all LISTED third party costs.  The Co-op Plan would be a good one if the Terms of Business were acceptable. Prepaid Funeral Review Team) 

How To Choose a Funeral Plan

How to choose a funeral plan.

how-to-choose-a-funeral-planWe all know that funeral costs are rising far faster than normal retail prices.  But how to  choose a funeral plan?  They are more complicated than meets the eye, and it is very easy to mistake a plan with vital parts missing for a bargain.  As our professional advice is available without cost, it makes sense to at least talk to us.  Very often, we can offer a useful discount on plans too.  SO what have you got to lose by having a 5 minute chat with us?

How to choose a funeral plan step 1.  What do you want your plan to do?

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Most funeral plans guarantee to cover the cost of the funeral director’s services.  Many also provide an indexed contribution of £840 to £1,200 (as at October 2016) towards third party costs.  These are ministers and doctor’s fees, and cremation costs.  The cost of digging and re-filling a grave is included, but not the cost of buying a burial plot.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 2.  What type of plan do you want?

  1. Life insurance plans are not funeral plans and should not be considered as such.
  2. Direct cremation where the family have no involvement?  These are the cheapest complete plans, but are likely to upset family and friends who are not aware of the severe restrictions.
  3. Basic plans which cover only  the funeral directors fee.  They are much better than nothing, but leave the family to find the doctors, ministers and cremation or burial costs. It is often hard for the public to tell which type of plan it is.
  4. Full plans covering the funeral director, doctor, minister, ceremony at the crematorium and cremation or cost of digging and refilling grave, but NOT the cost of the grave.  Church services, burial plots, extra mileage for the undertaker would cost more.  No cars are provided for the family, just the hearse.
  5. As above, plus limousine/s for the family, posher or alternative coffins.  You can make pretty much any sort of arrangement.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 3.  Costs and payment options.

If you can pay in full at once, that is great.  Most providers offer interest free installments over a year, sometimes more.  For longer periods, you will be paying some interest. But the chances are that the interest will be a lot less than the increase in funeral plan prices over the period. Typically, you can pay a deposit then pay the rest off over up to 10 years in set monthly installments.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 4.   Flexibility.

Many local undertakers offer their own plans. However, you may have difficulty if you move to a different area, perhaps to be near children when you are old.  Some prepaid plans are “sold” to undertakers local to you, and that can slow down the process of arranging your funeral.  The more flexible the plan from that point of view the better.  You don’t want a plan where the nearest undertaker in the chain is 100 miles away!  Some plans will also allow you to donate your plan to be used by a family member who dies unexpectedly, perhaps in a car accident. This can be a real boon, even if it does mean you need to buy a new plan.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 5.   Family and Friends.

Have you allowed for the level of involvement they would wish to have? Have you made your wishes clear?  Does your executor know what they are?  You can change your wishes at any time, but it is as well to put them in writing.  Ask for our Guide to Funeral Wishes.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 6 – read our reviews.

Our  series of reviews are clearly not personalised for you, but they will give you a good insight into the pros and cons of each funeral plan provider.

How to choose a funeral Plan Step 7 – get independent advice.

Funeral Plan Enquiry

Family Funeral Plan – use our enquiry form to the right.

That’s where we come in.  Avoid the pitfalls, save money and make sure you do get the right plan.   There is a lot more to it than cost! We always send multiple quotes, but with a recommendation as to which plan we think is the best value for your unique circumstances.

PS Don’t wait too long as prices rise every few months – why not contact us today?

Low Cost Cremation Plans – The Way Forward?

Low Cost Cremation Plans – are they the way forward?

Leading bereavement expert says MPs’ Report On The State of Funeral Provision Is inaccurate. As British Funeral Culture Is Changing Rapidly. We at the Prepaid Funeral Review feel that there is some truth in that.  However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be significant emotional problems for at least some of those left behind. But that is just our view.  We have no problem organising great value low cost cremation plans for people who really understand them. Our concern is over the meaning of the word “direct” and the lack of understanding.

Direct Cremation and Low cost cremation: the answer to funeral poverty?

Following the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee’s damning report into the state of funeral provision for the poorer elements of society, a leading UK funeral expert believes the solutions to the problems already exist.

Maybe there is already a solution.    Simple out of normal hours cremation, and direct cremation plans where the deceased is cremated at a low cost crematorium. That crematorium may be hundreds of miles away.  Most do not allow the family to attend even if they could. There is a market for that, and some high profile celebrities like David Bowie have drawn greater attention to this as an option.

The Select Committee findings criticised the “opaque and outdated” state support arrangements for those unable to afford the cost of a funeral. Also the rigid definitions around whom the Government deems to have been “close” to the deceased. And fair game to be lumbered with the cost. Howard Hodgson, an innovative funeral director, agrees, pointing out that the provisions have not been reviewed for 13 years. However, he goes on to criticise its’ dated assessment of the market.  He says that there is no need for the intervention of the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority.

Low cost cremation plans – why are they now acceptable to some?

Hodgson says the report fails to recognise that the market has changed dramatically to meet increased demand for low cost direct cremation.  Hodgson says there are two main drivers for this change:

  1. Financial considerations: fewer people are willing or able to afford funeral from normal cash reserves. Funeral poverty affects a significant proportion of the population.  Unless, of course, they have taken our advice and invested in a prepaid funeral plan!
  2. Less religious concerns for many of the population.

Reacting to the Select Committee’s report, Howard Hodgson said;

At Memoria it has become evident to us that there is an increasing desire by a growing section of the general public for a low cost direct cremation service. We do not believe that this will totally replace the traditional funeral but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.

Therefore, we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70%.  This must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.

Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government. Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problem as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.

We are now seeing a groundbreaking change as the baby boomers start to end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death. This is good news for families who want to select low cost direct cremation and yet does not impact at all on those who don’t.” 

Low Cost Cremation – Good, Bad, Indifferent?

Stephen Pett of the Prepaid Funeral Review said “Any financial preparation for a funeral has to be good for those left behind.  Direct Cremation Plans are increasingly an acceptable form of planning, but only in the right family context.  Why not contact us for advice?”

Clueless Funeral Arrangers: How Not To Mess Up A Funeral

Clueless Funeral Arrangers

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Most family members or friends who end up with the job as funeral arrangers are clueless.  Not because they are daft or inexperienced (though they probably will be inexperienced!)  It will be because they don’t have a clue what the deceased actually wanted to happen.  Four in ten don’t even know if they wanted to be buried or cremated.   As to the type of ceremony (or none) or who should be invited – not the faintest idea.  That means they fall easy prey to less scrupulous target driven undertakers who guilt trip the funeral arranger into buying needlessly expensive coffins, flowers, memorials .  A £3,500 funeral fee could easily be doubled – and leave the family in needless debt. A few hundred pounds on a posher coffin, limos for the family, a coach and horses and that could add £2,000 to the bill in minutes.

Over one 20% of people funeral arrangers were totally clueless about the deceased persons wishes! Just one in a hundred were confident they knew exactly what the deceased wanted. That uncertainty leaves room for stress, worry, guilt and family arguments as to the rights and wrongs of every part of the arrangements.

The average funeral in early 2016 cost £3,897.  That was an increase rise of over £203 in a single year. Since Sun Life started tracking funeral prices in 2004 costs have more than doubled. (Except for those families who had invested in a sound prepaid funeral plan of course.)  On top of the basic cost of the funeral, the average cost of extras including flowers and the wake is very nearly another £2,000.

So what should you make sure that your family funeral arranger will know when the time comes?

1. What sort of funeral do you want?
What songs you would like played.   Whom you would like invited.   You may not care about a lot of things like coffins or flowers or donations.  But you may.  And one of the great advantages of prepaid funerals is that they give you the opportunity to consider what is important to you. At the same time you are reducing the burden on the final funeral arranger.  Even if you don’t care, a firm decision makes things easier for those left behind.  You can always update your wishes as the years go by and things change, but what you won’t know is when they will be needed, so advance planning is clearly rather important!   Whether you want a sound but economical funeral or a more elaborate one, make the choice early. And pay for it of you can.

2. Consider the cost.
Some of your decisions will have no bearing on cost, but if you want a large crowd and a horse-drawn hearse, they will be expensive. It’s worth talking to us about a the cost, so you can see how much your ideal funeral will cost. If this comes in as far more expensive than you had expected, then you can compromise. Or start off with a basic prepaid funeral plan and add to it later, rather than let the burden fall on your family.

3. How you will pay for it.
Insurance companies would have you take a stab in the dark and buy a fixed cash value policy, which may be worth half as much in 7 years and just a sixth of the value in 20 years.  Funeral cost inflation has been consistently high.  Not only that but with many policies you will lose
every penny if a couple of payments are missed.  And that is very likely to happen when you are older and finances are stretched.  Worse still you may end up paying in more than you get out.  Or with the “guarantee” that you will never pay out less than you have paid in. So in effect, you have lent them your money interest free for thirty years!

4. Talk to your family.
Once you have thought through your wishes, and what you can afford.   Then you can tell your family about your ideal funeral. It won’t always be an easy conversation, but it is an important one, and they will be the funeral organisers at the end of the day.  Good funeral plans are flexible though!

Funeral Plan Enquiry

Funeral arrangers – use our enquiry form to the right.