Category Archives: funeral plan “small print”

funeral plan "small print"

Over 50s Plans: We hate to disagree but

This is what Martin Lewis says about Over 50s Plans and we really think they have entirely missed the problem from a consumers viewpoint:

Weigh up whether an over-50s’ plan is really worth it

Over-50s’ plans promise to pay a fixed lump sum on death, with no need for a medical, which you could then use to cover your funeral costs.

While these sound like an easy way to protect your loved ones, there’s a crucial term in the small print:

“Premiums are payable for life and you could pay more in than is paid out on death.”

Because the amount it pays out is fixed, if you live a long time you may end up paying more for the plan than you’d ever receive.

So if you’ve got a plan already, don’t just cancel. First, do some sums to see how good or bad these plans work out for you. For full details see our Over 50s’ Life Insurance guide.”

So what is the major problem with Over 50s Plans?

Easy, it is the fact that a very large percentage of them won’t pay out a penny.

Why? Because they only pay out on death if the policy is still active, so the ideal financial scenario for the insurer is that the client pays for many, many years, then gets a bit old or dotty and forgets what the policy is and cancels it. So the insurer gets to keep all the premiums and doesn’t have to pay out so much as a bean!

Many others will keep topping up their plans in an attempt to keep up with funeral plan price inflation – only to find that they can no longer afford the premiums.  Result: you guessed it: the insurer gets to keep all the premiums and doesn’t have to pay out so much as a bean!

I wonder if any of the providers would dare provide the statistics showing what percentage of plans actually pay out?

Footnote: Over 50s plans is a generic name for non-profit whole of life insurance, though the public and some providers use it in a different sense. In our opinion, every sale of a non-profit whole of life plan is likely to be a mis-sale, but as they are not regulated products, I don’t believe compensation is available! Anyway, most people don’t realise there is a problem until it is too late and they are already dead, and for relatives to do anything they would need first o find out about the policy, then prove it was mis-sold, then get a grant of probate and finally complain!!

Our main report on Over 50s Plans is here.

Direct Cremation Plans: A Concern? Read This Before You Buy

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 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!)

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 direct crem plans, but the comments for at need ones are the same.

Direct cremation plans are now being offered by an increasing number of firms, so although we don’t publish a separate list of them, we do have our internal list.  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 direct cremation plan?

Funeral Plan Quotes

Funeral Plan Quotes

Direct cremation plans are where the undertaker collects the deceased and takes them direct to a crematorium of the undertakers choice.  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.

Direct Cremation Plans

Direct Cremation Funeral Plan – use our enquiry form to the right.

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?

Funeral Plan Concerns Grow (but it isn’t all bad)..

Funeral Plan Concerns Grow with the wider choice of plans…

Which Funeral Plan?

Funeral plan choices

Funeral plans are great – as long as you understand what you are buying!   None of the following plans are bad plans, they are just unsuitable for most people!  All of this shows why you need our independent advice and should not rely on a company sales pitch.  And you should never sign up without reading the small print. That is where the disadvantages of some funeral plans are hidden, and with the wide range of funeral plan choices, you need help…

Sadly many people don’t take the trouble to read the small print.  Here are some common issues that people miss when they buy a plan:

 

  • The plan isn’t a funeral plan at all, it is a life insurance which has no value if you stop paying it.
  • Some plans only cover the Funeral Directors fees with nothing towards the third party costs such as the crematorium.  That alone can be £995 if it is a Dignity one (as at August 2017). These costs are typically around a third of the total.  Again, no problem, and much better than nothing as long as the family know.  The allowances in prepaid plans range from £500 to around £1,200.  In most cases, that is linked to inflation.
  • You’ve bought a Direct Cremation plan, so you will be whisked away and cremated perhaps hundreds of miles away with no chance for the family to see you, or attend the service.  These are the plan of choice for some people, but do the people who would wish to attend the service know, or are they going to be shocked and upset?
  • There is a new breed of cut cut down plan which typically saves you £400 but could result in your funeral being anything up to 50 miles away at 9.30 in the morning.  Not wildly convenient for family and friends!  We think they are a marketing gimmick and very rarely best advice. Typically the saving is accomplished by giving you no influence over choice of undertaker or the location of the cremation.  These plans are usually only for cremation.
  • Burial Plans – in our experience – NEVER include the cost of the burial plot, and not all family plots are able to accept further family members.  Burial plots can vary from a  few hundred pounds to many, many thousands.
  • Please do not treat a funeral plan as if it was a savings plan.

Many of the plans we advise on are very flexible, and you can change the plan by adding limousines, or changing from a direct cremation plan to a standard plan – as long as it is done in time.

For a more detailed look at the types of funeral plans available, have a look at this article.  But if you just want straightforward advice, give us a call or use the form to the right.

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.

Cost of Funeral Plans in 2018

Cost of Funeral Plans 2018.

The cost of funeral plans varies widely in the UK.  But so does what you get for your money! Some plans “save” on upfront costs by missing out essentials like THE FUNERAL.  Yes, you read it correctly, some funeral plans don’t even make a contribution towards the actual funeral.

At the time of writing, February 2018,  the average funeral plan costs around £3,300, pretty much the same as the average funeral.  But that disguises very wide variations.  Bear in mind that no funeral plan includes the cost of a burial plot itself.   They are set up primarily to cover the cost of a cremation. Alternatively, the allowance for the crematorium fees can be switched towards the cost of digging and refilling a grave which you already own.  Otherwise one will have to be purchased at the time.  The cost and availability of graves varies tremendously and there is no guarantee one will be available at all in some areas.

Do bear in mind that existing graves do not necessarily allow further burials in the same plot, and sometimes the lease on the grave will have run out. Burial plots are not normally sold freehold, but on a lease for a specific number of years.  That lease MAY include the right to additional burials in the same plot during its’ term – more often than not is does not, so please check.

As we were saying above, you can cut the cost of funeral plans dramatically by leaving out some of the basics.  That is fine as long as both you and your family understand that is what you are doing.  Sadly that is often not the case and people buy plans which are missing vital parts or which don’t allow for a service because they don’t understand the small print.  That is where our Research Team comes in.

Ways of reducing the cost of funeral plans.

Some examples:

  1. Plans which pay the funeral directors costs only, not the doctors fees, cost of cremation or the cost of the person conducting the funeral.  That makes a good start on planning, but leaves a good proportion of the cost to be found at the time.  At current rates, about a third. Some of the better plans will let you add more later one, but at the cost at the time, which will be higher.
  2. Either / Or Plans.  Here, a couple buy a single plan to start with.  That plan can be used by whichever of them dies first.  That is often the most financially difficult time.
  3. Buy Over 50s Life InsuranceTo us, this is very much a last resort as these are often appalling contracts with no value if you miss payments.
  4. Direct Cremation Plans can be bought for as little as £1,495. But they are very basic with `all the heartache and anger they can cause if everyone fails to understand there is no friend or family involvement once the deceased is collected, which is usually within hours.  They have their place, but very much with care.
  5. Buying on instalments. Most will let you pay over up to 10 years, fixing the price as at the date you first buy.  Most will offer 12 months interest-free instalments, some even 36 months.  Some will allow as much as 30 years to pay, depending on your age. But longer term means paying extra, but it should still save lots of money in due course.
  6. Our favourite for couples.  Buy two plans, both on an either / or basis, one for cash, or as big a deposit as possible, so it is paid off quickly. And add another plan on long-term instalments, to keep it affordable.

Whatever your needs and wishes are, we will chat things through with you and use our independent expertise to make a suitable recommendation.  We’ll post it to you to consider, along with some alternative quotes, check to see if you have any questions.  Then we’ll leave you to make up your own mind. Call us on 0800 0588 240.