Be aware that their plans do not include third party costs. Their logic is that these differ from area to area, so the amount will consequently vary by area. But many people may not realise this until they are sat in the undertakers office and it is hard to leave without buying a plan. A big disadvantage if you move to another area and prices are higher: and people often do move to be nearer family. Contrast that with speaking to me on the phone for a few minutes and then getting a posted recommendation to consider in your own time.
Most companies just work on a national average, but as long as you understand that there is no direct comparison with the rest of the market, that is fine. Reading between the lines on the Choice Funeral Plans brochure, the firm would seem keen to grow very rapidly and is part of what is already the 3rd largest firm of funeral directors in the UK ,
Client funds are kept by the Royal London Insurance Company to ring-fence them from their own money, so it can only be used to pay for your funeral.
These days, the target expectation is that the contribution of third-party costs should be £1,200 (index-linked). Choice Funeral Plans do not include a contribution, preferring that to be agreed with the allocated funeral director, so you can add all or part of the recommended amount. I understand their logic, but it does make it harder to purchase a plan, and then perhaps renegotiate it if you move.
The company started in August 2013 and clearly has big ambitions and has grown from a larger group of companies, Funeral Partners. Choice Funeral Plans are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority as the Alternative Planning Company. They offer a simple plan structure with ab their plans covering just the funeral directors fees as a start. You can add a contribution towards cremation or burial costs, but that needs to be set up with the allocated undertaker. Their recommended level is like that of other companies, but they do specifically allow you to build that up over the years, and not have to find it all in one go. Some other companies offer the same facility (which we applaud) but don’t make it so obvious!
Choice Funeral Plans from Funeral Partners.
- Choice Essentials: a basic plan which covers only the undertakers direct costs, with no allowance for third party costs. It is not especially cheap at £2,695 and leaves you to discuss third party costs with the undertaker. In some areas, these could easily be nearly £2,000, which makes this an expensive plan!
- The Choice Essentials Plus plan is priced at £2,895 and adds a family limousine and (often unnecessary) embalming. You still have nothing towards third party costs until for go through things with the undertaker.
- My Choice Plan – they allow you to decide what you want and how much you would like to add towards third party costs. Even allowing just a normal £1,200 would take the cost of a standard plan over £4,000 – well over the market rate, in our opinion.
The brochure is not clear on how or if your contribution to third-party costs is index-linked, but we will be having a chat with them to clarify some aspects of their plans. We certainly don’t have a problem with them, but so far they haven’t made it onto our internal main Best Buy List, but all of our recommendations are personal, so you never know, we might recommend it for your precise wishes and location.
This is the Choice promotional video (don’t ring them, ring us on 0800 0588 240 for independent personal advice.)
Why Choice Funeral Plans stand out (according to them!)
Choice says the plan:
- is clear: it’s easy to understand, with no small print and no hidden costs.
- is good value: you can fix the costs of your funeral director’s services at today’s prices.
- is flexible: our Essentials plan includes everything most people want, and you can add to it at any time. (Ed: except third party costs).
- brings you extra support: you can turn to our funeral directors for advice and support at any time. (Ed: Same applies to pretty much every other plan!)
- are UK-wide: you can take your plan with you to any Funeral Partners branch in the UK.
- offers you exceptional financial security: we place your funds only in fully regulated UK assurance policies.