There are few things in life as tragic as losing a loved. One of the best things we can do for our families and friends is to protect them from additional expenses and challenges when they are grieving. No one should have to try and cope with the costs of funeral arrangements when all they want to do is honour the memory of their lost loved one.
In the unfortunate event of your death, your loved ones shouldn’t have to worry about where the money is going to come from for the funeral. This is why insurance companies offer funeral policies that will take care of the costs incurred during burial proceedings.
Now you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to find an affordable plan that will cover funeral expenses in a time of need. This will allow you and your loved ones to mourn the passing of a close friend or family member without feeling the strain of the financial expectations at the same time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Funeral Cover?
Funeral cover ensures that the cost of your own or a loved one's funeral will be provided for financially. Depending on who your provider is, the plan will pay out a lump sum quite quickly (often within 48 hours of submitting a claim). The funds can then be used to cover everything from transporting family members to the funeral to paying for things like a casket, a funeral marquee, catering, flowers, a tombstone, and even airtime so that you can make the necessary arrangements.
How Does Funeral Cover Work?
Funeral cover works by paying a monthly premium towards a funeral policy. In the event of one’s passing, a specified amount will be paid out to a nominated beneficiary once a claim on the deceased person’s insurance policy has been lodged. The necessary supporting documents that you will need to submit a successful claim typically include:
- A certified copy of the deceased's death certificate
- Certified copies of the deceased's ID
- Certified copies of the beneficiary's ID
Once your claim has been submitted, your insurer will pay the funds over to the nominated account as soon as possible so that the funeral arrangements can proceed. The sum that the beneficiary receives can be used to his or her own discretion. It can be used to purchase an elaborate tombstone or the fees can even be used to cover professional counselling fees for those in mourning.
In most scenarios, funeral cover is used to pay for the following:
- Transporting loved ones to the funeral
- Ceremonial fees
- Burial or cremation fees
- Estate transfer fees (and any other legal fees incurred)
- Catering and flower arrangements
- A casket or an urn
- A tombstone
Many insurance providers are very versatile and will assist you in tailoring a plan that's right for you based on what you can afford, what your needs are, and who needs cover.
Most funeral plans will offer full family protection - but this cover usually only extends as far as your immediate family (your spouse, your children, and your parents). Some insurers will offer a more tailored solution where you can pick and choose who you would like to have covered and this will allow you to add extended family members too (just don’t expect to get away with insuring your 101-year-old grandma).
Do I Need Funeral Cover?
If it’s important to you that your loved ones are laid to rest with dignity and if you would like to give them the opportunity to pay their last respects and celebrate your life in the event of your own passing, then funeral cover should be one of your top priorities.
Did you know a ceremony in South Africa can cost anything from R10, 000 to R80,000 (if not more)?
For many of us, this large sum of money is not always readily available and if we do not have access to funds, then the only other alternative would be to go into debt. To eliminate this strain on finances, then a legitimate funeral policy is one solution.
While it’s not pleasant to think about, funerals are unfortunately a part of life. If you have a financial plan for you or a loved one’s funeral, however, then you have just played a significant role in easing financial stress during a difficult time of grief.
The benefits of a funeral policy can include:
- Peace of mind. Financial worries are reduced and you will know that your family won’t have to worry about money in the event of a loved one’s passing.
- Giving room for closure. Instead of stressing about how you or your family are going to pay for the funeral expenses, everyone can now focus on saying goodbye to the deceased and find the closure that’s needed during this difficult time.
- Having quick access to the necessary funds. Even if the deceased has money to their name or has left behind a trust fund in your name, due to legal procedures, winding up an estate can be a lengthy process and you may not have access to these funds for many months to come. If your claim is successful, a funeral policy can easily be paid out within 48 hours.
- Cashback benefits. These benefits give you back a cash amount that totals a certain percentage of the premiums you have already paid over a certain number of years.
Who Can Get Funeral Cover?
When it comes to a funeral plan, most insurers are versatile in their options and one plan can cover you, your spouse, your parents and sometimes even extended family can be included too. It’s up to you to decide how many dependants you want to list on your plan (perhaps you just want to take cover out on your own life)?
Essentially, funeral cover can apply to the following individuals:
Cover For You and Your Spouse
When you lose a partner, then the strain of organising funeral arrangements can weigh heavy on your shoulders. By taking out cover for you and/or your spouse, there’s just one less thing to worry about while you try to take care of your family as you grieve.
Cover For Your Children
We all want our children to outlive us, but life is harsh. This is why many funeral plans offer cover for children (either up until the age of 21 or for life). Some plans also extend their cover to include stillborn children and new-borns for up to 3 months (thereafter they would have to be added as an official dependant).
Cover For Your Parents
When parents pass, then usually the funeral arrangements are left to their next of kin. If this is you, then ensuring that your parents are covered is paramount.
Cover For Your Extended Family
Some funeral policies will allow you to add extended family members to your plan. This helps in scenarios where extended family members have come to rely on one another financially.
Cover For Seniors
Senior citizens are considered to be a high risk for insurance companies and finding cover for those who are over the age of 65 can be a tricky task. Still, there are a handful of insurers who will offer cover to seniors - but at a higher price.
How Much Does Funeral Cover Cost?
In South Africa, a funeral policy can cost as little as R50 per month. Of course, this premium may increase depending on the amount of cover you need as well as how many dependents fall under the same plan. We also mentioned that individuals over the age of 65 who are applying for funeral cover for the first time can expect to pay more for their policies.
You no doubt want the best funeral cover available but you also need to consider your budget. That is why, when choosing a funeral plan, the total amount of cover you need will depend on your unique circumstances.
When deciding on a funeral policy, everyone will have different needs and expectations. This means that you will want to spend some time considering the following factors before you make a choice:
- How much can you afford to pay monthly?
- Who needs to be covered? Just you? Or do you want to include your family and your parents? Do you want to include any extended family members?
- What do you want the plan to cover? Do you want the funds to cover the costs of basic funeral expenses or do you want added benefits such as a grocery and education allowance?
How To Get Cheap Funeral Cover
In South Africa, many banks, insurance companies, and even some chain stores have funeral plans available. With so much competition, finding cheap funeral cover is easy. And remember, the younger you are when you apply for cover, the cheaper your rate will be.
Before accepting the first offer that you find appealing, we encourage you to shop around for a few quotes so that you can compare the different prices alongside benefits. Essentially, you want to look for funeral cover that is easy to understand, easy to buy, offers great value for money, and is easy to claim against.
You can approach a broker to assist you with different quotes (which could incur additional fees) or you can use an online tool such as Money Expert to draw comparisons from the different providers quickly and easily.