Britain’s Funeral Directors Say People Confused By Funeral Products

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Planning a funeral can be difficult at the best of times – particularly when it’s your own – and now a new survey shows that Britons struggle to understand the different types of financial products available and often choose funeral products that fail to cover the cost of their funeral.

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Perfect Choice Funeral Plans

Funeral directors understand the funeral planning process better than anyone so if they’re concerned, the public should be concerned too.

Planning a funeral can be difficult at the best of times – particularly when it’s your own – and now a new survey shows that Britons struggle to understand the different types of financial products available and often choose funeral products that fail to cover the cost of their funeral.

According to a survey conducted by Perfect Choice Funeral Plans, 88% of funeral directors who responded believe that members of the public struggle to understand the difference between the two main types of financial products available to pay for funerals: over-50s whole of life insurance policies (sometimes known as funeral expenses plans) and pre-arranged funeral plans. Two-thirds of funeral directors who responded said that some over-50s whole of life plans regularly failed to cover the cost of the funeral, which can leave family and friends or the funeral director to make up the shortfall.

Two-thirds (62%) of the funeral directors responding felt that some over-50s policies represented poor value while a similar number (61%) said that they were aware of clients whose over-50s plans had ultimately paid out less than they paid in.

Other products contain small print which limit the customer’s choices or prevent them from choosing which firm of funeral directors to use, the funeral directors pointed out.

A further 85% of funeral directors who completed the survey felt that customers did not know what questions to ask when considering funeral products, such as:

  •     What will the plan pay out?
  •     What happens if I stop paying or can’t afford the payments?
  •     Does the plan allow me to choose my local funeral director?
  •     Does the plan include the expertise of my local funeral director?

Alan Slater from Perfect Choice Funeral Plans said: “Funeral directors seem to be putting their finger on a real issue here: the lack of understanding of some of these funeral products. What makes this particularly significant is that many of the people buying these products will be older and some may need help understanding precisely what they are purchasing.

“Funeral directors understand the funeral planning process better than anyone so if they’re concerned, the public should be concerned too. At Perfect Choice we do our utmost to keep out products straightforward and our guarantees clear. We’d like to raise awareness so that people understand what they’re getting and know what questions to ask.”

Most funerals in the UK (approaching 80%) are cremations – at an average cost of approximately £2,800 (December 2011). There are substantial regional variations.

Over-50s style plans are insurance policies designed to pay out a fixed amount upon the policyholder’s death. These plans have lower monthly premiums than typical life insurance policies but have been criticised for their poor value.

Perfect Choice pre-arranged funeral plans guarantee to pay the funeral directors’ costs in full and are regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority. The plans also include a contribution towards third party costs (known as disbursements). The company offers a range of plans and takes payment either in a lump sum or by regular instalments.

Perfect Choice’ surveyed the views of 66 UK-based funeral directors in February 2012. Response rates per question varied.

For more information contact:

Emma Simpson, Marketing Executive, Perfect Choice Funeral Plans
Tel: 01452 873238
Mobile: 07732 369666
Email: emma.simpson(at)ecclesiastical(dot)com

Notes to editors
Perfect Choice Funeral Plans are only available from accredited funeral directors who are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). The NAFD is the country’s leading funeral trade association, and their members conduct four out of every five funerals in the UK. The plans are also regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority and the delivery of the funeral is covered by the NAFD Code of Practice.

Perfect Choice plan monies are held securely in a whole of life assurance policy with Ecclesiastical Life Ltd. Although funeral plans themselves are not currently regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), Ecclesiastical is authorised by the FSA and is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. For more details or to find your nearest NAFD accredited funeral director visit http://www.perfectchoicefunerals.com.

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Emma Simpson
Perfect Choice Funerals
01452 873238
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