Are Funeral Plans value for money? – Funeral Planning experts Over50Choices uncovers the truth

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With funerals costs continuing to increase at an alarming rate, a Funeral Plan could be a way of freezing the price of funeral services and saving money, but do we really know what is included in these so called guaranteed plans?

Funeral Disbursements

Where is the money spent?

Funeral Plans do vary so as with any other purchase, it is essential to shop around

Although Prepaid Funeral Plans have been around for some time, it is only in the last few years that they have started to increase in popularity and demand; probably as a result of the soaring costs of funerals and improved marketing of the companies that provide them. As they say, there is money in death.

Quite simply a Funeral Plan is a way of arranging and paying for a funeral at today’s costs, doing everything in advance so the burden is removed from families when the time comes.

With the increase in popularity comes a level of apprehension about whether these plans truly offer value for money or whether they are just another way of scare mongering families into parting with their hard earned cash. After all death is a very emotive subject so it’s hardly surprising that there is such a diverse range of views.

Over 50s personal finance comparison website Over50choices believes these prepaid plans can offer value for money but stress that people buying them need to do their homework and shop around. Company founder Ashley Shepherd states “a funeral plan can be a great investment for some people but it really does depend on your personal circumstances. If you want to arrange everything in advance so your family won’t have to go through the painful process of sorting your funeral out when the time comes, then a Funeral Plan could be a good option. Funeral Plans do vary so as with any other purchase, it is essential to shop around, something that people are often loathed to do, especially when they have just lost a close relative, which incidentally is another good reason for arranging things ahead of time. Paying for funeral services at today’s prices could save your family money which has to be a good thing but you just need to read all the details before you buy to make sure you are comfortable with any parts of the service which may not be covered.”

To help customers decide on the best plan, Over50choices offers the widest range of funeral planning options on the market and the ability to easily compare funeral plans from some of the leading providers.

Ashley goes on to explain that funeral costs can be broken down into three elements:

  •     The Funeral Director’s Fees
  •     Third party costs which includes cremation or burial fees, doctor’s fees for the death certificate and minister’s charges
  •     Items considered as ‘non essential fees’ such as funeral flowers, catering and venue costs for the reception or memorial stones

Most Funeral Plans guarantee to cover the funeral director’s costs, which includes administration, transportation and care of the deceased, use of a chapel of rest for family viewing, the coffin, hearse and limousine and the staff required for the funeral.

Many funeral plan providers offer an allowance to help pay or in some cases cover third party charges, also known as disbursements. The allowance is usually in the region of £1,000 and increases in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI). Depending on the location, this may be more than enough to cover the full cost of third party charges which currently average £825 however in more pricy areas such as London, there may be a shortfall.

There are some funeral plan providers that do guarantee to cover disbursements but again the company warns of the need to read and compare all of the plan details as they may be pricier or have other limitations.

The third element, the so called non essential items, are really down to personal choice and budget so aren’t usually included in a prepaid funeral plan. These would therefore need to be arranged and paid for by the family at the time of need.

So a funeral plan can guarantee to cover the majority of essential costs and it can save families a lot of additional worry which must be of great comfort at such an upsetting time but like anything, it pays to shop around.

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