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How to compare funeral plans

18th Sep 2017

Whenever you are about to buy goods or services – especially those involving a significant payment – it is important to compare what is available in the market. In this way, you are able to match your particular needs and requirements to the products on offer, taking into account their respective prices, in order to determine good value for money.

Comparing funeral plans

For similar reasons, it is important to compare funeral plans before you buy one. Indeed, there is good evidence to suggest that such a comparison is even more important in the case of this particular product.

According to a report by the BBC on the 7th of July 2017, for example, there may be thousands of customers who have bought funeral plans which are unlikely to deliver all the benefits they imagined or about which the provider had failed to explain the details in any transparent or meaningful way.

And this is when the average cost of a prepaid funeral plan is in the region of £4,000, says the report – a more than significant sum for anyone.

So, what are the questions you might ask to sort out the reliable funeral plan provider from one that is less so? How do you meaningfully compare funeral plans?

What’s covered

  • for any comparison to make sense, of course you need to know exactly what is covered by any particular plan;
  • by far the greatest point of confusion is around cremation fees; most plan providers only provide an allowance for these costs, so there could be a shortfall, whereas Dignity and Co-op will guarantee there will be nothing more to pay;
  • in addition items such as burial plot fees, headstones, limousines, embalming, and reception costs are rarely included in any funeral plan unless specified or chosen at the outset;
  • a reputable provider, however, is able to guarantee that the plan fully covers the costs of the funeral director’s services you have chosen – so that no corners have to be cut by your relatives and friends when the final arrangements are made;

Options

  • many of the more established national providers offer several packages, each with a different range of services included;
  • it is important that you understand what is included in the various options available and what additional services are provided if you choose a more expensive package;

Is my money safe?

  • if you pay for any goods or services in advance, you want to know that your money is safe and available for use when needed;
  • to make sure of this, reliable funeral plan providers do not hold on to the money you have paid themselves, put deposit it in an independent trust fund, or purchase a whole of life insurance policy on your behalf;

Payment options

  • does the provider offer a choice of payment options – do you have to pay the whole amount upfront, or are there instalment plans available, and if so, over how long a period;

Change of address

  • is adequate provision made in your plan if you change address between arranging your funeral plan and your eventual death;
  • if you have chosen the services of a funeral director where you are currently living, for example, you need the reassurance of being able to transfer the plan to an alternative firm if you move to a different part of the country;

Cancellation

  • you might also want to know what, if any, refund is available if you change your mind and want to cancel the funeral plan for which you have paid.

Satisfying yourself that you have answered questions such as these when you compare funeral plans is probably the best way of ensuring that neither you nor your relatives and friends are disappointed with the funeral plan you buy.

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