And let’s face it; it can be difficult having to think about your own funeral, so if you’re feeling bewildered by all the choices of funeral plans, it can be tempting to make a quick decision based on the face value and price. But taking a little time now to ask the right questions, can help save you and your loved ones hundreds of pounds in the future, when the plan is needed.
So, to help you find the funeral plan provider that’s right for you, here are some key questions to ask and important things to check before spending any money.
To find out if there will be any more for loved ones to pay when the funeral plan is needed, make sure you find out the following;
What exactly is included in the funeral plan and what potential costs are not covered?
If you’re considering a cremation funeral, look for a plan that guarantees to cover the funeral directors costs and the cremation fee and ministers’ fees.
Most funeral plans guarantee to cover the costs of the funeral director services, but not all include the cremation costs the price guarantee. If the funeral plan specifically guarantee the cremation costs it is likely it will only include a contribution towards these costs which typically does not increase over time. There could be an additional cost of hundreds to pay when the plan is needed in the future.
What does the plan include for burial funerals?
Burial funerals cannot be guaranteed in the same way as cremation funerals, as the costs for burial plots and interment fees can vary significantly across the country, and as the plot can be the most expensive part of the funeral, it’s important to know what the funeral plan price guarantee includes.
Most funeral plan providers guarantee to cover the cost of the funeral director services but no funeral plan provider on the market currently guarantees to fully cover all the costs for a burial funeral including the plot. Instead, many include a contribution to pay towards the burial costs, but check to see whether the contribution increases each year in line with RPI, minimising the amount that will need to be paid when the funeral plan is needed.
Does the price guarantee remain in place, if you move house and need to change funeral director in the future, or will there be any extra costs?
Make sure you find out if the funeral plan is portable to another funeral director in the UK and ensure that all the price guarantees remain in place. If you need to move house in the future, maybe to be closer to loved ones, there may be additional costs to be paid if the price guarantees in the funeral plan cannot be transferred to the new funeral director.
What happens if the person the funeral is intended for dies abroad or away from home?
Most funeral plan providers include a mileage allowance within the plan price. There will be additional costs to pay if the person dies away from home outside of the mileage allowance
To ensure that the funeral plan provider will be able to deliver the funeral you have chosen when it’s needed, make sure you find out the following;
Is the funeral plan provider a member of the Funeral Planning Authority?
The Funeral Planning Authority is the professional body that oversees the operation of registered funeral plan providers, and ensures that the funeral plan provider keeps the money you pay for your plan safely ensuring the money is available to provide the funeral services in the plan when the time comes.
Find out who provides the guarantee and funeral plan promises
A funeral plan is a promise to deliver a funeral at some point in the future so it will only be as good as the company that stands behind the promise. It’s important that you trust the company and they are financially secure and have an established history.
Find out where your money will be held until it is needed
With a funeral plan, the money you pay today is placed in either a trust fund or insurance policy, which then pays the funeral director when the time comes. It should be held completely independently of both the funeral plan provider and funeral director and you should be able to view independently audited accounts each year.
To give you comfort to ensure you and your loved ones will be cared for when the funeral plan is needed, ask the following questions when comparing funeral plan providers;
Are there customer satisfaction statistics and testimonials readily available for you to see of families who have used the funeral director?
Did the funeral directors meet or exceed the expectations of loved ones, would they recommend them to others? Look on the funeral plan providers’ website, or ask to see a copy of their Annual Report and Accounts.
Does the funeral plan provider invest in their staff, premises and vehicles?
It’s likely that you won’t need to use your funeral plan for many years, so you want to make sure that the funeral plan provider you choose continually invests in their workforce, premises and vehicles to ensure they will provide the highest quality service whenever your plan is needed in the future.
Decide whether you trust the funeral plan company to provide your funeral in the future and care for you loved ones?Speak to them on the phone, do they take the time to talk to you about the funeral plan and give you confidence they are experienced and have a history in providing funerals? Don’t feel pressured into making decisions over the phone, you should take all the time you need to ask questions, compare providers and come to the right decision for you.
And finally look at the price of the funeral plan.
But remember; don’t just look at the price of the plan today. Having asked the questions above, you’ll be able to compare funeral plans based on any additional costs that will need to be paid in the future.
Can you pay in a way that suits your budget? In monthly instalments or in a lump sum?
If paying by monthly instalments find out if they are over a fixed period, or continuous payments for life. Continuous payments for life may look cheaper, but if you factor in how much you may pay in over your life time, you could pay more in than you’ll get back. If you can afford to, paying just a little more each month, could save you money in the long run.
If you need to cancel your plan, can you get your money back?
If paying in a lump sum, or in monthly instalments for a fixed period of time, you are able to cancel your funeral plan with most providers for a small cancellation fee after an initial cooling off period. However, by making continuous payments for life, you may not be able to get any money back if you need to cancel your plan and may end up paying more in than you get back when the time comes.
Funeral Plans are one of the best ways to protect against rising funeral costs. Dignity is the leading provider of funeral plans in the UK with more than 675,000 people having chosen to arrange their funeral in advance with them, more than any other provider. You can be sure that Dignity:
Guarantee Dignity Prepaid Funeral Plans Guarantees to protect against rising funeral costs helping to save money by paying at today’s price
Guarantees once paid you will never pay any more for the services detailed in the plan
Guarantees to fully cover the funeral director services and crematorium costs as specified in the plan, or;
Guarantees to fully cover funeral director services in the plan and also provide a contribution towards burial costs that increases each year in line with RPI
Guarantees the services of a trusted and professional Funeral Director within the UK – if you move, your plan moves with you to a new Dignity Nominated Funeral Director at no extra cost
Guarantees your money is secure and held in an independent Trust Fund
Guarantees to be there for you and your loved ones 24 hours a day, 365 days a year today and whenever in the future the plan is needed
Find out more about Dignity Prepaid Funeral Plans