We are often asked about funeral plans. You know the kind, you pay in a monthly amount and your funeral costs are covered in the event of your death. Here's the simple, honest reason why we don't resell these insurance policies on our website, and why we don't recommend them to our customers.
They all charge more than the true costs of a funeral, and those we have seen also contain hidden 'admin' fees for basic services which we consider totally unfair. Would you consider a service which takes thousands of pounds of your money and charges you a £200-£250 'admin' fee to do so? No - neither would we.
Have you asked yourself why many funeral directors do act as resellers for these policies? There can only be two reasons:
The funeral director is receiving a commission for selling the policy
The insurance provider will 'push' funerals to that funeral director as a sweetener
Here's an example of these hidden fees in action.
We recently had the honour to look after a gentleman who lived locally and had taken out a funeral plan with a national, market leading funeral provider, who we sadly cannot name. He took this plan out more than ten years previously and therefore had paid in many hundreds of pounds above what a funeral actually costs.
When the family brought in this policy for us to help, we called the company for a redemption value on their behalf. When we spoke to the company though, they informed us that the deceased had already been "allocated" to a funeral director some 20 miles away in Aylesbury. Nobody form the family had asked them to do that, and we were confused. Why had the plan provider, without instruction from the family, pushed the business to an out-of-town funeral director?
Again, with the family's permission, we queried this with the provider. Their operator paused, stuttered, mumbled and that told us not to worry because the funeral could be "re-allocated" to our funeral home for a fee of £215 out of his policy pot. Something in the small-print called a re-allocation fee. The policy provider was perfectly happy to take £215 from the funeral fund which should have been in the full control of the deceased's family. Disgraceful.
So this is why policy provider's "allocate" their deceased members to out of town funeral homes:
They do not care about the wishes of the deceased or their families
They relish the opportunity to reward resellers with business
They cannot lose - if you want to change these details they'll make another £215
So when you consider this gentleman had paid more than £1000 over and above the cost of his funeral, his family had triggered a further £215 payment just to get their wishes respected, now you understand why we don't resell or otherwise recommend funeral plans.
So what do we suggest instead?
A funeral plan needs only two things:
How you finance a funeral
What are all of your wishes for the funeral itself
For the former, we advise people buy premium bonds in the name of a trusted loved one. These can be purchased from the Post Office or online in £100 increments. They can then be cashed in by your loved one in the event of your death to cover the funeral costs. The added bonus is that you might even get a win on the monthly draws!
By this method your money is totally safe, government guaranteed and nobody, no resellers, agents or administrators, is making any profit on your hard earned cash.
Now step two, your wishes for your funeral.
Call us, come in and see us, or drop me a line and I will come around to you. But always remember one thing - planning is completely free and completely without obligation. It's my absolute honour to sit with someone and plan the details of their funeral. I will explain the options, the logistics and the true costs of every element of a funeral, and write this down for you to keep. These instructions can then be used with whichever funeral director you choose.
The funeral service and the time immediately before and afterwards are a key part of the grieving process. I hope my help and advice goes some way into making this a better experience for families suffering a loss.