Shopping around for a funeral plan

Shopping around for a funeral plan main image

According to a news report by the BBC late last year, there was an increase of almost 30% in the number of so-called “paupers funerals”; public health funerals as they are also known that are carried out by local authorities for those who die alone or without relatives to pay for their funeral services.     


In fact local authorities spent an estimated £1.7 million on such funerals in the four years since 2011, the extent of which varies by region with the North West and London bearing the greatest number of pauper’s funerals.   There is some debate within this area of public services as to whether the increase is a result of:   people living longer – and often alone

  • an increase in the number of people and their families who can no longer meet the rising costs of a funeral
  • a general reduction in the value of disposable incomes
  • a combination of all these factors

But what are the alternatives for the cash-strapped consumer?  

The reality is that at the time of need, help may be hard to find. Many families turn to loans which all too frequently becomes a debt that will stay with them for many years. The chosen few may be eligible for assistance from the Governments funeral social fund but this is only granted in cases where the applicant is in receipt of certain benefits, so those accepted are few and far between.   

Successful applicants needn’t get excited though; the benefit given through the funeral social fund has not been updated for 10 years, so as you can imagine falls woefully short when compared to the actual cost of a funeral.   

So what is the alternative?   

What is the secret to avoiding the very sad fate of a pauper’s funeral being funded by the public health services of the local authority? – Pre-planning!  

Taking matters into your own hands; actually thinking about what will happen when the times comes and who will it impact and then making whatever funeral arrangements you can in advance to prevent the worst from happening.   

By making and where possible paying for some or all the arrangements, you will relieve your family or friends of the emotional and financial burden and avoid the prospect of the local authority meeting the costs of only the most basic of funerals.   

Prepaid funeral plans allow you to do just that – you get to pay at today’s prices for a funeral that hopefully will not take place for many years which can therefore lead to substantial savings – not to mention guaranteeing that your funeral goes just as you and your family intended.   

Compare prepaid funeral plans   

If you are considering a prepaid funeral plan, then it is important that you shop around for the most appropriate and cost-effective solution that suits your needs.    

Your local firm of funeral directors might offer the option of prepaying for your funeral plan, for example (for your own peace of mind you might want to select one that is a member of either the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) or the National Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF). But what if the firm encounters financial difficulties in the years ahead and ends up going out of business? Or perhaps you may move to another area. You could stand to lose all that you have paid.   

Instead, therefore, you might prefer a prepaid funeral plan with a national provider, especially one that is registered with the Funeral Planning Authority, such as the funeral plans we offer.   A funeral plan provider that is a member of the Funeral Planning Authority agrees to abide by a rigid code of conduct governing relations with customers, no more so than in respect of the security of monies paid in advance for your funeral plan.   

This means your money is safeguarded by being invested in a trust fund and looked after by entirely independent trustees; or it is applied to the purchase of a whole of life insurance policy, with the appropriate sum going to cover your funeral costs upon your death.    

Such plans allow you to use the services of a local funeral director however if your chosen company goes out of business in the intervening years, the plan provider simply moves your protected funds to guarantee the funeral plan you arranged is performed by an alternative funeral director who is local to you.  

When choosing your plan, you pay for it in advance – so helping to offset the inevitable increase in the costs of a funeral in the future. In fact, insurer SunLife’s 2016 annual Cost of Dying report reveals funerals have more than doubled in price in little over a decade, outstripping the rate of inflation - so prepaying for a funeral could save your loved ones a lot of money.   

 This makes shopping around for and comparing funeral plans potentially more important than ever.  

Don't miss out...

Sign up to our monthly newsletter for the latest updates