Are funeral plans worth the money? That is a frequent and entirely reasonable question to ask yourself before buying any goods or services.
The answer invariably involves a comparison of the full range of possible products available to meet your specific needs and requirements, so that you arrive at choices representing good value for money.
It is an exercise you are almost certain to conduct when buying prepaid funeral plans, too. So, here are some tips and suggestions if you want to compare funeral plans in a useful and meaningful way:
• prepaid funeral plans allow you not only to make whatever arrangements you see fit for when you die, but also enable you to pay for those arrangements in advance at today’s prices;
• in that way, you may beat the escalating cost of dying, where in the last 13 years, funeral costs in the UK have risen a staggering 112% - an increase far outstripping the current rate of inflation;
• although the principles that might make prepaid funeral plans worth it are simple and straightforward, there are nevertheless many different ones from which to choose – and that is why you need to compare funeral plans so carefully;
• prepaid funeral plans may vary widely in the range of services offered and the guarantees given to hold costs at today’s prices;
• although most are likely to guarantee the cost of the funeral director’s typical range of services (care of the body, transport to the funeral home and then to the burial site or crematorium), for example, some also guarantee cremation fees and those of the minister officiating at the service;
• some plans also offer a cash allowance towards the costs of burial – and your funeral plans comparison may reveal wide variations in the amount of that contribution;
• comparison websites have become commonplace on the internet, and many provide a useful way of comparing the relative merits of competing products;
• when you use these to compare funeral plans, however, beware that some offer insufficient scope for any useful comparison since they feature the products of only a single company or provider of prepaid funeral plans – the broader the range of providers, of course, the more effective your ability to compare competing offers. (Note: At Simply Funerals, we offer the ability to compare eight different funeral plans).
The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)
• in the course of your funeral plans comparison, you are likely to notice that the more reputable providers are registered members of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA);
• the FPA is the industry’s self-regulator, and membership binds providers to an important set of rules and code of practice;
• the code includes all-important measures for the protection of the money you have paid for your funeral plan in advance and its safekeeping until it is needed when you die – potentially, many years from now;
• safekeeping is assured by FPA members’ commitment to placing your funds in an independent trust fund or by purchasing a whole of life insurance policy in your name;
• providers of prepaid funeral plans who operate by this code enter into a contract with your chosen funeral director to guarantee that the price of the latter’s services remains fixed until the point at which they are required – so ensuring that the money you have made continues to secure the services you bought.
When you compare funeral plans, therefore, you have the opportunity to ensure that the product you are buying offers the full range of services you require, and with the financial protection supported by the provider’s membership of the Funeral Planning Authority.