Burial insurance is exactly what it sounds like: insurance coverage to pay for your funeral and burial arrangements. These are typically modest whole life policies also known as “final expense,” “senior life,” “preneed,” or “funeral insurance.” Unless you’re also leaving your family a sizable savings account, figuring out how to pay for the funeral can be overwhelming.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How Do You Know If You’re Getting a Good Price in Burial Insurance?
- Steps for Finding Cheap or Affordable Burial Insurance for Adults
According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the current average cost of a funeral with viewing and burial costs around $9,135. That dollar amount doesn’t include cemetery markers, flowers, obituaries, and other services. You can see why burial life insurance is a great solution to the high prices associated with saying our final goodbyes.
How Do You Know If You’re Getting a Good Price in Burial Insurance?
Burial insurance is traditionally the lowest-cost life insurance coverage available. The most common benefit amounts range from $5,000 to $25,000. Since final expense policies tend to pay smaller death benefits than traditional whole life policies, you should automatically expect to pay a lower premium. For example, it’s possible for most people to get a $25,000 burial plan for less than a $15 premium per month.
The premiums for burial life insurance are based on sex, age, and the dollar amount of the policy you select. Of course, each insurer has its own approach to rating applicants and assigning pricing, which can result in variable premium amounts among insurers. The younger you are, the better your health, and the lower your benefit amount, the lower your premium.
While shopping for cheap burial life insurance, keep in mind that some final expense plans do ask health questions which, depending on your answers, can influence your final premium amount. The insurance market includes both burial insurance with health questions, as well as guaranteed-issue burial insurance that doesn’t ask any medical questions.
For those final expense policies that do want to know your health history, you should expect that the answers you give will factor into the final premium amount.
You may also decide to purchase additional living benefits for a burial life insurance plan. By opting for one of these common types of “extra coverage” you may find that your premium is a bit higher than the standard rates.
- Chronic illness: This benefit says the life insurer will return all your premiums should you be diagnosed with a chronic illness that limits your routine activities. To claim such a benefit, you’d need a physician to certify that you’re not able to perform at least two of six regular daily activities, including dressing, feeding, and bathing yourself.
- Terminal illness: This benefit typically provides a 50% advance payout of your coverage amount should you be diagnosed with a terminal illness. To claim this benefit, you’d again need a physician to certify that you have an illness that will result in your death within 24 months from the date of the certification. This benefit is also sometimes called an “accelerated death benefit.”
Beyond simply finding dirt-cheap premiums, you should also take into consideration other aspects of burial insurance. It’s best to make your final decision after working closely with your life insurance agent or the insurer directly. Before making any final decisions, ask:
- Will my burial insurance premium ever increase in the future?
- When would the policy expire?
- What exclusions could keep the death benefit from being honored?
- What kind of coverage will most help those responsible for funeral costs?
- Does the insurer charge any annual fees or other administrative charges?
Although you obviously want to pay the lowest possible premium, you need to be sure the life insurance you pick is going to fit your needs completely before committing. The more benefits you and your family will receive, the higher the premium will be. In comparison to a traditional whole life insurance policy, a final expense plan will typically still be much cheaper.
Steps for Finding Cheap or Affordable Burial Insurance for Adults
All the usual points covered above apply to any adult seeking a burial life insurance policy. Below, you’ll find our steps for avoiding a lackluster benefit or overpriced policy.
Work with the right life insurance agent
You'll do yourself a favor by working with a life insurance agent, rather than shopping on your own. The insurance agent is a trained professional that can answer your questions, provide quotes, and help you through the application process. However, it’s key to avoid the following types of life insurance agents so as to get a variety of choices.
- Brand new agents: Greenhorn life insurance agents often start off offering only one or two policy options (which may not even include burial life insurance). They also may not have the knowledge you’re seeking for your unique life situation and end-of-life planning needs. Since this is one of the most important purchases of your lifetime, you would probably be better off working with an experienced life insurance agent.
- Captive agents: This type of insurance agent works exclusively with one particular insurer. Captive agents aren’t able to quote a variety of life insurance products. Instead, you will be asked to pick from one (maybe two) insurance plans. Some captive agents work with insurance carriers that don’t even sell final expense coverage.
It’s a good idea to reach out to an independent insurance agent or financial planner. These professionals will be able to shop the full insurance market, looking for your perfect burial life insurance policy. A seasoned life insurance agent will make it easy by going over how much life insurance you may need. In addition, experienced life insurance agents know the best application processes and premiums.
Avoid sticky policy terms
You’ll want to be aware of all the policy terms and exclusions listed on a burial life insurance plan before you begin the application.
For instance, you should check for hidden clauses, like coverage that ends at a specific age or premiums that will increase every year. It’s a good idea to also look for hidden fees, like administrative costs or annual charges.
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Don’t wait, you’ll only get older
When it comes to any type of life insurance, it’s always best to buy it today. After all, you’re only getting older and waiting longer will only increase your premiums.
If you’re over 50 years old and still don’t have life insurance, start looking today. Or tackle this task when you draw up guardianship documents, develop a will, or update your power of attorney (POA).
Go with a reputable burial life insurer
Burial life insurance isn’t just a late-night infomercial gimmick. Many A-Rated, highly respected life insurers do sell cheap burial life insurance policies. This should be reassuring because an A-rated carrier will be able to easily pay your death benefit without any financial hassles.
Steps for Finding Cheap or Affordable Burial Insurance for Seniors
Burial life insurance is available for seniors, often covering people all the way up until the age of 80 years old. You may even get lucky and find a burial life plan that covers people aged 85 or 90 years old. Since final expense coverage tends to be affordable, even seniors can feel comfortable buying a life insurance plan without worrying about a high premium.
Let’s face it,—many older Americans avoid shopping for life insurance altogether because they assume it’s too costly. Check out our tips below for finding the best affordable burial life insurance for you and your family.
Consider skipping the medical exam
Seniors will do best to avoid a life insurance policy application that requires health questions or a medical exam. Most of us pick up chronic health conditions as we age. It makes sense then that you would want to skip the medical exam when applying for coverage. Otherwise, you’ll face higher costs and could be denied.
If peace of mind is your plan
If your overall health is good, then it’s OK to go for a burial insurance policy with medical underwriting. And if your main objective is overall peace of mind, then you may be better off going through the health screening.
That’s because “no medical exam” final expense policies have built-in waiting periods. In this case, should you pass away during the first two years of coverage, your family will not receive the death benefit but instead a refund of your premium payments.
Cheap Burial Life Insurance
Finding cheap burial insurance isn’t hard. It’s everywhere you look, from late night TV to mailbox flyers. The key is to find the right final life insurance policy for your needs and budget. There are many options available from A-rated, well-respected life insurers. Simply follow our tips for getting cheap burial insurance.
- “Statistics.” News, National Funeral Directors Association, 2021. nfda.org