Pre-paid Funeral plans are become an increasing popular option with around 1.3 million people in the UK having one in place. With the costs of funerals increasing every year it is easy to see why more and more people are opting to lock in a good price for their funeral now.
What are pre-paid funeral plans?
A pre-paid funeral plans are made up of a predefined set of services (these vary depending on the plan) that most often include either cremation or burial, and a funeral service. These plans are offered at fixed cost that can be paid either upfront in a single payment or over several months.
Why are people opting for pre-paid funerals?
A prepaid funeral plan allows for a person to pay for their own funeral therefore removing the risk of potential financial or emotional strain on their loved ones when they pass away. These plans offer several different options allowing the plan owner to decide what kind of send-off they would like whilst ensuring that the funds are there to fulfil their last wishes.
As the costs of funerals are increasing each year and are predicted to reach £10,441 by 2023 according to the SunLife Cost of dying report (sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2018), pre-paid funeral plans offer a way to lock down a good price now and protect your family from paying higher fees in the future.
What to know about the pre-paid funeral market
The pre-paid funeral plan market is a competitive field and is mostly unregulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The market is dominated by 2 industry leaders, The Co-operative Group and Dignity Caring Funeral Services (Dignity Plc). Both of these companies have hundreds of branches across the UK, totalling 1175 branches in total. With only 4000 funeral directors across the UK currently offering Funeral services, over a quarter of these funeral directors are providing services for the Co-op and Dignity. According to UK Funerals online these 2 companies combined are involved in 25% of all funerals in the UK.
What are your options?
With so many companies providing pre-paid funeral plans, each with several plan options, Final Duties have investigated some of the biggest Pre-paid Funeral plan providers in the UK to show what each provider is offering, and which service is the best value for money?
We wanted to compare each service by the same criteria and for that reason we compiled our own list of funeral requirements that range from the most basic of needs to more unnecessary extras as well as checking out each provider’s terms and conditions.
In order to get a better understanding of what your money can buy, we have chosen to compare each providers most basic and cheapest funeral plans against their most extravagant and expensive ones.
Breaking down the basic plans
In general, all these plans offer a very similar set of services, the lower cost plans provide the most basic necessities required for a simple funeral. If you would prefer a simple send-off these plans will cover your needs. However, it is important to keep in mind that they provide only the “bare necessities” this means they may not cover all of the services you would like or third-party charges, these can be costs like doctors’ fees, flowers, memorial, headstone, or provision for a wake. These will need to be either added to the plan, which some do not allow, or arranged separately with your family and executor. All of the Basic plans have restricted times and dates for when your funeral can be held, usually these are restricted to early mornings or late afternoons.
Breaking down the premier plans
All of the premier plans contain the basic package, with a few luxury extras such as limousines and in some cases “thank you” cards. It seems that the more expensive plans really just allow for more comfort for mourners and the ability to have a more personalised service. A more expensive plan offers your family the opportunity to hold the funeral when they like and to visit the chapel of rest (in most plans) whenever they like. The unrestricted aspect does appear to be the major selling point of these more expensive options which for some may be what they would like their loved ones to have. Personally, I’m not sure if a couple thousand pounds extra is really justified as when looking through the fine print it there still seems to be plenty of exclusions for example, flowers, memorials, head stones, catering wake.