Funeral plans come in all shapes and sizes. No one size fits all. There is likely to be a plan that fits your particular, individual needs and circumstances, but you need to choose carefully from the wide range of products available.
A careful funeral plans comparison is required, therefore, in order to find that match with your needs and requirements – at a competitive price that represents good value for money.
With the rising costs of the average funeral and the ability to pay at today’s prices for one that may not take place until many years from now, it is hardly surprising that prepaid funeral plans have grown considerably in popularity.
With growing demand for such services, the market currently offers many different types of prepaid funeral plan. Even some of the major providers, however, are concerned that buyers are not always aware of exactly what it is they are buying, according to a story published in the Guardian newspaper on the 8th of July 2017.
The lesson to emerge from stories such as these is that a careful funeral plans comparison is necessary before you buy – so what are the best ways to do that?
The Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)
The industry is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and you might want to restrict your comparison of competing products to FPA-registered members only.
One of the many reasons for that is to take advantage of the safeguards that the FPA insists upon its members building into any prepaid funeral plan.
This is done by ensuring that money you have paid in advance is kept in a separate, independent trust fund or that a whole of life insurance policy is bought in your name, to guarantee the availability of the funds required when the time for your funeral comes.
National prepaid funeral plan providers who are members of the FPA use the funds you have paid to enter into contracts with local funeral directors for the provision of the services you are going to require. These make it a condition that the funeral director is bound to provide the services originally agreed, even though the passage of time may have meant a significant increase in costs. Any such increase, however, is covered by the funeral plan provider and, as the purchaser of the plan, you are not required to pay more for the plan you bought.
The services covered
That makes it all the more important that your funeral plans comparison takes into account precisely the nature and level of the services offered – and these may vary quite widely from one provider to another.
Typically, this covers the services normally provided by your local funeral director – namely, the care of the body and its transport to and from the funeral home, your purchase of the coffin and the provision of a hearse to the burial or cremation site, attended by the funeral director.
However, many providers provide additional or optional services which are guaranteed in the price you pay – these might include the provision of further limousines for mourners, for example, the automatic inclusion of cremation fees, or a contribution to the cost of burial fees.