What is funeral cover, and why should you get it?

Preparing for your death is a grim task, but doing so ensures that your loved ones won’t experience financial stress on top of their grief when you pass away. If you invest in a funeral plan, they won’t have to worry about finding the money for your funeral.

Laying our loved ones to rest with the appropriate customs and ceremonies is important in everybody’s culture, but a bereavement becomes even more painful when it brings financial hardship with it. Your family shouldn’t have to go into debt so that they can bid you a loving, dignified farewell.

What is funeral cover?

A funeral plan covers the cost of your funeral – or the funerals of any family members covered in the policy. Depending on the kind of cover you get, you can choose the amount and nominate a beneficiary to whom the money should be paid.

What does it cover?

Cover will differ depending on the type of funeral plan you take out. It could include:

  • the burial and funeral service,
  • the tombstone and coffin,
  • additional cover for dependants,
  • transport of the mortal remains to a funeral home of the family’s choice, and
  • groceries and airtime.

What kind of cover is best for you?

Choosing a funeral insurance policy can be tricky because there are many options, and each is slightly different. Evaluate them according to how well they suit your personal circumstances. Funerals can be expensive, depending on how elaborate they are. The affordability of the monthly premiums may be a deciding factor in the policy you choose.

Here are some questions to ask when you’re looking at your funeral policy options:

How many people do you want to cover? Most funeral plans offer cover for you and a certain number of family members at a set basic premium. If you want to cover more family members, however, you’ll need to pay extra for each additional member added. Shop around for a policy that offers cover for all the people you’d like to include at the lowest cost.

What kind of funeral do you want? Do you want a traditional funeral that includes the service and burial or cremation, or a memorial service and a gathering afterwards? Are there actions that need to be performed or items that need to be purchased according to your family’s traditions? Will your funeral plan cover these costs too?


You may already have access to funeral insurance without even being aware of it


How much can you afford?

Like all insurance policies, you must keep your payments on a funeral plan up to date for the cover to be there when you need it. Find what you need at a price you can afford. Set up a debit order to pay your premium on time every month as soon as your salary goes into your account – that way, your funeral plan becomes part of the fixed expenses on your budget and you’ll never miss a payment.

Does your family depend on your income?

If you're the sole breadwinner, your family will need help with groceries, airtime, etc. to make the arrangements for your funeral. Make sure your policy includes immediate payment of an amount to cover these expenses.

What should your funeral plan cover?

Make sure that the plan will cover all the costs associated with a funeral, including that of the undertaker, catering and venue. You can also find plans with extra benefits, like monthly pay-outs to your beneficiaries, bereavement counselling and emergency medical support – all of which can benefit your loved ones, provided the premiums remain affordable.

Do you need the iNkomo benefit?

This benefit will contribute to the transport and slaughter of livestock for your funeral, so it’s essential to include it if you want a traditional African ceremony.

Should you get a funeral plan or life insurance?

Funeral plans and life insurance are different products that address different needs. Funeral cover is to pay for the immediate costs associated with a funeral. Life insurance is primarily designed to provide financial stability for those you leave behind and help sustain their quality of life.

Funeral cover pays out immediately, but it takes a bit longer for a life insurance claim to be paid. Since funeral cover premiums are relatively low, it’s best to have both funeral cover and life insurance. You’ll give your family peace of mind, as your funeral plan will take care of their immediate financial need when you pass, while your life insurance gives them resources for the long term.

Some insurers offer funeral plans as an extra benefit in a life insurance policy, which could make it more affordable to get both forms of cover. Funeral cover is also offered as an embedded benefit on some retail store cards and various bank accounts. Check the benefits available on any cards or accounts you have – you may already have access to funeral insurance without even being aware of it.

If you don’t have funeral insurance yet, it’s time to take steps to ensure that your family can mourn in peace without worrying about the cost of a funeral.