Having been in the prepaid funeral plan market for quite some time, we have gained a much greater understanding of what our customers are looking for when considering buying a prepaid funeral plan, which is one of the reasons why we recommend Dignity Funeral Plans.
We have learnt that although price is of course a consideration, in the main customers are not looking to buy the cheap funeral plan; what they are actually wanting to do is protect the family from having to make funeral arrangements and foot the bill which is where Dignity delivers.
Who is Dignity Caring Funeral Services?
Although some other funeral plan providers would have you believe differently, Dignity Caring Funeral Services to give it its full name is a British run company that provide funeral services for families across the UK. So in addition to selling prepaid funeral plans, they also have their own funeral directors and a number of crematoriums.
Having launched the first funeral plan to be offered in the UK in 1985, Dignity has formed relationships with a number of major companies and so you can now buy Age UK or Age Concern Funeral Plans (as it was formally known), or Dignity plans through the Post Office or a number of high street banks and building societies.
Why should I consider a Dignity Funeral Plan?
More recently as a result of greater competition, the prices of the leading funeral plan providers plans tend to be quite similar give or take the odd offer, so it really does pay to look at the detail. After all if you do find a cheap funeral plan but certain elements are excluded, it’s a bit of a false economy if it means your family are left with a bill when the time comes.
One of the most important reasons why we recommend the Dignity funeral plan is that it is one of only two plans that fully guarantee the cost of cremation and the minister’s fees as well as the funeral directors costs. All others apart from the Coop funeral plan guarantee your funeral director’s costs but only include a contribution, usually of around £1,000 for your cremation and minister’s fees, which means your family could have more to pay when the time comes.
Guarantee versus Contribution
To help explain the impact of having a contribution rather than a guarantee for cremation fees and minister’s fees, it worth looking at the average cost of cremation in the UK which currently stands at around £733. Then if you add the minister’s fees which are usually around £180, this means that the average cost at today’s prices for those services would be £913 which I’m sure you will agree is fairly close to some of the contributions on offer with other funeral plan providers.
With the Dignity funeral plan your family will never have to worry about the rising funeral costs or if you live in a more expensive area where cremation fees exceed £900 as there will never be anything more to pay.
Is everything included in the Dignity Funeral Plan?
More personal funeral arrangements such as funeral flowers, the order of service or the reception aren’t typically included in any plan but you can usually specify your requirements in your prepaid funeral plan so your family and funeral director will know what you want when the time comes.
The other cost that is not included in the Dignity Funeral Plan is the doctor’s fee for a second death certificate but there is a valid reason for this. On the back of a change in legislation in Scotland, the rest of the UK are currently proposing to scrap the requirement of a second doctors certificate for cremation funerals, which means that when this happens, this third party cost will no longer be payable (the remaining third party costs which include the cost of cremation and the minister’s fees are as mentioned fully guaranteed with the Dignity Funeral Plan).
Therefore to pre-empt this change, Dignity along with a number of plan providers have removed this element from their plan and reduced the price as they don’t want customers paying for a service they will no longer need in the future.
But what about burials?
Most funeral plan information these days focuses more on cremation funerals as they account for the vast majority of funeral services that take place but funeral plans can be used for cremation or burial funerals.
What makes the Dignity funeral plan stand out for burial funerals is that in addition to guaranteeing the funeral directors costs, it also includes one of the highest allowances for burial costs of £1,200 which increases in line with RPI. The most important thing about this allowance though is that you have full flexibility to use it for any of your burial services.
With most funeral plans the burial allowance can only be used for the actual burial or interment fees and if there is any money left over the family will lose it. With Dignity the full £1,200 can be used for any funeral service costs such as helping to purchase the plot or perhaps the funeral flowers. And if there is any money left, it is paid back to the family.
How safe are Dignity funeral plans?
Of course once you have paid for your funeral plan you want to know your money is safe which again is where we feel Dignity ticks the box.
They are registered and regulated by the funeral planning authority (FPA) and your money is held in a trust fund that is a complete separate entity, so in the unlikely event that anything were to happen to Dignity, the trust fund with your money in it would remain intact ready to pay for your funeral.
Some plans like the Co op funeral plan only offer to refund monies paid minus any fees if the company were to fold where as Dignity state that the Managers of the Trust fund will work with funeral directors to ensure your arrangements and previously agreed are carried out.
In addition in the case of insufficient funds, Dignity provides a contractual guarantee to the Trust that it will provide funeral services for every single customer in the Trust, until the very last customer has passed away and are in a stronger position as they have their own funeral directors and are also the largest provider of private crematoriums.
So as you can see, after much research we found the decision to recommend Dignity Funeral Plans quite an easy one to make but don’t take my word for it; take a look at the funeral plans on offer by Dignity and see for yourself.