With our changing attitude towards funeral tradition and soaring costs, an increasing number of people across the UK are now looking into cheaper low cost funerals, which is why there are now several prepaid funeral plans available which offer a cheap cremation alternative.
A prepaid funeral plan gives you the chance to arrange and pay for your funeral at today’s prices, saving your family the financial and emotional worry of having to arrange your funeral, but when it comes to a simple, cheaper cremation funeral plan, there are now a few options available to you.
The Limited Funeral Plan
A number of the larger pre paid funeral plans UK providers such as Dignity and Co op now offer a simple cremation funeral plan that provides the essential funeral services of a traditional funeral but with some restrictions.
For example they will usually include a basic coffin and restriction around the time the funeral service can take place. For example the Dignity Limited Plan stipulates that the funeral must take place either before 10.30am or after 3.30pm Tuesday to Thursday. Many people make their funeral arrangements for a little later in the day to allow friends and family time to travel, so this type of simple cremation funeral plan uses the crematoriums at either end of the day, when they are quieter and therefore cheaper.
Limited, Restricted, Basic or Simple funeral plans as they are usually referred to can have other restrictions such as choice of funeral director, so as always it is important to look at the detail and compare.
The Funeral Director only Funeral Plan
When it comes to paying for a funeral, the essential costs for a more traditional funeral service fall into two categories – the funeral directors costs and the disbursement fees.
The disbursement fees, usually referred to as the third party fees are the funeral costs that are beyond the control of the funeral director, namely the cremation or burial fees, the minister or officiant’s costs for conducting the service and the doctor’s fee for producing a second death certificate if applicable.
Some funeral plan companies now offer a more basic funeral plan that just guarantees the services of the funeral director, with no provision for the third party fees. As a result, this type of basic funeral plan can be up to a £1,000 cheaper than the standard plan however be aware that if you do choose this type of funeral plan, your family would still need to pay the disbursement fees when the time comes.
Just to put this into context, the average cremation cost across the UK is £791 which has risen by a whopping 8% over the last year. As far as the minister’s fees and doctors fees are concerned, you are looking at costs of around £160 to £180 each, so a total price of around £1,100.
Therefore if you are happy to help with funeral costs but not concerned about covering the complete bill, then this may be a good funeral plan option for you to look at but if you prefer not to leave your family with a bill, this is not the plan for you.
The Direct Cremation Funeral Plan
Direct Cremation is an alternative cheap cremation that is growing in popularity. It includes a simple cremation process but without a funeral service, so no friends or family members in attendance.
In addition to appealing to those looking for a cheap cremation, increasingly direct cremation also attracts people who don’t like the upset or fuss of a funeral service. Separating the cremation process out gives families the flexibility to ‘say goodbye’ in a way more suited to them; be it a few drinks at the local pub, a celebration of life service or a gathering when scattering ashes.
A number of funeral planning companies are now offering Direct Cremation funeral plans but with some, there are additional services that you may end up paying for so do your funeral plan comparison before making a decision. For instance, at the time of need, many direct cremation UK providers will charge more for collection out of hours or from the home or a nursing home however Pure Cremation for example include that in their direct cremation funeral plan at no extra cost.
The Monthly Instalment Funeral Plan
Of course the other option available to those looking for cheap cremation or low cost funerals is to pay monthly for your funeral plan. Most funeral plan providers UK wide offer a range of instalment options between 1 and 20 years but this will depend on your age, as they do usually have a threshold as to when the payments should be completed.
All funeral plan providers offer regular instalment options but some companies also offer a fixed monthly payment funeral plan too. Here’s how they differ:
Regular monthly instalment funeral plan – with this type of funeral plan you know exactly how much the plan is going to cost you and once you have completed the payments, the services that are guaranteed in the plan are covered with nothing more to pay. If anything were to happen to you before you have completed your payments, then the money you have paid into the plan goes towards the funeral costs and the family will need to just pay the balance, but this would be based on the pre-agreed price.
Fixed Monthly Instalment Plan - with this type of funeral plan you are covered after the first one or two years (depending on the provider) for the services in your plan but you continue to make your monthly payments either for life or until you are 90. Therefore there is a chance you could pay more in premiums than the actual cost of the funeral.
With a regular instalment funeral plan you do pay more for the benefit of spreading your costs but as this is based on today’s prices, it could still save your family a lot of money. For example the average cost of a funeral is currently just over £4,000 and they say if funeral costs continue to rise at the same rate, they could reach £6,000 in just 10 years. With Dignity funeral plans, the standard Amber plan currently costs £3,495. If you were to take the plan over 10 years the total cost would be £4,657, which is way below potential average funeral cost of £6,000 that is being suggested.
The other thing to think about when choosing a monthly instalment plan is that although you are not covered until you have completed your payments, if anything were to happen before this time, your family would still have the money you have paid into the funeral plan to help with funeral costs.
So there are a number of options available for those looking for low cost funerals but just beware, a cheap cremation funeral plan may not necessarily be the best funeral plan for you. It just depends on your requirements, so always read the detail and ensure you are fully aware of the funeral services that are included and more importantly, those that aren’t.