Direct Cremation is a relatively new funeral option available throughout the UK that simply separates the cremation process from the service. Quite simply it is a dignified cremation without a funeral service, so no family or friends in attendance; appealing to those looking for either a cheap cremation alterative or more frequently people who don’t want the worry and fuss of a funeral service.
Awareness and demand for Direct Cremation or a Direct Funeral as it is also known is increasing, to the extent that it could well account for as much as 1 in 5 cremations in just 5 years time. Therefore as you would expect, the number of direct cremation funeral plans in the market place has increased too, all offering cheap cremation services compared to the alternative more traditional funeral service.
As with regular funeral plans however, there are subtle differences between the direct funeral plans on offer that could mean your family has more to pay. So to help you choose the best direct cremation funeral plan for you, here are the main things you need to look out for:
Is collection fully covered?
All direct funeral plans will cover collection of the deceased; some throughout the UK, others throughout England and Wales however most plans have limitations. Whilst all direct cremation funeral plans include collection from a hospital or hospice (basically anywhere with a mortuary), most will charge more, currently up to £250 more for collection from home or a nursing home.
Other direct funeral plans will stipulate that collection is only during working hours, so again additional cost would be incurred if this service was required outside of the direct cremation provider’s core hours.
Therefore it is important to look closely at the collection details and understand exactly what is and isn’t included in the price of the plan. A cheap cremation plan that has limitations may end up costing the family a few hundred pounds more, which may not be ideal if you wanted to ensure all services were included.
Are the Cremation fees and doctors fees fully guaranteed?
Obviously the main components of a direct cremation plan are the actual cremation fees and where applicable, the doctors fees for providing a second death certificate. On first glance you could be excused for thinking that these costs are fully covered however many direct funeral plans only include a contribution towards these services. This means that if the cremation costs and doctors fees are more expensive than the allowance included in the plan, the family would need to pay the balance.
Other plans may include the cremation fees but make no provision for the doctor’s charges. These may not be required but if applicable, currently cost are around £160.
So it’s key to look at how these third party costs are handled and if you want to ensure your family have nothing more to pay, that they are both included and fully guaranteed – whatever the cost.
Where will the Crematorium be?
Many direct funeral plan providers either own their own crematorium or have specific crematoriums around the country that they use in order to keep the cremation cost as low as possible. This means that there is a good chance that the crematorium used won’t be local to you.
Many people who choose a direct cremation plan aren’t bothered which crematorium is used; as long as the cremation process is dignified and abides by the Cremation Regulations they are happy. At the end of the day, there is no funeral service for people to attend so the location of the crematorium doesn’t matter.
For some though, this may be important so if this is the case, look for a direct funeral plan that uses local services and ask in advance where the crematorium will be to ensure it meets with your requirements and is ‘local’ enough for you.
How are the ashes returned?
Direct Cremation funeral plans usually give customers the option of having the ashes scattered in a garden of remembrance or returned to the family.
If the ashes are to be returned, you will find that many companies will either state that they can be ‘picked up’, which may not be convenient if the crematorium is not local to you, or they will charge extra; the cost of which will depend on where your family live. This also means they may use a courier service, which can make some people feel uncomfortable.
There are direct cremation companies that actually hand deliver the cremation ashes to the family, so you may want to choose one of them if this is important to you.
How much does a Direct Cremation Funeral Plan Cost?
As always the cost does vary which is why it is important to shop around and compare direct cremation funeral plans before choosing the right one for you.
Typically you will find plans vary from £1,500 to £2,000; you may also see other lower cost options but just remember that a cheap cremation plan may not always be the best direct cremation plan for you. The price may look good initially but if your family have to pay for additional services at the time of need, it could end up being a costly mistake.
Equally why pay more for a direct funeral plan that doesn’t offer the same guarantees?
To help you understand more about direct cremation funeral plans, how they work and services you should expect to receive, take a look at our Direct Cremation Guide. In addition to further information on why people choose these types of cremation only funerals, you can compare direct cremation plans and read our reviews on the leading companies who provide this service.
Putting a funeral plan in place is a sensible and kind thing to do but only if it is the right one; so take your time, get a brochure, read the small print and ask questions. It is also important to get the family involved too, so they understand your reason for choosing a direct cremation plan and why it is the best option for you.