This funeral plan review will focus on Dignity funeral plans, the market leading plan provider who launched the first funeral plan in 1985.
In addition to providing funeral plans, Dignity also own their own funeral directors throughout the country and are the largest single operator of crematoriums; so a well established company. (plans can be used at any crematorium though – not just Dignity owned crematoriums).
In addition to contribution style plans versus fully guaranteed funeral plans, most plan providers offer 3 or 4 levels of service.
Typically there will be a standard, midrange and superior funeral plan, the main difference between the three being the quality of the coffin and whether limousines are included for the family.
More recently though to help with tighter budgets and more simple requirements, a number of funeral plan companies now offer a Limited or Simple funeral plan, which provides the essential funeral services but includes some restrictions such as the times of the funeral service or the allocation of funeral director.
As we have compared the funeral plan market and chosen to recommend Dignity here is a list of services included in their 4 guaranteed funeral plans and the cost of each plan.
Services included in each plan
Amber Plan (standard)
Pearl Plan (midrange)
Diamond Plan (superior)
Guarantee to cover funeral director services as listed in your chosen plan. Plus the crematorium fee & the minister's or officiant's fee equal to the amount paid for a standard funeral service
Guarantee to cover funeral directors services as listed in your chosen plan. Plus a generous allowance of £1,220 towards burial costs, plot & minister's fees and if it's not all used the surplus will be returned to your estate (other providers don't do this). This contribution increases each year in line with RPI for the plan.s duration.
For cremation funerals that there will be no more to pay for the services as detailed in the plan regardless of when the plan is needed and how much prices increase by in the future, in addition to funeral director's fees, this includes the cremation & minister's fees - something other plans may not.
Your family will receive the funeral director's guidance & advice on all aspects of arranging the funeral. Registration of the death & collection of all the necssary paperwork.
Collection & transportation of the deceased to the Funeral Directors premises at anytime, 24 hours a day within a 50 mile radius.
The funeral director will provide preparation and care of the deceased before the cremation or burial takes place - this does not include embalming, as this practice is not carried out as standard with today's modern preservation techniques (although for a small additional charge the funeral director will do this for you if required).
Unlike some plans with Dignity this is included with all levels of plan at no additional charge.
Normal office hours
Normal office hours
The funeral director will provide a range of coffins to choose from, determined by the level of service.
Quality wood effect
High quality wood veneer
From your home or funeral home to a service location (fees and costs at a separate location not included).
Directly to crematorium
Directly to crematorium
To service location & then to crematorium
To service location & then to crematorium
One limousine will carry between 6 or 7 people.
This will include the funeral director, the driver & pallbearers on the day.
You can make special requests either when you apply for the plan or at anytime, such as, hymns, readings, music etc. Please note that requests for specific items outside of the plan, for example, coffin types or other of significance could incur additional charges.
Should you move home your plan moves with you to a new nominated funeral director, at no extra cost.
You may wish to make additional contrbutions towards any "additional requests" during the lifetime of the plan. These will increase each year in line with RPI .
Thank you cards provided (not all plan providers will offer this).
Limited Plan: A restricted choice of date and time for the funeral will be available. Typically this means that with the Limited Funeral Plan the service will take place before 10.30am or after 3.30pm Tuesday-Thursday. You may not make any additional contributions towards the costs of any special requests. Not available on the Isle of Man..
Dignity have over 1,200 owned or approved funeral directors. Please note that the Limited Plan has a restricted choice from approximately 800 Funeral Directors.
Which funeral services are guaranteed?
The all important part of the funeral plans review that helps you understand if there will be anything left for the family to pay:
All of the four Dignity funeral plans guarantee the funeral directors services which essentially means there will be nothing more to pay for the use of the chapel of rest, the cremation funeral service ( for burials the £1,220 contribution can be used to pay for the burial service), the coffin and hearse (and limousine depending on level of service chosen as detailed in the plan).
The main feature that makes the Dignity Funeral Plan stand out against most other plans is that it is only one of two plan providers on the market that also actually guarantees the cremation fees and minister’s fees too; so a more comprehensive funeral plan for your money.
Service Not Guaranteed
All the services included in the plan for a cremation funeral are fully guaranteed.
If you prefer the burial option then the plan includes one of the largest allowances of £1,200 that increases in line with RPI.
Although not a guarantee, the plan is more comprehensive than most as the allowance can be used in its entirety for any funeral costs such as help with the plot, the reception or funeral flowers and if there is any money left over, it is paid back to the family or estate. Most other funeral plans restrict the use of the allowance just to the actual burial or interment fees and if you don’t use it all, you lose it.
Will there be more for my family to pay?
All the cremation services included in the plan are guaranteed with nothing more to pay however the plan doesn’t include a second doctors certificate. Although this is currently required everywhere in the UK apart from Scotland, the law is soon to change meaning this won’t be necessary. As Dignity didn’t want customers paying for a service they won’t need in the future, they removed this element from their funeral plans.
If you choose the burial option there could be more to pay if the costs exceed the £1,220 allowance (or whatever it has grown to) included in the plan.
What is the Dignity Defaqto Rating for each plan?
To assist in your funeral plan review, Defaqto the independent researcher of financial products has rated Dignity Funeral Plans according to their level of service.
The Dignity Diamond plan along with the superior plan they offer through Age UK was rated 5 stars, which is the highest rating achievable. The midrange Pearl plan was rated 4 stars and the Amber and Limited plans were each awarded 3 stars.
How can I be sure my money is safe?
Another very important part of this funeral plan review is to note that Dignity is registered and regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) so therefore has to abide by their strict rules and code of conduct.
When you buy a Dignity funeral plan your money is held in the National Funeral Trust which is a completely separate entity to Dignity; therefore if anything were to happen to the company, the trust fund with your money in it would remain intact ready to pay for your funeral services.
In addition to annual independent audits, Dignity also produces a report every year of its findings so everything is transparent.
How can I pay for my Dignity funeral plan?
With a Single Payment
The cheapest way to buy a funeral plan from Dignity is either to pay in one go, or spread your costs over 12 months and you won’t incur any additional fees.
If you prefer to spread your payments over a longer period, Dignity offer instalments between 1 and 25 years depending on age, with no deposit. With this option payments should be complete by the age of 85. (Payments over 12 months are permissable at any age).
Dignity also offers flexibility with monthly instalments so if you wish to pay more into the plan from time to time, or pay the balance off early, you can do so.
Is there an age limit?
Dignity funeral plans have a minimum acceptance age of 50 however no maximum threshold (unless you are paying by monthly instalments as mentioned above).
Can I choose either a burial or cremation funeral?
The plan works for both options so you can choose either a cremation or burial funeral when you apply. Alternatively you can state that you are ‘undecided’ and choose your preferred option at a later date or leave it to the family to decide.
Can I cancel my plan?
When you apply for your Dignity funeral plan you have a 30 day free cancelation period giving you time to review all of the details and if you are not entirely happy, you can cancel the plan and receive a full refund.
If you cancel your funeral plan after this period you will receive a refund of the money paid, minus a cancellation fee of £395.
Who will my funeral director be?
They work with over 1,200 funeral directors across the UK; 800 are owned by Dignity Funerals with a further 400 approved independent funeral directors who accept their plans. You can therefore choose one of these companies or Dignity will allocate a local funeral director who is closest to your home address.
What happens if I move home?
If you move the Dignity funeral plan moves with you at no extra cost and they will allocate a new nominated funeral director to your plan.
Do Dignity plans offer additional features?
The main features on the Dignity plans are the full guarantee for the cremation fees and minister’s fees included in the plan and also the full flexibility of the allowance included in the burial option that can be used for any aspect of the funeral, including help buying the burial plot. And any money left over from the allowance is paid back to the family or estate.