Funeral Plans are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s little wonder that the number of funeral plan providers has also increased. But do the biggest funeral plan providers offer the best funeral plans and other than the amount you pay, is there any real difference between buying a Co op funeral plan compared to one from Golden Charter, Golden Leaves or Dignity?
Well if you are thinking about buying a funeral plan, it is always sensible to read in full the funeral plan reviews and comparisons first; but as a starting point, if you are just looking for a quick rundown of the main funeral plan providers, the following information will help.
One point worth mentioning, we would only ever recommend you choose a funeral plan provider that is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority. This means that the funeral plan provider in question has had to demonstrate on an ongoing basis that they comply with their strict rules regarding how your money is handled. I have therefore highlighted which funeral plan providers are NOT registered with the Funeral Planning Authority so you are fully informed.
In general terms there are three ‘biggies’ when it comes to funeral plan providers; Dignity is one of them. They were the first plan provider back in 1985; own their own funeral directors and are also the largest single owner of crematoriums. The main point to raise about the Dignity funeral plan is that for cremation funerals, everything included in the plan is fully guaranteed. This means that your family will never have to pay a penny more for the services included.
They also offer a flexible allowance for burial fees of £1,220 that can be used to help pay for the burial costs, the plot or a memorial stone and any money left over is paid back to the family or estate.
The second of our three largest funeral plan providers is the Co op. The Co operative Funeralcare to give its full name essentially is a team of funeral directors. The most notable thing about their plans are that they are again fully guaranteed; although for burial this will just include the actual burial fees and ministers fees with no provision for the burial plot.
Our third ‘biggie’ is Golden Charter who is the largest funeral plan provider to independent funeral directors. Because of this, their plans are widely accepted however they do offer a contribution style funeral plan which means that although the funeral directors costs are guaranteed, there is only a contribution of £940 towards the third party costs (essentially the cremation or burial fees and the ministers fees). This means that your family could have more to pay when the time comes.
Golden Leaves offer a similar funeral plan to Golden Charter that includes a contribution of £940 towards the third party cremation or burial costs. They offer a range of six funeral plans but one of the plans doesn’t include the afore mentioned contribution and another is a ‘direct cremation funeral plan’ that doesn’t include a funeral service. Therefore as with any plan, do check on what is included in each before you buy.
Golden Leaves also offer a European Funeral Plan that can be used in some European countries such as Spain.
Like Golden Charter and Golden Leaves, Avalon’s funeral plans are accepted by independent funeral directors however not as widely, therefore it may be worth checking if there is one that is local to you before proceeding. They offer a contribution style plan with a full guarantee for the funeral directors costs and an allowance of £1,000 for third party costs.
They are the only funeral plan provider to offer unlimited transportation of the deceased throughout the UK which may appeal to some. Keep in mind though that you appetite for travel does tend to reduce as we age so this may not be such a key feature in future years.
Avalon also offer funeral plans in a number of European countries.
Perfect Choice is not a funeral plan provider as such; they are part of the Ecclesiastical Group with funeral plans provided by Ecclesiastical Planning Services.
Perfect choice offer contribution style funeral plans which only pay an allowance towards third party costs; essentially the cremation or burial fees and the minister’s fees. Having said that, the allowance is slightly larger at £1,150 but their plans do tend to be more expensive to start with.
Unlike most funeral plan providers, instead of being held in a trust fund, the money you pay for your Perfect Choice funeral plan is paid into a whole of life insurance plan which is therefore regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Safe Hands are a fairly new funeral plan provider that has been offering funeral plans since 2013. They are NOT registered or regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority and their plans include a contribution for third party costs which could leave the family with more to pay when the time comes.
Safehands state that you can nominate a funeral director anywhere in the UK but as they don’t approach your preferred company until the time of need, your family may find that the funeral plan is not accepted. This is not the case with most other funeral plan providers where the funeral plan is pre-arranged with your preferred funeral director in advance – or in the case of Dignity and the Co op, the funeral director in question is actually owned by the funeral plan provider.
Open prepaid funeral plans offer cremation only prepaid funeral plans however if you prefer burial, than a bespoke funeral plan can be arranged.
They are NOT registered with the Funeral Planning Authority; there is a message on their website that states they are about to become members but this was dated November 2016.
Open prepaid funeral plans are contribution style funeral plans which only include a contribution towards the third party cremation costs and it is not clear how widely accepted they are by funeral directors throughout the UK.
So these are the main funeral plan providers in the UK, although it has to be said that the Co op, Dignity and Golden Charter do dominate the market. If you want to read more about a particular company, then our more in depth Funeral Plan Reviews pages will help you.
Also just to add that there are more funeral plan providers in the UK but if you are tempted by one of the smaller companies, just check that they are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority first.