What Should you Know Before Taking out a Funeral Policy

Funerals are unfortunately a fact of life, they are traumatic and expensive. Few families are ever really prepared for a funeral. The emotional and financial strain of a funeral can however be prevented by taking out a funeral insurance policy.

Here are some benefits that may be provided under a funeral insurance policy:

  • It’s important to make sure that you have ready cash that’s available immediately. Typically a funeral can cost anywhere between R5000 and R50 000 or more. Factors that will influence the cost include the type of coffin, the gravestone, flowers and the number of mourners. Not everybody has readily available cash to cover these unforeseen expenses. That’s where the benefit of having a funeral policy which can payout with 24 hours is a huge advantage in any financial plan.
  • The planning of a funeral is a major task and you will need to rely on the support of a minister or priest, caterers and funeral undertaker. Communicating with all these service providers will take time and talk time to be exact. Several Insurance companies will send you airtime in order to make the necessary arrangements.
  • Funerals and the death of a loved one are very traumatic and the added pressure of sorting out the deceased’s finances can be stressful. This is when the benefit of counseling can help – some insurers will provide access to a funeral help line that advises on all aspects related to organising and coping with a funeral.
  • Some policies offer added benefits like an immediate cash benefit for groceries and other expenses that can arise after the death of a loved one.

The range of insurers offering funeral policies in South Africa is large, the consumer is spoiled for choice. What should you take into account when shopping for a funeral policy:

  • Make sure that you can afford the monthly premiums. It doesn’t help having a policy with all the bells and whistles and you cannot afford the premiums.
  • Make sure that everybody that you are financially responsible for is covered under the policy. This can include parents, in-laws, children and grandchildren. Many South Africans are members of large extended families and it’s important to ensure that everybody is covered.
  • Make sure that the insurer is a licensed insurer – you can check this out at the FSCA website.
  • The person selling you the policy needs to be licensed by the FSB – ask them to show you their license.
  • Read the application form thoroughly including the fine print. If you don’t understand something ask them to explain it to you. If you are still uncomfortable get another opinion.
  • Complete the application form yourself, don’t allow the sales person to complete the form for you and never sign a blank application form.
  • You must always receive a policy document with a summary of the benefits and your obligations.
  • You have 30 days to cancel the policy after signing the contract; this is known as the “cooling off period”.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence between yourself, the sales person and the insurer.

If you have any complaints about the policy or the insurer you can refer the matter for dispute resolution. The policy documents will outline the dispute resolution procedure that you need to follow. If the insurer is unable or unwilling to resolve the matter to your satisfaction you can refer it the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance.

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