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hate either contemplating or talking about their own death or burial and
try to avoid both subjects whenever possible, perhaps they want to
believe it will never happen to them. The reality, however, is that
everyone dies and if you don’t plan ahead for the inevitable costs
associated with a funeral and burial, your survivors could be left with
a mountain of bills that they cannot afford to pay. All other members of
your family should be included in any burial plan or should have
policies of their own.
When considering the need for burial insurance, the first thing you should do is determine the costs currently associated with a funeral and burial. Even if you have a burial plan, the benefit amount may not be sufficient (especially if the policy is an old one) to cover the actual costs.
After you determine the estimated funeral and burial costs, you can start looking for a burial insurance plan that best suits your needs. A reputable insurance agent will be able to point you in the right direction.
Look at the Numbers
You won’t know what kind of burial insurance plan you need – or if the one you have is sufficient - until you estimate the costs of a funeral and burial. This will take a bit of time and research, but the effort will definitely be worth it.
The items you must include in this estimate are: medical bills not covered by insurance, debts, cemetery plot, casket, vault, headstone, funeral service and viewing, floral arrangements, limousine service, minister’s fees, body preparation fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. A funeral home could give you a rough estimate of most of these costs.
Estimating the costs associated with a funeral and burial accomplishes two things: it allows you to choose an adequate burial plan and gives you an idea of the bill you or your survivors could be stuck with.
Do You Need a Burial Plan?
Before you begin shopping for a burial insurance plan, make sure that you really need one. Go through all of your existing policies and check for burial coverage. If you have insurance through your place of employment, burial costs may already be covered.
If you find that you are not covered through your workplace, see if your employer offers such a plan and whether or not you are eligible to participate – premiums paid through an employer can be a lot lower than those paid through an independent plan. If you or a loved one is a veteran of the U.S. Military, then a funeral, burial plot and other miscellaneous expenses are most likely part of your veteran’s benefits.
If you have a current burial insurance policy, compare the benefit to the current estimated costs. Funeral costs increase every year and your current plan (especially if it’s an old one) may not pay enough to cover everything. If this is the case, consider modifying your current policy or getting an additional one.
Buying Burial Insurance
Once you’ve decided to buy a burial insurance plan, do a lot of shopping around and make sure that the plan you choose fits your needs. You’ll want a policy that will cover all funeral and burial expenses and one that takes into account the increasing associated costs as well.
For example, if you’ve used today’s prices to calculate that the cost of your funeral and burial would be $10,000, a policy with a benefit in that amount will probably not cover the same expenses 10 or 15 years from now. You will need to make an educated guess as to the future cost or purchase a plan that takes these ever-increasing numbers into account.
The burial insurance plan that you choose may simply require that you send in an application through the mail. If you are relatively young and have no major medical problems, then the premiums should be low and qualifying for the policy won’t be a problem.
If, on the other hand, you have been diagnosed with any major or terminal illnesses, have recently been hospitalised, had an organ transplant or been denied insurance in the past 6 months, you will not qualify.
An alternative to the traditional burial plan is something called “pre-need” insurance. This type of burial plan allows you to prepay for your burial expenses at current prices. It also lets you plan all aspects of the funeral, from the music played and passages read to the clothing you’ll be buried in.
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