Burial Insurance: The Definitive Resource (2021)

Burial insurance
Burial Insurance: The Definitive Resource (2021)

In the later years of life, people start thinking about what life will look like once they are gone, this thought process typically starts once an individual reaches retirement age. Part of this transition means creating a plan for your end-of-life expenses.

These costs can range from $8,000 – $12,000 for a traditional service and quickly increase depending on the deceased’s final wishes.

Fortunately, there is a product that is designed to take care of these costs for family members.

Burial Insurance: The Definitive Resource (2021)

Burial Insurance is designed for seniors. This is done with permanent policy features at an affordable price point with a quick and simple application process. This product is a top priority for families that do not have money set aside for end-of-life costs.

This resource was created to give everyone a better understanding of burial insurance, what it has to offer, and how it can help your specific financial situation.How does it work sharpie

Understanding Burial Insurance

Structured as a whole life product, two key factors make the design of burial insurance different from a traditional whole life plan.

No Medical Exams: Due to the simplified underwriting process that this policy goes through, you will never be asked to get a medical exam. However, there will be health questions that are asked to receive day-one coverage. If you elect not to answer these questions, you will only be eligible for a guaranteed acceptance plan which will impose a 2-year waiting period.

Affordable Coverage: This product typically offers coverage from $2,000 – $40,000, causing the policyholder’s monthly premiums to be much lower than alternative product options.

Product Features

Regardless of where you purchase your whole life product, each plan will come with three key benefits.

Price Lock: Your monthly premium will never increase. For any seniors on a fixed income, this feature is of high importance and value. Knowing that your price will never rise is absolutely critical.

Coverage Lock: The coverage amount will never terminate, decrease, or expire. This allows the policyholder and family members to live with peace of mind knowing that final arrangements will be covered.

Builds Cash Value: With every payment made, a portion will go towards the cash value. Over time this amount will increase and can be accessed by the insured.

What Can Burial Insurance Pay For?

No rules or mandate says what burial insurance covers. This design is what makes this product so useful and great for families. Burial expenses can range widely depending on selections made throughout the process and usually include more than just the final arrangements.

Typical items purchased with the financial distribution include:

  • Burial Costs
  • Cremation Fee
  • Memorial/Celebration of Life
  • Medical Bills
  • Charity Donations
  • Credit Cards
  • Post-Mortem Expenses
  • Other End-of-Life Expenses
  • Remaining Balance on a Mortgage
  • Legal Expenses
  • Remaining Car Loan Balance

Immediate Burial Insurance Coverage

Securing burial insurance with day-one protection is a possibility for many applicants. However, they will need to answer favorably to all the medical questions that are asked. Once these questions are answered, the applicant will qualify for one of four plan tiers.

No matter which plans you qualify for, you will never be asked to take a medical exam.

Four Types of Burial Insurance Plans

Medical history is of high importance and will allow applicants to qualify for one of four plan types.

Level: With immediate coverage and the lowest premiums, the level plan is the premier option within burial insurance. With these great plan features comes a strict underwriting process. If you can qualify, this will be your best plan option.

Graded: Offering favorable underwriting and midpoint premiums, the graded plan is a good option for seniors with specific medical concerns. This plan has a two-year waiting period that will pay a percentage of the coverage amount to the beneficiary if death occurs in year one or two of the policy. The full death benefit will be available in year three and beyond.

Modified: The modified plan has a high price point that still requires an applicant to answer medical questions. The payout structure during the two-year waiting period is typically the same as a guaranteed issue plan. In some cases, a highly rated guaranteed issue plan that asks no health questions will be a cheaper and better option than this product.

Guaranteed Issue: Asking no medical questions, this plan is designed for applicants with chronic or terminal illnesses. Due to no health questions being asked, every applicant will be approved. Those who decline to answer medical questions can also use this plan. However, it is always recommended that the applicant answers the questions in an attempt to qualify for better coverage. This could lead to a better plan structure and lower prices.

Four plan options

The Cost Of Burial Insurance

Several factors will affect the premium someone can expect to pay. Your friend or family members all could receive different prices due to these variables.

How is Price Determined?

Four key components determine the price.

Health: Your medical history is of the highest importance to the insurance carrier. This is because the more complicated the health history is of the proposed insured, the higher the risk it is for the provider. With high risk comes high prices that will have to be paid by the policyholder.

Age: Once coverage is secured, the price will never change. However, the longer you wait to obtain a policy, the higher the price will be. Each year you age, the more liability it is for the carrier to provide initial coverage.

Gender: In the USA, females, on average live four years longer than males do. This means providing coverage to a male will come with a higher risk level, thus higher premiums.

Policy Amount: Like any consumer good, the more you buy, the higher the price will be. Life insurance is no different. The more coverage that is taken out, the higher the monthly premium.

How Much is Burial Expense Coverage?

The chart below illustrates the wide range of premiums based on age, health, and the coverage amount. For individuals who have a simple medical history, the monthly premium will be on the lower end of the price range. Those who have a complicated health history can expect to pay the price towards the higher end of the range.


Monthly Premium Range

Non-Smoking Rates

45$23 – $34$32 – $49$42 – $64
50$24 – $39$35 – $57$45 – $80
55$28 – $47$40 – $69$52 – $103
60$33 – $54$48 – $80$63 – $119
65$41 – $66$60 – $99$79 – $146
70$53 – $80$78 – $120$103 – $177
75$72 – $116$107 – $173$142 – $254
80$98 – $190$146 – $283$194 – $411
85$136 – $220$202 – $328$269 – $436


Monthly Premium Range

Non-Smoking Rates

45$27 – $47$39 – $68$51 – $89
50$31 – $56$44 – $83$58 – $110
55$36 – $61$52 – $91$69 – $135
60$44 – $68$64 – $101$84 – $149
65$56 – $91$83 – $135$110 – $199
70$75 – $106$110 – $158$146 – $233
75$100 – $150$148 – $223$197 – $328
80$140 – $232$208 – $346$276 – $461
85$193 – $312$288 – $467$382 – $621

Top Burial Insurance Providers & Plans

We compiled this list to show the best burial insurance companies and the top plan each offers. Each company has a plan that best suits a certain medical concern. Make sure to speak with your trusted insurance broker before applying for a plan.

Insurance provider logo icon


  • Plan Name: Guaranteed Issue
  • Age Eligibility: 50 – 80
  • Death Benefit Size: $5,000 – $25,000
  • Health Questions: None
  • Waiting Period for Benefits:  2-years
  • State Availability: 49 states & DC (excluding NY)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)


  • Plan Name: Ultra Protector I
  • Age Eligibility: 50 – 85
  • Death Benefit Size: $2,000 – $30,000
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits:  None
  • State Availability: 47 states & DC (excluding MS, NY, & VT)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)


  • Plan Name: Accendo Level
  • Age Eligibility: 40 – 89
  • Death Benefit Size: $2,000 – $50,000 (depending on age)
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • State Availability: 39 states & DC (excluding CA, CT, DE, FL, MA, MI, NY, ND, PA, SD, WA)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)

Foresters Financial

  • Plan Name: PlanRight Level
  • Age Eligibility: 50 – 85
  • Death Benefit Size: $5,000 – $35,000 (depending on age)
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • States Covered: All 50 & DC
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)


  • Plan Name: Guaranteed Acceptance
  • Age Eligibility:  50 – 80
  • Death Benefit Size: $5,000 – $25,000
  • Health Questions: No
  • Waiting Period for Benefits:  2-years
  • State Availability: 49 states & DC (excluding MT)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)

Guarantee Trust Life

  • Plan Name: The Heritage Plan
  • Age Eligibility: 40 – 90
  • Death Benefit Size: $2,500 – $25,000
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: 2-years
  • State Availability: 48 states & DC (excluding CA & NY)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)

Mutual of Omaha

  • Plan Name: Living Promise Level
  • Age Eligibility: 45 – 85
  • Death Benefit Size: $2,000 – $40,000
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • State Availability: 49 states & DC (excluding NY)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A+ (superior)

Oxford Life

  • Plan Name: Assurance
  • Age Eligibility: 50 – 85
  • Death Benefit Size: $5,000 – $30,000
  • Health Questions: Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • State Availability: 45 states & DC (excluding AL, MS, MT, NY, WV)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)

Royal Neighbors of America

  • Plan Name: Simplified Issue Whole Life
  • Age Eligibility: 50 – 75
  • Death Benefit Size: $7,000 – $30,000
  • Health Questions:  Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • State Availability: 43 states & DC (excluding AL, AK, HI, LA, MA, NH, NY)
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)


  • Plan Name: Immediate Solution
  • Age Eligibility: 45 – 85
  • Death Benefit Size: $1,000 – $40,000 (depending on age)
  • Health Questions:  Yes
  • Waiting Period for Benefits: None
  • State Availability:  All 50 & DC
  • A.M. Best Company Rating: A (excellent)

white piggy bank with calculator

Is Paying For Burial Insurance A Good Idea?

Burial insurance is necessary for families who do not have money set aside for the inevitable costs associated with death. This policy allows family members to carry out final wishes and honor the deceased without taking on a financial burden themselves.

Pros and Cons of Burial Insurance

Every family is in a different situation with varying financial needs. There are a few things to know that will help you determine if burial insurance is worth it for you.



Affordable coverageModerately more expensive than a term plan
Rates never changeLower coverage amounts than other products
Coverage never decreases or terminatesLiving a long time could lead to overpaying
Simplified underwriting (no medical exam)
Builds a cash value over time
Quick distribution upon filing a claim
The payout can be used for anything

Simple Math is all it Takes

To better understand if this product is right for you, for parents, or for other loved ones, all that is needed is a calculator and basic math skills.

The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years old.

For example, if a healthy female takes out a $10,000 policy when she is 65 years old, how long would she need to live to be overpaying the amount she could have accumulated in a savings account?

Let’s look deep into the numbers:

Here is a simple chart to illustrate the amount of money the applicant would pay into the account up until the day she passes away.

Woman’s Age

Amount Paid Into Policy


In this presentation, the monthly premium would be $41 per month, and it would take over 20 years (244 months) for her to pay more than what she could have saved.

In this example, the women would only begin to overpay for the policy after turning 86, which is well over the national average. That is over 20 years of having peace of mind that her burial expenses will be covered regardless of when her time comes.

Burial Insurance vs. Life Insurance

The financial services industry has many different products to offer, making it difficult to know where to start.

Thankfully burial insurance is simple to understand and offers permanent benefits through a quick application process.

Nonetheless, other products on the market can also be used for end-of-life expenses.

Burial Insurance Alternatives

It is important to understand the options you have with choices, but each plan comes with disadvantages to be aware of.

Traditional Whole Life Insurance

As a pillar in the life insurance industry, this plan includes permanent benefits.

Whole Life Benefits: Each whole life plan comes with three key continual benefits. The price will never increase, the coverage will never decrease or terminate, and the plan will build a cash value that the policyholder can borrow from.

Larger Policy Amounts: Coverage amounts typically start from $50,000 – $100,000 and can climb up into the millions. This price range makes the monthly premiums much higher than many can afford.

Tax Benefits: A trusted financial advisor may encourage individuals to use this plan for tax benefits or to shelter wealth.

Universal Life Insurance

There are different types of Universal Life plans. However, each has a main feature that attaches the plan to the financial market in one way or another.

Price Fluctuates: Your monthly premium amounts will be tied to how the market is performing. This can leave seniors on a fixed income in a vulnerable position if the market takes a downward turn.

Larger Policy Amounts: Like a traditional whole life plan, this product also has larger policy amounts that can make your monthly premiums very expensive.

Cash Value Tied To Market: Your cash value will be connected to how the market is doing. For better or worse, your cash value can fluctuate greatly.

Term Life Insurance

Term plans are consistently marketed to seniors through television commercials and direct mailings. These plans advertise low monthly premiums, but there is a catch.

Coverage Terminates: Your plan will terminate at some point. Meaning if you take out a 20-year policy at the age of 50, the plan will cancel during your 70th birth year. This is problematic for seniors over 70 who are relying on this product to pay for end-of-life expenses. Essentially you are taking a chance that you will not outlive your policy.

Price Is Cheaper: Since the policy will cancel at some point, the insurance carrier will entice seniors to pay a low monthly premium for coverage but beware that there are term plans on the market that actually increase in price the older you get.

Does Not Build Cash Value: There is not a cash value component tied to this product. You are ultimately renting coverage each month.

Pre Need Insurance

This plan type is taken out with the mortuary by design, limiting family members’ options.

Beneficiary Is The Mortuary: Pre-need coverage has limited flexibility as to what the beneficiary can use the lump-sum distribution for. This can be problematic because there is almost always a final car payment, electric bill, or medical expense that needs to be paid. With pre-need, there is not an option to pay these expenses with additional funds.

Covers Limited Items: There are specific approved items tied to end-of-life expenses that this plan will cover, including a casket, urn, etc.

Locked Into Your Choice: When you take out this policy, you are essentially going into a long-term partnership with a business, limiting your options. What if the business is no longer operational in future years or you decide to be laid to rest in another geographical region? These are things to think about before deciding on a pre-need plan.

Savings or Investment Account

This is typically deemed the safest choice when it comes to putting money away for end-of-life expenses. However, there are still risks involved.

Passing Away Unexpectedly: It is impossible to dictate or know when your health will decline. This makes it hard to judge if your saving efforts will be enough to cover final arrangements. If you come up short, this can leave loved ones in a vulnerable financial situation.

Market Volatility: Placing your money in the market is another way to save for these inevitable costs. However, the market is known to be volatile, and it can be hard to predict if your investments will be enough.

Inflation: The United States has a history of inflation. It can be hard to judge if your saving efforts will outpace the rate of inflation.

FAQ blocks

Questions Asked Often

Is Burial Insurance Necessary?

For families that do not have money set aside for the cost associated with one’s death, burial insurance is a top priority. A small percentage of American families have a savings account set aside for these costs, which makes the design of this product a necessity for many.

How Much Burial Coverage do I Need?

The final arrangements of one’s life can add up to between $8,000 – $12,000. This does not consider a final phone bill, water utility expense, or any debt left behind. This number can add up quickly depending on the deceased financial situation. Taking out a bit more coverage than what you think is needed may be a good idea. Giving your family more rather than less will benefit loved ones and make sure they do not need to pay out of their own pockets.

Can Life Insurance Cover Burial Expenses?

Life insurance can be used for burial expenses. Ultimately it is up to the beneficiary to decide what the lump-sum payout will be spent on after filing the claim. If other expenses need to be paid, the beneficiary and family members may decide to use another source of funds for final arrangements.

Can Burial Insurance be Denied?

If the applicant is mentally incapacitated or unable to understand what they are signing and agreeing to, coverage will not be issued. However, there are guaranteed issue plans that will award coverage to those with chronic or even terminal illnesses. Level plans will deny those who are deemed ineligible for coverage.

Is Paying for Burial Insurance Necessary?

Burial Insurance allows you to calculate if this plan type is the right product for you. This is possible because coverage never decreases, and the monthly premium never increases. Essentially, you will calculate how long you would need to pay into the policy to overpay. Regardless, burial insurance will never expire and will always be there for your family making it a must-have product for the financial protection of loved ones.

Does Social Security Help Pay for Burial Costs?

A survivor of the deceased can claim up to a $255 death benefit from the Social Security Administration. This amount will not cover even the most simple of burials. Do not use this option to cover these expenses as family members will be left taking on the financial repercussion.

How do I Choose the Best Burial Policy for Me?

The best policy for you will depend on four factors, health, age, gender, and the coverage amount. Your health will be the most important aspect and can affect the price you will pay. Speak with an experienced broker that can help guide you towards customized burial coverage.

Can I Buy Burial Insurance for Someone Else?

You can buy burial insurance for others, but some rules will need to be followed. There needs to be insurable interest, and the applicant will need to be part of the application process. This includes signing their name and answering the medical questions.

Are there Burial Insurance Plans for Families?

Every application is individually underwritten, meaning that there are no plans meant to cover an entire family.

Calla Lilies in vase on white table

How To Plan For A Service And Burial

What is the Cost of a Traditional Burial Service?

The average cost for a traditional burial service with viewing is $7,643 or $6,280 for cremation in the USA. This cost estimate can differ depending on many variables, including location.

Not included in these price estimates:

  • Cost of Headstone, Monument, or Marker
  • Cemetery Property, Plot of Land, Columbarium, etc.

Decide on How You Want Your Life to be Celebrated

Planning your service is an important step that is often overlooked. When first taking this concept on, it can be overwhelming, but fortunately, many great planning guides can help you through the process.

Decisions to Think About

Cremation or Burial: This is a personal decision that can be chosen for religious and spiritual beliefs or economic and environmental reasons. Whatever you decide, you will want to understand the associated costs better.

Service: The service can be done in many ways, including a small gathering or a large celebration of life. It is important to note that the more people invited, the more the costs will rise. Having this reflect in your budget is another variable to remember while planning for end-of-life costs.

Final Resting Place: Depending on whether you are buried or cremated will determine the options you will have. You can be laid to rest in a cemetery or columbarium or have your ashes spread in a special and meaningful place.

Inform Your Family Members of Your Final Wishes

Ultimately whatever you decide, these final wishes need to be passed along to your beneficiary and family members in writing. The days after a loved one has passed can be extremely emotional, draining, and chaotic. Giving every family member involved a road map to your final wishes can create structure and understanding of what needs to be accomplished.

life Insurance Application

How To Get Coverage

There are three ways to secure burial insurance coverage.

Directly with a Company: It is very common for seniors to have their mailboxes flooded with direct mail promotional flyers or bombarded with television commercials. These are companies like AARP, Colonial Penn, AAA, Globe Life, and others. The products offered in this way are typically overpriced guaranteed acceptance plans or term products that will eventually expire. This will certainly not be the best option for burial expense coverage.

Captive Agent: This type of agent, or broker, represents one company that is typically a big name brand that pays millions of dollars a year in advertisements to place their logo on everything.

There is nothing wrong with these companies, but the issue is that this agent only has access to one plan. Meaning that even if there was a cheaper option elsewhere, they could not sell it to you. The same can be said for the underwriting process. Every carrier has different medical standards, so only working with one company is taking a chance that they will have the best plan. The chance that they do is very low.

Independent Agent: This agent is allowed to represent whatever companies they wish. This essentially means they work for themselves and can find the right company for your medical history and at the lowest price. An independent broker truly works on your behalf. Let them do the shopping around for you.

Getting Quotes and Buying Online

The fastest way to secure a burial insurance quote is by using our online quote tool. The lower the price for a company, the healthier the applicant will need to qualify for the plan. Once you have obtained your quote, speak with an insurance expert to discuss which plan is best for you.

Work with an Independent Agent

Working with a highly rated and specialized independent agent will ensure that you find the top plan for your specific medical and budget needs.

Final Thoughts written on board

Final Thoughts

a. Burial Insurance is an affordable and effective option for seniors. With a small monthly payment, you will have the peace of mind that your family has the resources needed to take care of the inevitable end-of-life costs.

b. There are many factors in finding what plan you can qualify for, with your health carrying the most weight in the underwriting process.

c. Every company has its own underwriting standards and guidelines. This makes working with a highly rated and respected independent agent the best way to secure a great plan.

Willamette Life specializes in high-risk burial insurance. Our expertise is helping seniors find the right plan for their specific health and budget needs.

Call us at (844) 576-0019

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *