California Funeral Insurance: 10 Valuable Questions Answered

California Funeral Insurance
California Funeral Insurance: 10 Valuable Questions Answered

The Golden State has so much to offer, from the beautiful beaches and big cities to Lake Tahoe and everywhere in between. This state is truly miraculous.

It is easy for Californians to forget the costs associated with final expenses. Typically families are not prepared for the shocking price tag that comes with celebrating the life of a loved one.

Funeral expenses can range over a wide variety of price points depending on many factors. Fortunately, this financial predicament can be solved with senior funeral insurance.

California outline

10 Valuable Questions Answered About California Funeral Insurance

1. What is California Funeral Insurance?

Funeral insurance, also known as final expense and burial insurance, is a type of whole life insurance and comes with four key benefits.

Price Lock: The price will never increase, which is a key factor for any seniors on a fixed income. When budgeting for your monthly expenses, it is a top priority to know the costs down to the penny to make sure you don’t run out of funds. This product gives much-needed financial clarity.

Coverage Lock: The coverage amount will never decrease or expire. When purchasing funeral plans designed for final expenses, it is essential that the product is active for the family members left behind.

Builds Cash Value: For each payment made, a portion will go towards the cash value, overtime this account will grow, and the policyholder will have the opportunity to borrow from it.

Fast Payout Process: When someone passes away, things move quickly, and funds are needed as soon as possible. This product is designed to get the beneficiary the financial resources needed in a matter of days rather than weeks or months.

2. What can the Beneficiary use the Financial Distribution for?

When asking what does final expense insurance cover, there is extreme flexibility with what items can be purchased.

  • Funeral Arrangments
  • Cremation
  • Memorial/Celebration of Life
  • Fees from Funeral Homes
  • Casket
  • Burial Expense
  • Embalming
  • Credit Cards
  • Legal Expenses
  • Medical Bills
  • Leaving an Inheritance
  • Remaining Balance on a Mortgage
  • Post-Mortem Expenses
  • Charity Donations
  • Remaining Car Loan Balances
  • Other End-of-Life Expenses

3. What is the Oldest Age that Coverage can be Issued?

The majority of California insurance providers will award initial coverage until the age of 80 or 85. There are, however, a select few companies that will sign off on funeral insurance coverage up until 90 years old.

This section is speaking on the initial application age only. Once you receive your coverage, it will never expire.

4. What is the Cost of California Final Expense Insurance?

Final expense insurance is an affordable life insurance option for seniors because of the small coverage amounts—the lower the death benefit, the lower the monthly premium.

Traditional whole life insurance policies typically range from $50,000 to millions of dollars in coverage. Burial insurance comes in smaller amounts, around $2,000 – $40,000 depending on the provider, which drastically lowers the cost.

California Monthly Premiums

$10,000 Death Benefit

Non-Smoking Quotes

Age Female Male
45 $23 – $34 $27 – $47
50 $24 – $39 $31 – $56
55 $28 – $47 $36 – $61
60 $33 – $54 $44 – $68
65 $41 – $66 $56 – $91
70 $53 – $80 $75 – $106
75 $72 – $116 $100 – $150
80 $98 – $190 $140 – $232
85 $136 – $220 $193 – $312

5. How is the Price Determined?

Other than the amount of coverage, three main factors determine the price of final expense life insurance.

Age: As stated earlier, the price does not increase over time, but the longer you wait before securing a policy, the higher the price. Someone who is 76 years old will pay less than someone who is 77 years old. Do not wait to lock in your price.

Gender: Gender will impact your price point as well. Males will pay more for coverage than females, this is for a few different reasons, but the most prevalent is that women live four years longer than men on average.

Heath: Your medical history has the largest effect on the price you will pay for burial insurance. This is because the more complications a senior has had with their health, the more risk the carrier considers them. The insurer combats this risk by raising the price or placing the applicant in plans that have a waiting period.

Tobacco use also plays into the cost. Most carriers have a separate when it comes to burial insurance for smokers.

6. What is a Waiting Period?

This is a time restriction that the carrier places on higher-risk cases before paying out the full coverage amount upon death. Waiting periods are usually two years from the day the policy was issued.

How it works: If the insured passes away before the waiting period ends, the beneficiary will receive a predetermined portion of the coverage amount. If the insured passes away after the waiting period has ended, the beneficiary will receive the full death benefit.

Work with an independent agent to qualify for burial insurance with no waiting period.

7. Can I Purchase a Final Expense Insurance Policy for Someone in CA?

You can purchase life insurance for a loved one, but there are a few rules you need to follow. The insured will need to be involved in the process by agreeing to coverage and being in a healthy enough mental state to understand what they agree to.

There also needs to be “insurable interest”; this automatically exists if you purchase for a parent. However, you cannot take out a final expense insurance policy on someone without their permission.

8. Captive vs. Independent: Which is the Better Agent Option?

If licensed in California, these agents are both able to secure coverage. However, the process and amount of choices these agents have are very different.

Captive: This agent is contracted to one single company, like Lincoln Heritage, State Farm, or Colonial Penn. This may seem like a minimal constraint on the surface, but there are a few things to know when working with this type of agent.

The underwriting standards for health and age differ depending on what company you apply with. An example is that one carrier will approve coverage for an applicant with a specific medical condition, but another company will deny coverage to this same individual.

This is also true for the price structure of burial insurance policies. Prices can vary drastically depending on which company you use.

Independent: This type of agent is not tied to any specific life insurance companies. Flexibility in providers means they can present several options for seniors who have experienced medical complications or various budgets.

Working with an independent agent allows you to have more coverage options.

9. What is the California Final Expense Program?

Any mail discussing the “California Final Expense Program” or “state regulated life insurance” is simply an advertisement. This mail is sent out in mass by life insurance agents looking for seniors interested in their products. If you reply, oftentimes, they will arrive at your home in an attempt to sell you a policy.

All life insurance is state-regulated, so any advertisement using this language is a slick way to market to potential consumers. This is deceptive marketing, and Willamette Life does not participate.

10. How do I get a Burial Insurance Quote in California?

The best way to receive funeral insurance quotes online is by using the instant price tool on this page to show you the companies available in CA and the pricing.

To better understand what funeral expense company and policy you can qualify for, contact Willamette Life.

Call Willamette Life at 844-576-0019

Ocean and bridge

What Is The Best Funeral Insurance For Californians?

Every insurance company has different underwriting standards. This essentially means the top company for you could be entirely different than the best company for your spouse. Having a clear understanding of the underwriting process will help you make an informed purchasing decision.


There are four plan tiers in the final expense insurance underwriting process.

Level: With immediate coverage and the lowest premium rates, this is the top product on the market. To earn approval for this plan, you will need to be in top health with no recent medical events.

Graded & Modified: A two-year waiting period is implemented with these plans. If the insured were to pass away during the waiting period, a portion of the coverage amount would be paid to the beneficiary. The full amount is awarded if death occurs after the waiting period has concluded.

Guaranteed Issue: This plan asks no health questions and approves nearly every senior who applies for guaranteed insurance to cover burials. This type of policy should be reserved for those with chronic medical conditions.

How to Find the Best California Burial Insurance Companies

Fortunately, most companies are licensed in California, which gives you many options when shopping for coverage. There are three key things to look for when deciding what burial insurance company is best for you.

Low Cost: Every company has different price points. It is best to work with an independent agent that has access to many companies.

Immediate Coverage: Though it is not always possible due to previous medical histories, finding day one coverage will protect your family sooner and get you a lower monthly premium.

High Financial Rating: Every insurance provider has a financial rating. Always look for a B+ or better. This will show that the carrier is financially stable and will be assured to honor their financial commitment to your family.

California Funeral Cost, Statistics, & Regulations

Where you live in California will dictate how much you can expect average funeral cost to be. For example, the cost in Orange County, CA, will be different from other parts of the state.

The average burial service in California is $7,279 while the average cost of cremation is $6,011.

Many states allow burial on private land, but the California Burial Law states that bodies must be buried in established cemeteries. There are, however, some exceptions based on local code in rural areas.




Bakersfield $6,819 $5,653
Eureka $8,167 $6,647
Fresno $7,293 $6,079
Los Angeles $6,639 $5,497
Monterey $8,215 $7,095
Palm Springs $6,515 $5,290
Redding $7,288 $5,908
Sacramento $7,360 $6,041
San Diego $7,117 $5,875
San Jose $7,381 $6,024
State Average $7,279 $6,011

Not included in these price estimates:

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

California Cremation Legalities & Statistics

In 2020 Californians choose to be cremated over 70% of the time. Projections for 2030 show that the creation rate should rise to 83%.

California cremation laws are some of the strictest in the country, with very specific limitations on the placement of remains. As per the Consumer Guide to Funeral and Cemetery Purchases, Californians have the following options.

  • Placement in a columbarium or mausoleum
  • Burial in a plot in a cemetery
  • Retention at a residence (permit required)
  • Storing in a house of worship if allowed by local zoning laws
  • Scattering in areas where no local prohibition exists (written permission required)
  • Scattering in a designated scattering garden
  • Scattering at sea, at a minimum 500 yards from shore

Lifespan of Californians

The average age upon death in the state is 79.2 for males and 84.2 for females. California is in the top five when compared to the national average lifespan.

National Average Lifespan:

  • Males 76.3
  • Females 81.4

Causes of Death for California Residents

Listed below are the top 10 leading causes of death in the state.

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Alzheimer’s
  5. Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease
  6. Accidents
  7. Diabetes
  8. Influenza/Pneumonia
  9. Hypertension
  10. Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis

No one knows when their health is going to decline. The most proactive thing to do is create a financial plan to leave family members with the protection and resources needed to celebrate your life.

Final Thoughts

a. California funeral insurance policies are great options for leaving a financial legacy and taking care of your loved ones.

b. No one knows when their health will start to decline, this means being proactive and creating a plan as soon as possible is a great idea.

c. There are both affordable and attainable plan options for everyone. Work with an independent agency to find the best plan for your specific medical history and budget guidelines.

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