What Does Final Expense Insurance Cover? 10 Common Costs

what does final expense insurance cover
What Does Final Expense Insurance Cover? 10 Common Costs

When looking into burial insurance for seniors, it is important to know what the beneficiary can use the death benefit for.

In this article, we will detail the most common items that a final expense insurance payout is used for.

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What Does Final Expense Insurance Cover?

Final Expense insurance can cover anything. The death benefit is paid out upon the insured’s passing and can be used to cover any costs necessary. While this money is often spent on funeral expenses, it is not restricted to just burials and cremation.

The funds are flexible upon payout, but there are certain items that beneficiaries usually spend the money on. This coverage is also referred to as funeral insurance and burial insurance.

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What Burial Insurance Can Be Used For

While the death benefit has no restrictions, seniors usually take out burial insurance to cover their final expenses. Listed below are the ten most common expenses that you will want to consider.

Funeral Service Costs

This is a time to mourn the loss of the deceased while celebrating the life they lived. Burial insurance covers these expenses. The costs of a funeral can rapidly add up when considering the additional aspects of a gathering.

  • Use of facilities/staff for ceremony
  • Transportation of remains
  • Other preparation of the body

Of course, these expenses are not required, but it is good to have this in mind when planning a service.

Burial Expenses

The average burial cost in America is $7,643, including items like a casket, service fees, transferring, and more. Not included in this average amount is a grave marker or plot of land. The price can vary by about a thousand dollars in either direction depending on where in the United States these services are being performed.

Burial is one of the most traditional ways to be laid to rest. However, it is on the decline across the country due in part to the higher cost.


Cremation is commonly viewed as the least expensive option when someone passes away, but it still costs about $6,280. This national average cost does not include a columbarium or headstone. In recent years, the cremation rate has outpaced the more traditional burial option.

Post Mortem Expenses

There are two primary reasons an autopsy would be elected. The first being if there was any foul play that was suspected to be the cause of death. The second reason is for genealogy and looking to review any hereditary conditions to be on the lookout for in the remaining lineage.

Medical Bills

Any outstanding medical bills that were not taken care of before death can be covered using the final expense policy payout.

The estate is responsible for paying any outstanding medical bills. If these expenses cannot be paid for by the estate through probate, these costs could fall to the adult children or other family members, depending on the state of residence. If the insured is on Medicare or Medicaid, these health programs could cover a portion of any outstanding medical charges.

The funeral insurance payout will not be subject to probate.

End-of-Life Care

Senior care could include some of the following costs. Statistics show that it is common for seniors to receive at least one of these services towards the end of life. Make sure you are financially ready.

  • Hospital Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Hospice Care

Outstanding Bills

Having some remaining bills is nearly unavoidable. Even for those who are debt-free when they pass, there is still a high likelihood of family encountering some of these expenses.

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Utilities
  • Cable/Internet
  • Phone
  • Car
  • Subscriptions

While not all of these payments will need to be taken into account, this is a good place to start when considering what outstanding bills might need to be paid.

Legal Expenses

Specific tax paperwork needs to be filed after someone passes away. If the insured has a trusted accountant that helps file their taxes each year, they could explain this process.

Legal expenses usually slip through the cracks of many end-of-life budgets. Be sure to have a Will and assigned power of attorney prepared to ease the transition for loved ones.

Leaving an Inheritance

Leaving an inheritance can be done in a multitude of ways. Most commonly, the remaining money after final expenses are covered is left to the family.

If leaving a financial legacy is highly important, taking out a policy to cover this is encouraged.

Charity Donations

Regardless of the policy’s size, leaving money to a favorite charity or religious organization is an admirable thing to do.

Charity contributions can be fulfilled by naming the organization as a beneficiary or donating any remaining funds after the final costs have been covered.

Happy couple walking on beach

Frequently Asked Questions

As you can see, when you get down into it, many expenses can rapidly start to increase the amount of money needed once someone passes away. This is why it is a good idea to get funeral insurance coverage sooner rather than later.

Are Any Expenses NOT Covered by Funeral Insurance?

One of the best things about this product is that the money can cover anything. This provides unrivaled flexibility.

Perhaps the insured changes their mind down the road on their final wishes. This adjustment will not be an issue because they simply need to communicate their new decision to the beneficiary. There is no need to call the funeral insurance company or take any further action.

What Kind of Insurance Covers Burial?

Most life insurance policies can cover burial costs. However, final expense insurance is the only one specifically designed to cover seniors’ funeral expenses at a low monthly cost.

What can be Included in Funeral Expenses?

Funeral costs vary greatly depending on the final wishes of the deceased. From a casket and funeral plot to funeral director fees and headstone, many items add up quickly.

How Long do you Pay for Final Expense Insurance?

The length of time that you pay for final expense coverage varies with every company. Many companies have you pay until the policy matures, usually well over 100. However, other life insurance companies do not have you pay as long.

How Quickly Does the Beneficiary Get the Money?

With funeral insurance, the money is given to the recipient within a week (or less) of the filed claim. Other types of coverage take around 30 days before the beneficiary will receive the death benefit.

The money comes in a tax-free lump-sum amount. This is important because the amount intended for the beneficiary is what will end up in their pocket. There will not be any tax payments later on that they will have to account for.

What is the Best Life Insurance to Cover Funeral Expenses?

Final expense life insurance is distinctly intended to cover senior funeral expenses. There are many life insurance plans out there, all with slightly different purposes. Even within burial insurance, policies can offer different pricing and benefits.

For example, traditional life insurance can pay for funerals, but it can take 30 – 60 days for your beneficiary to receive the money. Fortunately, funeral insurance policies take only a couple of days to process the claim after the insured’s passing.

The best funeral insurance is different for every person. The ultimate coverage comes down to the health, age, and desired coverage amount the individual is interested in.

son giving mother on couch coffee mug

Funeral Insurance Basics

Funeral coverage is a type of simplified issue whole life insurance. Burial insurance, funeral insurance, and final expense all are the same type of coverage. These differences in names are strictly for marketing purposes. Final expense insurance costs less than traditional whole life policies because it comes in smaller death benefit amounts.

Simplified Issue: This references the straightforward underwriting process. With burial policies, you will never be asked to get a medical exam. Coverage can be taken out completely over the phone from the comfort of your home.

Whole Life Insurance: This type of policy lasts for the insured’s entire life and never expires. The rates and coverage amount are locked in, so there are never any surprises down the road. Other policy types terminate after a certain time period, but whole life does not.

Upon qualification, you could get burial insurance with no waiting period, meaning the policy will cover these costs immediately.

Final expense insurance works in a very straightforward way. Take these simple steps to get your final wishes covered.

  1. Take out a policy
  2. Make the monthly premium payments
  3. The beneficiary receives money upon the death of the insured

How Do I Get a Policy?

When looking into coverage, there is no shortage of agents or insurance companies to purchase through. It is important to read reviews and understand your options.

Seniors have three options when purchasing a policy.

Directly from the insurance provider, from a captive agent, or from an independent agent.

Purchasing a policy directly from an insurance carrier or a captive agent gives limited coverage options. This is due to them only representing their own products. Independent agents and agencies have access to several life insurance companies and can compare final expense insurance quotes and qualifying standards to find the best plan for you.

Why Work with an Independent Agent?

Working with an independent agency specializing in senior life insurance will undoubtedly be the quickest and most cost-effective way to get immediate coverage at the lowest rate.

Willamette Life is an independent agency. Unlike other agencies selling coverage from only one company, Willamette Life offers policies from many insurance companies.

Call us at 844-576-0019

ocean waves sun shining through cloudsFinal Thoughts

a. What does final expense insurance cover is a very common question that is asked. The answer is that the beneficiary can use the money to cover anything needed. Getting a policy with flexible spending is helpful to accommodate any needed costs or unexpected bills during this time.

b. Burial insurance is a type of whole life coverage that comes in smaller policy amounts to make it more affordable for seniors on a budget.

c. Working with an independent agent is the best way to review and compare plans to find the best fit for your specific needs.

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