What Does Funeral Insurance Cover? 10 Eye-Opening Expenses

What Does Funeral Insurance Cover
What Does Funeral Insurance Cover? 10 Eye-Opening Expenses

Before taking a policy out it is necessary to recognize the details of the plan.

This is true with any contractual agreement which is exactly what insurance coverage is, an agreement between you and the carrier. It is important to understand what your monthly premium payments are going towards in order to see the value of the policy.

Some people might assume that just because it is called funeral insurance means that it MUST be spent on a funeral. This simply is not the case.

What Does Funeral Insurance Cover?

Funeral Insurance can cover anything. While these policies are designed to cover the cost of a funeral, there are no obligations or restrictions as to how the money can be used. The beneficiary is given the flexibility to use any additional money towards other necessary bills.

Funeral insurance is a type of simplified issue whole life.

The term simplified issue means that it goes through an easy underwriting (decision-making) process that makes it simple to qualify for and easy to get. The process can be done over the phone and only takes about 30 minutes.

Whole life is life insurance that lasts for the entires life of the insured. Other policy types terminate after a certain time period, but whole life does not.

While these funds are flexible upon payout, there are certain items that beneficiaries usually spend the money on.

There are many plans out there, all with slightly different purposes. Even within the same type of policy can offer different pricing and benefits.

For example, traditional life insurance can pay for funerals but it will take 30 – 60 days for your beneficiary to receive the money so you may have to finance the costs before receiving any funds to cover it.

Fortunately, companies that offer end of life policy’s take only a couple of days to process the claim after the passing of the insured.

Women and senior woman talking and smiling

10 Eye-Opening Expenses

Being that the distribution can be used to cover ANY necessary expenses after the passing of the insured, there are still several common things that are purchased with this money.

Everyone’s final wishes are a little different. Luckily, no matter what they are, getting your final wishes covered will not be a cause for concern for seniors.

It is important that you let your beneficiary know your wishes so they can spend the money accordingly. Within each choice opens more doors into other options.

For example, if you opt for a traditional service, do you want a viewing? What do you want your casket made of? Where would you like to be buried?

Making these decisions can be hard but they will most certainly be harder for your beneficiary if you do not layout your preferences for them.


One of the most traditional ways of lying someone to rest is by placing them into the ground, typically in a casket as a way to preserve the remains. Humans have been doing this since we first roamed the earth.

A traditional service in the United States is $7,643 on average. This cost varies by about $1,000 in either direction depending on where in the USA you are located.

Included in the price estimate:

  • Basic Service
  • Viewing/Visitation
  • Funeral Ceremony
  • Transfer of Remains
  • Embalming
  • Casket ($2,500)
  • Outer Container ($1,000)
  • Dressing and Casketing ($125)

Not included in the price estimate:

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


This other traditional method of final disposition has been around since ancient civilizations, cremation uses heat to reduce the body to ashes.urn icon

Today, this is the most cost-effective process of preparing someone for their final resting place.

In the US the average traditional cremation costs $6,280 but varies by state and city.

Included in the price estimate:

  • Basic Service
  • Transfer of Remains
  • Memorial Service
  • Viewing/Visting
  • Memorial Program ($175)
  • Other Preparation of Body ($255)
  • Embalming ($750)
  • Cremation Casket ($1,200)
  • Crematory Fees ($300)
  • Urn ($295)

Not included in the price estimate:

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

Memorial / Celebration of Life

The ceremony to mourn, pay respects to, and celebrate the life of the deceased.

A traditional service is done with the body present with viewing opportunities whereas a memorial or celebration of life is done without the body present.

There are many ways in which people may choose to celebrate the life of their loved ones. Services vary greatly depending on culture and religion.

Some costs that you might consider factoring in:

  • Event Space
  • Eulogist/Speaker
  • Flowers/Decor
  • Food and Beverage
  • Photos
  • Music
  • Invitations
  • Obituary

Post Mortem Expenses

An Autopsy – Two of the main benefits of an autopsy would be if any foul play was suspected or simply to help discover a hereditary illness.

Autopsies are not usually included with insurance and can cost $3,000-$5,000 dollars to hire a private outside expert to do the job.

Medical Bills

Your estate is responsible for paying any of these outstanding medical bills.Medical symbol green and white

If these expenses cannot be paid for by your estate these costs could fall to your children depending on the state in which you reside. If you are on Medicaid there are different rules.

Outstanding Bills

While everyone’s financial situation is very different, even if you are debt-free there is still a high probability that there will be an outstanding water bill, electric bill, credit card bill, moving expenses, etc. that will need to be taken care of by those you leave behind.

It will benefit your loved ones greatly by other outstanding bills not coming out of their pockets if you have a larger policy that can cover more than just the service.

Legal Expenses

Specific tax paperwork will need to be filed (Form 1040). If you have a trusted CPA that helps you file your taxes each year they should be able to help explain this process to you.

If not, that’s alright. But either way, you’ll want to set some money aside to pay for this service. Having an accountant act as a fiduciary and being proactive can be a powerful tool in saving your estate and your family’s tax dollars.

Legal expenses usually slip through the cracks of many end-of-life budgets. Be sure to have the following legal documentation set up with an attorney.

  • A Will
  • Appropriate End of Life Measures
  • Assigned Power of Attorney

Leaving an InheritanceMoney pie chart

A life policy is a great way to leave an inheritance and yes, this is something covered by this product.

Many people choose to leave the money left over after bills are paid to their family members.

This is a wonderful way to keep providing for your family members once you are gone.

Charity Donations

Leaving money to a meaningful charity is a noble thing to do. There are two common ways to go about this.

First, any leftover money once your final expenses are paid can be given to charity.

Second, you can list a charitable organization as one of the beneficiaries of the policy. For example, this could be done as an 80/20 percent split with a family member.

Other End of Life Care

End-of-life care could include some of the following:

  • Hospital Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Hospice Care
  • Nursing Home Care
  • Home Health Care

As you can see when you get down into it, there are many expenses that can rapidly start to increase the amount of money needed once you have passed. This is why it is a good idea to start thinking about coverage sooner rather than later.

Your family will thank you!

Even if you have an existing policy it is still a good idea to look into what is offered in regards to funeral-specific coverage.

senior woman sitting in living room

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Is there anything NOT covered?

One of the best things about this product is that the money is flexible. There is literally nothing that is excluded from what the policy money can go towards.

Say you change your mind down the road on your final wishes, just communicate your new decision to your appointed beneficiary. No need to call the company or take any further action.

Other policies have specific assignments for the money, for example, Pre-Need coverage. This type of policy is taken out directly with the mortuary which in turn locks you into a lot of specific details.

What if you move? What if you change your mind on your final resting place? There is a lot less freedom when considering this type of plan.

Is Funeral Insurance Worth It?

Yes, funeral insurance is a good idea. This is the best life insurance to cover final expenses and is absolutely worth it. Giving yourself and your family peace of mind knowing you will not leave a financial burden behind is the best gift you can give.

No waiting period options are available to those who qualify and every policy has a rapid payment schedule upon filing a claim.

Speak with an independent agent that represents multiple companies in order to receive the best rate with immediate coverage.

Selecting a Beneficiary

Make sure you have a beneficiary that knows your final wishes. Since the policy payout can go towards anything, you are going to want to choose the most trustworthy person in your circle.

This is a sensitive subject for most people so, perhaps you should begin with the following considerations for selecting a beneficiary:

  • The people closest to you
  • Someone you can trust
  • The most financially responsible
  • The most socially responsible
  • Someone you would feel comfortable having these difficult conversations with
  • Someone likely to have the time to facilitate your wishes
  • Someone who understands your exact wishes
  • Someone willing to take on the responsibility

It is also important to note that most companies allow multiple and contingent beneficiaries.

You are able to split the coverage amount between two or more people allowing for more flexibility in the details.

Having a contingent or secondary beneficiary provides more security of where the funds will go upon allocation.

senior couple painting and smiling at each other

Final Thoughts

a. Companies designed this product to be an affordable way for seniors to cover their end-of-life expenses.

b. What does funeral insurance cover? The death benefit is flexible and can be used for any necessary costs upon the death of the insured.

c. It is extremely important that you have a trustworthy beneficiary and that they clearly understand your final wishes.

Willamette Life is an agency that specializes in finding the best funeral insurance for individuals seeking this coverage. Whether you are looking for parents or for yourself, we can assist.

Give us a call at 844-576-0019 for a personalized quote!

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