Burial and funeral planning are an important element of any long-term financial plan. The costs for both can be high; the average funeral expense ranged from $7,000 to $10,000 and up, which includes a funeral service, burial, and installation of a headstone. Burial insurance can help make those costs easier to bear for your loved ones. Burial insurance, referred to as funeral insurance or final expense insurance, is a specific type of life insurance that’s designed specifically for paying end of life expenses. This is most often whole life insurance, which means it stays in place throughout your lifetime as long as premiums are paid, although some insurers offer term life coverage for burial expenses.
Depending on how your policy is structured, a whole life burial policy may or may not allow you to accumulate cash value that you can borrow against. Burial insurance policies typically range from $5,000 to $50,000, and this death benefit can be paid directly to your beneficiaries to manage burial costs. This is different from traditional life insurance, which may offer $1 million or more in coverage and can be used to pay burial expenses, as well as everyday living expenses, college costs, mortgages, or other debts. If burial insurance is a missing piece of your financial plan, consider these companies for getting the coverage you need to pay for final expenses.
The 7 Best Burial Insurance Options of 2021
- AARP Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance: Best Overall
- Globe Life Final Expense Insurance: Best for Low Premium Rates
- Mutual of Omaha: Best for Smaller Burial Expense Needs
- AIG Direct Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance: Best for Additional Protection
- Colonial Penn: Best for Flexibility
- Fidelity Life: Best for Convenience and Speed
- Transamerica Immediate Solution: Best for No Waiting Period
Best Overall: AARP Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance
AARP isn’t an insurance company; it’s an interest-based group designed to empower and guide Americans as they age. But AARP does offer permanent life insurance coverage for burial expenses in partnership with New York Life. AARP’s policy is guaranteed acceptance, meaning no one who’s eligible can be turned down for coverage, regardless of any pre-existing health conditions. There’s no medical exam or health questionnaire required. The primary condition you need to meet to qualify is being an AARP member aged 50 to 80. AARP member spouses can apply for a burial policy between the ages of 45 and 80. Coverage is available up to $25,000 and premium rates are guaranteed, so you don’t have to worry about them increasing as you age. Monthly premium payments end at age 95, but your coverage stays in place for the remainder of your life. Overall, it’s a simple burial insurance solution.
Best for Low Premium Rates: Globe Life Final Expense Insurance
As a general rule, the older you are when buying any type of life insurance, the higher your premiums are likely to be. Globe Life may fit the bill if you’re looking for a bargain on a burial insurance policy. You can buy your first month of coverage for just $1. After that, monthly premiums are available for as low as $3.49. Burial expense coverage is available in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000. There’s no waiting period since you’re buying the policy direct with no medical or health exam. Globe Life offers a no-risk money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with your coverage. And if you’re satisfied with it, you also can get burial coverage for your spouse. As an added benefit, Globe Life offers permanent life insurance protection for children with monthly rates starting a $2.17.
Best for Smaller Burial Expense Needs: Mutual of Omaha
If you’re anticipating having a smaller funeral or opting for cremation, you may not need $50,000 or even $25,000 in burial insurance. Mutual of Omaha offers smaller burial insurance policies, with coverage starting as low as $2,000 ($5,000 in Washington State). The maximum policy coverage is $25,000. This is a guaranteed whole life insurance policy offered to individuals aged 45 to 85. (If you live in New York, the age range shrinks a little, to 50 to 75.) There is a two-year waiting period, which means that if you die within the first two years, your beneficiary would receive a benefit amount equal only to the premiums you’ve paid, plus 10%. After that initial two years, however, your beneficiary would be entitled to the full benefit amount you’ve chosen for the policy.
Best for Additional Protection: AIG Direct Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance
Burial insurance can make managing burial and funeral expenses less stressful for your loved ones after you die, but some burial policies also offer living benefit protections. AIG Direct’s Guaranteed Issue Whole Life policy is designed to help with final expenses while also covering you for chronic and terminal illness. If you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness that keeps you from going about your daily routine, AIG will return all your premiums paid up to 25% of the policy’s face value. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, AIG allows you to access 50% of your death benefit amount while you’re alive to help pay for medical care or other expenses. You’ll pay an administrative fee to take advantage of those perks, but having those options available can give you some added financial reassurance if you develop a serious illness later in life.
Best for Flexibility: Colonial Penn
Many burial insurance policies have a minimum age at which you can apply for coverage, typically around 50. Colonial Penn Life gives you some different options for getting burial insurance at almost any age. Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance is available for people aged 50 to 85 in most states. This is permanent, whole life insurance with no medical exam or health questions required. Permanent Whole Life Insurance is another option. This policy offers coverage up to $50,000 for people aged 40 to 75 in all states, excluding New York and the Virgin islands. Again, there’s no medical exam and this policy builds cash value you can borrow against. Finally, Renewable Term Life Insurance offers up to $50,000 in term life protection for adults aged 18 to 75. This policy is guaranteed renewable up to age 90.
Best for Convenience and Speed: Fidelity Life
Applying for burial or final expense insurance shouldn’t be time-consuming or a headache. Fidelity Life aims to make the process as simple as possible with its RAPIDecision line of insurance products. RAPIDecision Senior Life Term offers level terms up to 30 years, with benefits ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 for seniors ages 50 to 70. RAPIDecision Senior Life Whole Life offers the same coverage amounts for seniors aged 50 to 85, with coverage that matures at age 121. This one has a three-year waiting period for the full death benefit. RAPIDecision Final Expense protects seniors aged 50 to 85 with final expense coverage ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. Full coverage for this policy begins immediately after you’re approved and there’s no medical exam involved. In terms of speed, it takes two minutes or less to get a quote for coverage and it’s possible to get coverage in as little as 24 hours. It doesn’t get any easier than that to get burial expense coverage with minimal fuss.
Best for No Waiting Period: Transamerica Immediate Solution
If you’re buying burial expense insurance when you’re younger and healthier, a waiting period may not be a big deal. On the other hand, having a one to three-year waiting period could put a wrinkle in your financial strategy if you have a serious health condition or you’re at risk of passing away before the waiting period ends. Transamerica’s Immediate Solution burial insurance policy is designed to work around that. This policy has no waiting period at all, so you’re covered right away. You can be aged 45 to 85 to apply for this coverage and coverage amounts range from $1,000 to $50,000, with the maximum benefit amount determined by age. This plan can offer competitive pricing for people who may want to get burial coverage quickly, with the option to add on riders for accelerated death benefits if you need nursing care, accidental death benefits or children’s or grandchildren’s benefits to provide level term coverage for up to nine individuals.
What Is Burial Insurance?
Burial insurance—also known as final expense insurance—is a type of life insurance intended to cover end-of-life expenses. Some insurance companies offer term life insurance with a burial insurance policy, but most insurers offer it as whole life insurance. It’s paid out to the beneficiary after the insured dies. The death benefit is usually used to cover funeral expenses, but it can be used for anything. Typically, burial insurance policies are available to those older than 50.
How Does Burial Insurance Work?
The burial insurance process starts when individuals decide what they need it. This involves a careful analysis of their overall financial picture. The insured person typically makes monthly payments, and those payments go towards paying the beneficiary the policy amount after the insured person dies. The beneficiary receives a fixed sum upon the insured person’s death, and this amount is determined by the policy. A typical sum is between $5,000 and $50,000.
How Much Does Burial Insurance Cost?
Burial insurance policies vary in costs, just like life insurance policies do. The price of the policy depends on how large a policy you choose. It also depends on factors such as your age, health, and gender. On average, you can expect to pay about $50 per month for a $10,000 burial insurance policy.
Is Burial Insurance Worth the Cost?
Burial insurance is not usually worth the cost. It is paid in addition to your life insurance policy, but typically for a much smaller amount. It’s more cost-effective to have a larger life insurance policy that also can pay for your burial expenses. If you also have investments, savings, and real estate, these can be left to your family as additional help to ease the financial burden of your death.
How We Chose the Best Burial Insurance Options
It’s common for life insurance companies to also offer burial insurance, so there are a lot of options out there. We reviewed many of them and chose the best seven. We chose these as our top recommendations based on a number of criteria, including the flexibility of the plan, premium rates, what the insurance covers, and the types of plans offered.
National Funeral Directors Association “Statistics.” Accessed December 20, 2020.
Choice Mutual. "This Is How Much Burial & Final Expense Insurance Costs: An Insider's Guide to Policy Quotes." Accessed Sept. 10, 2020.