Funeral plans have been increasing for the past years. The average funeral cost is USD 7,848, according to a recent study by the National Funeral Directors Association. Now, this is not a cheap expense, especially for sudden deaths. What if you are your family's breadwinner? Who is going to pay for funeral expenses when you have passed? Several households do not have much extra money on hand to spare. That said, looking into and getting final expense insurance is the best thing to do. That's on top of having some money left after the burial expenses.
A funeral insurance plan helps pay for your or your family's living expenses after the insured dies. Do note some policies require you to shell out additional fees on burial expenses, so we recommend looking into the fine print.
Best Final Expense Life Insurance Companies
Several providers are available in the market it gets overwhelming to choose where to trust your hard-earned money for insurance. We have narrowed the list to these top five companies - Wyshbox, Bestow, Northwestern Mutual, Transamerica, and Ladder. We will be discussing more details on each provider in the sections below.
However, we found that the best final expense life insurance company was Northwestern Mutual. Here's a quick look at the different category winners:
Why Should you Trust Benzinga?
Benzinga will help you choose the best burial insurance, so your family and loved ones will not have to worry about financial expenses in your untimely death. These are available in several kinds, varying in benefit inclusions, age group eligibility, and cost. Some plans even include a cremation policy, should you wish to be cremated.
Benzinga provides financial analysis services, providing investors with actionable insights. A final expense life insurance is an excellent financial investment for your hard-earned money. Benzinga's long-running excellent performance will pave the way to getting the best deals and coverage for life insurance.
As a general rule of thumb, rates for any insurance type go up with age. Purchasing a plan five years from today will cost more than getting it now. It is the same when increasing coverage to an existing plan. However, Wysh stands out because they allow increasing your plan coverage at the same rate as when you acquired your policy, provided you have maintained your health.
This feature is excellent for growing families. Why? When the family grows, your financial responsibilities will likely increase too. Thus, a need for higher policy coverage. Several providers allow their customers to purchase a policy online, but what makes Wysh distinct from the competition is its rewards system. Policyholders can increase their coverage without increased premiums, provided they are healthy.
Before rushing into signing up for a policy with Wysh, we recommend reading the terms and conditions of the plan.
- Wysh has a calculator that computes coverage, helping you know your needs.
- The application process is streamlined and efficient, allowing you to complete it within 10 minutes.
- You can increase your coverage limit at a later time without additional fees. However, meeting some conditions is needed.
- Their chat support is available for a limited time - Monday to Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
- Wysh is new to the market, so there is not much third-party information or review available.
Right off the bat, it is worth mentioning Bestow only offers term life insurance, which is a bit different from final expense. While the former provides the beneficiary with long-term financial support, the latter only covers end-of-life costs and burial expenses.
Bestow is an insurance tech company founded in Dallas in 2016. It specializes in policies that end with a specified date. They offer plans as low as USD 11, an attractive choice for several adults and families.
Applying for insurance can be daunting. Bestow has made its entire application process quick and provides a decision right away for eligible applicants. The company uses underwriting technology that reviews data points on an applicant, allowing it to determine coverage without needing medical exams. Bestow uses your answers from an online health exam as the basis for approval or rejection, on top of other significant factors, such as prior applications, driving records, health history, and credit history.
- Their term life insurances are affordable and start at a low rate.
- Policy beneficiaries get extended bereavement support.
- The online application and exam with no medical test requirements.
- No offer for customizable riders.
- New York is not part of the list of available coverage areas.
3. Northwestern Mutual
Samuel Daggett established Northwestern Mutual in 1859 in Wisconsin, United States. It offers a variety of life insurance that will surely fit any needs. Their term-life policies allow you to choose between 10 or 20 years of coverage. One feature of Northwestern Mutual is the ability to convert to permanent insurance without undergoing additional medical exams.
The following are a few of their popular life insurances.
- Renewable Term Life Insurance (Annual) - The policy will last until you reach a certain age or when you cancel it. Health and age are the primary factors considered in the initial purchase of this policy.
- Level Term Life Insurance - Temporary coverage of either 10 or 20 years.
- Universal Life Insurance - It's a permanent policy guaranteeing cash value and death benefits. The money market rate is the basis for earning cash value. You also have the flexibility of paying your premiums.
- Variable Life Insurance - It's a permanent policy allowing control over the cash value. It lets you choose where to invest.
- Whole Life Insurance - It's a permanent policy with death benefits and cash value through annual dividends. This type of coverage requires fixed premium payments.
Northwestern Mutual allows additional coverage options depending on your needs, as follows:
- Disability Insurance - In the unlikely event of disability preventing you from working, this add-on replaces a portion of your income.
- Long-Term Care Coverage - This covers assisted care if you cannot do it yourself. Home aides, nursing homes, and adult day care centers are some options.
- Its long line of market exposure and experience makes for its low number of consumer complaints and strong ratings.
- On top of life insurance, it provides other financial services and products.
- A wide variety of policies are available for you to choose from.
- Historical performance has been dropping in the past years, putting it behind its competition.
- Northwestern Mutual's website lacks clarity in its product offerings, which could lead to confusion and disinterest in potential customers.
Transamerica offers one of the best and most affordable burial insurance for parents and seniors. They accept the common health issues among seniors. Although their application process is lengthy and time-consuming, we think the effort is worth it with the service quality they offer.
Transamerica's final expense life or funeral insurance plan is a whole-life policy that does not require any medical exam. You only need to answer health questions to know your eligibility, providing convenience for most applicants. However, Transamerica will do a thorough review of your prescription history to get a better view of your overall health status.
In the unlikely event of passing away while the policy is in effect, Transamerica's death benefit will pay your beneficiaries. The payment has no restrictions and is tax-free. With that said, your family can use the money to pay off funeral costs, medical bills, and anything else.
Transamerica has three health ratings for which you can qualify:
- Graded - This is the most expensive among the three options. High-risk condition clients will qualify for the graded type. It has a waiting period of two full years.
- Standard - This option is cheaper than the graded type and has no waiting period. The standard type is only available to applicants with specific health conditions specified during the application process.
- Preferred - This is the least expensive among the three health ratings. Moreover, it does not have any waiting period. However, the qualification is high because you must answer no to all health questions.
Transamerica offers some of the best burial insurance with no waiting period for eligible applicants.
- The standard and preferred plans do not have a waiting period.
- No medical exam requirement. Only health questions that you need to answer.
- On average, approval time takes 15 minutes or less.
- It is available in all 50 states, including D.C.
- Coverage does not increase in cost and will not expire.
- Applicants 55 years old or younger can get up to USD 50,000 coverage.
- The graded plan is quite expensive.
- Anyone taking antipsychotic medications will automatically qualify for the graded plan.
- The application process is noticeably longer than its competition.
- securely through Ladder Life Insurance's websiteBest For:Adjustable coverage
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers – for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products. Coverage amounts vary by state.
Ladder's primary product is the term life insurance. Customization options are unavailable, so we recommend them to people who want a simple and straightforward policy. Ladder offers on-the-spot underwriting and a user-friendly website.
Ladder lets people between the ages of 20 to 60 apply online. Most policies are issued within minutes of successful application, with coverage ranging from USD 100,000 to USD 8,000,000. Their policies are flexible, allowing you to increase coverage anytime. However, it comes with a higher premium. Similarly, you can also decrease your coverage.
- Coverage of up to USD 8 million is available for consumers.
- The coverage amount is flexible, allowing you to increase or decrease anytime.
- Most applicants do not need to undergo a medical exam.
- Riders are unavailable.
- You must be 60 years old or younger to be eligible.
How Does Burial Insurance Work?
Burial insurances work by covering cremation or burial expenses after the insured dies. Depending on the provider, the beneficiary may use it at his discretion, such as but not limited to paying off mortgage loans, medical bills, or credit card balances. A beneficiary is nominated by the insured before the policy issuance.
The premium or cost you need to pay for it varies. If cost is a concern, we advise that you look for a provider that offers affordable terms and premiums, which works well for your budget.
Pros and Cons of Final Expense Insurance
You are likely convinced to get one for yourself. However, we think it is important to highlight the pros and cons of final expense insurance.
|They are affordable.||Some providers may provide inaccurate or incomplete information, so make sure to cross check before signing anything.|
|Fixed premiums.||Some policies have a waiting period.|
|Qualifying for one is easy. Most providers only require you to answer medical questions, but no medical exam.||The face amount is lower than other insurances types, so it may not cover all expenses.|
|Your beneficiary can use the death benefit / cash value for any purpose.|
|The death benefit is non-taxable.|
|Applicants with poor health can avail one.|
Although it has some cons, we think the pros of getting one outweigh it. Not all policies cover the entire expense, but it is better than getting nothing.
Factors to Look For
Here are the top factors you should be looking at.
- Make a full payment as much as possible - You do not need to avail yourself of a payment plan. Most providers allow you to pay the entire cost upfront.
- Plan your funeral service ahead - Yes, you can plan ahead so your loved ones have fewer things to worry about.
- Figure out the coverage/scope of your insurance - Carefully review the policy before signing it.
- Know the areas of the policy you are availing - Some insurance providers have certain geographic restrictions, so watch out for this. You might not get covered if you move to a state that's not covered.
How Much Does Final Expense Life Insurance Cost?
Cost is variable, depending on several factors. Some plans are low-cost, while others come with a hefty fee. Age plays a huge factor in a final expense insurance quote. For example, seniors availing one will likely need to pay more than those below 65 years old. Similarly, burial insurance for seniors over 60 or 70 will cost less than for those over 80.
A comparison table should come in handy if you are looking for a quick way to compare each of the five companies we have covered in the previous sections. Let's look into the table below.
|Eligible Age||18-50||18-60||Up to 85||85 or younger||20-60|
|Best For||Applicants under 50 years old||Term life insurance||Highly customizable plan options||Chronic conditions coverage||Adjustable or flexible coverage|
|Policy Types||Term||Term, permanent||Term, whole, universal, variable universal||Whole||Term|
|Where To Buy||Online||Online||Online||Licensed agencies||Online|
|Application Approval Time||10 minutes||5-10 minutes||10-15 minutes||15 minutes||5-10 minutes|
|Available in all states?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
Apart from these top companies, other notable providers are AARP, AIG whole life insurance, and State Farm. Some of these companies also offer things like protection in case of medical malpractice.
Final Expense vs. Life Insurance
Most people confuse and interchange these two, so explaining their differences will help clear any confusion.
The table below illustrates the differences between them.
|Final Expense Insurance||Life Insurance|
|Main Purpose||Burial or final expense purposes||It can work as a replacement to your income|
|Affordability||Cost is similar to other life insurances||Permanent life is typically expensive, while term-life is affordable|
|Cash Value||No cash value in most cases||Universal and whole life insurance has cash value|
|Death Benefit||Small death benefit with the intention to cover burial costs||Large death benefit that can replace income|
Choosing between these depends on your goals. We recommend getting traditional life insurance for long-term milestones, such as college funds, estate planning, and college fund. On the other hand, final expense insurance will cover funeral and burial expenses after your passing, regardless of the financial status of your beneficiary.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does final expense insurance work?
Final expense insurances cover expenses related to embalming, cremation, memorial service, and funeral service. It markets towards seniors who start thinking about funeral costs in their passing. The beneficiary will receive a cash amount upon the policy owner’s death.
Is burial insurance worth it?
The answer to this question depends on your needs. It ultimately boils down to how much coverage you require, your health, and the life insurance policy you potentially need. Generally, burial insurance is a good fit for people that only require a small coverage amount.
What type of insurance policy pays for funeral and burial costs?
Any final expense or burial insurance covers burial and funeral costs.
Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.