Death is one of the topics that many people avoid thinking or talking about. Whether it's because it's an uncomfortable subject to raise with their families, or because they don't know where to start with funeral planning, many people put off making provisions for their death.
AA research1 shows that around half of respondents (48%) underestimate the cost of a funeral. On average, approximately £3,5002 will cover the basic costs of a cremation, but doesn't include 'extras' such as flowers and a wake. A burial will increase the cost further.
The cost of a funeral has risen over the past few years, and varies across the country. Charges can range from £2,859 for a cremation in Belfast, to £6,899 for a burial in Beckenham, Kent.3
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents to a survey conducted for AA Life Insurance said they think there should be enough in their estate to cover the cost of their funeral. But some families need to pay for or contribute towards the cost of a funeral. A recent report4 showed that approximately 100,000 people in the UK are dealing with funeral poverty. Although getting into debt can be a real risk, research shows that just one in ten (10%) has a funeral plan.
Mark Huggins, director of AA Life Insurance says: "Funeral planning often has to be done quickly and may not give families much time to make arrangements. Quite apart from coping with grief after a loved one has passed, meeting the inevitable costs can make a difficult time even harder for families.
Quite apart from coping with grief after a loved one has passed, meeting the inevitable costs can make a difficult time even harder for families
Mark Huggins, AA Life Insurance
"With many people underestimating the cost of funerals, it could very well be that families will be landed with an unexpected or bigger bill than they anticipated.
"It's surprising that just one in ten say they have a funeral plan in place. Most people don't really like to think about death, but taking a pragmatic approach, planning for it sooner rather than later and making financial provisions for when you're no longer around can be invaluable to those left behind."
Some over 50s life insurance policies provide a funeral benefit option, where the cash sum from a policy is paid directly to a funeral service provider. The AA is one of many providers that offer over 50 life insurance plans (provided by Legal & General) that can help contribute towards funeral costs.
1 Research carried out by Populus 18 November to 2 December 2014 among 1,230 UK adults aged 18+
2 Funeral costs research carried out by Matter Communications, September 2013
4 Report written by Royal London Group (as above)
28 January 2015