Most of us will only consider funeral-related expenses in the event of death in our family. When faced with such an impossible situation, financial complications will only add additional stress and is the last thing you would want to be worried about when experiencing immense tragedy. What are the actual costs of a funeral and how can you make financial provision for you and your family?

Losing a loved one is possibly the hardest situation to experience in life, and when this occurs, a multitude of emotions need to be processed. In addition, funeral and administration arrangements that follow can be extremely challenging in the midst of experiencing grief.

The costs related to losing a spouse, child, parent or any other family member can easily exceed tens of thousands of rands if the deceased has not made provision for this. These financial expenses can be a further unnecessary burden on the rest of the family.

The following example shows a cost estimation in the case of a cremation:

Bear in mind, these costs exclude flowers, catering, funeral programmes, a coffin and coffin transfer to the funeral/burial ground in case of a burial, amongst other costs that can be expected.

It is therefore important to consider making provision for these expenses for your family, and also to find out whether your parents have funeral benefits or cover in place. If you or your family members have life cover, a funeral benefit is automatically included in the policy.

How to access your funeral benefit from your life cover policy

Most life cover products include a funeral benefit that pays out 10% of the policy’s total value, or has set amounts for example:

  • R 30 000 payout for the main member
  • R 15 000 payout for a spouse
  • R 7 000 payout for a child

The insurance provider is obliged to pay out the amount within 48 hours once a claim is submitted. The following documents are required to claim for the death of a loved one in the case of natural cause of death:

  • Completed claim form
  • A certified copy of the official death certificate issued by the Department of Home Affairs
  • A certified copy of the deceased’s ID
  • A letter from the funeral parlour, on a formal letterhead, confirming that the deceased is in their care
  • BI 1663 completed by the doctor who certified the death
  • Completed Banking Details form

In the case of unnatural cause of death, all of the above documents including a certified copy of the claimant’s ID and a completed SAPS statement, are required.

It is therefore important to be aware of the details of your and your parents’ funeral benefits in the case of life cover.

Life Cover vs Funeral Cover

Alternatively, funeral cover or insurance can be taken out which pays out a lump sum when the policy holder passes away. With this option however, there are no additional benefits as in the case of a life cover policy with the main goal of providing life insurance and the added benefit of a funeral payment.

The following table includes examples to compare the cost of a life cover policy and funeral cover for a male aged 33 years:

Even though funeral cover premiums tend to be lower than life insurance, it is advisable to have life cover in place which makes both financial provision for your family as well as funeral costs in the case that something happens to you.

It is never easy to discuss worst-case scenarios with your family, but finding out whether your parents have a funeral benefit in place is necessary while having the opportunity for these discussions. It can offer peace of mind and eliminates any concern about future financial expenses related to death.

If you are considering taking out life cover for you or a family member, make an appointment to discuss your needs with a financial advisor to find the best suited product for you.