What does funeral insurance cover?

There are a range of insurance products available to people, each with a specific focus to help you cover the cost of unexpected events. Moneybags journalist Jessica Anne Wood looks at funeral insurance and what it covers.

Funeral insurance pay-outs are used to cover the funeral expenses of the policyholder. “The benefit can be in the form of a funeral service, a cash benefit that could be used towards a funeral, or a combination of the two,” explains Mellony Ramalho, the executive for insurance at African Bank.

IntegriSure adds: “There are some market specific products where you get additional benefits such as an Inkomo benefit relating to traditional burials.”

The Inkomo benefit is the provision of a live head of cattle or an amount equivalent to the value of one cow at the event of a death. This is to help in the instance of a traditional burial where a cow is required for the funeral. Some insurance providers have this as an add-on benefit.

What should your funeral insurance cover?

There are a number of things you need to consider when taking out funeral insurance. One of these is deciding how many people the policy needs to cover. “It could just be the main member only or it could be extended to the main member and one spouse or partner or to the main member plus children (need to specify as some policies have a limit) or finally a family cover which covers the main member, one spouse or partner and the children,” reveals Ramalho.

Tapuwa Mwashita, a financial planner at Insurance Busters, notes: “A standard funeral policy will pay out a cash lump sum to the deceased’s nominated beneficiary in the event of his/her death. The beneficiary is free to use this cash for whatever purpose they choose.

“Nowadays, as the number of insurers offering funeral cover is rapidly increasing, insurers have started trying to differentiate their funeral product offerings to include not just the lump sum, but other added benefits as well.”

Value-adding products can include:

  • Additional cash to assist with tombstone unveiling
  • Grocery allowances/vouchers
  • Airtime vouchers
  • Car hire
  • Education benefit (pays a lump sum towards education for the deceased’s school-going dependents)

The costs of a funeral

There are a range of costs that need to be considered when it comes to a funeral. Not only are there the funeral parlour charges, but also the cost of the casket and burial or cremation, as well as the funeral service and catering.

Ramalho highlights that you can decide what items you want to cover with the funeral pay out. He adds: “An average headstone costs in the region of R7 000 and a tombstone about R1 500. Basic undertaker fees are about R4 500 and cemetery costs another R4 000. Then when you start taking into account all the ancillary costs such as catering before and during the service, transport, flowers, livestock, a tent and a casket, burial costs can escalate to anything between R25 000 and R50 000.”

What do you need to claim from a funeral insurance policy?

Ramalho points out that you will need to provide the following documents when claiming from a funeral insurance policy:

  • Completed claim form
  • Certified copy of beneficiary’s ID
  • Certified copy of deceased’s ID (or children’s birth certificates)
  • Certified copy of death certificate
  • Copy of beneficiary’s bank statement
  • Certified copy of the main members ID

IntegriSure adds: “All documents need to be certified. Documents needed include: Death certificate, BI1663 (Notification of death that is supplied by a funeral undertaker), copy of deceased and beneficiary’s ID’s and a bank statement of the beneficiary to whom pay-out will be made; the statement must not be older than three months.

“The process, from registration of claim to pay-out, can take 24 to 48 hours if all documents can be supplied immediately.”You can apply for funeral cover with one of our sister website Justmoney’s partners here.


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