In this post, I will discuss a very difficult to think about yet very specific life insurance product. Often called Burial Insurance or Final Expense insurance, this is a very focused type of life insurance designed for applicants age 50-90.
The typical and best burial insurance for seniors is designed on a whole life insurance platform. Burial Insurance is meant for those who have less than perfect health. This means that there are less health questions and no medical exams required. Very simple process of obtaining this type of policy. In some cases called Guaranteed Issue or Guaranteed Acceptance, it can mean no health questions at all.
Key point to remember…
If you believe you need affordable burial insurance without any health questions for any reason, make sure you talk with a professional.
Because you could get overcharged drastically and your loved ones could be left without the immediate protection you want them to have. Depending on the carrier, during the first 2 or 3 years of coverage, there are limitations written into guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy. This is not always clear to the buyer.
Burial insurance policies have typical death benefit amounts from about $3,000 to more than $40,000. Appropriate policies should only be based on permanent life insurance to avoid unintended expiration and guarantee level premiums for life.
Affordable burial insurance plans for seniors are straight forward and easy to apply for. This is one of a reasons they are typically based on whole life insurance.
The most common, non-expiring form of permanent life insurance, is whole life insurance. It is also the most dependable low cost life insurance for seniors up to $50,000.
Burial Insurance Confusion
There is a lot of confusion in finding the best burial insurance policies these days. Homes are flooded with TV commercials and mailers advertising “affordable” life insurance with no health questions. Some ads include high paid spokespeople encouraging senior consumers to take out coverage that is not typically in their best interest. While we may be “guilty” of advertising on TV and even offering guaranteed acceptance plans, it is not a product we recommend unless there are no better options for our clients. It is designed for people who are in poor health for their age and or very high risk cases. This should only be determined by a licensed professional who works with a lot of different insurance companies.
We here of standard mail pieces that entice consumers to buy coverage that is not most people’s best interest.
Hmmm…I wonder why?
Be careful who you are dealing with ladies and gentleman!! These ads come from less than a handful of insurers who bank on you not doing your due diligence!!
Little do they know that you are doing your own investigation right now.
Know your options first.
With that all said, these are key features of premium, level benefit, lowest cost coverage, seniors can depend on:
- Monthly premium cost that will never increase
- No examinations required to qualify
- Permanent policy. You will not outlive the benefit payout.
- The death benefit to the beneficiary is guaranteed to never decrease provided the policy owner does their part
- The full benefits are available upon your your first payment to the last. No waiting periods (2 or 3 years) for full benefits (guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies).
The way your family benefits here requires you make a firm commitment to keep the selected (monthly, annual, etc.) payments up. Insurance companies make huge profits over time with people not keeping the coverage in force for the duration of the contract.
Never take out a burial or funeral insurance policy unless you are comfortable with paying the premium. The only one who benefits if you drop the burial policy is the life insurance company! How does that help you or your loved ones? Make the personal commitment first before you buy any coverage.
How To Put Burial Insurance For Seniors To Work For Your Family
According to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association), the average cost of a funeral is about $8755 as of 2017. Of course this varies from place to place, it is expensive to leave this world. With costs on the rise, it is important than ever to have a plan in place to take care of our responsibilities not only to protect our loved ones, but make sure our financial obligations are covered as well.
Like any life insurance policy, burial life insurance is a legal binding policy stating the insurance company will pay the named beneficiary(s) a specific death benefit upon the loss of life of the insured individual.
You may take the burial policy to any funeral home of your choosing to plan a funeral and burial if you would like. The director will attach your planned arrangements to the policy so when end of life has come, it is clear as to what your final wishes are. You have now completed all the burial planning upfront and the policy will deliver the funds to carry out your wishes.
Upon loss of life, the life insurance company will promptly remit a check for the full death benefit amount to the named beneficiary…tax free. In most cases, 48 hours after you loved ones notify the insurance company and file the claim, the payment is remitted into the family account.
Be sure to provide all requested information regarding your loved ones so that monies do not go thru probate. A properly named beneficiary will bypass probate and insures that your loved ones will have the funds promptly at the time of need. A good life insurance agent should make sure all necessary information is gathered and recorded to avoid problems down the road.
How Can The Policy Benefits Be Used?
None of these funds must be used for burial and funeral/cremation expenses. The policy benefits ensure money is there quickly for your loved ones at a very stressful time in their life. The benefits can be used for any purpose you intend them for. Maybe you want to leave something behind for your grandchildren, the church, final medical or credit card bills. Other common uses, support for a spouse who will be losing a social security check once you have passed away. The tax free money from these policies can do some much for your loved ones, when your no longer here.
The cost of a funeral and burial are approaching $10,000 nationally. Since the death benefit is a cash payout, the beneficiary can use the money anywhere they see fit… to settle debts, pay off final medical bills etc. The cost in your area may be a bit higher or lower than $10,000 with an apples to apples comparison.
Anything remaining from policy benefits after covering death related expenses can be kept by your family/beneficiary to help in adjustment from their loss. Depending on their relationship to you, they may need “extra funds” to move on with their life.
Of course, no amount of money will ever replace a life, but most of us would feel a lot better knowing we did not leave a large financial crater behind either.
Example: Say you purchased a $15,000 final expense, burial insurance policy. Now, let’s assume that the full cost of your funeral, plot and headstone totaled $10,000. The remaining $5,000 can be used for any other purpose your loved one’s believe to be appropriate or you have directed prior to passing.
Sometimes a larger or even more than one policy is purchased to help create a financial legacy/inheritance. Remaining funds after the outstanding expenses for burial are covered can be passed on to specific loved ones.
For some seniors, leaving behind an additional and larger legacy is important to them. In that case, a Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance (GUL) policy is probably a better choice if you would like to build in an inheritance or a legacy in addition to burial costs. These policies are more affordable and guaranteed coverage to even age 121. These can be used for burial coverage as well but have benefits starting at $50,000 on up. GUL is not designed or available for smaller policy amounts.
Burial Insurance Plans And the 4 Rating Classifications
The 4 options that are available are determined by your general health and the answers to the health questions on the application. Each life insurance company will have some differences in how they question their applicants to apply their specific “rating” to your health respective of you being a senior citizen.
Simplified issue policies like these are meant to be senior friendly. It is expected that your not in the same health as your were at age 25.
A typical burial policy will qualify you based on your honest answers to the specific health questions contained in the application. Life Insurance companies have differences among their questioning. Be sure you find a professional that can shop your case for you so you are not overcharged.
Answering “yes” to a typical health question on a burial insurance application will move you up to a higher rated class. Again, be sure to be totally honest. Do not even sugarcoat anything. Everything is investigated.
- Level or “Preferred” Benefits: You are able to answer “no” to all of the insurers health questions. You are covered for the full death benefit from day 1 and pay the lowest premium the life insurance company offers for a simplified burial policy.
- Graded Benefit Policy: This is a popular plan for those seniors that have a more significant, but not fatal health condition. It is the middle of rating classes but is quite different than Level Benefits. With a Graded policy, the first two years of coverage have reduced benefits. If natural death occurs during the “graded” period, the life insurance company will return a significant percentage of the full death benefit. After the 2 year “Graded” period, the policy will pay out the full benefit amount to the beneficiary.
- Modified Policy: This is an upper risk category for applicants in questionable senior health. These policies also have limited benefits the first couple of years. What this all translates into is return of all paid premiums plus interest if death occurs during that time. We sometimes recommend that you avoid these policies. Often times, they cost more than the next category and just don’t make any financial sense. Don’t get overcharged.
- Guaranteed Issue (Acceptance) Policy: These are the savior policies for those with a very, very tough to insure health condition(s). These are high risk life insurance policies in pure form. There are NO health questions to qualify for and it is designed for people that cannot qualify medically. They are “Graded” the first couple of years so the full benefits for natural death are not available until the policy matures further. Typically, these policies return all premiums paid into the policy plus 7-10% interest to your family if death results due to a natural cause. After that period (2 or 3 years), full benefits will be paid out.
If you would like to see if you qualify for the best rates and immediate coverage, go through these health questions to see if your likely to get the best rates. No worries if you answer “yes” to a question, this is just one companies senior burial insurance questions.
It is worth mentioning that all 4 types of burial life insurance pay full benefits for accidental death upon the acceptance.
Burial Insurance is typically a no medical exam type of policy. This promotes ease of issue.
However, no insurance company will issue an immediate, full benefits life insurance policy without medically underwriting your application (health questions).
Guaranteed issue whole life insurance has a waiting period. You must make it through this period before the policy will entitle your beneficiary to full benefits.
The life insurance company is operating with little to no information about you. Gauging you as a risk is tough as a result. They apply a higher premium and waiting period to offset this risk.
If during the waiting period natural death occurs, the beneficiary of the policy will receive a return of premiums (ROP) which is a refund of all premiums paid plus a typical 7-10% interest rate compounded annually. The waiting period and interest will depend upon the insurance company’s written terms in the policy.
Who is Eligible to Apply For Coverage?
Anyone to age 90 may apply.
Whether you will be accepted depends on:
- Your health. The best and lowest cost plans will require you to qualify based on your current health. However, there are higher priced, no health question policies offered as well.
- Your Age. Some plans are not available to certain age groups.
- Your State of Residence. Many insurers do not market coverage in every state.
If you are in the age bracket of 50-89 we can get you covered. Outside of those ranges, we have to explore different options to see what is best for you.
Our team is very experienced at finding the best policy for even the toughest of health conditions. It is a rarity if we are unable to secure a medically underwritten policy for our clients. Roughly 90% of applicants have full, immediate benefits.
Is there a difference between Burial Insurance For Seniors, Funeral Insurance or Final Expense Insurance?
While the uses of the terms may create confusion, any of the 3 policies can be designed with death benefits that will get the job done. What they all do in the end is the same. This article will discuss this in a bit more detail and the marketing terminology insurers and agents use. Personally, I tend to throw the terms Burial Policy and Final Expenses around a lot interchangeably. Don’t get caught up in the marketing of the product. Real burial insurance is built on dependable, permanent life insurance for seniors, most often simplified issue whole life insurance.
Ladies and Gentleman… The Word of Warning
There are a few obvious companies and organizations out there aggressively marketing life insurance policies for burial and final expenses that actually expire on or before your 80th birthday!! Premiums often go up every five years along the way to expiration.
Don’t get sucked into buying low quality, high profit life insurance policies that “claim” to be for seniors.
The long term cost becomes quite high for the terms of actually policy.
Low grade life insurance is certainly not the best burial insurance for seniors. I don’t care who’s name is on it.
Take this note…
We hear nothing but problems and complaints from seniors asking for help.
I am proud that we have never placed our clientele in such a predicament.
The wrong life insurance policy benefits those who sell it, not you or your loved ones.
In no way is this type of life insurance in your best interest as a senior. This is not reliable burial insurance for covering end of life expenses.
Good luck getting affordable coverage unless you have good health at age 80. It can be done, but many 80 year olds have more serious health issues that hamper them. Guaranteed acceptance policies are available as mentioned earlier, but remember 2 or 3 year “waiting period” before full benefits. The kicker is, guaranteed acceptance burial policies are very expensive by that point.
Term means temporary. You’re actually renting coverage for a fixed period of time.
Understand, your loved ones will not get any money back unless you die prior to age 80 with a policy like this. Otherwise, the coverage cancels automatically and now at age 80, your health is not as good due to advanced age leaving nothing but very expensive options to you. At age 80, burial insurance becomes considerably more expensive. These “little details” are carefully tucked away in the marketing of this type of product. As a result, many seniors and/or their loved ones are real upset to say the least when they learn the hard way.
This is why you need to have an independent agent/broker who can shop the market so you don’t have to settle for being overcharged for questionable coverage.
We do not ever recommend anything for final expenses other than permanent life insurance.
Yup, whole life may be more expensive initially, but it won’t expire or ever leave you paying more than the day you bought it and the premiums are guaranteed level for life. It also means that your beneficiary will be getting a check to take care of the financial needs when you are no longer around.
Isn’t that what you had in mind?
The 10 Best Burial Insurance Companies Plus a Bonus
Who has the best burial insurance for seniors? Well, that is a bit of a vague question. Knowing a little bit about your health helps match your needs to the right product(s).
One of the challenges seniors face is having the time it takes to investigate and determine which burial insurance carrier will offer them the best rates.
Remember this advice…there is no “Best” insurance company. Many times, people associate a recognized name with “best.” Do not make that mistake. What you are really looking for is the ideal product first and then determining its cost to see if it is a good solution for your family needs.
There are many factors that go into determining the ideal life insurance company that are best left to working with an independent agent/broker who specializes in senior health and life issues. They can quickly identify who may be your best option.
For 2022, we intend to update this list of top insurance companies for people age 50-90. Experience with the pandemic has shown a number of other companies have made it a simple process to obtain burial coverage from them, within minutes, very affordably. Yes, everything can be done over the phone. There is no need to wait for a paper application in your mailbox or even have an email address to get approved. Gone are the decision delays and lost applications in the mail.
However, for your reference, here are the 10 + different companies that offer competitive burial insurance for at a very affordable rate.
AIG came out of nowhere in 2017 announcing their Guaranteed Issue policy. Burial Insurance is now available from the life insurance giant, American General with absolutely no health questions and no medical exam required.
This particular policy is for ages 50-80 and has coverage amounts available up to $25,000. As is the the norm for guaranteed issue coverage, this policy is graded and will pay 110% of the premium paid if the insured dies in the first two years of coverage. The full death benefit will be paid out after the 2 year waiting period expires. The person paying on the policy can be someone else other than the actual insured. This makes this a good option for adult children looking to plan for a parent or parents inevitable passing who may not be able to afford the costs associated with death.
Americo has designed a few different burial insurance products for ages 50-85. All these products are designed to cover final expenses and or burial expenses. The premiums are as such guaranteed to never go up and the coverage amount can never be reduced unless you take a cash loan out against it. (Not recommended) Applicant age range is 50-85. Coverage can never be cancelled due to your health or age. Policies as low as $2000 and as high as $30,000 are available from Americo. On their Ultra Protector Series, an accelerated benefit rider is available that allows up to 50% of the death benefit to be paid if the insured is diagnosed with a terminal illness. The Ultra Protector I and II do require all applicants to pass the medical underwriting portion before coverage can be issued. No medical exam is required.
For level, graded and modified death benefit burial policies, American National offers permanent coverage with benefit amounts from $2000 all the way to $50,000. Specifically up to $25,000 for grades and modified and $50,000 for standard whole life coverage with full death benefit availability upon acceptance. All policies build cash value and offer an terminal illness rider for policies of $25,000 and greater.
Baltimore Life offers a permanent, whole life, burial insurance plan called “Silver Guard.” Silver Guard I is a policy that will require all applicants to qualify based on health questions contained in the application.
For those individuals that have a serious condition that can be maintained, the Silver Guard II and III could be good options. While these are both graded death benefit policies, they offer 25% of the full death benefit in year 1, 50% in year 2 and the full 100% in year 3. The full death benefit is payable in the case of accidental death.
Foresters offers a competitive simplified issue burial policy which will require health questions to be answered, but there is no medical exam required. Again, as a simplified issue plan, it is designed for seniors age 50-85. Foresters health questions are quite liberal so often times they can offer coverage on standard rates versus a more expensive graded policy. Even with the more liberal underwriting, Foresters can be very competitive for Burial Insurance. Maximum coverage is $35,000 to age 80 and $15,000 for age 81-85.
Gerber is probably best known for its very competitive guarantee issue whole life policy. It suits individuals with very serious health issues and provides low rates for being burial insurance issued with no medical questions or exam required. Coverage is available for people age 50-80 with death benefits ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. As with any guaranteed issue policy, the coverage is graded for the first 2 years. If death occurs due to an accident, the policy will pay the full amount. If the insured passes away due to natural causes during the first 2 years, the beneficiary(s) will receive all premiums paid plus 10% If your needs require a guaranteed issue policy, you can do a lot worse than Gerber Life.
Mutual of Omaha
Here is another one of the big names out there in the life and health insurance business. A Fortune 500 company at that. Mutual of Omaha offers their own whole life burial policy for ages 45-85. Burial insurance in the amount of $2000-$40,000 is available on this standard simplified issue policy. An accelerated benefits rider allows the policy owner a one time option to receive a large lump sum payment in the event of a terminal illness. Mutual of Omaha has random phone interviews and prescription drug screening for their policies. You should be prepared for a 20 minute conversation with someone in the underwriting department to verify the information provided in the application is accurate. Little more red tape, but Mutual of Omaha offers an excellent peace of mind combined with competitive rate.
Royal Neighbors of America is a Fraternal Benefit Society that has been in business since 1895. What else makes them excellent for final expense insurance? Financially this company has a very good financial rating with A.M Best. Currently that rating in A-. Policies are offered in over 40 states across the country. The company has underwriting that works very well for 90% of seniors and is among the most competitive for overall cost. In addition, they handle people who are overweight and/or diabetic better than most other carriers. RN also has a legal department that can help you prepare a will. This is a free service, all Royal Neighbors policyholders receive. They are a top contender for the best burial insurance company.
Sagicor Life offers a simplified issue, guaranteed universal life insurance product for people 18-65. Individuals age 66-85 will be required to go thru full medical underwriting during the application process. While this is may be a more involved for those 66+ to get issued, the premium savings is well worth the extra effort. Be aware that these policies start at a minimum of $25,000. This is a no lapse, universal life product meant for higher death benefits.
Sagicor’s offering makes a very good option for those needing a larger amount of coverage than typical burial insurance policy. The company has many rate classes to qualify people and does take higher risk conditions in many cases. An accelerated benefit rider for terminal illness/chronic illness is included in the policy at no cost to you.
One of the most well known and highest, financially rated insurance carriers out there, Transamerica has provided top notch coverage to people all across the country for over 100 years. Though the “power of the pyramid” is still their symbol, Transmerica is no longer headquartered there. One of the pointers that sets them apart from their competitors is that they offer burial insurance plans that are considerably larger than most other companies in the industry.
Under age 55, you can purchase up to $50,000 of coverage which doubles the offerings of most other carriers offer. At age 65 you may purchase up to $45,000.
These are policies with a few extra bells and whistles not found elsewhere and receive positive reviews here.
United Home Life
United Home Life offers their Express Issue Premier series of Burial Insurance. It is a simplified issue policy and covers people age 20-80. Death benefit amounts start at $5,000 all the way to $100,000 for ages 20-60 and $5,000 to $50,000 up to age 80. This makes United Home Life a good option for seniors. It is favorable product for a bit healthier applicants that are looking for a very competitive cost of coverage.
Big Household Names That Masquerade As a Burial Insurance Policy…
Some big names sell life insurance masquerading as burial insurance. You have probably heard of them, saw them on tv or received plenty of junk mail from these carriers. There are even associations for retirees claiming to have your best interests at heart marketing some low grade policies that are highly overpriced.
Term life policies that offer low initial premiums that increase every 5 years until they are either unaffordable or the policy expires.
So, the insured loses coverage because they can no longer afford the higher premium. Even if they can afford it, they got gouged and it simply expired at age 80.
Your notice of expiration will be in the original policy. Mark your calendar…when you turn 80, coverage terminates and there are no refunds. Cost of ownership ends up being high for the benefits received.
The sad thing is, these companies allude to the coverage being designed for burial or final expenses, but in fact are poor quality products that reputable agents would not suggest let alone market to a trusting consumer.
Yes, many “cheap” policies are masquerading as a burial insurance solution that expires, gets expensive or even inserts a limited benefit period for natural death.
Avoid these products. They are enticing, due to being “cheap,” on the surface but under the hood, not appropriate for burial insurance.
These products have absolutely no business being termed as burial policies!!
Before you buy a policy, ask yourself if the policy meet your needs, is it guaranteed affordable for the rest of your life, is the insurance carrier well established and in very good financial condition? Are there any waiting or limited benefit periods in the policy?
Finally…do you feel secure and have the peace of mind you want for your family?
This is why I recommend you speak to a licensed professional who is independent and not limited to one company. Someone who can put you at ease and get the job done affordably and reliably.
How Much Does It Cost For Burial Life Insurance
There are a number a variables that would affect your rate. With that said, your age, sex, age, tobacco use, type of life insurance applied for (term, guaranteed universal, whole life), death benefit amount, overall health will all impact the result.
The best burial insurance quotes will all be medically underwritten policies. Burial insurance with no waiting period will always have some health questions.
The easier a life insurance policy is to qualify for, the more expensive per thousand dollars of coverage you will pay.
Remember this general rule.
No exam policies with no medical underwriting are absolutely the last resort. These are called guaranteed issue policies.
These include such plans as Colonial Penn’s Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance.
Medical qualification should be done with a reputable, independent agent who specializes in seniors. You have everything to gain from this relationship. See what you qualify for. Many seniors are able to get first day, immediate coverage even with multiple medical conditions. If you would like to see if you can qualify, here are some of the questions used to qualify you for the best company and plan.
- Have you used tobacco or any nicotine products in the last 5 years? (If “yes”, how recent)
- What is your date of birth?
- What is your height and weight?
- Are you taking any prescription medications? (Drug name and what is it for)
- Any history of heart attack, cancer, stroke, kidney or liver diseases? (If “yes” when was the last time you were treated?) (If cancer, 2 or more occurrences?)
- How about any respiratory issues such as COPD, Emphysema or Asthma? Any use of oxygen or inhalers?
- Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for diabetes? (If “yes”)
- Do you take pills or use insulin? (If insulin use, how old were you?)
- Any diabetic complications like Neuropathy or Retinopathy?
- Any amputations for diabetes, diabetic coma or insulin shock
All insurance companies rate your health different. While one company and plan may be good for your neighbor, it could be the wrong solution for you. This basic health questioning helps a professional find best burial insurance for your needs. He or she can sort out the life insurance companies that are not going to be the best fit for you. That is also why a good independent agent/broker gains access to so many companies…to offer you choice on the best product for your needs.
Burial Insurance For Seniors – The Conclusion
We do not know when we are going to die. End of life planning would be so much simpler if we all had a crystal ball.
To ensure benefits for our loves ones, permanent insurance coverage is needed. Be sure you are only working with a senior benefits specialist that can help you make a good decision that is best for you, not some insurance company pushing a very questionable product.
It costs you nothing to have the expertise of an independent agent who specializes in coverage like burial, funeral or final expense insurance.
I started working with seniors in the later 90’s. Since then, observations have shown that many of my clients live well into their 80’s. Male and female alike.
Don’t get sucked into the teaser price. Your not going to save the money you think the wrong decision could create a big financial problem for you and/or your loved ones if you outlive the coverage.
Term insurance can expire when your family needs it the most. Getting burial insurance in your 80’s will be considerably more expensive and possibly unavailable to you.
Reputable agents and agencies will refuse to market low quality or inappropriate products to you all together.
The alternatives are clearly superior for seniors. Don’t take a chance, do it right from the beginning. Get the right product, insurance amount and then focus on getting a competitive price.
Burial insurance with no waiting period is our most requested senior product among life insurance shoppers.
You can simply start by using the instant quoting form on the right of your screen where it says “Final Expense Instant Quote.” Be reasonable about your health and you have a starting point to work from.
Feel free to contact us for help or guidance. We’re here to help. Phone or email are both fine. 269-244-3420 If you would like to leave a comment below, feel free.