Many families consider using life insurance to cover the funeral expenses and burial costs after a loved one dies. The average price of a traditional funeral service can reach $8,000, so using life insurance can help ease this financial burden. However, the process is not as simple as it sounds, so it is essential to understand how it works ahead of time. Here’s what you need to know about using life insurance to pay funeral costs.
Life insurance payouts don’t occur immediately. Once a claim is filed, the insurance company will then review the death certificate and investigate the request to determine the total benefit. This process takes time, which can be challenging while making funeral arrangements as payment is often expected upfront for most funeral providers. It can sometimes take anywhere from 30 to 60 days before beneficiaries receive payment, although—if the policy has complications—it can take several weeks or months. Remember that an insurance policy must remain active to receive a payout, and if there were any payment lapses, the policy might be rendered invalid. The number of beneficiaries also affects the total distribution, so the person paying the funeral costs might not be able to cover all the charges with their portion of the benefit.
Depending on the type of insurance policy, a beneficiary may be able to assign life insurance benefits to a funeral home to pay for funeral service charges. The recipient will complete a form to designate the benefits directly to the funeral provider or a third party, who then files a claim with the life insurance company. Policyholders can choose this option when pre-planning a funeral by naming the funeral home as the primary beneficiary. Most funeral homes accept life insurance policies as a form of payment. Still, it is important to verify the policy assignment terms with the insurance company before making arrangements with the funeral director.
Advance funding companies are another option if you need money to pay funeral expenses when a loved one dies. As the name implies, advance funding offers policy beneficiaries an advance on their life insurance benefits. This solution can help if the family needs money quickly to finalize funeral arrangements. During this process, the beneficiary files an assignment request with the advance funding company, which will then verify that the policy is valid and there are no outstanding liens or other complications. Once the verification process is complete, the beneficiary will receive payment in just a few days and can pay any pending funeral bills without having to come out of pocket.
It is crucial to update your life insurance policy regularly to ensure that it has adequate coverage. Always review your policy after major life events such as marriage, divorce, or retirement. You should also review your list of beneficiaries routinely and make adjustments if circumstances change. Remember that a beneficiary can use insurance benefits for medical or other expenses as they see fit. If you are pre-planning your funeral, make sure to talk honestly with trusted recipients about using the funds to pay funeral costs instead of other bills.
The process of planning a funeral can be a complicated and confusing time. While using life insurance is one way to pay for funeral expenses, the ultimate guide from Funeralocity offers alternate payment options that you can use. Funeralocity helps to simplify the process by letting you compare costs and services while making funeral arrangements.Back to Knowledge Center