How to Shop Smart for Pre-Need Funerals
Pre-need funeral plans are available through multiple avenues. You can find packages at most funeral homes, cemeteries, life insurance providers, large corporations, and even independent financial brokers. These days, just about everyone has a finger in the death pre-care industry pie, and knowing who to turn to for help can be tricky.
If you are in the market for a pre-arranged funeral, here are a few things you should know about shopping smart.
- Large funeral homes have bigger backing. Large funeral chains tend to have facilities all over the country (although they sometimes operate under different names or give the appearance of a mom and pop company), which means they can offer better incentives and discounts when it comes to pre-need funerals. In many cases, they have the backing of a large insurance company or bank, which means you have better security in your funeral package—as well as more options.
- Funeral home packages may tie you to that specific facility. While a funeral home pre-need plan can save you money and be a wise financial move, it might also mean you limit your options should you move, remarry, or wish to make changes. Always look in your contract for the ability to transfer your package to another facility (and expect there to be fees) if you want flexibility in your plan.
- Cemetery pre-need packages and funeral home pre-need packages are different. When you purchase burial services through a cemetery, you’re almost always getting a physical item in exchange for your money (in this case, the actual plot of land where you will be buried…and in some cases, the headstone to go with it). When you purchase a pre-plan funeral through a funeral home, you’re usually just paying for the promise of services upon time of death. There tends to be more security in cemetery plans, since you can often transfer ownership of your cemetery space to a third-party buyer or put it up for resale should you change your mind at a later date.
- There is no rush. Many times, companies will try to get you to sign up for a funeral pre-plan package by making it appear as though you need to act fast or sign up before you reach a certain age. While there certainly are restrictions and differences in price due to age (especially if you’re looking at funeral insurance as opposed to actual services), you don’t have to sign anything today. Take your time, shop around, and if someone pushes you to buy a service right now, be wary of their real intentions.
Funeral pre-plans are a good thing to consider whenever you make changes to your life insurance, will, or retirement plans. A small investment of your time and money today can save your loved ones considerable pain later on—and if you do it right, you can end up saving them quite a bit of out-of-pocket expenses.
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By Amy Johnson