Funeral assurance is a special branch of insurance where the benefit from the insurance company is used to meet the costs of the funeral upon the death of the insured.
The benefit provided by the funeral assurer comes in the form of a funeral service, a cash benefit that can be used to pay for funeral expenses or a combination of cash and funeral service.
It should be noted that while there are some similarities between life assurance and funeral assurance, the two are not actually the same. What is common between the two is that the benefit or claim is triggered by the death of the insured.
With funeral assurance the pay out or benefit is usually in the form of funeral related goods and services like hearses, coffins/caskets and mourners’ transport.
The key objective is to make sure that the deceased receives a decent, dignified and hassle-free burial, and that the financial burden faced by the bereaved is lessened.
On the other hand, a life assurance policy mostly pays out in cash or some other liquid assets. The payment or benefit is made to the chosen and surviving beneficiaries of the policy holder, such as the spouse and children.
The payment or claim is triggered by the death of the life policyholder and is usually made well after the funeral and burial of the policy holder.
Having a funeral policy does not stop one from having a life assurance policy since the two serve different purposes.
Situations have been observed where a bread winner with a funeral policy passes on and dependents then move on to enquire on further benefits for them based on the funeral policy, only to be told otherwise.
If any benefits accrue to survivors over and above the funeral costs based on a funeral policy, this would be by arrangement and not based on the principle of funeral assurance.
It is therefore, recommended to take up both a funeral policy and a life assurance policy in order to be fully covered.
You are also encouraged to be fully cognisant of the different benefits provided under these arrangements.
This article was written by the Zimbabwe Association of Funeral Assurers (ZAFA),
which is an association of funeral assurers. There were additions by IPEC