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The benefits of having a burial policy

16 May 2012
2 minute read

Bury your loved ones

Death is certain. There is no denying that the loss of a loved one is a sad time, but it is also a time to celebrate a life lived and to reflect on good memories.

A week ago in my neighbourhood, we had to donate money to ensure a neighbour was buried. The bereaved family did not have a funeral policy. PEP Stores, for example, offers funeral cover for only R35 a month.

The family in my neighbourhood could have discussed these options with relatives because they knew their member was terminally ill. After death, the family could not discuss the problem. It took them weeks before they revealed their inability to bury their loved one.

They were banking on the "porridge and candle money" we normally contribute each time we visit the grieving family. Many of us can learn from this. Planning a funeral is an emotional and stressful time, without having to worry about finances.

Laurence Hillman, a managing director of 1Lifedirect, says the average life expectancy of South Africans is only 54 years. "Planning ahead and having the right funeral cover should be carefully considered, especially if you think of the financial burden that this can place on the family," Hillman says. He says there are a number of funeral insurance policies available, but the trick is to find one that suits your family's needs.

"You need a policy that will suit your budget. A policy that will deliver the benefits as required and is offered by a company that will support you during this difficult time," he says. Hillman advises that people should look for a policy that offers the biggest range of benefits. "Get a policy that will meet cultural needs, an all-inclusive benefits package that will positively change the lives of the family during mourning," he says.

A comprehensive funeral cover will give a family the opportunity to celebrate the life of the loved one, he says. "People will not be forced to plan a funeral quickly, will not feel vulnerable and hurried into quick, hasty decisions," he says.

Handy tips:

  • Consult family members to discuss options and concerns. Pre-planning eliminates stress.
  • Determine if the deceased has specific requests or a funeral plan in place. Observe the wishes of the deceased and incorporate them into the funeral planning.
  • If you pre-plan your own funeral, you have the final word on what you would like and how you would like it done.
  • It is also one of the most loving gifts that you can give your family because they want to know what type of funeral or memorial service you want.
  • If you have a terminal illness or are injured severely, instead of funeral arrangements and final affairs, you can focus on family, friends, religion, spirituality, etc. - Additional tips from


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