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Do I need funeral cover if I have life insurance?

29 November 2022
3 minute read
Father and daugter

Figuring out the difference between life cover and funeral cover can be confusing. In this article we will explore the two types of insurance to help you understand the difference between life cover and funeral cover and which product is best suited to your needs.

What is the difference between funeral cover and life insurance?

The main difference between life and funeral cover is the type of cover that each policy type offers.

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Funeral cover is designed to help cover your funeral expenses or the funeral expenses of a family member. On the other hand, life cover is designed to help your loved ones financially when you pass away. So, do you need funeral cover if you have life cover? Read on to find out!

Do I need funeral cover if I have life insurance?

Many people wonder if they need to purchase a separate funeral policy if they already have life insurance. Understanding the difference between life insurance and funeral insurance, as well as your family's needs, will help you decide. The short answer is yes. The two types of insurance serve different purposes. Let’s explain…

Life insurance vs funeral cover

What does funeral cover offer?

According to Finscope 2019, more than 7 million South Africans have funeral policies in place for themselves and their family, but the amount of life insurance policy holders is much smaller. The main reason is probably the widespread perception among those who already have a funeral policy that a life insurance policy is redundant because it’s the same thing. In practice, life insurance fulfils a different function to funeral insurance. With funeral cover you get:

  • Cover for the whole family: You can cover yourself, your immediate family, and your extended family with a funeral policy.
  • Funding for funeral-related expenses: The payment covers immediate funeral expenses and other funeral-related costs including transportation, catering, and the tombstone.
  • Uncomplicated cover: Funeral insurance requires no underwriting. You won't need to complete a medical examination.
  • A single tax-free cash payment: Your funeral policy pay-out time frame will vary depending on the insurer, but in most cases it will be almost immediate, following the submission of a valid insurance claim.

What does life insurance offer?

Although both life insurance vs funeral cover are paid out in the event of a loved one or a family member's passing, their respective uses are very different. While funeral cover pays for funeral expenses, life insurance addresses long-term financial requirements. Ideally, both are needed.

You can obtain adequate insurance to ensure that the people you leave behind have enough money to handle long-term debts such as a home loan, school and university expenses, and/or the means to meet their monthly expenses. However, the amount of life insurance purchased and your monthly premiums will certainly affect how much is paid out by the insurer.

Due to the underwriting process involved in life insurance, the insurer must learn more about your health and lifestyle by interviewing you and possibly referring you for a medical examination.

You can obtain enough cover to pay for your loved ones' living expenditures and long-term requirements, such as education costs and home loan repayments, for any amount ranging from R200 000 - R10 million. This money will be paid out in a lump sum when your claim is approved.

Which policy should you choose between life and funeral cover?

When you are no longer there to provide continuous financial security for your family, life insurance will take care of their critical long-term needs. Funeral insurance gives you the assurance that you and your family will always have the money on hand—often amounts that most people won't have readily available in their savings—to pay for yours or your family’s funeral itself.

In South Africa, funeral plans are the most popular type of insurance. It is highly regarded in our South African communities to be able to give a loved one a deserving and honourable send-off. We see millions of South Africans impacted positively by insurance solutions that provide the peace of mind of immediate financial relief, allowing them to focus on more pressing matters, such as grieving.

On the other hand, a life insurance policy will care for your family when you cannot and ensure they obtain a tertiary education, have the funds they need to start their own business and even leave a lump sum to their children! This is known as generational wealth and is your proud provision to your family, thanks to your investment in life cover.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life Insurance or its employees.

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