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How to choose a reputable funeral cover broker

10 November 2023
4 minute read
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You want your valid funeral policy claim paid quickly. It starts with choosing a reputable funeral policy broker. 

The cost of a funeral shouldn’t be a huge burden for the deceased’s family. That’s why you have funeral cover. Here, we look at the options available and guide you through what you need to know to choose a reputable funeral policy broker.

Three ways to buy funeral cover

There are three main ways you can take out funeral cover to help you pay the costs of a funeral – either through an insurer, a funeral parlour or a burial society.


Funeral cover policies from insurers are underwritten by a life insurance company that must be registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). They can only be sold by authorised representatives, including banks. Funeral policies offered by insurers are the most formal and well regulated.

Funeral parlours

Funeral parlours can sell funeral policies, but the policy must be underwritten by an insurer. The funeral parlour and insurer must be registered with the FSCA, which you can check here.  

Burial society

Burial societies are self-regulated and funeral cover from the society is not sold through a broker. Burial societies don’t have to be registered with the FSCA, but it is advised that societies should have a written set of rules and/or constitution that they follow. If you are a member of a burial society, agree on and draw up some rules on how members can use the funds for a funeral and who will manage the accounts and investments.

You need to check

If you buy a funeral policy from an insurer or funeral parlour, this is what you need to check:

1. That the broker is registered with the FSCA

Reputable brokers will be registered with the FSCA. You can check this on the FSCA website using the broker’s Financial Services Provider (FSP) number. Ask your broker for their and the insurer’s FSP number.

2. That the insurer is registered with the FSCA

You can use the company name and FSP number to check that the insurer is registered with the FSCA. If there are any changes, such as a change in the insurer, you need to be informed, which your broker should do.

3. Your policy document, book and/or schedule

Your policy documents must show:

  • Your name and ID number
  • Any additional member names and ID numbers
  • The amount of cover (the sum assured) for each member
  • Full name and registration details of the insurer and your broker
  • Full names of the beneficiary
  • Any restrictions – for example if you can’t claim for the first six months
  • Additional benefits such as cover for groceries, a memorial, and repatriation

4. How to claim and complain

Your documents must give details of where and how you claim – with full contact numbers, addresses and emails. Your broker should explain the claims process in detail. They must also know where to find the contact details of complaints officers and any Ombuds.

5. Receipts for cash payments

It is preferable to pay any premiums on debit order into the bank account of the insurer. However, if you do pay by cash, the receipt must be official with the date, details of the insurer, and the amount you have paid. Don’t part with your money until you are 100% sure you will get a receipt in the next few minutes. Be very wary if a broker says they don’t have time to give you a receipt now or will send it to you tomorrow.

6. Policy wording regarding family members

Words can mean different things in different languages. An example is cousin and second cousin. In English these are two different relatives while in many African languages there is no difference. Funeral policies will usually only cover cousins and not second cousins. If more than one person is covered by your funeral policy, name all the members by their full names and ID numbers, and specify their blood or marital relationship to you, the main member.

Red flags and warning signs

There are also a few warning signs you need to watch out for. If you see or experience any of these, don’t sign forms or part with money until you are completely satisfied. If not, then walk away and find another broker.

1. Your questions aren’t answered, or you get vague assurances

If you have a question, your broker must answer it and you must understand the answer. If you are told something is too complicated, or you don’t need to worry about it, ask again.

2. There are no contact details, FSP or registration numbers on the forms and receipts

All reputable policies will have these details – if they are missing, the policy may be a scam.

Don’t accept being rushed, reputable brokers will give you time to read forms and ask questions.

3. The broker fills in the application form for you

It used to be quite common for someone else to fill in official forms and just ask you to sign in various places. No one should be doing this anymore. If you need assistance, ask a friend or relative. Don’t accept being rushed, reputable brokers will give you time to read forms, consult brochures and websites, complete forms and ask questions.

4. Claims are paid to a provider such as a funeral parlour rather than a beneficiary

This can limit your funeral choice and location.

5. You don’t hear from your broker or insurer

At least once a year you should hear from your insurer or funeral parlour to find out if there are any changes, if your cover has changed or can be increased and if there are any new benefits you might like to add to your policy.

If things go wrong

If your policy is underwritten by a life insurer you can complain to the Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance, or the FAIS Ombud if you have received bad financial advice.

Originally published: 9 April, 2018
Updated on: 10 November, 2023

The information contained in this article was correct at date of publication

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