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Planning ahead: the importance of funeral cover for seniors

17 May 2024
4 minute read
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The best time to plan for funeral cover for your senior years is today! If you haven’t considered funeral insurance, or not yet got round to taking out a policy, you need to act now, because there may come a day when it is too late.

Understanding the need for funeral cover for seniors

South Africans know the importance of planning ahead so that the costs of a respectable funeral can be covered. Nearly half of all South Africans have some form of funeral insurance, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing burial costs can be paid without burdening friends and relatives.

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Funeral policy entry age limits

South African funeral insurance policies from licensed insurers can be taken from the age of 18 years, with many insurers limiting the oldest age at which you can take out a policy as a main member to 64 years. There are a few insurers who cater for funeral cover for seniors and allow those 65 and over to be covered as additional members on a policy, but only up to a certain age such as 74 years. A very small number of insurers offer those over the age of 75 cover, and it is usually at a very high premium that may need to be paid upfront as a lumpsum. Which means buying funeral cover as a pensioner or senior citizen may not be an option. Taking out a funeral insurance policy before you reach 65 years will ensure you don’t have to worry about both funeral costs and not qualifying for cover in your senior years!

Options for senior citizens who don’t have funeral cover are expensive

If you don’t have funeral cover, ensuring the costs of a service and gathering can be paid can become a challenge, and may even burden relatives with debt!

Using savings to pay for funeral

You can save money and set it aside for funeral expenses. This requires discipline as you have to save until you have enough to cover the costs, such as R40 000 in your savings account. You also need to keep those savings for funeral expenses, and not use them for any other purpose, including an emergency such as a car or home repair! Furthermore, you need to make sure that a loved one can access these funds when needed for your funeral. When you pass away, your bank and investment managers will freeze your accounts until your estate is settled, which means your loved ones cannot withdraw any money! They may have to wait months for the funds, and have to take out a loan to pay for the burial costs when they are due.

Top tip: Use our funeral savings calculator to work out how much you need to save every month to cover the cost of a funeral.

Relying on family and loved ones to pay for the funeral

This is an option, but not an ideal option as you may already know from when a loved one passed and you needed to assist with burial costs. Your loved ones want to give you a respectable funeral, but funerals are expensive when you take into account all the costs such as the coffin, undertaker costs, service, burial plot and gathering costs. Will your family have enough to cover these, or will they have to use their savings, or worse, will they need to take on debt? You don’t want to leave your loved ones with additional debt, so avoid this option if you can by taking out funeral cover when you are younger!

Plan ahead to make your senior years stress free

Your senior years should be a time when you can enjoy your family, your hobbies, even perhaps a side hustle to supplement your income. They are also a time when you want as few financial worries as possible. To achieve this you have to plan ahead and make sure inevitable costs can be covered. When you plan for these in advance, it is one less thing to worry about or budget for!

It's easy to apply for funeral cover

South Africans, including senior citizens and pensioners, who qualify for funeral cover need to know that it is easy to apply for a funeral policy! You won’t have to answer medical questions, and your application can be accepted in minutes if you buy online. Valid claims are paid quickly, usually within 48 hours, ensuring your loved ones can pay for the funeral costs in good time. You can choose the cover amount you want, up to a limit of R100 000 in total, or R50 000 with some insurers, at a premium that is affordable.

Top tip: Find out more about the cost of a funeral in this blog.

Turn to 1Life Insurance

1Life Insurance offers funeral insurance to South African citizens, as well as pensioners and senior citizens, aged between 18 years and 64 years. Additional members up to age 74 may be added to a policy, such as adding a parent or grandparent. 1Life Insurance funeral policies can be bought online, with savings of 40% on monthly premiums, and you can choose a cover amount that meets your needs and budget! You can access and manage your policy on the online policyholder services portal or WhatsApp service centre, in your own time safely and securely.

Top tip: Remember to tell your loved ones about your funeral policy so they can claim when the time comes.

Act now

Even if you are not comfortable talking or thinking about death, some forward planning will ensure you can have a respectable goodbye without burdening family and loved ones. They can mourn and grieve without financial stress, and cherish the memories and time you shared together. Don’t leave it too late!

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