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Your funeral cover waiting periods explained

6 April 2020
3 minute read

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With a 1Life funeral policy, you can take care of the costs of burying your loved one, so that you can focus on grieving, remembering and honouring their life. You can take out a funeral policy for you and your family over the phone or online with no underwriting and valid claims are paid within two business days. However, there are two waiting periods you need to know about. We’ve got the details below.

What is a waiting period?

A waiting period on an insurance policy is the time between the policy commencing, and the period when the insurance company will consider your claim.

You can claim for accidental death benefits in a waiting period.

For example, if your funeral policy begins on 1 May 2020 (the commencement date and the date from which you pay your first premium) and there is a six-month waiting period for death from natural causes, claims for natural causes are only valid after 31 October 2020.  In this example, if you die within the first six months from natural causes, your claim will not be valid.

Different insurance companies offer different waiting periods, so it is important to take note of these on any policy you consider taking.

To make it easy for you, 1Life has two waiting periods on their 1Life Funeral Cover policies:

  • For death from natural causes, six months
  • For death by suicide, 12 months

We look at these in a bit more detail below.

Six month waiting period for death from natural causes

This is a standard waiting period most insurers apply in South Africa and it applies to new cover, but not always to new policies.

If you have never had a funeral policy or been a member of a funeral policy and you take out cover, your cover is new cover as it is the first time you are insured on a funeral policy.

A new policy can be the above, or it can be a funeral policy from a different insurer. This would happen if you cancel funeral cover with one insurer and take out cover with another insurer. In this case you have a new policy, but your cover is not new because you already had cover on a previous policy.

So, if you have new cover - you are a first-time member on a funeral policy - there is a six-month waiting period for claims from death by natural causes.

If you already are a funeral policy member and change policies, this waiting period won’t apply if you have already completed the waiting period on your previous policy and the cover you are taking is similar. You also need to have been a member on a previous policy in the last 31 days.

For example, if you have a funeral policy with one insurer for two months and cancel this policy and take out a similar policy with another insurer, you will only have a four-month waiting period with your new insurer. This is because the standard waiting period is six months and you have already completed two of those months on your previous policy.

The six-month waiting period also applies to new benefits. So, if you increase your cover from R30 000 to R40 000, the full benefit of R40 000 can only be claimed six months after it was added. If there is a claim in that six months only the R30 000 would be paid.

Death from natural causes includes illnesses such as cancer, a heart attack, or old age.

Note: There is no waiting period for accidental death, which is when death is caused by an accident such as a car accident. You can claim benefits from day one of the policy if death is caused by an accident. It you are outside of your six-month waiting period, death by COVID-19 will be covered.

12 month waiting period for death by suicide

The second waiting period on 1Life Funeral Cover policies is a 12-month waiting period if death is by suicide. Benefits will only be paid for death by suicide if the policy began over 12 months ago. This applies to new cover and to new members added to a policy.

Making it easy to understand and easy to claim

We’ve kept our waiting periods to a minimum and easy to understand so you don’t get a surprise when it comes time to claim. When the waiting period is up, all the benefits can be claimed, and valid claims are paid.

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