Funeral Policies:  Your Questions Answered

The death of a family member is always a painful time. But the grieving process can be made so much harder if you are left with complicated, expensive funeral arrangements to make or debt to pay.  Knowing exactly how to choose a funeral policy is the best way to make sure the process is as simple as possible.  This will assist you or your family to spend time in arranging the funeral and providing emotional support to each other, instead of worrying about funding the funeral costs.  Thabo Msimango, regional manager at Sanlam Sky Solutions, answers some important questions about funeral policies so that you can have the comfort that when the time comes, you and your family are taken care of.

Why do I need a funeral policy?

A funeral policy will help pay for your funeral or that of one of your loved ones.  Funerals are expensive and a funeral policy helps you pay the funeral costs and, if the policy is big enough, clear debt.  Funeral policies allow for the burial of loved ones in a dignified way without worrying about how they will pay the costs.

How do I choose the right one?

Before choosing a policy, you first need to look at your needs and those of your family, both now and in the future.  Think about how many people there are in your family and consider how much you can pay towards a funeral plan, without cutting back too much on spending in other parts of your life.  You then need to consider how much you will need to pay for the funeral and what you will need to put away each month to be able to afford that.

Once you have an idea of how much you can spend on a policy, you should speak to a broker from a trusted insurance provider, such as Sanlam Sky Solutions.  They will advise on a policy to suit your needs. If you live in a more remote area, many insurance companies have mobile offices situated within the community.  For example, Sanlam Sky Solutions and Channel Life, have rural offices to cater for those without transport, living far from cities or towns.  They also provide cellphone technology for the processing of new customers and insurance claims in order to make the system work for the community.

When should I take one out?

You should take out a funeral policy as early in life as possible.  Even if you start with a small policy benefit, e.g. R5 000, you can increase the amount allocated for funerals in your policy by increasing your premium payments. It will also save you money because the older you are, the more expensive your funeral cover will become.  It is best to be prepared right now, rather than later.

How do I get the best out of my funeral plan?

Look at more than one funeral plan before you make a decision.  Try to compare three or four policies before choosing the one that is the best for you.  If you have any difficulties at all such as your policy not being deducted each month, contact your nearest customer care centre and make the insurance provider aware of the problem.  Some funeral policies offer extra benefits such as the ‘survival’ benefit, which pays out an amount to you if you live longer than the survival period in the policy.

Others will pay for the deceased’s body to be transported from the place of death to the place of burial.  Some policies can also offer other benefits like unemployment and maternity benefits, which means that if you lose your job or become pregnant, you can stop paying your premiums for a limited amount of time until you are back at work.

For more information visit www.sanlamsky.co.za  or www.sanlam.co.za