What Questions Should I Ask When Taking Out Funeral Cover?

While your funeral cover consultant will lead you through the process and important things to think about for taking out the best policy for you, and/or your immediate/extended family, it is important for you to do some research, and understand funeral cover, so that you know the basics, and can ask the right questions when you sign up for a policy. Some of these questions and important specifics are shown below to get you started, but the list is just a general guideline – so do as much research as possible to prepare yourself to get the right cover for you and your loved ones.

Is This the Right Company and Policy for Me and My Family?

The Right Company?

This question is very important. You must make sure that the cover provider is a reputable company, so that you avoid any scams, or sign up with a poorly rated cover company which can badly affect the quality of your policy or claim. Check that the cover provider is a registered FSP (Financial Services Provider) and that they are registered with the FSB (Financial Services Board). The cover consultant should tell you this up front, and all documentation related to your policy should show this – you can also check this on the cover provider’s website. The website should also tell you a lot about the company and the different policies it offers. This will help you to see if it is the right company with the right policies for you, while also giving you food for thought for questions to ask when you speak to the funeral cover consultant. It is usually a good rule to select from large cover companies whose brand names you know, and who have been in the industry for a long time. You can also look at their Twitter, Facebook and Hello Peter profiles or Google Search any respected financial media to see how the public and industry rates them in terms of service, premium price, payouts etc.

The Right Policy?

Know what your needs are – Do you want to cover just yourself, or also your family/extended family? Also know how much cover you would like, so that you can ask what the premiums are when you deal with the funeral cover consultant, and adjust this according to what you can afford. Ask the consultant what the extra benefits on the policy are – eg, airtime, grocery cover, tombstone cover, repatriation of the loved one’s remains etc.

When the consultant has assessed your needs and provided you with a policy quote you are happy with, be sure to read the policy schedule and terms and conditions carefully to understand all the specifics of your cover so that you are happy with it and there are no parts of it that would come as a surprise. By law your cover provider has to communicate and explain all of the above information in plain, simple language, but do not be afraid to ask about anything you do not understand – REMEMBER – this is your policy, and it is important you fully understand and are happy with it for you and your loved ones’ peace of mind.

Get 3 quotes – Different funeral policy providers will offer different benefits, premiums etc, so as with most things in life, it is important to get at least 3 quotes so that you can compare them to each other and select the best policy for you.

How Do the Premiums (Monthly Payments) Work?

It is important to know that a funeral policy is a contract between you and the funeral cover provider, so they will only pay out if you pay all your premiums in full, and on time.
Because this is so important, make sure to set the date of each month on which your premiums are paid, so that you have the right amount of money at the right time, so that you never miss a payment. Some policies have escalating premiums (which means the amount payable increases annually) so ask if this is the case, so you do not end up paying less than what the escalated premium is.

How Do the Waiting Periods and Possible Medical Tests Work?

What Are the Waiting Periods?

Waiting periods (periods of time where the cover company will not pay out) apply for certain things. For example, many funeral policies will need anywhere between 3 to 12 monthly premiums paid by you, before they will pay out your policy cover – it is thus very important to ask what this specific waiting period is. Also, if the death of the loved one is by suicide, the general rule most funeral policies use is a waiting period of 2 years from the payment of your first premium. While not a comfortable thing to think about, ask your consultant what the policy waiting period is for this.

Are There Medical Tests?

Some funeral cover policies will ask for medical tests such as for HIV/AIDS – Ask this question, because this can definitely affect whether you are provided with cover, and/or what your premiums are.

What Paperwork and Processes Are Involved?

Ask for copies of the policy quote and finalised schedule (once signed). It is best to get this in digital form (for example by email) and then to also print it. Make copies of these and store them in a safe place for you, and communicate and share these with your loved ones, so that they know how the policy works – Also let your loved ones ask questions about the policy… this will help both you to better understand your policy as well as your loved ones. Importantly, ask your funeral cover consultant what the claims process involves, as well as the beneficiaries of the policy (those who receive the benefits) you specify.

As can be seen, there are many important questions to be asked, so do your research and ask about anything which you are unsure of – that way you will get the best policy for you and your loved ones and not have any unwelcome surprises about something as important as funeral cover.