When buying a funeral insurance plan, it is important that you make a careful decision both in terms of the benefits and the monthly premiums. Your funeral cover needs to pay out enough for a dignified funeral yet the premiums need to be affordable so that it does not strain your monthly budget.
So just how much will a funeral cost you and how much cover should you buy? There is no one correct answer for this questions as there are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration.
Funeral Service and Undertaker Costs
Firstly you will need an undertaker who can collect the body, dress it where needed, provide a coffin and drive the body to the burial area or crematorium. The costs among different funeral services vary as do the services they offer.
You may be able to find an undertaker that will sell you a complete package for as low as R5,000 or other undertakers that can charge as much as R30,000 for the few extra frills. Location also makes a difference and it is therefore important to speak to a local undertaker about the average cost that you and your family may face in the event of a death.
The last thing that the bereaved want to contend with is scraping up money to give their loved one a dignified send off. Some undertakers may offer policies to ensure that your funeral is fully covered by their company but remember there are other funeral expenses that your family will also need to deal with.
Burial and Cremation
The exact cost of a burial varies but the largest expense is the plot of land. You can expect to pay on average about R12,000 for a burial plot in a decent cemetery. But remember that South African cemeteries are running short of land as the HIV/AIDS pandemic has contributed to a sharp rise in the death rate within the country.
Prime plots in more upmarket cemeteries can be as high a R30,000. Although there may be cheaper options, it is important to plan for the cost of a burial plot if you have not already bought one.
Cremation is significantly cheaper. The cost rarely exceeds R2,000 but once again it depends on the crematorium that you use. Some crematoriums are partly sponsored by religious organisations where cremating the dead is the cultural norm. This could spare you a few rands but it is still not free.
Ultimately the decision as to how your body will be disposed of is yours but ensure that your wishes are not going to inconvenience your family as a time when they are grieving.
Tombstone and Wake
It is not just about the disposal of your body that needs to be factored into the costing. If you are being buried then your family will want to afford a good quality tombstone to be placed at your burial plot. Tombstones do not come cheap and here again your loved ones will need to fork out a few thousand rands.
Sometimes this is not done immediately at the time of the funeral but rather a year or so later when the family of the deceased can afford it and want to complete other rituals at the same time. For your funeral itself, your family may want to feed the guests at a wake. It depends on the number of guests present but the cost of food and catering is expensive.
Should your family opt to slaughter animals at the time as part of a cultural ritual, there is also the cost of buying the animals which need to be factored in as part of the wake or ceremony. And the bill quickly rises once you consider the cost of a tent, chairs, tables and cutlery for the event.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, let along the daily bills that you family has to contend with, your funeral plan should cover most if not all of these costs. If you have other sources of cash like savings then you may not need to buy higher level of cover. But remember that for just a few rands per month, a funeral policy can spare your life savings for your family to use at a later time rather than spending it on your funeral.