Death is a bit of a taboo topic in the UK, but the reality is that all of us are going to pop our clogs one day. Its always been an understandably unpleasant thought, but in recent years its also become quite a worrying one for a lot of people. News has broken that funerals are becoming more and more expensive and numerous researchers are predicting that hundreds of thousands of families a year won’t be able to afford a funeral for their loved ones. This is a genuinely upsetting topic, so are here to help you beat the hidden costs that can be encountered from funerals.

Surprise Costs

One of the biggest complications people encounter when trying to pay for a funeral is that they are hit by a significant number of surprise costs, even when they have a funeral plan and life insurance. This is because many funeral plans have “exclusions”, which can have major expenses excluded from the plan, including the burial or cremation costs. This really does feel like they’re kicking you while you’re down, but it’s easily preventable.

Take the time to read the small print of your plan and to make yourself aware of any exclusions there may be in your plan. This is especially important in cheaper plans, which are likely cheap because they exclude major costs. This will give you the chance to make the necessary arrangements that might be needed to deal with them. If you haven’t yet purchased the plan, it may be worth looking elsewhere to find a plan that doesn’t have such significant exclusions. If you have purchased the plan, it could be a good idea to set aside some extra cash in your savings to pay for these hidden costs when they come around.

Many of us feel like we have more important or enjoyable things to be doing than this, but in the long run, you and your loved ones will be very glad you’ve done it.

What funeral costs am I likely to face?

Unfortunately, the cost of funerals is rising by 7% a year, with the average cost of a funeral in the UK in 2017 coming in at around £4,000, which is likely to rise by almost £1,000 in the next five years.

Even if you have read the small print, and hopefully wiped out any chance of being hit with surprise fee’s, there may still be a lot to pay for outside of your funeral plan, as well. For example, burial plot costs are usually excluded because it can’t be guaranteed that they will be available. Other things that are usually excluded from the funeral plan include flowers (the average cost of flowers for a funeral in the UK was £150 in 2017) and catering (averaging at £348). Again, this may feel like daunting news, but there are ways to manage these costs.

How to minimise costs

One of the most appealing options is to get a prepaid funeral plan, which essentially allows you to freeze the costs of a funeral. You pay the price that the funeral costs when you take out the policy, not the cost it would be when you die. You’d still have to check for those pesky exclusions when doing this to prevent being ripped off. It’s also definitely wise to check that the cost of the funeral is guaranteed in the plan, no matter how steep the rise may be in the future.

There is a slight grey area with some providers working out the increase using the retail prices index (RPI), which is below the actual rate at which funerals are rising. If this leaves a shortfall (which it likely will), it can be passed on to you to pay, so it really is worth making sure that the cost of your funeral is guaranteed.

However, the majority of the cost will be covered, and there are plans which allow you to add extra cash to your plan in case of things like unforeseen extras and minor shortfalls to account for this. It is also possible to allocate cash in your funeral plan to go towards burial plots, although this can’t guarantee there will be a plot available at the time, and because of how quickly prices are rising, it can’t be guaranteed that it will cover the full cost of the burial plot, but again, it will cover the majority of it. It’s also worth putting extra money aside for those things that are likely to be excluded from the plan, such as flowers and catering.


This should not be construed as advice and is guidance only.