Burial Insurance for Seniors: The Essentials

Burial insurance for seniors might be more expensive with a smaller coverage limit than traditional life insurance, but it can still provide the coverage you need.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Apr 20, 2022

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Quick Facts

  • Burial insurance is an alternative to traditional life insurance plans that is meant to cover funeral costs and other end-of-life expenses
  • Rates for burial insurance are higher than those of traditional policies, and most companies offer a maximum of $25,000
  • Companies that offer burial insurance don’t require medical exams and typically avoid health questions

Discussing funeral plans with a loved one can be an uncomfortable conversation, but it’s vitally important. Funerals are expensive, and if you’re not leaving money to your family, they’ll have to pay for your burial out of pocket.

Burial insurance (also called final expense insurance) is an alternative to whole or term life insurance. Burial insurance for seniors over 60 is typically more expensive than traditional life insurance, but it can assist your family with your end-of-life expenses.

You should weigh the pros and cons of burial insurance for seniors, and then compare prices with multiple companies to find the best rates. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool to determine what quotes might look like for you.

What is burial insurance?

Burial insurance is a type of end-of-life coverage for seniors. Typically, you need to be older than 50 to purchase it, and most plans range in coverage between $1,000 and $25,000.

This is a much smaller plan than traditional insurance, but it’s a good option for seniors that don’t have life insurance. There are two basic types of final expense insurance: simplified issue and guaranteed issue.

Simplified issue policies are also referred to as no medical exam insurance, meaning you won’t have to complete blood work or other testing to obtain it. You’ll endure a medical interview in which some conditions can disqualify you. For example, if you have a serious medical condition like cancer or heart disease — or if you live in a nursing home — you might not be eligible.

Guaranteed issue life insurance requires no testing and no interview. Anyone can acquire this insurance, no matter the state of their health. However, guaranteed issues are a higher financial risk for insurance companies because they have no information about you. Therefore, guaranteed issue insurance tends to be more expensive.

Why not buy a term life insurance policy instead?

Term life insurance is certainly a viable option, but it might not be the best choice for seniors. Burial insurance for seniors over 70 is a safer bet because it lasts until you die, as long as you pay your bill.

On the other hand, term life only lasts as long as the period for which you purchase it — typically 10 or 20 years. If you’re relying on term life insurance to pay for your funeral, you’re essentially betting that you’ll die before the term expires.

While it might sound like that risk isn’t too unfavorable for older adults, term life becomes increasingly more expensive the older you get. It can quickly become unaffordable for seniors, and some companies won’t sell at all to people over a certain age. Check the table below to discover how much a new term life plan typically costs.

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Instead, insurance experts recommend term life insurance for younger people with financial obligations. New parents, first-time homeowners, and people with outstanding debt benefit the most from term life.

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How much does burial insurance for seniors cost?

Although elderly burial insurance is a solid investment for seniors, it can be expensive. Unfortunately, you won’t find free burial insurance for seniors.

To start, this coverage is typically purchased closer to the end of a person’s life. Therefore, they might not pay for it for very long.

Second, the insurance company doesn’t know very much about the person that it’s insuring. Both of these factors increase the company’s financial risk.

You should buy burial insurance as soon as you realize that you need it, in an attempt to avoid higher rates. While the price you pay will depend on a variety of factors, you can get an idea below of how much it might cost you based on your age.

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As you can see, burial insurance for seniors over 80 is much more expensive than it is for younger individuals. No matter the price, it’s still an excellent product to purchase because it can save your family thousands of dollars.

Of course, the price of burial insurance will depend on the company you choose. For example, AARP burial insurance with $8,000 worth of coverage for a 60-year-old woman costs approximately $39.50. If you select its competitor, TruStage, you’ll pay approximately $46.40.

Do you really need burial insurance?

The average price of a funeral is approximately $8,000. That’s a lot of money for most families to produce, especially when they’ll want to focus on grieving. Burial insurance gives you the peace of mind that your funeral won’t be a financial burden on your loved ones.

It’s also a great option for people that can’t acquire traditional insurance, due to health concerns or preexisting conditions.

However, burial insurance can be costly and usually has the same two-year waiting period as traditional plans. A waiting period for burial insurance means that your beneficiary won’t receive the full payout if you die within the first two years of your coverage.

Some insurance companies offer burial insurance without a waiting period. Since seniors are the primary consumers of burial insurance, companies understand that eliminating the waiting period can remove a significant amount of stress from the buying process.

If you’re concerned about a waiting period, make sure to look for plans without it when you’re comparing quotes.

What are the alternatives to burial insurance for seniors?

You know about term life insurance, but are there any other options that will cover your end-of-life expenses?

First, you can consider funeral insurance. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, they are different insurance products. The main difference is the location where the insurance company sends the payout for your policy after you die.

If you have burial insurance, your death benefit is distributed to your beneficiary. If you select funeral insurance, it is allocated directly to a funeral home of your choosing. Your beneficiaries can use your payout in any way they wish. Ideally, they will carry out your final wishes, but that doesn’t always happen.

Funeral insurance eliminates the need for your family to make decisions about your funeral. You can usually request that a funeral home lock in a price for the services you want as well, enabling your insurance to cover everything.

You can also set aside money for your funeral in your will. The only danger in doing this is that the funds might not be released to your family in time for your funeral.

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Find the Best Burial Insurance for Your Needs

If you’re a senior without life insurance, burial policy for seniors might be the best option to ensure that your family isn’t burdened with the price of your funeral. While it isn’t as good a value as traditional life insurance plans, burial insurance is an excellent option if you have a serious health condition.

If burial insurance for seniors sounds like the best fit for you, make sure to compare prices and waiting periods with as many companies as possible. To see what rates might look like for you, enter your ZIP code into our free tool today.


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