There are many funeral plan providers out there, all with different terms and confusing jargon. To help you find the best one for you, we’ve taken a look at the 10 most popular pre-paid funeral plans in the UK, who provides them and how they compare.

Remember, take your time when choosing a funeral plan. There is no need to rush and if you feel pressured or confused at any point, take a step back.

Here is a list of things you should consider when deciding how to choose a funeral plan:

    • Check that the plan includes all of the necessary elements of a funeral. A “standard” plan will cover all of the funeral director’s fees, including collection of the deceased, a coffin, the cremation fees, a hearse and one limousine.
    • Find out who provides the funeral plan and whether using them ties you to a specific chain of funeral directors.
    • The coffin is an important focal point of the funeral, so watch out for what you’re sold. Most standard plans will
      come with a proper wood-veneered coffin, but some use a cheaper wood-effect coffin.
    • Check the cancellation fees. These typically begin after 30 days and will cost you upwards of £249.
    • Understand which costs are guaranteed and which are not. Pay particular attention to whether third-party costs (also
      known as disbursements) are covered. If they are covered, ask how.
    • Watch out for pushy sales agents who will pressure-sell you a plan over the phone. They are paid high-commissions by the plan provider and won’t have your best interests in mind.

Disbursements are just a fancy name for the third-party costs a funeral director pays on your behalf. These will typically be the cremation fees, burial fees, doctors’ fees and charge for a minister or celebrant.

If third-party costs are guaranteed, this means your family will have nothing to pay extra in the future. However, this might mean that your plan provider is asking you to pay more now than what you might need to in the future.

A third-party allowance means that you pay in a specified amount of money now and it is invested in a trust fund. This money, plus any of the specified growth, will then be available to cover disbursements. However if prices increase faster than the trust fund, this can leave your family with an amount to make up.

What’s the difference between a funeral plan and over 50’s insurance?

A funeral plan is a very different product to funeral insurance (also called funeral cost insurance, over 50’s insurance, funeral plan insurance and life insurance!).

A funeral plan provides a guarantee over the funeral costs. This means that the funeral director agrees to provide their services in the future at no further cost, no matter how much their prices increase. A funeral plan will usually cost between £2,500 – £4,000 and you can pay for this in one go or over monthly instalments (usually to a maximum of 10 years).

Insurance, on the other hand, agrees to pay an amount of money to your next of kin when you die. You agree to pay the insurer a set amount each month until you die and could end up paying more into the insurance pot than what you get out. Also, if you die within the first years of paying the insurance you are often not covered. Another crucial point to remember is that an insurance policy does not guarantee for any increase in funeral costs, which could leave your family with a shortfall. The amount you pay for insurance, and whether it is good value, depends on a lot of different options including how old you are, how much you want to pay and when you actually die!

As a quick example, a 50 year old paying £15 per month would receive a payment on death of £3,275. If this person lives until they are 80, they will have paid a total of £5,400.

Examples of some funeral insurance providers are SunLife Over 50s Plan, Asda Funeral Benefit Plan and Royal London Over 50s Life Insurance.

The most popular pre-paid funeral plans in the UK

Funeral Plan Provider Standard Plan Name Funeral Plan Cost Coffin Type Body Collection Cremation Fees Covered? Choice of Funeral Director? Cancellation Fee
Coop Funeralcare Silver £3,625 Wood effect only 50 miles Guaranteed, including doctors fees No – allocated to Coop £250 after 30 days
Safe Hands Sapphire £3,595 Wood veneer 20 miles £1,200 allowance, includes doctor’s fee. RPI index No* £495 after 21 days
Age UK (Dignity) Holly £3,650 Wood effect only 50 miles Guaranteed, excluding doctors fees No – allocated to Dignity PLC £95 after 28 days
Golden Charter Select £3,650 Wood veneer 15 miles £940 allowance, excluding doctors’ fees. RPI index No* £249 after 30 days
Dignity Pearl £3,749 Wood effect only 50 miles Guaranteed, excluding doctors fees No – allocated to Dignity PLC £395 after 28 days
Golden Leaves & From50 Gold £3,460 Wood veneer 25 miles £940 allowance, excluding doctors’ fees. RPI index No* £692 after 28 days**
Avalon Highgrove £3,995 Wood veneer Within England, Scotland and Wales £1,100 allowance, excluding doctors’ fees. CPI index No* £395 after 30 days
Pride Essential £3,895 Wood effect only 25 miles £1,000 allowance, including doctors’ fees. CPI index No* £779 after 14 days**
SunLife Select £3,650 Wood veneer 15 miles £940 allowance, excluding doctors’ fees. RPI index No* £249 after 30 days

*With these plans you can request a specific funeral director, however, your request is accepted at the plan provider’s discretion.
**Estimated fee based on the plan shown and policy wording which sets the cancellation fee at 20% of the plan cost. ***Doctors’ fees refers to the two cremation forms required when someone wishes to be cremated. They currently cost £82 each (£164 total).
If your plan includes an allowance for these fees that is better than one that does not.

Co-op Funeralcare Pre-paid Funeral Plan

The Co-op’s funeral plan is one of the most popular in the UK. The Co-op are the largest provider of funerals in the UK so it makes sense for them to be funeral planners too.

Their standard plan, which includes the lower quality wood effect coffin, comes in the middle of the pack in terms of cost at £3,625.

The Co-op plan stands out from others as they guarantee the cremation fees, however this does mean that you may be restricted to a date and time of their choosing for the ceremony.

One thing to bear in mind when choosing the Co-op is that you will be tied to their network of owned businesses. You will not be able to choose a preferred local funeral director if you have one, so it’s a good idea to think about whether you want to use a corporate versus a local, family-owned business.

If you want to cancel this Co-op Funeral plan, it will cost you £250, which is fairly standard.

Safe Hands Pre-paid Funeral Plan

The Safe Hands Sapphire Funeral Plan is their mid-point plan, coming in at £3,595. This places them among the top 3 funeral plans in terms of cost. Safe Hands were established in 2012, and you may remember them from their TV adverts including Gordon “Safe Hands” Banks.

Safe Hands are endorsed by the National Federation of Funeral Directors (NFFD); however, be aware that the NFFD is not one of the two established funeral director associations. Furthermore, the NFFD and Safe Hands are owned by the same people, so we would treat this endorsement with caution.

The Safe Hands plan comes with the higher quality wood veneer coffin. You do not choose a funeral director as standard with a Safe Hands plan, and your funeral will be allocated to whichever of its funeral director partners is willing to take it.

Cancelling a Safe Hands Funeral Plan comes with an expensive £495 cancellation fee.

Age UK Pre-paid Funeral Plan (provided by Dignity PLC)

The Age UK Holly Funeral Plan is marketed and sold by the well-known charity. Age UK don’t actually provide the funeral director, though. Instead, they have a commercial agreement with Dignity PLC, who will allocate the plan to one of their 800 funeral directors. Dignity PLC are a large corporate funeral director chain, but you might not have heard of them as they operate their business under the name of family-owned businesses they have acquired. If you choose an Age UK Funeral Plan, consider that you will only be able to use a Dignity PLC funeral director.

The Age UK funeral plan gives you the lower quality wood effect coffin alongside the hearse and limousine common to the other plans. On the plus side, the funeral plan offers guaranteed cover of cremation fees and minister’s fee, but excludes the doctors’ fees which would mean adding £164 to the bill at current prices. Given the funeral plan is provided by Dignity PLC, you will have to accept their nomination of crematorium from one owned and operated by Dignity PLC.

One thing we like about the Age UK funeral plan is the low cancellation fee. At £95 it is the lowest of any of the plans we’ve covered.

Dignity PLC Pre-paid Funeral Plan

The Dignity Funeral Plans are provided by the UK’s second largest corporate funeral chain, Dignity PLC. Choosing a Dignity funeral plan means you are tied to one of their network of funeral directors. Don’t be fooled if you are allocated a funeral director with a traditional looking family-name, these are owned and operated by Dignity as a corporate chain. They just keep the old family name while changing out all of the staff.

The Pearl funeral plan is Dignity’s mid-range funeral plan and its most popular, priced at £3,749 – which is the 7th most expensive plan out of the group covered. The funeral plan comes with a hearse, limousine and the lower quality wood effect coffin. This funeral plan covers the necessary cremation and minister’s fees, though you will be limited to one of Dignity’s portfolio of crematoria so do bear this in mind if you have a preferred location. Doctors fees are excluded from this guarantee.

Although provided by the same people as the Age UK plan, the Dignity funeral plan comes with a £395 cancellation fee, which is one of the highest we’ve found.

Golden Charter Pre-paid Funeral Plan

Golden Charter funeral plans are the only funeral plan recommended by the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors and are closely affiliated with the organisation. Golden Charter has over 25 years’ in the funeral plan business and was established to provide a national seller for funeral plans for independent funeral directors (an independent funeral director is basically one not owned by the two large corporate funeral directors, Co-op and Dignity).

What this means is that a Golden Charter funeral plan can only be used with an independent funeral director. You are able to nominate a chosen funeral director but only if they agree to accept Golden Charter funeral plans.

The mid-range plan is the Golden Charter Select Funeral Plan which includes the higher quality coffin of the two offered, the wood veneer coffin. The funeral plan does not guarantee cremation fees, instead offering an allowance of £940 to cover cremation and minister’s fees but not doctor’s fees. This is the lowest allowance on offer from the varying plan providers.

Cancelling your Golden Charter funeral plan will cost you £249 after the 30 day grace period.

Golden Leaves From50 Pre-paid Funeral Plan

Golden Leaves were formed by a well-regarded family of funeral directors in South London in 1984, and have been in funeral plans ever since. Their standard funeral plan is the From50 Gold funeral plan which includes their wood veneer coffin as well as the hearse and limousine found in comparable plans. This plan is good value, coming in at £3,460 which is the second cheapest funeral plan we found.

The Golden Leaves Funeral Plan provides allowance of £940 towards the cremation and minister fees. Like the Golden Chart plan, doctors’ fees are excluded. Golden Leaves have a different cancellation policy to the other funeral plans, which tend to charge a set fee. Instead, if you cancel your Golden Leaves Funeral Plan you will have to pay a fee of 20% of the plan costs. So, for the Gold plan we’re looking at here, the fee would come to £692. Ouch.

Avalon Pre-paid Funeral Plan

You may be familiar with Avalon Funeral Plans from their recent TV adverts featuring none other than Monty Python’s John Cleese dressed as the Grim Reaper. Avalon operate across the UK and some European countries and have been around for 20 years. You can’t find prices for Avalon Funeral Plans on their website but their standard plan, the Highgrove, comes in at £3,995, which makes it the most expensive plan in our test group.

Similar to the better plans in this comparison, the Avalon Highgrove Funeral Plan comes with a hearse and limousine and the higher quality wood veneer coffin. A benefit of this funeral plan is that you will be collected free of charge within England, Scotland and Wales, whereas other plan providers typically only collect for free within a 25-50 mile radius of your chosen funeral director.

The Avalon Funeral Plan provides a £1,000 allowance towards the cremation fee which can be used for the minister fee as well. With the Avalon Funeral Plan, in theory you can specify your funeral director but in practice Avalon can reject your choice if they do not currently partner with that funeral director. If you cancel the plan outside of the 30 day grace period you will pay a fee of £395.

Pride Planning Pre-paid Funeral Plan

Pride Planning are a funeral plan company based in Stockport who offer a range of funeral plans. Their standard funeral plan is called the Pride Essential Funeral Plan and comes with a hearse and limousine. Unlike the other funeral plan companies, Pride are not able to say which coffin the funeral director will provide just that it will be a “standard coffin”. Their standard plan comes in at £3,895 which is second most expensive plan we’ve looked at. Pride Planning funeral plans offer a £1,000 allowance towards cremation fees as well as the minister and doctors’ fees.

The Pride Planning funeral plans comes with only a 14 day window to cancel. If you cancel outside of this you’ll be faced with a fee of 20% of the plan price plus unspecified administration costs. For their Essential plan, this results in a minimum cancellation fee of £779, the highest of any plan we’ve looked at.

SunLife Pre-paid Funeral Plan

SunLife are better known for their insurance products but they also provide a range of funeral plans. The SunLife Funeral Plan is provided in partnership with Golden Charter and the costs and terms are identical, you are simply buying under the SunLife brand. See what we found out about the Golden Charter plan above.


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