The UK lags far behind its European neighbours when it comes to preparing for funeral costs, according to research.
Despite the average cost of a funeral now being in excess of £4,100, only 6% of people in the UK have a pre-paid funeral plan in place, according to research commissioned by Funeral Zone, a free online resource that helps the bereaved, and undertaken by YouGov.
People in Wales are least likely to have a funeral plan, with only 3% stating they have a plan in place. Those living in Northern Ireland are most likely to have thought about funeral costs, with 13% of adults there having set up a plan, compared to 5% in Scotland and 6% in England.
In contrast to the UK, 70% of Dutch people have a funeral plan, while 20m Spaniards have funeral insurance in place.
Who has funeral plans in the UK?
End-of-life planning in the UK is more common amongst people who are widowed than those who are divorced or single, perhaps indicating that those who have already lost a loved one realise how important it is to plan ahead for funeral costs.
- Nearly one in three (30%) of widows and widowers said that they had a pre-paid funeral plan, compared to just 9% of those who are separated or divorced
- Only 8% of those who are married or in a civil partnership have a funeral plan in place
- Of those who have never married, only 2% said they had arranged a funeral plan
Which age group is best prepared?
People in their fifties are most likely to have planned ahead for funeral costs.
- More than one in 10 (13%) of those aged 55 or older have taken out a pre-paid plan.
- Only 3% of those aged 45-54 have bought plans.
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 1% of those aged between 18-24 have a pre-paid plan to cover their funeral bills.
- 2% of those aged between 25 and 34 and the same percentage of the 35-44 age group said they have pre-paid funeral plans in place.
Marginally more women than men, 7% compared to 5%, have funeral plans.
Retired and unemployed most likely to have plans
Only 2% of full-time workers and 3% of part-time workers in the UK have pre-paid funeral plans, the research found. In contrast, 9% of unemployed people and 16% of retirees said they had bought plans.
Why plan for funeral costs?
Nearly 10m people in the UK don’t have any cash savings, meaning they could struggle to cover funerals costs unless they turn to credit cards or personal loans.
When you take out a pre-paid funeral plan, you are not only saving your family or loved ones the expense and worry of sorting everything out at what is already likely to be an emotional time, but you are also effectively paying for your funeral at today’s prices.
That means however much funeral costs increase by in future, you’ll have peace of mind that the send-off you planned for and wanted has already been paid for.
Depending on which provider you go to, you may be able to choose from different levels of cover. For example, more basic plans may include the funeral director’s fees and a simple coffin, whereas more comprehensive plans may include a superior coffin and limousine transport to and from the funeral.
Having a funeral plan also means that you can record exactly how you want your funeral to be, including any special wishes, such as particular songs or readings you’d like. Get inspiration with The Telegraph’s guide on personalising your funeral.