Life Insurance, Death Benefits and Funeral Planning

Jul 21, 2010 | 0 comments

If you’re like many people, you think your life insurance policy will pay for your funeral. Well, yes, it can — eventually. You may not realize the money from a life insurance policy usually doesn’t become available until an official death certificate for the insured person is issued by the state, and that can take weeks or even months to process.

Some families who count on life insurance to cover funeral expenses have to scramble to cover expenses right after someone dies, either through personal savings, credit cards, or borrowing from family and friends. Think about it – could your credit limit handle a charge of $8,000 to $10,000 for the products and services of a funeral home or cemetery? They won’t bury your loved one without some kind of payment upfront.

But things are changing in regard to life insurance and funerals. Now some life insurance companies are offering expedited payment of death benefits, reduced from months or weeks to days, a big change to help their customers during one of the most stressful times in their lives.

Just recently, The Hartford and Aetna insurance companies introduced expedited payment of death benefits to beneficiaries of their group life insurance policies offered through employers. Both offer programs to help their customers make advance funeral plans that can help reduce costs, provide family assistance, get information on file for survivors, and record ideas and preferences to help create a meaningful, memorable send-off ceremony. Both companies offer their own unique suite of services related to life and death which will be detailed in future posts.

Both companies are working with Everest Funeral Planning, a nationwide funeral planning and concierge service, which provides an amazing array of end-of-life resources. Whether you are thinking ahead on funeral planning issues, or calling in the middle of the night because someone has unexpectedly died, a live person is there to answer the phone and field your questions.

Everest helps consumers compare costs at local funeral homes with a nationwide database of current prices and provides around-the-clock assistance with funeral planning advisers. Their services lighten the emotional and financial burden of last-minute funeral planning, and also allow people to take control with pre-planning.

The funeral planning benefit through Everest is available to workers at no additional cost through employers who use both The Hartford and Aetna’s life insurance coverage as part of their employee benefit packages. I’ve spoken with executives at all three companies and will be posting information from these interviews over the coming days.

A Good Goodbye