When to purchase Funeral Cover is probably an easier question to answer than you might expect, certainly easier than most are willing to say. You could purchase it, for instance, as soon as you:
A: Are afraid your estate couldn’t sufficiently cover your funeral.
B: Are concerned that a family member may have to take on the financial responsibility of your funeral.
C: You can afford the monthly premiums.
Before we look at the average premiums using the Hippo.co.za Comparison Tool, we should dig into what the average funeral cost in South Africa is at the moment. Articles in News24 and IOL dig pretty deep into the funeral cost breakdown and what you get for that money, so we’ll start with a few highlights from those and move on to new territory. First of all, only around 10 million South African adults even have a form of Funeral Cover in place.
Average funeral costs today
According to the multiple sources listed in those articles, the average funeral costs around R11 000. This usually includes things like the casket, headstone, flowers, catering, funeral service and sometimes other small additions. Both articles also admit that although that may be a fair representation of the average, funeral costs do vary widely in South Africa, mostly due to the burial practises of various cultures. But, even within the same culture, costs can vary dramatically based on the trimmings you opt for. For example, a more lavish tombstone could set you back anything from R7 000 or more, whereas a basic headstone could cost as little as R700.
READ MORE: Funeral Customs in South Africa
All that being said, if you are determined to come in at the lowest of costs (what the state calls a ‘pauper’s burial’) you may be able to get out spending around R6 000. But, would your family accept such a Spartan send-off or would they want more to avoid feeling cheap when saying farewell to you? Even a few upgrades to include flowers or catering services, or a coffin made of something other than pine or cardboard can push up the cost of your funeral by thousands of Rands.
Cremation is the process whereby human remains are placed in a special furnace, while within a coffin or casket, and burned for several hours until the remains are reduced to ash, which is then placed in an urn. You might, rightfully, suppose that a cremation service would be far less expensive than the cheapest burial-based funeral, but this turns out not to be the case.
The starting price for cremation is about R7 000 (for what they call a ‘Silent Cremation’). But, it’s worth noting that prices may be higher when dealing with the larger more well-known organisations. Locating a properly registered, private funeral home which is not linked to one of the major providers could result in a lower price, so consider shopping around. The high cost of cremations is still difficult to explain.
The funeral home will charge for storage of the body, collecting death-related documents and preparation of the body. Adding to those costs is the provision of a ‘cremation form’ from a doctor other than the one which may have conducted an autopsy. This is to confirm that there is no reason why the body cannot be cremated. Now we arrive back at the cost of the coffin. That’s right, you still require the most expensive element of a standard funeral anyway.
It would seem reasonable that coffin manufacturers produced a standard ‘no frills’ wooden box specifically for the purpose of cremations, as the construct is destined for the fire regardless. But, this isn’t the case. You’re left with few options but to purchase a full-price coffin or casket.
Here’s what cover you need
So if the average cost of a funeral is R11 000, you need to decide if your salary is average, below average or above average, to give you an idea of what might be expected by your family when they attend your funeral. If the South African average of R11 000 seems suitable for you then let’s see some of what the Hippo.co.za comparison website has to say about your premium options.
So for as little as R45 per month, you could just about have the average funeral cost covered. At R65 per month from Brand B, we hit the mark exactly. But, if you’re looking to go just over the average stated figure of R11 000 (which seems reasonable since we know the costs actually vary quite widely) you should look at a payout of around R15 000.
Now we see that you might have an option from Brand D, which gives a surplus in case you want to spend a little more. Remember to compare policies to see if there are additional benefits which might make taking out a higher premium cover more cost-effective than a lower premium one.
Most South Africans would probably be well enough served by taking out a policy which charges R45- R65 per month with a payout of between R10 000 – R15 000.
Please note that the information above is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Individuals should seek advice from financial advisers should they be interested or have any further queries.