British seniors reports reveals new insights on funeral costs and perceptions

8 September 2020

Most of us avoid conversations about death and many have never discussed funerals with our nearest and dearest, let alone organising one. As a result, we often find out what’s involved and how much it will cost at one of the most difficult times in our lives; after the loss of a loved one.

A new report from British Seniors Insurance Agency aims to tackle this tricky topic by outlining research into attitudes to talking about death and experiences of organising funerals. The aim is to kick start more conversations and help people become better informed, so that they can plan ahead, expressing their wishes and putting a realistic sum aside for funeral expenses to take some of the stress out of bereavement for their loved ones.

While the research detailed in the report found that 31% of people don’t like to discuss their own death, 4 in 10 people think that we are becoming more comfortable with the conversation and 58% have managed to discuss their funeral plans with someone.

Although 67% of respondents reported that they’ve assisted in planning a funeral, 19% said they wouldn’t even know where to begin. The good news for those who have no experience of planning a funeral is that the rules seems to be much less hard and fast than they once were, creating opportunities to tailor funerals around what’s important to you and the wishes of the person you’ve lost. The British Seniors report found that 60% of people have attended funerals with less traditional services, while a quarter had attended humanist (non-religious) funerals and 27% had attended funerals where mourners did not wear black. New ideas are being incorporated in the planning process from all sorts of influences; from funeral directors and friends and family, through to inspiration from films and TV programmes.

Despite the progress made in tackling the challenging topic of death and the new trends being seen in the way we organise funerals, it seems many of us remain woefully unprepared for the costs involved. The British Seniors research found that 2 in 10 people have no funeral plan or life insurance in place to cover their funeral costs, with just 26% of 35-44 year-olds stating that they have life insurance cover, which drops to just 20% for the over 55s.

Against this backdrop, it would seem that the cost of funerals is increasing, so those with no funeral plan or life insurance in place are exposing their loved ones to even more potential financial stresses and strain when they’re gone than they might think. The survey found that 69% of those who have arranged a funeral over the past five years think that funeral costs are rising and evidence backs this up, with a 5% rise in costs over the past five years. The average amount that people reported contributing to a loved one’s funeral was £2,002.86, often raiding their savings, and the cost of a funeral could be anything up to £5,000, depending on the choices you make and where you live.

The report makes interesting reading and highlights the importance of planning ahead to ensure that funeral costs are taken care of and your loved one’s last wishes are factored into the plans.

The NBS team is here to help with all practical and emotional aspects of bereavement, planning a funeral and finding the right providers for funeral plans. In the meantime, you can find the full report here and it may just give you the catalyst you need to open up their conversation with your loved ones.

To find out more, view the report here: