Prepaid funeral plans review 2021
This is a comprehensive 2021 review of award-winning UK funeral plan provider – Golden Charter.
Firstly, lets detail what a funeral plan is.
A prepaid funeral plan allows you to plan and pay for your funeral in advance of your passing.
This means that the cost of your funeral becomes your responsibility, alleviating your loved ones from this significant expense, (average total cost of dying £9,493).
A funeral plan enables you to lock in today’s rate for your funeral services, avoiding future price rises. It also means you can arrange the ceremony you want.
Key benefits of a funeral plan:
- Avoid rising funeral costs
- Guaranteed acceptance onto a plan
- Flexible payment options
- Funeral Planning Authority regulated
- Funeral can be covered after 12 months
If you are considering taking out a prepaid funeral plan to protect your loved ones from spiralling costs, then keep reading to establish if Golden Charter are the right option…
Golden Charter funeral plans benefits:
- A network of over 3000 funeral directors
- Approved by Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)
- Recommended by Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors (SAIF)
- 4x different funeral plans to choose from, varying in cost
- Flexible payment options
Golden Charter funeral plans negatives:
- Not all third-party costs are guaranteed
- Loved ones will have to cover funeral costs if you pass away early if on an instalment plan
- Collection of the deceased only within a 25 miles radius
- Collection of the deceased only during working hours for 3 of the 4 plans
Third-party funeral costs
Golden Charter plans cover the funeral director’s services, but they do not cover the total cost of all third-party services. Instead, they offer an allowance of either £500 or £1100 towards these services, depending on the chosen plan.
Third-party services are those provided on the day of the funeral and include the cost of the cremation or burial, plus the cost of a minister to hold the ceremony. What’s more, two doctors must sign the death certificate, which is another third-party expense to factor in.
According to recent research from life insurance provider SunLife, these expenses make up £1,193 on average for a cremation and £2,288 for a burial.
This means the £500 to £1100 allowance offered by Golden Charter is unlikely to be sufficient to cover all third-party expenses.
Golden Charter Trustpilot reviews
As well as being as fair and impartial as possible within this review, it is even more important to analyse how Golden Charter customers rank their product.
At the time of writing this article, Golden Charter have acquired an impressive 2,040 Trustpilot reviews, with 79% rated at ‘Excellent’ and only 3% of customers rating them as either ‘Poor’ or ‘Bad’.
What is included in a Golden Charter funeral plan?
All Golden Charter prepaid funeral plans include:
- Assistance with funeral service arrangements
- Support and guidance from a nominated funeral director
- Transfer of the body within 25 miles to the place of rest
- Care of the deceased at the place of rest until the funeral
- A coffin/casket
- Use of chapel of rest or service room
- An allowance of £500 – £1000 towards third-party costs, (depending on plan)
- Provision of a hearse to carry the deceased from the funeral home to crematorium or cemetery
- 24-hour bereavement support available
What is not included in a Golden Charter funeral plan?
As mentioned above, third-party costs, like minister and doctor fees and cremation or burial fees, are not covered in full. Instead, they provide an allowance with each plan to cover these, (between £500 or £1,100).
Also, most funeral plans, including those with Golden Charter, do not cover the cost of the burial plot. These costs can vary significantly depending on the region of the UK and type of burial you choose.
Lastly, if you choose a cremation, the crematorium needs to be within 15-miles of the Golden Charter funeral director, or you may incur extra fees.
Golden Charter Funeral Plan options overview;
|Plan||Full upfront cost||Third-party costs contribution||Coffin||Limousine||Funeral procession||Collection of body (within 25 miles)||Flexible funeral time & date|
|Basic Plan||£1,749||£500||Yes – basic||No||No||Working hours only||No|
|Value Plan||£2,895||£800||Yes – basic||No||No||Working hours only||No|
|Standard Plan||£3,495||£1,100||Yes – simple||No||No||Working hours only||Yes|
|Select Plan||£3,850||£1,100||Yes – high quality||Yes x 1||Yes||24 hours a day||Yes|
|Premier Plan||£4,099||£1,100||Yes – superior||Yes x 2||Yes||24 hours a day||Yes|
Golden Charter funeral plans can be paid for in 4 different ways:
- Paid in full with one upfront payment
- A £49 deposit, followed by 12 interest-free monthly payments
- Monthly instalments between 2-30 years, (incurs interest)
- Fixed monthly payments with no deposit, paid until death or until you 90
If you pay via instalments, you must be 78 or under and the payment term must end before you turn 80. If paying by fixed monthly instalments, you must be aged 50 – 80 at the point of taking out the plan.
What if you pass away before the plan is paid off in full?
It is possible that you pass away before you have paid your funeral off in full.
If this does happen, as long as Golden Charter has received at least 24 monthly payments, then the amount you have paid will still be contributed towards your funeral. Although, this is only possible if the remaining cost of your funeral is settled by your estate or family.
There are approximately 3000 UK based funeral directors who currently accept Golden Charter plans, providing them with excellent reach across the country.
Find out where your most convenient Golden Charter funeral director is located; Find a Funeral Director.
Golden Charter trust
When you pay towards a Golden Charter funeral plan the funds are managed by The Golden Charter Trust, who are independent of Golden Charter.
Therefore, in the unlikely scenario that Golden Charter goes bankrupt, the trust ensures your funeral is still covered and funeral director services are carried out as agreed, protecting your investment.
Funeral plans as a product are not currently regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in contrast to life insurance. However, some providers, including Golden Charter, are approved by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).
All Golden Charter plans can be cancelled within the first 30 days and any payments made during this period will be refunded.
If a plan is cancelled after the first 30 days and you have either paid upfront or are paying by 12 monthly payments/low-cost instalment plan, you will be charged a £249 cancellation fee.
Unfortunately, if you are paying by the fixed monthly payment option and cancel after 30 days, then you won’t receive a refund of any payments made.
Given that funeral costs have increased a staggering 130% over the past 16 years, having a funeral plan in place locking in today’s rate and avoiding future price rises, makes a lot of sense.
However, there are lots of different options available to consider, Dignity, Co-op, Pure Cremation and Simplicity. The later, Simplicity, offer what’s known as a direct direction, which is by far the most cost-effective option, if cost is your main consideration. However, with a direct cremation the funeral is streamlined considerably – there is no funeral service, no ceremony and no mourners allowed.
Golden Charter are very well established and a sound funeral plan option. That said, it is always worthwhile comparing quotes and plans to ensure you get the right policy, at the best available price.
You could research quotes online yourself or if this is too time consuming why not use a fee-free broker service, such as Reassured, to do the hard work for you.
SunLife – Cost of Dying 2020