What is a burial insurance policy?

Burial insurance usually refers to a whole life insurance policy in a small amount that's meant to cover funeral and burial costs. It's generally purchased with a death benefit in the range of $5,000 to $25,000. Burial insurance is also referred to as "final expense life insurance," "end of life insurance" and "funeral insurance."

What is the cost of burial insurance?

The cost of burial insurance typically increases as you get older. EverQuote research shows that a 50-year-old male in very good health could expect to pay an average of $277 a year for a $5,000 burial insurance policy. A 50-year-old female in very good health could expect to pay an average of $211 per year.

Your rates will vary based on gender, age and other factors such as health, occupation and credit score.

Average annual cost for a $5,000 burial insurance policy

Gender and age Average annual cost
Male, 50 $277
Male, 55 $335
Male, 60 $381
Male, 65 $489
Male, 70 $595
Female, 50 $211
Female, 55 $255
Female, 60 $297
Female, 65 $365
Female, 70 $365
Source: EverQuote research. We averaged the three cheapest rates found for whole life insurance. Rates are for non-smoking men and women of average height and weight, in very good health. Rates shown are for policies that don’t require a medical exam. Your own rates will be different.

Is burial insurance worth buying?

Burial insurance might be worth buying if you need to set aside money to pay for a funeral and other final expenses.

Funerals can be expensive and costs add up quickly. The chart below compares the national median costs of a burial versus cremation. Both costs include a viewing, but not other expenses such as a monument or marker, flowers or an obituary. Here's more on how much a funeral costs.

Cost of burial vs. cremation

The benefits of burial insurance can include:

  • The death benefit is guaranteed as long as premiums are paid.
  • You can generally choose monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual premium payments.

Some policies offer an accelerated death benefit in case you're diagnosed with a terminal or severe illness. This allows you to use some of your own life insurance death benefit to pay for medical expenses or other bills. Using it reduces the payout that your beneficiaries receive.

Remember that your life insurance beneficiary is not required to use the payout from burial insurance to cover funeral costs. They might use the money to pay down outstanding mortgages, debts or other expenses.

If your family would have bigger financial needs than paying for a funeral, consider a larger whole life insurance policy or a term life insurance policy. Term life can cover the amount and years of a mortgage or other debts.

Does burial insurance require a life insurance medical exam?

Many burial insurance policies don't require a life insurance medical exam. Many offer guaranteed acceptance, meaning you can't be turned down, but you'll pay more for the convenience.

What is "pre-need" insurance?

Pre-need insurance is another option for paying for a funeral. It funds specific funeral arrangements that you pick out. You lock in prices at the time of the arrangement and the life insurance payout generally goes directly to the funeral home. You can pick arrangements such as:

  • Funeral home.
  • Type of service.
  • Casket or cremation.
  • Flowers.
  • Headstone.
  • Burial plot.
  • The cost for digging and filling the grave.

Does AARP have burial insurance?

The AARP offers whole life insurance through New York Life that can be used for burial. It sells whole life insurance plans up to $50,000 if you’re between ages 50 and 80. Rates will be based on health information, although AARP and New York life also offer plans with no health questions.

Can I get burial insurance on my parents?

You can buy burial insurance for your parents, but many life insurance companies have a maximum “issue age” for people who will be insured, generally around age 75 or 80.

EverQuote research shows that a $25,000 guaranteed issue life insurance policy would cost an average of $2,473 a year for a 65-year-old male in good health and $1,834 a year for a 65-year-old female in good health.

Read more about buying life insurance for your parents.

Does life insurance pay for funeral costs?

A life insurance beneficiary can use the payout to cover funeral costs, but they’re not required to. If you want a payout to go directly to a funeral home, consider a pre-need plan.