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Wills and estate planning

What is final expense insurance?

Final expense insurance can protect your family from the burden of final expenses, like funeral, burial and even medical expenses. Continue reading to learn more about this type of life insurance.
Final expenses can be difficult to talk about. Yet final expenses can be a major burden to your family and loved ones and compound an already difficult time. Being prepared with final expense insurance is one way to be certain your family won’t have to dip into their savings to cover the funeral or burial costs and medical bills you may leave behind.

Funeral expenses have not been immune to rising cost. According to The National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral has increased more than tenfold since 1960. In 2021, the national median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial was $7,848 without flowers or marker. 

Just about anyone could benefit from a final expense life insurance policy. But for now, let’s look at the criteria for individuals who might find this type of insurance especially beneficial based on need, ease of insurability, and cost. 

Is final expense insurance beneficial to you?

Here are some conditions that may indicate that final expense insurance should be considered. 

Your family is grown

Later in life your family isn’t as likely to be as dependent on your income, and you may not be carrying as much life insurance as you did when you were raising a family or paying down a mortgage. Upon your death, all your family may need is the readily available cash to pay for funeral and burial — immediate expenses that could be covered by final expense life insurance. But don’t guess; use a life insurance calculator to confirm your estimate. 

You have pre-existing health conditions

Many insurance companies can issue final expense life insurance without requiring you to complete a medical exam. Final expense life insurance can be easy to qualify for and simple to understand, and won’t be terminated as long as the premiums are paid on time. 

You’re looking for affordable coverage

Final expense insurance can be affordable and premiums generally will not increase over time. Although the face value (death benefit) is typically smaller than that of a traditional life insurance policy, so are the resulting premiums. 

Common FAQs related to final expense insurance

Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you understand a bit more about final expense insurance. 

Does the final expense policy expire?

Final expense policies do not expire as long as premium payments are timely made.

Do I have to take a medical exam? 

Typically, final expense insurance does not require a medical exam, but it depends on the individual insurance company. Often the application will include a list of medical questions in lieu of a medical example. 

How can the death benefit be used?

Final expense insurance is designed to provide your loved ones with cash to cover expenses associated with your burial, funeral and medical expenses. Policies are generally small and the death benefit typically ranges from $5,000 to $25,000 and can be paid directly to the funeral home if you decide to make arrangements in advance, or can be paid to the beneficiary you name who will be handling your final arrangements.

Don’t think final expense life insurance is a good fit for you? Think you might need a policy with a larger death benefit or a policy that accumulates cash value? You may want to ask your agent or company representative about term life insurance or permanent insurance such as whole or universal life insurance. These life insurance solutions can offer more flexibility and can be tailored to your unique insurance needs. 

Independent of your profile for final expense life insurance, it is widely accepted that you should have enough insurance to at least cover your final expenses. Begin by calculating your total insurance needs less your savings and assets, and let a good life insurance policy that fits your needs cover the difference. 

For more information regarding final expense insurance, as well as general information about other policies, such as universal life insurance, be sure to check out some of the following articles:

Burial insurance vs. preneed funeral insurance
 Funeral planning checklist and burial expenses




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