How to Buy Burial Insurance

Two Methods:Determining Your NeedsChoosing and Paying for Burial Insurance

Burial insurance, also called final expense insurance or pre-need insurance, ensures that your funeral expenses will be paid for without imposing a financial burden on your family. Burial insurance can also pay for other expenses such as your credit card debt so your family won't have to pay it. Because you cannot be denied a burial insurance policy, it's a good option if you are unable to buy life insurance because of age or illness. However, age or illness may be a factor in determining the price of the policy.

Method 1
Determining Your Needs

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    Meet with a funeral director. Discuss the costs of a funeral and burial or research the details online. Funeral expenses vary greatly depending not only on the options you choose, but on location. They will also increase over time.
    • A traditional burial requires a casket, headstone, burial plot and concrete liner. If you want to allow a viewing, you will also need to consider the costs of embalming.
    • Cremation is less expensive than a traditional burial, requiring only an urn and the cost of conducting the cremation. You can choose to have your urn buried or placed in a vault, or you can direct that it be kept by family member.
    • Green burials are becoming popular in some parts of the country. Rather than using embalming and a casket to preserve your remains, a green burial is designed to allow your body to decompose. This allows you to return to the Earth and become food for plants growing nearby.

Method 2
Choosing and Paying for Burial Insurance

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    Think of burial insurance as a life insurance policy that has the specific purpose of covering your final expenses. If you already have life insurance, part of the proceeds can be directed for use in covering your burial expenses or you can buy a separate policy that only covers these expenses.
    • Life insurance with a family member as beneficiary provides funds to the person who will plan the funeral and burial according to your wishes. You will need to discuss your wishes with that family member.
    • Life insurance with a funeral director as a beneficiary allows the funeral director to use the policy's proceeds for your funeral and burial. You will make arrangements with the funeral director to provide the services you want.
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    Consider the different payment options and what each options affords.
    • A policy purchased with a lump sum payment will provide the full value of the policy immediately--your beneficiary will have all the funds needed to provide the funeral and burial you want even if you die the day after paying for the policy. You may only be offered a policy with a lump sum payment if you're older.
    • A graded benefit policy will provide a certain amount of the face value depending on how many payments you have made. For example, if you choose a policy that will be paid for in 5 years, your beneficiary will only receive all the funds after 5 years; if you die before then, your beneficiary will only receive part of the funds and will have to pay the difference or choose cheaper options.
    • A traditional policy will provide full coverage immediately as long as you make the payments, but will be canceled if you stop paying.


  • Consider prepaying for certain items through a funeral home, such as a casket, headstone or burial plot. This will ensure that the price of these items won't increase. It also gives you the opportunity to make the selections yourself rather force your family members to try to determine what you would have wanted.


  • This type of insurance is sometimes sold by disreputable companies. Before you buy burial insurance, investigate the company to determine how long it's been in business and whether clients have made complaints about it. Perform an online search or inquire about the company with the Better Business Bureau. Similarly, take care in the selection of a funeral home so you can have some assurance that it will still be in business when you die.

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Categories: Insurance