The best burial insurance of January 2023

Burial insurance, or final expense life insurance, is a type of permanent life insurance designed to cover your funeral and burial costs.

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Katherine MurbachKatherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertKatherine Murbach is an editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.&Nupur GambhirNupur GambhirSenior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertNupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

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Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.
Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

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Maria FilindrasMaria FilindrasFinancial AdvisorMaria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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Burial insurance, also called final expense life insurance or funeral insurance, is a type of permanent life insurance policy that is designed to cover end-of-life expenses. Final expense insurance has more expensive rates and lower available coverage amounts than term life insurance, which is meant to replace income and lasts for a specific length of time. Burial insurance is best for people who don’t qualify for traditional coverage due to serious health issues or older adults who only need a small amount of coverage.

Key takeaways

  • Burial insurance policies usually offer low coverage amounts, up to $50,000.

  • Term life insurance offers much more coverage at a lower cost.

  • If your age or health disqualifies you from getting traditional term coverage, a burial policy is a good option.

The best burial insurance companies of January 2023

Methodology: How we chose the best burial insurance companies

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends.

Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Best overall burial insurance

Mutual of Omaha

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.5

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A+

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha is a reputable company that offers a variety of life insurance products — including a no-medical-exam option — so that you can select the type of life insurance that best suits your needs.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • No-medical-exam options for older applicants

  • Strong financial and customer ratings

Cons

  • Policies are more expensive than average

  • Slow turnaround time

Mutual of Omaha offers a variety of products for burial insurance, including simplified issue and guaranteed issue options, so people with a wide array of health conditions can get coverage that’s best suited for them. The typical turnaround time for an application is one to five days, depending on the specific policy. You can apply for up to $40,000 in coverage for the simplified issue product, and up to $25,000 for the guaranteed issue product.

Cheapest burial insurance

Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha’s product offerings are cheaper than some of its competitors. The company also offers coverage amounts as low as $2,000, which can help keep premiums low.

Best burial insurance for seniors

Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha’s variety of policy options makes them ideal for seniors in varying degrees of health. To be eligible for their simplified issue final expense life insurance, you have to be under the age of 80. To be eligible for their guaranteed issue life insurance policy, you have to be under the age of 85.

Best burial insurance for fast approval

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2023 Policygenius award winner

AIG

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.6

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

30+ year terms

All 50 states

Why we chose it

With competitive pricing and a range of flexible term periods for its Select-a-Term product, AIG is a solid option for many life insurance shoppers.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Competitive pricing for all ages

  • Favorable underwriting for people with heart conditions and diabetes

  • Good for current and recently pregnant people, including people with gestational diabetes

Cons

  • Not the best for people with mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression

  • No no-medical-exam term option

AIG’s turnaround time for their guaranteed issue whole life policy is typically one to three days. You can even get approved on your initial phone call for up to $25,000 in coverage.

Mutual of Omaha

Why we chose it

Mutual of Omaha’s guaranteed issue whole life option also allows you to get approved on the initial phone call. Turnaround time is similar to AIG – one to three days.

Best burial insurance for additional benefits

AIG

Why we chose it

AIG’s guaranteed issue whole life option comes with two additional benefits at no extra cost. The chronic illness accelerated benefit allows you to request a refund of all of your premiums paid in a lump sum if you become chronically ill or can’t complete two out of six activities of daily living. The terminal illness benefit can provide you with 50% of your death benefit if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness

How much does burial insurance cost?

Burial insurance is generally more expensive than other types of life insurance, like term, because it’s a type of whole life insurance. This means it’s a permanent policy and doesn’t expire. You can still apply for affordable final expense coverage – you might just have a lower death benefit, but it’ll last your whole life. 

Some types of burial insurance, like guaranteed issue in particular, are more expensive because they don’t exclude people based on their health. Generally speaking with life insurance, the more health conditions you have, the higher you’ll pay in premiums.

Average monthly simplified issue burial insurance rates by age and gender

Age

Sex

$10,000 coverage amount

$20,000 coverage amount

$40,000 coverage amount

45

Female

$22.61

$42.01

$80.81

Male

$27.11

$51.01

$98.83

55

Female

$27.71

$52.21

$101.21

Male

$35.95

$68.69

$134.18

65

Female

$41.01

$78.82

$154.43

Male

$56.48

$109.75

$216.31

75

Female

$72.41

$141.62

$280.03

Male

$99.97

$196.74

$390.28

Collapse table

Methodology: Monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers obtaining a simplified issue, final expense whole life policy through Mutual of Omaha. Rates may vary by age and health class. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

Average monthly guaranteed issue burial insurance rates by age and gender

Age

Sex

$5,000 coverage amount

$10,000 coverage amount

$20,000 coverage amount

55

Female

$21.77

$42.05

$88.45

Male

$27.44

$53.38

$112.47

65

Female

$29.81

$58.20

$122.60

Male

$40.58

$79.65

$167.87

75

Female

$51.80

$102.10

$214.87

Male

$66.48

$131.46

$276.67

Collapse table

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated using male and female rates for sample guaranteed issue whole life policy options from Mutual of Omaha and AIG. Rates may vary by insurer, coverage amount, and state. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

Average monthly cost of burial instance vs. term insurance

Below is a comparison of final expense policies and 10-year term policies. When you’re younger, term policies for higher coverage amounts are often cheaper than burial policies, but as you get older, the difference in cost becomes more pronounced.

Age

Sex

$20,000 simplified issue policy

$20,000 guaranteed issue policy

$250,000, 10-year  term policy

45

Female

$42.01

$54.78

$31.35

Male

$51.01

$71.77

$38.20

55

Female

$52.21

$88.45

$61.63

Male

$68.69

$112.47

$86.54

65

Female

$78.82

$122.60

$139.90

Male

$109.75

$167.87

$199.01

75

Female

$141.62

$214.87

$440.59

Male

$196.74

$276.67

$669.56

Collapse table

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers obtaining a $20,000 guaranteed issue whole life policy through Mutual of Omaha and AIG, a $20,000 simplified issue whole life policy through Mutual of Omaha, or a $250,000 10-year term policy based on an average of carrier rates offered through the Policygenius marketplace. Rates may vary by individual policy, health, age, and gender. Not all policies available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of 12/01/2022.

What is burial insurance?

Burial insurance is a type of whole life insurance policy intended to cover final expenses, like funeral, burial, or medical bills. Burial insurance is also commonly referred to as final expense life insurance for this reason. 

Burial insurance policies typically have a maximum coverage amount of $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the insurance company. They also have fewer underwriting requirements than traditional term or whole life, so you don’t have to take a medical exam to apply.

Benefits of burial insurance

  • Stays active your whole life, as long as you pay the premiums

  • Few health requirements to apply

  • Shorter waiting period than other types of life insurance

Drawbacks of burial insurance

  • More expensive than other types of life insurance

  • Limited coverage amounts

How does burial insurance work?

Burial insurance works much like other life insurance products. You pay a premium to the insurance company – usually monthly or annually – and in exchange, the insurance company will pay out a death benefit to your beneficiary when you die. Burial insurance is permanent – it’s a type of whole life insurance with a cash value – so you can guarantee your beneficiary will be able to file a claim when you’re gone. 

For some burial insurance policies, the first two years the policy is active are subject to something called a graded benefit.

  • If you die of natural causes within the first two years of the policy, your beneficiary will receive 110% of the premiums you’d paid instead of the full coverage amount.

  • If you die by suicide during that period, your policy will pay the beneficiaries 100% the premiums you have paid.

  • If you die from an accident during that period, your beneficiaries will get 100% of the policy’s death benefit.

Burial insurance vs. funeral insurance vs. final expense insurance: What’s the difference?

Burial insurance, funeral insurance, and final expense life insurance all refer to the same product. When people use these terms, they typically mean a small whole life policy that is designed to cover end-of-life expenses like funeral or medical bills.

Funeral insurance can also sometimes refer to a pre-paid funeral plan, also called pre-need insurance, which delivers the death benefit straight to the funeral provider for a pre-planned funeral. Pre-need funeral service can be risky as it doesn’t protect against the fact that ownership of the funeral provider might change.

What does a burial insurance policy cover?

Burial insurance policies will pay out the death benefit to your beneficiary when you die. Some final expense policies have a two-year exclusion graded benefit period, during which if you die by suicide or of natural causes, your beneficiary will receive either 100% or 110% of the premiums paid in, respectively. The death benefit is meant to cover end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs, which can include body preparation fees, ceremony fees, a casket, or cremation.

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Types of burial insurance

Simplified issue life insurance

Simplified issue insurance is a type of life insurance policy that can be obtained quickly by answering a few health questions. Final expense whole life policies are a type of simplified issue life insurance. These kinds of simplified issue policies usually offer a maximum coverage of $40,000 to $50,000, depending on the insurer. You can typically get simplified issue whole life insurance if you’re between the ages of 45 and 85.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life policy that offers near-certain approval. This type of policy is best for people who cannot qualify for traditional life insurance or simplified issue policies. For this type of policy, the health questions are minimal – you’ll just need to discuss with the agent working on your application so they can match you to the right policy. The turnaround time for approval is typically one to three days.

Pre-need insurance

Pre-need policies are final expense policies set up with a specific funeral service or provider. You purchase the policy through the funeral provider, and the funeral provider is the beneficiary. There is a risk with pre-need policies that they may not transfer if the funeral home changes ownership. If you can qualify for other final expense policies, they are often better options because they offer more flexibility.

Burial insurance vs. term life insurance

Burial insurance is a type of whole life policy, which is permanent and lasts your entire life. Term life insurance only lasts for a specific number of years, most commonly 10 to 30. 

Burial insurance is a policy that is intended for final expenses, so these policies offer lower coverage amounts. On the other hand, term life insurance is primarily intended as income replacement, so it’s common to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, in coverage. Term insurance is meant to serve as a financial safety net so that your loved ones wouldn’t struggle financially if you were to pass away during your peak earning years.

Simplified issue vs. guaranteed issue vs. pre-need life insurance at a glance

Policy type

Premiums

Permanent?

Beneficiary

Coverage amount maximum

Simplified issue (whole life)

Monthly or annually

Yes

Executor of estate/family member

$40,000

Guaranteed issue

Monthly or annually

Yes

Executor of estate/family member

$25,000

Pre-need 

One lump sum payment

Yes

Funeral provider

Directly tied to funeral provider’s pricing

Do you need burial insurance?

If you know your loved ones would struggle financially to pay for funeral or burial services, a burial insurance policy may be worth it. However, if you can qualify for a term policy, the premiums will be lower and the available coverage higher. Final expense policies are best for people who cannot qualify for more affordable coverage.

How much burial insurance do you need?

The average cost of a funeral and viewing in 2021 was about $7,800, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. [1] Some common coverage amounts for burial insurance are $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000 – although it depends on your specific needs.

If you have other outstanding bills that your loved ones would have to pay, you may want to look at higher coverage if you can. If, on the other hand, you have enough to self-insure for the cost of a funeral already, you may not need coverage.

Tips for buying burial insurance

First, you’ll want to think through your needs for coverage. You can ask yourself questions such as:

  • Do I have any outstanding bills that my loved ones would have to pay in my absence?

  • Would my loved ones struggle to pay for my funeral? 

  • Do I have health conditions that would make it difficult for me to qualify for a traditional policy?

If you think you need coverage but you’re not sure which type you can qualify for, speaking with an independent broker can help you understand your options. At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in 50 states and can provide you with transparent, unbiased advice. 

Alternatives to burial insurance

Other than term life insurance, there are several other insurance products that can help pay for final expenses, including:

  • Pre-need insurance. Also called pre-need funeral insurance or pre-need burial insurance, this type of policy is offered by funeral homes and directors.

  • Pre-need funeral trust. This type of trust serves the same purpose as a pre-need funeral policy, but you contribute to a trust that earns interest over time instead. 

  • Self-funded burial. If you’re financially comfortable in retirement, you may have the money you need to cover end-of-life expenses already. 

Pre-need trusts and policies can be risky because the funeral home or service provider you’ve committed your money to could go out of business or change hands before you pass away. Self-funding is usually the best alternative if you decide not to go with a final expense insurance policy.

That being said, speaking with a licensed expert can help if you need financial protection and you’re not certain about your options due to your age or health.

Learn more about other types of life insurance:

If you or someone you know is in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.

Frequently asked questions

What is a burial insurance policy?

Burial insurance, also called final expense life insurance or funeral insurance, is a type of whole life insurance with a small death benefit (usually between $10,000 to $20,000) meant to pay for end-of-life expenses.

What are the different types of burial insurance?

The two main types of burial insurance are guaranteed issue and simplified issue final expense. Guaranteed issue has fewer medical restrictions to apply, but also costs more.

What is the difference between whole life insurance and burial insurance?

Burial insurance is a type of final expense whole life insurance. This means that it offers permanent coverage just like whole life policies do, but it has a lower maximum death benefit.

Do I need burial insurance if I’m a young person?

Most products intended for final expenses have a minimum age to apply that’s between 45 and 50. If you’re young, term life insurance will likely provide more protection for a lower cost.

Is burial insurance worth it?

If you cannot qualify for a more affordable life insurance policy and need to cover your end-of-life expenses on behalf of your loved ones, burial insurance is worth considering. If you’re not sure if this product is right for you, a licensed Policygenius advisor can help you compare quotes and policy options to make your smartest life insurance decision.

References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

editorial standards.
  1. National Funeral Directors Association

    . "

    Media Center: Statistics

    ." Accessed October 25, 2022.

Authors

Katherine Murbach is an editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewer

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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