Questions to ask when taking out a funeral policy

Lee Bromfield

The last thing you should worry about when grieving the loss of a loved one is reading up on the terms and conditions of your funeral policy to try and understand the circumstances that would have led to your claim being delayed.

“Asking your insurer the right questions upfront can give you peace of mind knowing that you can effortlessly claim when you need cover the most,” says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life.

Many consumers only place emphasis on the cost of their monthly premiums and the lump sums that will be paid out in the event of death, and mistakenly ignore important detail in their policies.

Bromfield advises consumers to ask these important questions when taking up cover:

· Who qualifies as a nominated beneficiary – it has to be an individual who is 18 years or older and cannot be a company, business, charity or trust. Some insurers may also require the beneficiary to be a spouse or family member.

· What if the nominated beneficiary passes away – it will be important to update your policy immediately and nominate a new beneficiary. If the nominated beneficiary is no longer around or has passed away, the benefits would be paid into your estate.

· Does the policy have a waiting period – there’s often no waiting period for accidental death. However, for natural death and suicide, the waiting period for most insurers is 6 and 24 months, respectively.

· Can I add my new born child to the policy – newborn children should be added three months before their birth in order to be covered immediately. Alternatively, the normal six month waiting period will apply.

· What if I skip a payment due to financial distress – your insurer will collect a double premium the following month. If collection fails for the second time, the policy will lapse.

· How do I claim – some insurers require the claimant to submit a certified claim form, notice of death form, death certificate and a copy of their ID.

“Following the submission of a notice of death form, FNB Life obtains or verifies death certificates through the National Population Register from the Department of Home Affairs and this improves the speed at which beneficiaries are paid out for valid funeral insurance claims,” says Bromfield.

· Will my policy lapse if I pass away – if a spouse was insured under the same plan they will be given an option to continue with the policy as the new principal member.

“Although getting funeral cover is essential to safeguard you against unforeseen burial expenses, it is equally important to carefully read, understand and seek clarity about your policy from your insurer to avoid unpleasant surprises in the unfortunate event of death,” concludes Bromfield.

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