The high cost of funerals and low funeral premiums have led to an increased interest in funeral insurance products in South Africa. However, consumers should be cautious when applying for a funeral policy. Several funeral insurance providers have been under investigation for failing to prove that they are underwritten by a long-term insurance company. It is important that you safeguard yourself and your family against dishonest providers.
Firstly, ensure that your funeral insurance policy is underwritten by a registered long-term insurance company. Every funeral policy member must receive a policy document which contains the name of the company that underwrites the policy. It is advised to check that this company is registered with the Financial Services Board by quoting their Financial Services Provider number. The Financial Services Provider number should be on the policy document. Also ask your funeral provider the following questions:
- Can you choose the funeral parlour or director?
- What happens if the chosen funeral parlour closes their business?
- What if a policy member dies in another country?
- Will the policy cover the transportation cost to bring the body home?
- Can a policy be cancelled if situations change, like if your spouse, who is covered, later leaves the marriage?
- If a cancellation is allowed, will there be any fees or penalties?
- Can you arrange to pay any outstanding amount if there is a death and outstanding premiums? Will you be able to pay outstanding amount and receive a pay-out or will the policy be cancelled?
- Can any changes be made to the funeral policy, like changing from burial to cremation?
Many consumers only have funeral cover that is an add-on benefit on their clothing store account. Do not fall for this sales pitch and assume you have proper funeral cover for you and your family. Contact a reliable service provider, ask all the necessary questions, and choose a funeral policy that meets your needs and budget.