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January funeral bill could exceed £495million

Posted on 8 February 2016

Provisions left by the deceased will only cover 70% of their funeral cost

January typically sees highest death rate in the year with 60,888 deaths registered in January 20151

  • Provisions left by the deceased will only cover 70% of their funeral cost
  • Friends and family are left to pay £2,449 each which could total £150 million
  • One in seven will be forced into debt as a result of paying for a loved ones’ funeral

January is a tough month thanks to almost six weeks between pay days, Christmas to pay for and many of us thinking of booking our summer holiday. Now, new research from SunLife has found it’s also the month with the highest funeral bills of the year.

And, because we only make sufficient provision to cover 70% of our own funeral costs, loved ones could be faced with a £150m funeral bill this month putting even more pressure on family finances.

SunLife’s research2 shows that two in five (42%) don’t make any financial provision for their own funeral, and of those that do, only 70% of the total cost is covered, which leaves friends and family are left to pay the shortfall - £2,449 on average - putting one in seven into financial difficulty.

Of those, half have to borrow money- either from friends or relatives (21%), the bank or a loan provider (8%) or via a credit card (21%) - while one in seven (14%) had to sell belongings.

Graham Jones, Commercial Director at SunLife said: “It can cause loved ones a great deal of added stress at a difficult time if no provisions are in place so it’s important to consider making some plans."

“There are a number of options – the most popular is through savings and investments (60%), while prepaid funeral plans are becoming more popular - 27% had one in place compared to 24% last year while just over a quarter (26%) had a life insurance plan in place.”

ENDS

1. Deaths registered in England and Wales, ONS

2. SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying 2015 report found the cost of dying is now £8,126, while the cost of a basic funeral is £3,693

£8,126 (cost of dying 2015) x 51,940 (average deaths Jan 2011-2015) = £422,064,440

£8,126 (cost of dying 2015) x 60,888 (deaths in Jan 2015) = £494,775,888

£2,449 (shortfall) X 51,940 (average deaths Jan 2011-2015) = £127,201,060

£2,449 (shortfall) x 60,888 (deaths in Jan 2015) = £149,114,712

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.