Best No Exam Burial Insurance Companies

Table of Contents

There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to have a life insurance policy in place. One main reason is that life insurance can protect your family’s life savings due to an unforeseen death. 

For example, most families buy a life insurance policy that can offer a large enough death benefit payout to replace their annual income for at least 10 or more years so that their loved one’s current standard of living goes uninterrupted if one of them were to pass away.

While life insurance policies are an excellent choice for young families during their working years, they are also a smart option for older folks. Life insurance is a perfect financial tool to ensure that your final expenses, such as funeral and medical costs, are covered and not passed on to your loved ones to worry about. 

Sometimes, coverage for those end-of-life expenses is all you need. While larger policies can cover years of expenses, they’re not always necessary, especially if you’re retired, have no children to support, and no longer have a mortgage balance. If you fit this criterion, a smaller life insurance policy that ensures that your final costs are covered may be sufficient. 

That’s why burial insurance is such a popular policy type. Some of the most trusted names in the life insurance industry offer these policies, and they’re a great way to make sure your family isn’t burdened with bills and debt during an already difficult time. 

Burial insurance plans have been around for a long time. You may have already heard about these plans advertised by companies on TV and want to learn more about the insurance option or even the company advertising their life insurance coverage.

Before you dive in and purchase a policy, you must know exactly what you’ll be getting. Burial insurance policies are generally pretty straightforward, but there’s still a lot you’ll need to know especially when it comes to the death benefit payout during the early years of having the policy.

Luckily, you’re in the right place to learn more. At No Medical Exam Quotes, we can answer all your questions about these popular life insurance policies. Plus, our guide includes an extensive FAQ section on burial insurance and helpful insight into the best burial insurance companies offering plans in 2021.

Features of Burial Life Insurance Plans

The Basics of Burial Insurance

Burial insurance policies are actually a form of non-participating whole life insurance. Since whole life insurance is classified as permanent life insurance, that means that a burial insurance policy will never expire as long as you make your premium payment. Therefore, your coverage will start the day you accept the terms of your policy and have made your first payment. Once your coverage is active, you’ll never need to renew or reapply as they do not expire.

If you’re wondering what the “non-participating” means, well, that means these plans are not designed to receive dividends. However, burial insurance plans do have guaranteed cash-value growth. The insurance company sets aside a predetermined portion of each payment for every premium payment paid and places it into the cash value account. The cash value account grows each year and can be borrowed from if needed.

In time, the money in the cash value account should be equal to the full amount of the death benefit policy once the coverage reaches its maturity date. That is usually age 100 or age 121, depending on the provider. If you reach the maturity date, the insurance company will write you a check equal to the cash value account, which in reality would be equal to the full death benefit amount. 

While anyone can purchase a burial insurance policy, they’re generally designed for seniors. Often, people purchase one of these policies after they retire and their financial needs have lessened. They may have had a larger term policy in which the contract has ended or might simply be looking for a policy that will cover end-of-life expenses. Burial insurance policies are also popular for people with health conditions that make it difficult to get approved for a term policy or standard whole life policy.

Since these policies are intended for people over 50 or may have a pre-existing health condition, their underwriting requirements are much less narrow than if you were to apply for a traditional life insurance policy with a large amount of death benefit protection. In addition, burial insurance plans do not require a medical exam, and approval is often based on answers to the application’s health question. 

The entire application process is often straightforward and can be completed by paper application or for faster results with an agent through an online application process. The total amount of coverage will depend on the provider and their minimum and maximum coverage guidelines, but most companies offer policies that are between $1,000 and $50,000 in coverage.

Types of Burial Insurance Plans: Level, Graded & Modified Benefit

As mentioned, applying for a burial insurance policy is relatively simple. These life insurance plans utilize an underwriting method referred to as simplified underwriting. That means you are not required to take a medical exam, but you will need to answer several questions about your medical history.

The insurance company’s underwriters will review your application responses and utilize third-party data sources such as your medical information bureau report, also known as a MIB report, and a prescription database report to see what medications you are currently taking.

With the information received from these reports, the insurance company will verify responses to the application questions to help determine your level of risk to approving you for a policy.

Depending on your level of risk, the insurance company may offer you a burial plan based on a level benefit, graded benefit, or modified benefit plan. 

What does this mean?

The term level, graded and modified benefit all relate to how the death benefit would be paid out in the early years of having your life insurance policy. Remember, these plans are often best for seniors looking for a small life insurance policy that provides enough money to handle funeral and burial expenses.

While not all seniors have medical conditions, oftentimes, many do. Therefore, to keep a burial insurance policy relatively affordable to seniors, these plans can often accept seniors who may have high-risk health conditions. 

In return, the insurance company may offer approval for coverage with a modified or graded death benefit to offset the potential of paying out an early death claim due to accepting an applicant with a risky medical history.

Let’s take a closer look at how the different burial insurance death benefit plans work.

Level Death Benefit Policy

The level death benefit option is the best death benefit plan you can receive. It provides death benefit coverage starting the first day without any waiting periods. That means you are fully protected with life insurance coverage the same day your coverage goes into effect. 

To qualify for a level death benefit policy, applicants will need to be in relatively good health (no high-risk health conditions) and meet height and weight standards set by the insurance provider you are applying for coverage with.

Modified and Graded Death Benefit Policies

If you have ever heard of “life insurance with a waiting period,” this would be it. Modified and graded death benefit plans mean that your policy won’t pay the full amount of your death benefit if you die within the first two years of your policy.

This might seem not very clear, but insurance companies will lay out exactly how this will work before you purchase the policy. The exact payout schedule depends on the company, but there are two common methods of graded payout.

  • Modified Death Benefit Payout – Some policies will pay out a percentage of your total death benefit in the first two years of your policy. The exact structure will depend on the plan, but the amounts will increase each year. For example, your policy might pay out 30 percent of your total death benefit if you die in the first year of your policy, 70 percent if you die in the second year, and 100 percent in the third year and beyond.
  • Graded Death Benefit Payout – A graded death benefit payout will often pay your beneficiary a return of all the premiums payments paid if you were to die within the first two years plus interest. Interest rates are generally at least 10 percent. For example, let’s say you had a graded policy and paid a 90 dollar premium each month. You die in the 20th month of your policy, and your policy earns 10 percent interest. Your beneficiary would receive the $1,8000 you’d paid in premiums plus an additional $157.77 in interest for a total of $1,957.77. You’d receive the full amount after the first two years.

If you choose to apply for a burial insurance policy and have a current medical condition or even have a history of multiple health risks, there is a good chance that you will qualify for a graded or modified death benefit plan.

While the ideal situation is to have a level death benefit, having a graded or modified benefit still provides a valuable benefit. At the very least, if you were to pass away within the first two policy years, your beneficiary will still be paid a lump sum payment of all premiums paid plus interest.

That money could very well be used towards the cost of funding funeral and burial costs. After policy year two, the life insurance coverage becomes a level benefit plan, with the death benefit becoming fully payable when the insured passes.

Guaranteed Issue Policies

A guaranteed issue policy is another type of life insurance coverage that is often associated with burial insurance. In fact, the differences between the two are very minimal.

As the name implies, a guaranteed issue policy accepts almost everyone, no matter their past or current health status. They can also be a great choice for people having trouble getting approved for a traditional life insurance policy.

These plans are generally limited to applicants between the ages of 40-85, and the maximum coverage is limited to $25,000.

All guaranteed issue policies have an automatic two-year graded death benefit before the full death benefit amount is payable to the beneficiary. There are no level benefit plans available with guaranteed issue policies.

So if you buy a guaranteed issue policy and have a fatal heart attack a week later, your beneficiary would receive only a return of all premium payments plus interest of generally 10 percent. After policy year two, the full death benefit is payable to the beneficiary.

Guaranteed issue policies aren’t the right choice for everyone. The coverage is often costly, and the coverage amounts might be lower than you’d like. Plus, guaranteed issue policies aren’t actually available to everyone. For example, people who live in nursing homes, have a fatal diagnosis, or don’t meet the age limits won’t be able to purchase a guaranteed issue policy.

That said, there are circumstances when guaranteed issue policies are the best option. If you’ve been turned down for other policies, it might make sense to apply for a guaranteed issue policy. While the coverage amounts are smaller than some other types of final expense insurance, they’re general enough to provide your family with some security. It’s always better to have a small policy than no policy at all.

Burial Insurance and Funeral Planning

Sometimes, you can designate a specific part of your burial life insurance plan to go to the funeral home of your choice. For example, you’ll pre-plan your funeral and designate that amount of your total death benefit to go to the funeral home.

Many funeral homes will accept a life insurance policy as collateral and pre-payment toward your funeral. The rest of the funds will go to your loved ones.

If you’re only looking for funeral and burial coverage, you have a few more options.

  • Funeral insurance — Funeral insurance will cover the cost of your funeral. There are a few ways this type of policy can work, but often you’ll select a benefit amount that is equal to a funeral you’ve pre-planned for yourself. You can even name the funeral home of your choice as the beneficiary to ensure the benefit goes toward your burial costs. Often, you can lock in prices by working with a specific funeral home and selecting your service type, casket, and other arrangements in advance. This type of plan never requires a medical exam and is generally inexpensive.
  • Pre-need funeral home contracts — You’ll also plan your funeral in advance with a pre-need contract. However, a pre-need plan generally works on installment payments instead of insurance premiums. This means that every month you’ll be paying a set portion of the total cost until you’ve paid the funeral home the entire price of your burial and funeral. If you die before you’ve finished paying your installments, your family will need to make up the difference.

A word of caution about tying your burial insurance to a funeral home:

Often, funeral insurance and pre-need plans are tied to a specific funeral home. If you know for certain that you want to use that funeral home, this might not be a problem. However, if you were to move or have a change of plans unexpectedly, you might need to start your burial insurance plan all over again. Additionally, if you’re unable to lock in prices with the funeral home you select, your family will be responsible for any costs that have risen over the years.

The Cost of Burial Insurance

Burial insurance plans do not utilize rate classifications as traditional life insurance plans do. The cost of your burial insurance policy will depend on the amount of coverage you buy, your gender, tobacco use, and the death benefit plan you qualify for based on your responses to the application questions.

Although these policies have much less strict underwriting guidelines, applicants in good health will still get the best rates for coverage. A healthy applicant is likely to qualify for a level death benefit plan that will always offer the most affordable rates compared to graded and modified death benefit plans.

Of all the life burial insurance plans, guaranteed issue plans will be the most expensive as they accept almost all applicants, especially those with high-risk health conditions.

As a rule, burial insurance policies will cost more than most traditional life insurance policies, mostly due to the simple fact that the life insurance plans are permanent and require no medical exam underwriting. 

The below rate charts break down the cost of burial insurance based on level benefit plans, modified benefit plans, and 2-year graded benefit plans. In addition, we have included what kind of rates you can expect for a guaranteed issue burial insurance plan.

Burial Insurance Rates - Level Benefit Plan

Male$10,000$20,000Female$10,000$20,000
Age 50$30.68$58.15Age 50$24.31$45.41
Age 55$35.95$68.69Age 55$27.71$52.21
Age 60$43.76$84.32Age 60$32.87$62.53
Age 65$56.46$109.75Age 65$41.01$78.82
Age 70$74.61$146.01Age 70$53.24$103.28
Age 75$99.97$196.74Age 75$72.41$141.62
Age 80$139.73$276.26Age 80$98.43$193.66

Monthly male/female premium rates current as of 07/19/2021 representing the cost of a $10,000 and $20,000 level death benefit plan.

Burial Insurance Rates - Modified Benefit Plan

Male$10,000$20,000Female$10,000$20,000
Age 50$36.90$73.22Age 50$29.64$58.26
Age 55$48.64$94.64Age 55$38.22$73.80
Age 60$58.88$115.12Age 60$45.92$89.20
Age 65$76.06$149.48Age 65$58.84$115.03
Age 70$104.75$206.85Age 70$78.58$154.53
Age 75$148.80$294.96Age 75$108.92$215.20
Age 80$226.34$450.03Age 80$163.07$323.51

Monthly male/female premium rates current as of 07/19/2021 representing the cost of a $10,000 and $20,000 2-year modified death benefit plan.

Burial Insurance Rates - Graded Benefit Plan

Male$10,000$20,000Female$10,000$20,000
Age 50$39.78$78.50Age 50$28.89$56.71
Age 55$46.89$92.70Age 55$35.98$70.90
Age 60$53.98$106.89Age 60$44.48$87.90
Age 65$64.77$128.48Age 65$52.48$103.90
Age 70$83.86$166.66Age 70$68.08$135.08
Age 75$108.86$216.64Age 75$94.16$187.26
Age 80$143.04$285.01Age 80$118.75$236.44

Monthly male/female premium rates current as of 07/19/2021 representing the cost of a $10,000 and $20,000 2-year graded death benefit plan.

Burial Insurance Rates - Guaranteed Issue Plan

Male$10,000$20,000Female$10,000$20,000
Age 50$44.09$87.27Age 50$34.47$68.02
Age 55$57.93$114.95Age 55$44.28$87.63
Age 60$63.89$126.87Age 60$51.06$101.20
Age 65$85.16$169.40Age 65$62.61$124.30
Age 70$99.18$197.45Age 70$75.53$150.15
Age 75$139.52$278.12Age 75$108.17$215.42
Age 80$206.32$415.67Age 80$167.00$329.64

Monthly male/female premium rates current as of 07/19/2021 representing the cost of a $10,000 and $20,000 guaranteed acceptance policy with a 2-year graded death benefit.

Choosing The Right Amount of Burial Insurance Coverage

Calculating the amount of coverage your need for a standard life insurance policy can be complicated and time-consuming. After all, standard life insurance policies are meant to replace your income. Many people also factor the balance on their mortgage and the cost of their children’s education into their coverage calculation.

There’s less to consider when you’re working with a burial insurance policy. You won’t be replacing your income or trying to cover future expenses. Instead, your coverage amount needs to cover any final expenses you might have. This generally means potential funeral costs, last medical expenses, debts, and other outstanding costs. Remember, burial insurance plans are generally limited to a maximum death benefit amount of $50,000 or less, depending on the provider.

There are several ways you can figure out these costs. First, it’s a good idea to look at all of your potential end-of-life costs individually and then come up with a good coverage amount. This might sound overwhelming, especially since none of us can predict the future to know the exact medical costs we might incur before we die. However, you can take steps to arrive at a solid ballpark number that you can use as a coverage amount.

Burial Costs in the U.S. In 2021

One of the largest final expenses for most people is the cost of a funeral. Prices for many things have increased over the past few decades, and funerals are no exception. The average cost of a funeral is $7,000, and many funerals exceed $10,000. Without a life insurance policy to cover these costs, many families are left scrambling. Loved one might need to dip into savings or take out expensive loans to cover the cost.

Fortunately, you can plan ahead. As we mentioned above, you can actually pre-plan your own funeral. That might sound morbid, but it’s a great way to ensure you leave enough money in a life insurance policy to cover your funeral. Plus, planning in advance ensures your funeral will follow your exact requests. So not only will your wishes be met, but you’ll take the stress of planning off the shoulders of your grieving family members.

You can call funeral homes in your area to get an idea of what the funeral will cost. Funeral homes can show you all the options. You can select the items and services you want to be included in your service and the types of items you want.

For example, the most expensive part of most funerals is the casket. Caskets can be made of wood or metal, and prices reflect the quality of the material used. You can choose a coffin in advance and factor the price into your final expenses life insurance plan. Other common funeral costs include:

  • Vaults
  • Obituaries
  • Burial containers
  • Burial plots
  • Enabling
  • Cremation
  • Transportation of the body
  • Use of the funeral home for services
  • Use of the funeral home for a viewing
  • Use of the funeral home for a ceremony
  • Programs for viewings
  • Programs for  ceremonies
  • Floral arrangements
  • Ceremony musicians and officiants
  • Use of the service of funeral home staff 
  • Graveside musicians and officiants 
  • Graveside service fees
  • Masulam service fees
  • Use of a hearse or other vehicles
  • Monument, markers, or gravestones

Your exact costs will depend on the combination of these items you want to have and the specific items you choose. For example, a simple cremation and small service will cost a lot less than a metal casket, multiple-day viewing, elaborate ceremony, and grave monument.

It might feel strange to plan your own funeral, but all the choices are yours when you do. You can select the type of funeral that feels the most appropriate to you. Plus, you’ll be able to get an idea of the cost. You can then ensure you’ve accounted for your funeral costs in your final expense insurance plan.

Medical Expenses

As you can imagine, it’s a lot more difficult to calculate your final medical expenses than your pre-planned funeral costs. There’s no way to know in advance what treatments you might need, how much time you’ll need in the hospital, or if you’ll need any specialized care, especially since these costs can vary depending on where you live and the insurance you have.

You can get an idea by looking at your insurance. Most insurance plans have a set maximum cost you can pay in any one calendar year. This amount doesn’t include the premiums you pay, but it does include your copayments and other costs you pay to receive medical care. For example, if you have any Medicare Advantage plan, your maximum out-of-pocket cost in 2021 is $7,550.

Keep in mind that it is an annual amount and not a lifetime amount. So even if your out-of-pocket maximum stays the same every year, your potential total costs will double for each year. Additionally, if you need to use out-of-network medical providers for any reason or need to have a service your plan doesn’t cover, you’ll be responsible for the entire cost.

Conversely, you might need very few medical services in the final months of your life. You might not spend any time at the hospital or need any specialized treatment. However, it’s always best to be prepared. For this reason, it’s a good idea to look at your current insurance plan’s out-of-pocket maximum and use that as the minimum amount to include in your total final expense benefit.

Additional Final Expenses

Funeral, burial, and medical costs generally make up the bulk of your final expenses. However, this isn’t always the case. Therefore, it’s a good idea to also factor in any other small debts you currently own. You might be planning to pay these well before you die, but remember that life insurance is about planning for the unexpected. Debts that might impact your final expenses include:

  • Credit card balances
  • Mortgages balances
  • Car loans
  • Personal loans
  • Debt from long-term care
  • Debt from previous medical services

You can add all of this together to figure out the right amount of burial insurance coverage for you.

As an example, let’s say a man named Leon is purchasing a burial insurance policy. Leon is 71 and wants to cover all of his final expenses with his burial insurance policy.

Leon visits a few funeral homes in his area and determines that his preferred funeral service will cost $9,000. Leon has a Medicare Advantage plan, so he knows his out-of-pocket maxim is $7,500. Leon owns his home, and his mortgage is paid off.

However, Leon still has $6,000 left to pay out his car and is currently carrying $2,000 in credit card debt. Using these numbers, Leon gets a total of $24,500. So, it’s reasonable to say that Leon should look for a policy that offers at least $25,000 in coverage.

Savings Accounts and Wills Vs Burial Insurance

If your estate plan includes a will that will leave money to your family, you might think a burial life insurance policy is unnecessary. However, this plan can leave your loved ones needing to come up with large amounts of money upfront. That’s because the money in a will takes months or even years to be distributed. That could leave your family with a long wait before they’re reimbursed for your final expenses. 

A burial life insurance policy will payout right away. The exact timetable will depend on your policy, but life insurance benefits can be paid as fast as a day or two after the insurance receives proof of death.

Plus, the death benefit will earn interest if your benefit is held up for any reason, such as an investigation into your cause of death. As long as no fraud is found, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit plus any accrued interest.

There’s another reason that using your will to cover final expenses isn’t the best idea. During the months it takes your will to be distributed, it will go through probate.

The probate process ensures your will is legitimate. It also looks for any debts you owe. Any debts can be taken from your estate and given to your creditors. That means that less will go to your intended recipients.

Life insurance benefits, however, can’t be touched by creditors. Your beneficiary will get the exact amount you purchased.

2021 Review of the Top 10 Best Burial Insurance & Final Expense Life Insurance Companies

AIG

AIG Guaranteed Approval Final Expense

AIG Guaranteed Issue Whole Life

  • A.M. Best Rated (A)
  • Guaranteed Approval Whole Life Insurance
  • No medical exam required up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $5,000 to $25,000
  • Ages 50-85 can apply for coverage
  • 2 year graded death benefit
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • Included Chronic & Terminal Illness Benefit

Graded Death Benefit: Death benefit for the first two policy years is equal to 110% of all premiums paid for non-accidental death. After year three, 100% of the death benefit will be paid. The full death benefit will also be paid if death results in an accident regardless of the policy year.

American Continental Insurance Company (Aetna)

American Continental Final Expense

Aetna Final Expense Whole Life Insurance

  • A.M. Best Rated (A)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 89
  • Death benefits range from $3,000 to $35,000
  • Three types of available death benefits, level, graded and modified
  • Ages 45-89 can apply for level death benefit coverage
  • Ages 45-80 can qualify for a graded death benefit plan
  • Ages 45-75 can qualify for a modified death benefit plan
  • Qualification of level, graded death benefit will be determined based on the questions answered on the application as well as prescription use and state availability

Level Death Benefit $3,000 to $35,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death.

Graded Death Benefit $3,000 to $35,000: During policy year 1 only 40% of the full death benefit will be paid. During policy year 2 only 75% of the death benefit will be paid. 100% of the death benefit will be paid starting year 3.

Modified Death Benefit $5,000 to $25,000: During policy years 1 and 2 only 110% of paid premiums will be paid as a death benefit. 100% of the death benefit will be paid starting year 3.

*Full death benefit will be paid if death has occurred as a result of an accident at all plans.

Americo

Americo Final Expense Logo

Ultra Protector Series I, II & III

  • A.M. Best Rated (A)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $2,000 to $30,000
  • Ages 50-85 can apply for Ultra Protector I & II
  • Ages 50-75 can apply for Ultra Protector III
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • Qualification of level or graded death benefit will be determined based on the questions answered on the application as well as prescription use and state availability

Ultra Protector I $2,000 to $30,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death. Issue ages are 50-85. All health questions on the application must be answered “no” to qualify. 

Ultra Protector II $2,000 to $30,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death. Issue ages are 50-80. Health questions on part one must be answered “no” and one or two are answered, “yes” on part two of the application.

Ultra Protector III $2,000 to $10,000: If any health question is answered, “yes” on part one of the application. Death benefit in year 1 will equal return of premiums paid plus 5%. Death benefit in year 2 will equal return of premiums plus 10%. Death benefit in year 3 and beyond will equal full death benefit.

Assurity

Assurity Final Expense

LifeScape Simplified Whole Life Insurance

  • A.M. Best Rated (A-)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 80
  • Death benefits range from $5,000 to $50,000
  • Three types of available death benefits, level, graded and modified
  • Ages 0-80 can apply for level death benefit coverage
  • Ages 40-80 can apply for a graded or modified death benefit
  • Guaranteed cash values 
  • Qualification of level, graded or modified death benefit will be determined based on the questions answered on the application as well as prescription use and state availability

Level Death Benefit $5,000 to $50,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death.

Qualifying ages 20-65 up to $50,000 of coverage
Qualifying ages 66-80 up to $25,000 of coverage

Graded Death Benefit $5,000 to $35,000: During policy year 1 the death benefit will be reduced to 40% of the full death benefit amount. During policy year 2 the death benefit will be reduced to 75% of the full death benefit. 100% of the death benefit will be paid starting year 3.

Qualifying ages 40-65 up to $35,000 of coverage
Qualifying ages 66-80 up to $25,000 of coverage

Modified Death Benefit $5,000 to $25,000: During policy year 1 the death benefit will result in 110% of all premiums paid. During policy year 2 the death benefit will result in 220% of all premiums paid. 100% of the full death benefit will be paid starting at year 3.

*Full death benefit will be paid if death has occurred as a result of an accident at all plans.

Fidelity

Fidelity Final Expense

Rapid Decision Final Expense 

  • A.M. Best Rated (A-)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $5,000 to $35,000
  • Ages 50-85 can apply for level death benefit coverage
  • Guaranteed cash values 
  • Qualification for coverage will depend on answers to medical questions on the application. If any question is answered “yes” coverage will be denied.

Fidelity Guaranteed Issue Graded Benefit Whole Life  

  • Guaranteed Approval Whole Life Insurance
  • No medical exam required up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $5,000 to $35,000
  • Ages 50-85 can apply for coverage
  • 3 year graded death benefit
  • Guaranteed cash value

Graded Death Benefit: Death benefit for the first three policy years is equal to 100% of all premiums paid plus 5% interest on premiums for non-accidental death.

Starting year four, 100% of the death benefit will be paid.

*Full death benefit will be paid if death results in an accident regardless of the policy year.

Foresters

Foresters Final Expense

PlanRight Whole Life Insurance

  • A.M. Best Rated (A-)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Ages 50-85 can apply
  • Simplified no medical exams underwriting up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $2,000 to $35,000
  • Three types of available death benefits, level, graded and modified
  • Qualification of level, graded or modified death benefit will be determined based on the questions answered on the application as well as prescription use and state availability
  • Guaranteed cash values

PlanRight Level $2,000 to $35,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death.

Ages 50-80 can qualify for up to $35,000 of coverage
Ages 81-85 can qualify for up to $15,000 of coverage

PlanRight Graded $2,000 to $20,000: Death benefit for the first two policy years is equal to 100% of all premiums paid plus 4.5% interest or in policy year one 30% of the death benefit and in policy year two, 70% of the death benefit. Starting year three, 100% of the death benefit will be paid.

Ages 50-80 can qualify for up to $20,000 of coverage
Ages 81-85 can qualify for up to $10,000 of coverage

PlanRight Modified $2,000 to $10,000: Death benefit for the first two policy years is equal to 100% of all premiums paid plus 10% interest. Starting year 3, 100% of the death benefit will be paid

Ages 50-80 can qualify for up to $15,000 of coverage 

*Full death benefit will be paid if death has occurred as a result of an accident at all plans.

Gerber

Gerber Guaranteed Approval

Gerber Guaranteed Issue Whole Life

  • A.M. Best Rated (A)
  • Guaranteed Approval Whole Life Insurance
  • No medical exam required up to age 80
  • Death benefits range from $5,000 to $25,000
  • Ages 50-80 can apply for coverage
  • 2 year graded death benefit
  • Guaranteed cash values

Graded Death Benefit: Death benefit for the first two policy years is equal to 100% of all premiums paid plus 10% interest for non-accidental death. After year three, 100% of the death benefit will be paid.

*Full death benefit will be paid if death results in an accident regardless of the policy year.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha Final Expense

Living Promise Whole Life

  • A.M. Best Rated (A+)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Ages 45-85 can apply
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $2,000 to $40,000
  • Two types of death benefits, level and graded
  • Qualification of level or graded death benefit will be determined based on the questions answered on the application as well as prescription use and state availability
  • Guaranteed cash values

Level Benefit Plan $2,000 to $40,000: The full death benefit will be paid upon death related to accident or non-accident death. 

Ages 45-85 can qualify for up to $40,000 of coverage

Graded Benefit Plan $2,000 to $20,000: During the first two policy years the death benefit will be limited to a full return of premiums paid plus 10% interest. Beginning on year three, 100% of the death benefit will be paid.

Ages 45-80 can qualify for up to $20,000 of coverage

*Full death benefit will be paid if death results in an accident regardless of the policy year.

Phoenix

Phoenix Final Expense

Phoenix Final Expense Remembrance Life 

  • A.M. Best Rated (B)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 80
  • Death benefits range from $10,000 to $100,000
  • Ages 30-59 can apply for up to $100,000 of coverage
  • Ages 60-69 can apply for up to $75,000 of coverage
  • Ages 70-80 can apply for up to $50,000 of coverage
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • Included Critical & Terminal Illness Benefit
  • Qualification will depend on answers to the application questions, prescription check and height & weight guidelines

Transamerica Life Insurance

Transamerica Final Expesne

Final Expense

  • A.M. Best Rated (A+)
  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 80
  • Death benefits range from $2,000 to $50,000
  • Available health classifications of Standard
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • 100% of death benefit will be paid from day one

Immediate Solution 

  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 85
  • Death benefits range from $1,000 to $50,000
  • 0- 55 can qualify for up to $50,000
  • 56-65 can qualify for up to $40,000
  • 66-75 can qualify for up to $30,000
  • 76-85 can qualify for up to $25,000
  • Available health classifications of Preferred & Standard
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • 100% of death benefit will be paid from day one

Easy Solution

  • Final Expense Whole Life Insurance
  • Simplified no medical exam underwriting up to age 80
  • Death benefits range from $1,000 to $25,000
  • Guaranteed cash values
  • 2 year graded death benefit

Approval and death benefit will be determined on health questioned answered, “yes” on the application. Graded death benefit in the first two years, which is equal to 110% of premiums paid for all death other than non-accidental. After year three, 100% of the death benefit will be paid.

Most Asked Questions About Burial Insurance

Have a question about burial insurance coverage? You’re likely to find your answer below with our extensive list of the most frequently asked questions about burial insurance coverage.

If there is a question that we left out, reach out to us, and we will be sure to get you an answer and add it to our ongoing list to help others.

What’s the difference between life insurance and burial insurance?

Burial insurance is a type of life insurance. In general, a life insurance policy is a contract that pays out a lump sum of money known as the death benefit upon the insured’s death in exchange for a premium payment.

A burial insurance policy is a form of whole life insurance purchased primarily to use the death benefit to pay for funeral and burial costs. If the insured were to pass away while the contract is active, the insurance company would pay out a death benefit to the beneficiary of the life insurance contract.

Life insurance comes available in many different types, and plans can offer different benefits and features that are different from each other. For example, term insurance provides temporary life insurance coverage, whereas whole life insurance provides permanent life insurance coverage.

However, all life insurance policies provide a death benefit payable to a beneficiary when the insured individual has passed away, regardless of whether the insurance contract is temporary or permanent, as long as required premium payments are paid.

Is burial insurance the same as final expense insurance?

While the names for the different life insurance options can be confusing, both burial and final expense insurance are really the same types of life insurance coverage. These popular senior life insurance options are whole life insurance policies that offer limited death benefit amounts and are underwritten using simplified non-medical underwriting.

The only difference between burial and final expense insurance is how the insured intends the death benefit to be used when they pass. Most people who want to buy burial insurance are primarily focused on ensuring that their loved ones have the funds to cover funeral and burial costs when they pass away. As a result, the death benefit amount of the life insurance policy generally only accounts for those specific costs.

Final expense insurance takes pre-planning a little bit further than just covering funeral and burial costs. The total amount of death benefit is a little more than a burial insurance policy as it includes other end-of-life expenses such as debts like medical bills, credit card bills, car loan balances, etc.

Other names for final expense life insurance also include:

  • Cremation insurance
  • Funeral insurance
  • Pre-need funeral insurance

If you see a company marketing insurance coverage with any of the other above names, these will likely be final expense life insurance plans. Another key sign to look out for is the policy features:

  • Whole life insurance or permanent life insurance
  • Low death benefit amounts of $10,000 to $50,000 max
  • Premiums that are guaranteed remains the same price
  • Life insurance coverage designed for seniors

What’s the difference between burial insurance and term life insurance?

Term insurance and burial insurance can both provide financial protection from the costs associated with end-of-life expenses. However, the two life insurance plans work differently from each other.

A true final expense or burial insurance policy is a whole life insurance policy. Whole life insurance plans are permanent insurance coverage that often lasts to age 100 or 120, depending on the provider.

In addition to permanent life insurance protection, premiums are guaranteed to remain the same price throughout the contract, and the coverage is also guaranteed to accumulate cash value growth. So as long as you keep making the required premium payments, coverage will never lapse.

Term life insurance is designed to offer temporary life insurance coverage based on contract lengths. Contract lengths can range from 10 years up to 30 years, and premiums are only guaranteed to remain the price throughout the entire length of the contract. After the contract expires, premiums increase on an annual basis.

Depending on your age at the time you apply, you will be limited to lower contract lengths. For example, older applicants are generally limited to shorter contract lengths, where younger applicants will have a wider selection of contract lengths.

Term insurance will be the more affordable of the two life insurance options. This is because term insurance is temporary coverage and will expire. In addition, most people outlive their term insurance which makes these plans less of a risk for the insurance company having to pay out a death claim.

Since burial insurance plans are permanent, the insurance company will eventually pay out the death benefit as long as the required premium payments are paid.

Burial insurance plans offer a limited death benefit amount ranging from $1,000 up to $50,000. Although term insurance can also provide financial protection against burial costs, the minimum death benefit often starts at $25,000.

Some providers offer a minimum amount that starts at $100,000. However, a $100,000 term life insurance policy is generally much more than most people need to cover burial expenses. 

Term insurance may also not be the best choice for seniors looking to cover burial expenses. Since term insurance policies are temporary contracts, it is not uncommon to outlive the term insurance and could be difficult to obtain a new term policy if there has been a change in health or if there are no available term contracts due to age.

What's the difference between level death benefit and graded death benefit?

Most life insurance policies offer a level death benefit. That means once your life insurance coverage is active, the death benefit remains the same amount throughout the contract. The best way to understand this is to think of it as day one coverage or life insurance with no waiting period.

Final expense life insurance, which includes burial insurance and guaranteed issue policies, is the only type of life insurance designed to offer a graded death benefit option.

A graded death benefit allows the insurance company to offer life insurance coverage to applicants with health risks that would normally result in either a highly rated policy or potential decline with traditional life insurance plans.

In return, the graded death benefit protects the insurance company from insuring a high-risk applicant by placing a two-year wait before the full death benefit becomes payable. That means if death were to occur during the first two policy years, the insurance company would not pay out the death benefit. Instead, the death benefit would be equal to all premiums paid plus interest of usually 10 percent or lower depending on the provider.

After policy year two has been completed, the full death benefit is payable to the life insurance policy beneficiary. The only exception in which the actual full death benefit would be payable during the first two policy years is if death was caused by accident. If that were to occur, most life insurance providers would pay out the full death benefit.

Is burial insurance worth buying?

Burial insurance is worth buying if you are concerned that your loved ones would be left with the financial burden of paying for costs associated with your passing.

With the average funeral cost just over $10,000 in 2021, that could be a heavy financial burden to place on loved ones. However, a burial insurance policy in place can eliminate that potential financial burden by providing a tax-free death benefit to help pay for those costs.

If you have large enough savings and the cost of funeral and burial expenses would not make a financial impact on your surviving loved ones, then a burial insurance policy may not be needed.

Can I get a no medical exam burial insurance policy?

Burial insurance plans are underwritten using simplified underwriting guidelines. That means there will never be a medical exam needed. However, a large part of the application will consist of several questions about your health.

Underwriting will review the answers to the health questions to determine eligibility and offer a death benefit option of level or graded. Level benefit plans are reserved for applicants that are not at great risk of the insurance company having to pay out an early claim anytime in the foreseeable future.

Graded death benefit plans are often approved to applicants that have an elevated risk of potentially having to pay out a death benefit in the early years of the policy. To protect themselves of an early claims payout, the graded death benefit puts a 2-year wait on paying out the full death benefit should death occur in the first two policy years.

If death were to occur within the first two policy years, the beneficiary would receive a refund of all premium payments paid plus interest of generally 10 percent. After the second policy year, the death benefit turns into a level death benefit plan meaning that the death benefit is fully payable to the beneficiary anytime after the third policy year.

Can I get burial insurance without having to answer health questions?

Guaranteed issue, also called guaranteed acceptance life insurance, offers burial insurance protection with no health question asked. Guaranteed issue life insurance falls under the final expense life insurance category. As long as you’re within the age range for a policy which is usually 40-85, you can apply for up to $25,000 of coverage with guaranteed approval.

All guaranteed issue life insurance plans have an automatic 2-year graded death benefit. The coverage will be more expensive than a policy with a graded benefit based on answering health questions versus a graded benefit with no health questions asked.

Can a senior over 80 get burial insurance?

Several life insurance providers offer burial insurance to seniors over the age of 80. Most burial insurance plans, in general, are available to senior applicants as old as age 85. However, after age 85, the options greatly lessen.

Aetna is a national company that is currently offering plans to applicants over age 85 up to age 89. The Aetna burial insurance plan is a level death benefit plan, so it is best for applicants with minor to no major health risks.

Can I purchase a burial insurance policy on my parents?

Whenever purchasing life insurance coverage on someone else’s life, the insurance company will look for a qualifiable insurable interest between the insured and the individual purchasing the life insurance policy. Without a qualifying insurable interest, the insurance company will not allow the purchase to occur.

Children of senior parents meet the qualification for having an insurable interest in the life of their senior parents. Therefore, they can generally purchase a burial insurance policy on the parents without any issues if they consent. A child can choose to be the payor, and the parent will be the insured and owner. In some cases, the child can also be the payor and owner, and the parent will be the insured.

If a child is the owner of their parent’s policy, the insurance company will want to know why the parent is not the owner of their own policy. For example, if you have a healthy and financially independent parent, the insurance company may request that your parent owns their own policy.

Can a burial insurance policy pay for a cremation?

Burial insurance does not have any restriction on how the death benefit is to be used. Burial insurance is simply another name used for final expense life insurance. The death benefit can be used to help pay for cremation costs or any other way the beneficiary chooses.

How do I buy a burial insurance policy?

When it comes to purchasing a burial life insurance plan, you’re going to have a few different options on how to buy a plan. Below we lay out three of the most common ways people purchase burial insurance, as well as some guidance on what to look for when you’re ready to buy.

Option 1 – Purchase directly from the life insurance provider

Burial insurance providers such as AARP, Colonial Penn, Globe Life, and Lincoln Heritage, to name a few, are some of the largest names in the final expense and burial insurance market. It’s not uncommon to have come across these companies advertising their senior life insurance plans while watching TV, or maybe you have even received some information from these providers through the mail marketing their life insurance coverage.

While these companies can be an excellent option for life insurance coverage, you have to purchase their plans directly from them as they are not available through the assistance of independent agents. The problem with buying burial insurance directly from the life insurance company is that they will only show you their coverage.

When limiting yourself to one provider’s life insurance coverage, you could be missing out on policy features offered by other companies. For example, every company does not offer policy riders or living benefit options, so finding a policy that can provide these options can enhance the overall benefits of life insurance coverage.

A second potential concern is if you don’t qualify for the company’s life insurance coverage, they won’t be able to help you search for another company that potentially can. It’s not a bad option to apply directly with the life insurance company but make sure you weigh out all potential options before doing so. 

Option 2 – Purchase coverage from a funeral home

Not all funeral homes offer burial insurance, but many do. Funeral homes will often partner up with a local insurance agency or even have a licensed employee that can sell burial insurance. This can make the purchase process simple and convenient, especially if you are pre-planning for funeral needs and trying to figure out the exact cost of funeral services.

In fact, this is commonly known as pre-need funeral planning. The process works when you choose a funeral home that you would like to handle your funeral needs. You will often work with the funeral director and staff to plan out your entire service and determine the cost for those services. From there, the funeral home may offer you the option to purchase a burial insurance plan that is equal to the cost it would take to carry out your funeral services.

Another option offered by funeral homes is pre-paid funeral planning. Pre-paid funeral planning is paying for your entire funeral before your passing. Similar to pre-need planning, you’ll plan out your funeral service with the funeral home of your choice and then enter into a contract with the funeral to pay for your entire funeral cost before your passing. In addition, some funeral homes may accept your life insurance policy as collateral payment.

Option 3 – Purchase with the help of an agent

Purchasing a burial insurance policy with the help of an agent is always an excellent option. An agent, especially one who works with multiple insurance providers, can help you find the best company based on your individual life insurance needs, as well as placing you with a company that will be best based on your overall health.

Working with an agent can also help you discover how much coverage you need and assist you throughout the entire application process, making it a smooth process to getting coverage.

Can SSN help pay for burial expenses?

Social Security could pay a one-time death benefit payment of $255 to the surviving spouse if they were living with the deceased. If living apart and eligible for certain Social Security benefits on the deceased’s record, the surviving spouse may still be able to get this one-time payment. If there’s no surviving spouse, a child who’s eligible for benefits on the deceased’s record in the month of death can get this payment.

Although the one-time payment of $255 can be helpful, it is far from meeting the average cost needed to pay for a funeral.

If I am a veteran do I need a burial insurance policy?

Veterans are entitled to a burial allowance, also referred to as Veterans death benefits. However, certain circumstances must be met to be eligible for benefits. The most important eligibility factor is that the deceased Veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military to qualify.

Veterans eligible to receive burial benefits can receive an allowance to help assist with burial and funeral costs, gravesite or interment costs, and reimbursement for the cost of transportation of the remains to a final resting place. The VA will also pay an allowance to help with the cost of a headstone or marker if requested. Eligible Veterans also have the option to be buried within a VA national cemetery.

Although VA death benefits are an extremely valuable benefit available to the men and women who have served in the United Armed Services, you need to be aware that they may not be able to cover the entire cost of a funeral. The table below is a breakdown of the current VA death benefits payable to eligible Veterans who have passed away.

If you’re a Veteran or a loved one of a Veteran, we highly recommend visiting VA.org, where you can learn about all the benefits Veterans are entitled to.

VA burial allowance for a service-connected death

StatusMaximum burial allowance (in U.S. $)
If the Veteran died on or after September 11, 2001$2,000

VA burial allowance for a non-service-connected death

StatusMaximum burial allowance (in U.S. $)
If the Veteran died on or after October 1, 2020$300 burial allowance and $807 plot allowance

The VA will also pay an allowance of $231 towards the cost of a headstone or marker if the Veteran dies on or after October 1, 2020.

What happens if my health changes after I purchased a burial insurance policy?

Once your burial insurance policy is approved, and the first payment has been made, your life insurance coverage is locked. Therefore, if you have a change in health anytime after the policy has gone into effect, your coverage will remain the same and will not be affected due to the health change.

For example, if you were approved a level death benefit burial plan and passed away from a heart attack a year later, your policy will pay out the full death benefit.

Should I name the funeral home as a beneficiary of my policy?

Naming a funeral home as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy should be done with caution. The beneficiary is the person or entity that will receive the death benefit after you pass, and nobody can change that after the insured’s death.

The option to name a funeral home as a beneficiary may present itself during pre-paid funeral planning as a form of pre-payment for funeral costs. If you die, the insurance company will pay the full death benefit to the funeral home and not to your loved ones.

If you want to utilize the death benefit of a form of payment towards pre-planning funeral costs, rather than naming the funeral as a beneficiary, check to see if the funeral home will accept collateral assignment of the burial insurance policy.

A collateral assignment is a legal document that allows you to assign a portion or the full amount of the death benefit to a lender to cover an outstanding loan balance. For example, if the insured were to die before the loan balance was paid off, the insurance company would pay the lender the outstanding balance from the death benefit. Any remaining portion would be paid out to the beneficiary.

Collateral assignments are a popular option when it comes to small businesses that require large loans. In many cases, collater assignment can also be utilized when entering a pre-paid funeral contract with a funeral home.

As a form of payment, the funeral home may accept a collateral assignment of the life insurance policy. This allows you still to name a family member as the primary beneficiary. Then, when you pass, the death benefit proceeds would go to the funeral home to cover funeral costs and any leftover money would be paid to the beneficiary of the life insurance policy.

Can you be denied a burial insurance policy?

Certain medical risks and lifestyle habits can deny approval for a level or graded death benefit burial insurance policy. Guaranteed issue life insurance plans are the only life insurance coverage that can offer no health questions asked approval.

However, certain circumstances can still prevent approval for one of these plans. For example, you must be within the available age range for coverage and, in most cases, cannot be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

What are the alternatives to burial insurance if I can't afford a policy?

Burial insurance can be costly, especially for seniors living on a fixed income. Take, for example, a relatively healthy male age 70 applying for $10,000 burial insurance. The monthly average premium with most providers is around $70 per month.

Because burial insurance is a permanent life insurance plan, as long the premium payments are paid, the policy will never expire, so the death benefit is guaranteed at some point payout. This is one of the main reasons for the coverage being more on the costly side.

If burial insurance coverage is needed but the cost is too high, few options are available.

Option 1 – Ask the family for help

Consider asking family members to help with the payments. As mentioned, adult children can be the payors of their parent’s life insurance policies. In some cases, they may be eligible to be the life insurance policy owner if the situation requires it.

Option 2 – Make pre-paid payments

Another option to pay for burial expenses without purchasing a life insurance policy is through a funeral home that offers prepaid funeral contracts. Most pre-paid funeral contracts will allow installment payments laid out within the contract.

Option 3 – Self save

Consider self-saving. If you’re still in your working years, try to put a little money aside that would be primarily used to pay for funeral costs and any remaining final expenses. Also, be sure to check with your bank to see if they offer a payable-on-demand account or POD for short.

A POD account is like a savings account set up between you and a bank or credit union where you can make deposits and name a beneficiary to the account.

Option 4 – Utilize retirments funds

If you have a retirement portfolio, money from those accounts could help in paying for final expenses. Just understand that it can take time for the money to be received if it is required to go through probate.

Money from retirement accounts is generally not required to go through probate if the retirement accounts have a named beneficiary.

However, the beneficiary will need to check with a certified tax accountant to determine the potential tax consequences if the money is not rolled into a qualifying retirement account of their own and used to pay for funeral costs.

Option 5 – Look into other life insurance options

Work with an agent to look into other life insurance options. Term insurance will be more affordable than a burial insurance policy but keep in mind the lowest death benefit is generally $25,000.

Also, term insurance is not permanent coverage, so if your coverage expires after 80, you’re not going to be able to purchase a new term insurance policy.

Your Instant Burial Insurance Quotes

Burial insurance is a great way to ensure your family won’t be burdened with debt for any of your final expenses. They’re also easy to apply for, you don’t need to take a medical exam, and approval is made quickly. You can apply from the comfort of your home and put a policy into place today. 

Suppose you’re ready to start shopping for a policy. No Medical Exam Quotes can help. We offer instant quotes from top independent life insurance companies.

Getting quotes is a smart way to compare rates and see how much coverage you can afford. You can use our fast and easy form to start comparing rates today. Once you have quotes, click the apply button, and one of our licensed agents can help you select the best company for your needs, budget, and medical history. 

You can feel confident in the plan you buy when you work with No Medical Exam Quotes.

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Jeffrey Manola - Life Insurance Expert

Jeffrey Manola - Life Insurance Expert

Jeffrey Manola is the founder of No Medical Exam Quotes, an online insurance broker with a strong focus on helping people shop for the perfect life insurance policy. Jeffrey is both a licensed life insurance expert and content creator for the website. Before becoming a licensed life insurance agent, he served in the United States Marine Corps. He transitioned from serving his country to helping families find affordable life insurance coverage since 2009. No Medical Exam Quotes is licensed to offer life insurance coverage in all 50 U.S. States.

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