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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). 

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, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

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 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.