Sunlife Funeral Plans Review
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Limitations of Sun Life Over 50 Funeral Plans
How much are SunLife Funeral Plans? (Click to expand)
The Standard Plan: £3,295.
The Select Plan: £3,650
The Premier Plan: £3,899
What we dislike about SunLife funeral plans?
The way they're selling the monthly funeral plan option via life insurance means Golden Charter would get the cash lump sum payment from your life insurance policy, when the time comes.
If you live beyond 90 you may end up over paying the amount funeral plan/life insurance covers for. So for example if you were 60 years old and chose the Standard plan which is currently £3,295 and paid say £30/month. If you lived to 95 you may over pay by as much as £1800, and it is unclear where that extra money goes.
If you want to pay monthly there are stipulations, you would have to be between 50 and 80 years old.
When it comes to the actual plans themselves:
There is NO mention of the actual allowance you get for cremation or burial fees - this will be in your Golden Charter membership pack. Most funeral plan providers share what their allowances are (for example Safe Hands is currently £1220)
What we like about SunLife plans?
Their website lists upfront the ways to pay along with how it all works with clear links to their terms & conditions which explain what is included.
- The funeral service as detailed in your Membership Pack
- All funeral director costs, except extra transport and other additional costs.
- An allowance for third party costs. (The allowance amount is not available in their terms & conditions)
Will my money be safe?
With the pay monthly / life insurance option your money is protected by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme)
With the payment in full funeral plan option your money is placed in Golden Charter's trust fund.
What's included in their funeral plans?
See "What's Guaranteed?" above, including:
The Standard Plan (£3,295)
- Funeral director services
- Coffin (simple coffin)
- Transport of deceased: Normal office hours
- Care of deceased in chapel of rest
- NO family viewing in chapel of rest
- NO Limousines
- An allowance toward service cost at crematorium or cemetery (Allowance amount NOT disclosed)
- Bereavement counselling book
The Select Plan (£3,650)
- All the above plus Coffin (high quality)
- Viewing of deceased during normal office hours in the chapel of rest
- Hearse + 1 Limousine
- Advice about bereavement counselling
The Premier Plan (£3,899)- All the above plus:
- Superior coffin
- Hearse + 2 Limousines.
What's NOT included in their funeral plans?
If you change funeral director there may be additional costs (which you'll be required to pay within 30 days otherwise they'll cancel the policy).
If the allowance doesn't cover the burial or cremation fees, your nominated representative will have to pay the difference. This makes it quite difficult to know how much extra you'll end up paying.
If the body needs transporting over 15 miles you'll have to pay for that.
If you choose a cremation, and the crematorium is over 15 miles away from the funeral directors' premises there may be additional costs for that.
If the funeral service is longer than 'average' there may be an 'appropriate' sum to reflect this.
SunLife state in their funeral plan terms & conditions that your nominated representative will have to pay the above if required otherwise your funeral arrangements will not be carried out. Neither Sunlife or the nominated funeral director will be responsible for these sums.
The cemetery plot for a burial and headstone are not included in funeral plans, so I will either have to put aside savings or purchase them separately. When buying a pre-paid funeral plan, be sure to read carefully and plan accordingly for items not included. Other discretionary costs not covered by funeral plans include flowers, catering, service cards, organist, or choir, which may be required at the crematorium depending on your choice.
What happens if I die before paying off the SunLife funeral plan?
If you die within 2 years of taking out the pay monthly option the cash sum is not payable - unless it's deemed an accident. Instead an amount equal to 120% of the premiums paid will be paid to Golden Charter. This may not cover funeral costs so any extra will pass to your nominated representative/next of kin.
"This amount can be used as a contribution towards your funeral, but the Funeral Plan Services will not be provided unless any funeral costs (including the Funeral Director’s Costs and Third Party Costs) in excess of this amount are paid by your Personal Representatives.
Alternatively your Personal Representatives can choose to have this amount paid to your Estate and the Funeral Plan Services would not be provided."
"Accidental Death Benefit would not be payable, and so the Cash Sum will not be paid to GoldenCharter and the Funeral Plan Services will not be provided unless additional costs are paid by yourPersonal Representatives as mentioned above, in the event that death during the first two years was caused directly or indirectly through:
- your involvement in any criminal act
- flying (except as a fare-paying passenger)
- your involvement in any hazardous pursuits
- any self-inflicted injury
- your involvement in war or hostilities
- your alcohol/drug abuse
- natural causes, an illness or disease."
What's SunLife's Defaqto rating?
As of 2018, Sun Life have received a rating of 3/5 stars for their Guaranteed over 50 plan.
What are the cancellation fees?
You have the right to cancel at any time. If you cancel within a 30-day time period you can get a full refund. After the 30 days, the cancellation fee is £249 which will be deducted from the sums refunded.
What if I move house?
If you move house you would need to notify Sunlife as they can appoint a different funeral director, said funeral director may charge more so that may come with additional costs.
What if Sunlife or Golden Charter go out of business?
If Sun life went out of business, Golden Charter would still go ahead with the funeral arrangements.
If Golden Charter were to go out of business, Sun Life would try to find another provider to go ahead with the funeral arrangements.
How is a funeral plan different than an over-50s' life insurance plan?
An over-50s' plan pays cash when you die while a funeral plan strictly covers the funeral services. The cash sum of the over-50's plan may be less than the cost of the funeral depending on the plan selected, which is different to funeral insurance.
In other words, after I pay this money, what happens?
SunLife pays the lump sum directly to Golden Charter to arrange the funeral. Golden Charter will assign a local funeral director from their network of over 3,300 independent businesses. If you wish to change the appointed funeral director for any reason, you can contact Golden Charter for an alternative, which is not guaranteed. The funeral director will be included in your plan and will handle all the funeral arrangements for your family.
Our Opinion on SunLife funeral plans
Although their website is very clear with their terms & conditions of either getting a Golden Charter funeral plan through Sun Life, or paying monthly and using a life insurance policy, they don't state what the third party allowance is (maybe they would if you have them on the phone?) until you get their 'membership pack'. We're not sure what the benefit of using SunLife is as apposed to going direct to Golden Charter, either.
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"After my father passed without any arrangements, I had to sort everything out, it was difficult. I quickly decided that I didn’t want to leave my kids with that kind of burden. Now, I pay a small monthly amount and it’s such a relief..." - Steve Bailey, Hertfordshire