What Happens to You When Your Family Cannot Afford to Say Goodbye?

Life Insurance

One of the worst feelings I’ve had as a life insurance agent was at the end of a conversation with a retired woman looking for permanent life insurance quotes, whose family had little/no money to pay for final expenses on their own. The woman, at the point of despair and on the verge of tears rhetorically asked, “Why is it so expensive to die?” She ultimately did not get a life insurance policy because she could not afford one at her age. Sadly, with proper planning, this could have been avoided. I do not have the heart or stomach to get into detail about what happens to the deceased when no one claims them upon death. Speaking broadly and briefly, the following is what happens in most instances.

In cases where either no family member claims the body or the family is reached and they cannot afford a burial/funeral, the state will pay. Articles on the subject over the years show a rise in what is known as “indigent burials”, burials which the state, local municipalities and private funeral homes paying when others cannot. As the number of these types of services has increased along with the costs associated, many states have gone to cremation as a way to lower expenditures.

As more and more states are experiencing budget issues, another way they lower costs for unclaimed remains is body donation. Given the rise in the number of unclaimed bodies, states will donate them to science. As part of an individual’s final wishes, body donation could be a viable option. Whether for budget or personal reasons, both not-for-profit and for-profit organizations will pay to collect remains. What happens after is something I choose not to get into. For any reasons personal to you and yours, if you do not want either of the aforementioned to happen to you, plan ahead.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral for 2012 was over $7,000 with the average cost of a cremation coming in at less than half of that total. In 2015, the projected burial rate is 45.8%, with the projected cremation rate in 2015 being 48.2%. Not surprisingly due to cost, the 2030 project burial rate is 23.2% and projected cremation rate is 70.6%. If you wait too long to plan ahead for final expenses, you do have options to keep costs down. But with minimal planning, you can ensure that you and your family can say goodbye with dignity.

Merriam Webster defines dignity as, “the quality of being worthy of honor and respect”. In looking back on the life of any man or woman, how much is dignity worth to you? Here are some quotes at Standard Nonsmoker on a 10,000 whole life insurance policy with MetLife:

                        Monthly Premium  Monthly Premium  Monthly Premium   Monthly Premium  Monthly Premium

                        Age 30   DB@80*   Age 40  DB@80*   Age 50   DB@80*  Age 60   DB@80*   Age 70  DB@80*  

Male                $21.10   ~19,000    $25.40   ~18,000    $33.80   ~17,000    $50.60   ~16,000    $84.20   ~10,000   

Female           $19.30   ~18,000    $23.60   ~17,000    $30.20   ~17,000    $43.70   ~15,000    $70.00   ~12,000

*- Death Benefit at age 80 using nonguaranteed current dividend rate for paid up additions.

Dying doesn’t have to be expensive. You start 401K/IRA contributions when you’re young to plan for a comfortable future. Considering the alternatives, shouldn’t you start planning for a comfortable end? 

About the author: Anthony Veloso has been in the life insurance business for over 2 years. He enjoys coaching football, playing outside with his dog, and taking day trips with his wife and newly born daughter. Anthony is a strong supporter of Orphanages and Battered Woman’s shelters. He would love to put his experience to work for your family to ensure that you have the right life insurance policy. You can contact Anthony at 1-800-654-1953 or AVeloso@Pivot.com.