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Top 14 Best Final Expense and Burial Insurance Companies

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best burial insurance companies

For anyone looking for the best final expense insurance, best burial insurance or best funeral insurance companies, please know that they are all basically the same thing, small whole life insurance policies.

The reason behind the many names is that different companies market their small whole life insurance policies under various names that connote what the policy’s intended use is, to provide money for final expenses, for burial and for a funeral.

So, when you see the words “final expense”, “burial insurance” or “funeral insurance”, know that they all refer to small whole life insurance policies, typically ranging from $2,000 to $50,000.

Since we cover so much material in this article relating to final expense insurance, the article is long. However, we have provided a table of contents for our visitors to help you navigate.

The Best Final Expense Insurance Companies

The following are our picks for the top final expense and burial insurance companies. These companies represent our current go to burial insurance and final expense insurance carriers that we favor because of various factors we will expand on below.

We put the companies in alphabetical order, simply because there is no single best final expense insurance company. Instead, the best burial insurance company is the one that fits your specific need, whether that be a guaranteed issue policy or simplified issue policy.

If you would like to know more about a specific final expense insurance company listed below, please click the company name.

Company (click to view)A.M. Best Rating
AIGA
American Continental Insurance Company (AETNA)A
American AmicableA
AmericoA
Baltimore LifeB++
Foresters FinancialA-
Gerber LifeA
Liberty Bankers LifeB++
Mutual of OmahaA+
Prosperity LifeA-
Royal NeighborsA-
SagicorA-
Sentinel Security LifeB++
TransamericaA

Selecting a Life Insurance Company for Final Expense Insurance

Consider the Financial Strength of the Company

When selecting a final expense policy (or any other life insurance coverage for that matter), it’s important to choose a financially strong company with a solid A.M. Best rating.

While life insurance proceeds are usually insured by state guaranty associations in the unlikely event of an insurer’s insolvency, the amount covered by the guaranty association might not be as high as the policy’s face value.

Selecting a top-rated life insurance company helps eliminate the risk of not receiving a policy’s full proceeds.

Life insurance companies with A or A+ AM Best ratings that offer final expense coverage include Mutual of Omaha, Foresters, and Transamerica.

For example

Mutual of Omaha offers a fixed-premium, permanent policy with a coverage range of $2,000 – $40,000 and no waiting period.

Another top-rated insurer, AIG, offers guaranteed-issue whole life coverage with limits up to $25,000 available for applicants between 50 and 85 years old.

Foresters doesn’t offer a guaranteed-issue policy but has no waiting period and an optional rider doubling coverage in the event of accidental death.

Must Be Available In Your State

Another important criterion is to choose a life insurance company that writes funeral and/or final expense insurance in your state.

Not every insurer does business in every state, and not every life insurance company will issue final expense insurance in all states in which it does business.

Foresters and Transamerica provide funeral insurance in all fifty states.

Mutual of Omaha will issue a policy in every state but New York.

An experienced life insurance professional can be of invaluable assistance in identifying the final expense policy best-suited to your situation, location, and needs.

Our agents are ready and able to answer any questions you might have regarding final expense and burial insurance.

AIG life insurance
AIG – American International Group

American International Group, better known as AIG, was founded in 1919.

AIG offers a guaranteed issue whole life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam or health questions.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Not available in ME, NY, & PA
  • Ages Available: 50-85
  • Coverage Amount: $5,000-$25,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: Yes

For more information, please visit our AIG Life Insurance Review.

AETNA American Continental logoAmerican Continental Insurance Company (AETNA)

American Continental is part of the Aetna family of companies. Aetna has been in business since 1853, making it one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States.

Aetna’s final expense whole life insurance is available in three different options based on your health: level benefit, graded benefit or modified death benefit.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Not available in AK, CA, CT, DC, HI, OR, MD, ME, NH, NY, VT, & WA
  • Ages Available: 45-89 based on product
  • Coverage Amount: $3,000-$35,000 based on age and product
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on which policy you qualify for.

For more information, please visit our AETNA Life Insurance Review.

American Amicable Senior ChoiceAmerican Amicable

American Amicable has been doing business since 1910 and offers 3 different final expense whole life insurance policies: Immediate Death Benefit Plan, Graded Death Benefit Plan and Return of Premium Death Benefit Plan.

The policies may also include an Terminal Illness Accelerated Benefit Rider at no premium cost.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Not available in CT, ME, MT, NH, NY, VT
  • Ages Available: 50-85
  • Coverage Amount: $2,500-$35,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No

For more information, please visit our American Amicable Life Insurance Review.

Americo logoAmerico

Americo was founded in 1909 and offers many different final expense insurance policies, including Eagle Premier, Eagle Guaranteed and Ultra Protector I, II and III.

Each insurance plan is a level premium whole life insurance policy that builds cash value and can be borrowed against.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Not available in MS, NY, VT, WA
  • Ages Available: 50-85
  • Coverage Amount: $2,000-$30,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on eligibility.

For more information, please visit our Americo Life Insurance Review.

Baltimore Life Insurance CompanyBaltimore Life

Founded in 1882, Baltimore Life offers Silver Guard I and II. Silver Guard I is available as life pay or 10 pay, while Silver Guard II is available as life pay only.

You can read about the benefits of limited pay whole life insurance here.

  • A.M. Best Rating: B++
  • State Availability: Not available in MA, MN, MO, NY, NC, SC, WA, WV
  • Ages Available: 50-80
  • Coverage Amount: $2,500-$25,000, depending on product
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No

For more information, please visit our Baltimore Life Insurance Review.

foresters life insurance for elderlyForesters Financial

Foresters Financial was founded in 1874. The company’s final expense insurance offering includes a simplified issue whole life insurance policy, PlanRight Whole Life Insurance.

In addition, Foresters offers up to $400,000 no exam whole life insurance for those who can pass the health screening.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A-
  • State Availability: Available in all states
  • Ages Available: 50-85
  • Coverage Amount: $5,000-$35,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, based on eligibility
  • Three types of plans are available: level, graded and modified.

For more information, please visit our Foresters Life Insurance Review.

Gerber Life InsuranceGerber Life

Gerber Life Insurance Company was founded in 1967 and is owned by Western and Southern Financial Group, a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Nestlé S.A.

Gerber Life offers burial insurance for seniors via a guaranteed issue whole life insurance policy, which builds cash value. Because the policy is guaranteed issue, you cannot be denied coverage as long as you are in an eligible state and meet the age criteria.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Not available in MT
  • Ages Available: 50-80
  • Coverage Amount: $5,000-$25,000 ($15,000 SD residents)
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: Yes

For more information, please visit our Gerber Life Insurance Review.

liberty bankers life insuranceLiberty Bankers Life

Liberty Bankers Final Expense life insurance includes an accelerated death benefit covering both Terminal Illness or Chronic Illness.

Liberty offers a whole life insurance policy as preferred, standard and modified. Its SIMPL includes both preferred and standard.

The modified whole life insurance policy has a 3 year graded death benefit.

  • A.M. Best Rating: B++
  • State Availability: Not available in CT, MA, MN, NH, NY, RI
  • Ages Available: 50-80
  • Coverage Amount: $3,000-$30,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on which policy you qualify for.

You can include additional riders, including a Children’s benefit rider, Grandchild rider, and Accidental death and dismemberment.

For more information, please visit our Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Review.

mutual of omaha whole life insuranceMutual of Omaha (MOO)

Mutual of Omaha’s Living Promise Whole Life Insurance offers a level benefit plan and a graded benefit plan.

An Accelerated Death Benefit for Terminal Illness or Nursing Home Confinement Rider is available at no additional cost. Availability of the rider varies by state.

Another benefit of MOO’s offering is that it is a good option for life insurance for seniors over 80, as the policy is available for eligible applicants to age 85.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A+
  • State Availability: Graded Benefit Plan not available in AR, MT, NC or WA
  • Ages Available: 45-85
  • Coverage Amount: $2,000-$40,000 (in WA $25,000-$40,000)
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No

For more information, please visit our Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Review.

Prosperity Life GroupProsperity Life

Prosperity Life’s final expense insurance options include a Level Death Benefit, Modified Death Benefit and Graded Death Benefit.

Each Cash Value Whole Life Insurance Policy designed to help pay for final expenses offers level fixed premiums throughout your lifetime.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A-
  • State Availability: Not available in CT, DE, DC, HI, MT, ND, & SD
  • Ages Available: 50-80
  • Coverage Amount: $1,500-$35,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on eligibility

For more information, please visit our Prosperity Life Insurance Review.

Royal Neighbors Life InsuranceRoyal Neighbors

Royal Neighbors offers two versions of Final Expense Insurance, Simplified Issue Whole Life (SIWL) and Graded Death Benefit Whole Life (GDB).

  • A.M. Best Rating: A-
  • State Availability: Not available in AK, AL, HA, LA, MA, NH, NY
  • Ages Available: 50-85
  • Coverage Amount: $5,000-$25,000 for SIWL and $5,000-$10,000 for GDB
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on eligibility.

For more information, please visit our Royal Neighbors Life Insurance Review.

review of Sagicor Life Insurance CompanySagicor

Sagicor’s Sage Whole Life Insurance is not a final expense or burial insurance policy per se. However, we mention them in this article because they offer a great whole life policy with larger face amounts that does not require a medical exam.

The whole life policy comes with an accelerated benefits insurance rider at no additional cost.

Sagicor is a great option when you want more than the typical $25,000 amount offered by most final expense insurance companies.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A-
  • State Availability: Not available in AK, CT, NY, VT
  • Ages Available: 16-65
  • Coverage Amount: $25,000-$250,000
  • Medical Exam Required: No, if you qualify for the company’s Accelewriting Process
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, preferred, standard and rated and tobacco rate classes available.

For more information, please visit our Sagicor Life Insurance Review.

Sentinel Security Life logoSentinel Security Life

Sentinel Security Life has been around since 1948 and offers three variations of a final expense insurance policy. Each final expense policy is whole life and builds cash value.

  • A.M. Best Rating: B++
  • State Availability: Currently available in 26 states
  • Ages Available: 45-85
  • Coverage Amount: $35,000 based on product and age
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on eligibility

For more information, please visit our Sentinel Security Life Insurance Review.

Transamerica life insurance for elderlyTransamerica

Transamerica life insurance company was founded in 1904. There are three different final expense insurance policies offered: Immediate solution, 10-Pay solution, Easy solution.

  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • State Availability: Available in all 50 states
  • Ages Available: 45-85 (NY may have different requirements)
  • Coverage Amount: $1,000 – $50,000 based on age and product
  • Medical Exam Required: No
  • 2 Year Graded Death Benefit: No, depending on eligibility.

For more information, please visit our Transamerica Life Insurance Review.

What is Final Expense Insurance and Burial Insurance?

Final expense insurance is a permanent life insurance policy with a death benefit specifically earmarked for funeral and burial expenses, with any surplus applied toward estate debts, taxes, and costs of administration.

The policies are often referred to as “burial insurance” (or “funeral insurance”).

And, though funeral and final expense coverage are very similar, you can make a subtle distinction between the two.

Funeral insurance is usually intended to be applied only to funeral and burial expenses, while final expense insurance is designed to cover funeral, burial, and estate debts and administration costs.

How It Works

With either funeral or final expense insurance, you as the policy owner make regular premium payments to the insurance company while you are living.

Then, upon your death, the insurer pays the policy’s death benefit to your estate or the policy’s designated beneficiary, and the money is then applied toward final expenses, such as any outstanding debts.

The coverage ensures your estate is sufficiently liquid, and you can be confident that funeral and burial expenses won’t reduce the inheritance you leave for loved ones.

Whole Life

A true final expense insurance policy is cash value whole life insurance or similar permanent life insurance.

Term coverage is sometimes marketed as providing money for funeral and burial expenses, but an important distinction between whole life vs term life is that term life insurance is not guaranteed for life.

At the end of the term, the policy lapses, and, if that happens, no policy proceeds will be available when the insured dies.

For a final expense or funeral insurance policy to be guaranteed to pay out at death, it needs to be permanent (i.e., not term) insurance.

Cash Value

Because a final expense policy is whole life insurance, the policy accrues a cash surrender value that steadily increases with each premium payment.

And, like other whole life coverage, the policies won’t lapse or expire as long as the premiums are timely paid.

Companies

Final expense insurance is available from most insurance companies that offer whole life policies.  Mutual of Omaha, Globe Life, Colonial Penn, AARP, John Hancock, and State Farm all write final expense policies, as do dozens of other insurers.

The details of individual policies vary between companies and often between states.

Available limits typically range between $3,000 and $30,000.

Applying for Final Expense Insurance

The application process for funeral and final expense insurance is similar to other forms of permanent life insurance, though often a little easier.

Simplified Issue

Unlike many permanent policies, final expense coverage usually doesn’t require a physical or other medical examination at the time of application.

The insurer just requests a written application with some demographic information and a few questions about the applicant’s medical history.

And, in some cases, the insurer will conduct a medical background check.

A severe health condition can be disqualifying, but, in general, the underwriting process for funeral expense policies is more lenient than for most other life insurance policies.

Guaranteed Issue

Some insurers offer “guaranteed issue” policies that do not require any health or medical screening.  In exchange for guaranteed acceptance, the cost of the policy will be higher, and coverage will be limited during the initial year or two after the policy is issued.

For applicants with a medical history that might otherwise preclude life insurance coverage, a guaranteed-issue policy can be a great option.

Depending on the insurance company and policy, the individual purchasing final expense insurance doesn’t necessarily have to be the person insured by the policy.

In most cases, children and grandchildren (or someone else with an “insurable interest”) can purchase coverage for their parent or grandparent as long as the insured person consents to the policy.

Final Expense and Burial Insurance Rates

For personalized final expense insurance quotes, please enter your information below.

10,000 Whole Life Insurance

The following $10,000 final expense insurance rates are from the top rated companies listed in this article. All sample quotes are subject to change and must be qualified for.

AgeLevel BenefitGraduated BenefitGuaranteed Issue
4522.5027.88N/A
5027.3534.8844.09
5535.7043.2156.90
6043.6856.1163.17
6555.2066.91
84.15
7072.9386.0098.18
7599.51110.99138.55
80130.78
145.18246.44

How does the company arrive at my final expense insurance rates?

When issuing a new policy, the insurance company sets premium amounts based on factors such as the applicant’s age, health status, and desired benefit level.

In general, final expense insurance rates are lower for younger and healthier insureds and higher for insureds who are older or have existing health problems.

When the insurer anticipates receiving more premium payments and having a longer time to invest the money, it can afford to charge less premium per month (or offer a higher death benefit for the same premium).

Male vs Female

All things being equal, rates for women are usually a little lower than rates for men because women tend to have a longer life expectancy, although some carriers rates are unisex, particularly for policies sold in Montana.

Fixed Rates

With most final expense policies, the amounts of both the premium payments and the death benefit are fixed when the policy is issued, and both numbers are set in stone as long as the coverage remains in place.

Fixed Death Benefit

Except in the case of a policy lapse due to non-payment, a final expense policy stays effective for the insured’s entire lifetime at the same rates as when it was originally issued.

Unlike with term life policies, the coverage can’t be cancelled or the premiums increased just because the insured gets older.

Graded Premium

Some insurers offer term life as burial insurance under the name “graded-premium” policies, with relatively lower beginning premiums than perhaps even regular fixed-premium policies but which can (and do) increase over time.

As a graded-premium policy ages, the insurer periodically evaluates its underwriting risk and adjusts the premium accordingly. Usually this occurs in 5 year blocks, so that every five years the premium increases, such as at age 55, 60, 65, 70, and on and on.

To avoid the risk of a big future premium increase making the policy unaffordable, fixed-premium policies—though sometimes more expensive upfront—are usually the safer option in the long run.

Final Expense and Funeral Insurance Policy Proceeds

Coverage levels for final expense and burial policies should be selected according to the anticipated expenses of the applicant’s estate.

If your intention is to be cremated and have a small, simple memorial service, you can choose a policy with a lower payout.

Most insurers will issue a funeral coverage policy with a face value of as little as two or three thousand dollars, and correspondingly low premiums.

Conversely, if you will be having a large memorial service and burial arrangements that come with a higher price tag—or if you anticipate significant creditor claims against your estate—you can opt for a policy with a higher death benefit, although guaranteed issue policies typically have a maximum death benefit of $25,000.

Waiting Period

Burial insurance with no waiting period is available. However, be aware that many final expense policies have a waiting period—often two years. If the insured dies of natural causes in the first two years of the policy, the company does NOT pay out the full death benefit.

Also note, if death is due to an accident in those first two policy years, then typically the death benefit will be paid based on specific policy provisions.

Premiums plus interest

How it usually works is that, if the insured individual dies during the initial two years after the policy is issued, the death benefit is limited to the amount actually paid in as premiums, plus interest, typically around 10%. The insurer is basically issuing a refund of premiums already paid, plus interest.

Graded

Another similar option offered by some insurance companies is a “graded-benefit” policy that pays out a percentage of the face value (typically 25 or 50%) during the initial year or two.  Once the initial graded period is up, the full coverage kicks in.

Why the waiting period?

Rather than have an applicant get insured on their death bed, companies have a few provisions that protect them from applicants who are terminally ill.

Waiting periods help insurers keep rates down by avoiding large payouts on policies that have contributed barely any premiums.

Immediate Coverage

Some companies issue “immediate coverage” (i.e., no waiting period) policies, though the insured needs to be in adequate health to qualify and pass any required life insurance underwriting.

A prospective insured with a significant medical condition will probably not qualify for immediate coverage.

Upon the Insured’s Passing

When a policy is triggered via the death of the insured, the insurance company pays the proceeds to the named beneficiary or the executor of the insured’s estate if the estate is the beneficiary.

The executor or beneficiary then uses the money to pay for costs and expenses relating to funeral services and burial.

If the policy proceeds pay for all such expenses and there is money left over, any surplus can be applied toward other final expenses, like taxes, creditor claims, and legal fees.

If funds remain after all estate expenses are covered, the residue is distributed to heirs of the estate (if proceeds are paid into the estate) or stays with the policy’s beneficiary (if proceeds are paid to a named beneficiary).

Not Taxable Income

Importantly, the proceeds of a final expense policy are not included as taxable income on the income tax return of the policy’s beneficiary or the decedent’s final income tax return.

Under certain circumstances, life insurance death benefit proceeds may be included within the insured’s taxable estate for federal estate tax purposes.

However, for the small minority of estates that are large enough to qualify for estate taxes, there are estate-planning strategies that can be used to reduce or avoid estate tax liability for life insurance proceeds.

Cash Value of Final Expense Insurance

An often-overlooked feature of final expense and burial insurance is that, because it is whole life insurance, a policy accrues cash value.

With each additional premium payment, cash value steadily increases, and the cash value itself earns interest.

A policy that has been in place long enough eventually reaches “paid up” status, at which point cash value is sufficient to cover premiums.

Paid up life insurance simply means no further premium payments are necessary to keep the policy effective.

Surrender Value

Cash value is sometimes called “surrender value” because, if you choose to surrender the policy, the insurer will send you a check for the entire cash value.

Of course, a surrendered policy is no longer effective, so you receive the money but no longer have the final expense insurance.

More practically, the cash value in the life insurance can be borrowed against if something comes up and you need access to quick cash.  Then, you pay back the policy loan, and the coverage remains in place.

Why Purchase Funeral and Final Expense Insurance?

Dying is Expensive

The primary reason to purchase final expense insurance is that burial and funeral costs are very high.  Even simple services and an average burial can exceed $10,000.

And, in most cases, that money comes out of the decedent’s estate.

Impacts Heirs

The executor or personal representative treats funeral and burial expenses as a priority debt of the estate, and the costs are paid from estate funds before assets can be distributed to heirs. That means any money paid out as final expenses won’t be available for heirs, which can put a big dent in an inheritance.

Creates Liquidity

Even when an estate has ample value, the executor may need to sell off other assets if the estate doesn’t have sufficient liquidity to pay final expenses.  This can prolong administration and result in reduced inheritances because identifying buyers for non-liquid assets takes time, and estate sales frequently fail to obtain full market value.

Moreover, final expenses might necessitate the sale of certain assets (like real estate or business interests) that heirs would have preferred to keep in the family.

Final expense insurance avoids these problems by providing sure-fire liquidity through an income tax free death benefit.

Out of Pocket

Or, if an estate doesn’t have sufficient value to cover final expenses, the decedent’s loved ones may have to pay the heavy costs of funeral services and burial out of pocket.

To summarize…

Adequate final expense insurance avoids a situation where a decedent’s surviving family members get hit with a big financial obligation while they are already grieving the loss.

The costs associated with a funeral and disposition of a decedent’s final remains are much higher than most people realize.

On top of that, the expenses involved in estate administration—such as probate court costs, legal fees, and transaction costs incurred in transferring assets—add up quickly and can take a big chunk out of an estate.

Particularly for complex estates and estates that will have substantial creditor claims, ensuring sufficient liquidity is available to pay final expenses is a critical part of the estate-planning process.

Designed for just that purpose, final expense insurance provides a fail-safe means of both preserving potential inheritances and avoiding the risk that loved ones will have to pay thousands of dollars in final expenses out of pocket.

Prepaid Funeral Plans as an Alternative to Final Expense Insurance

An alternative approach for addressing the high costs of final expenses is to enter into a contract with a funeral parlor to pay funeral and burial expenses in advance.

As with final expense insurance, pre-paid burial costs can help ease the financial burden on your estate of high funeral and burial costs and avoid passing along those costs to loved ones.

There are downsides to this approach, though.

Funeral Plans are Not insurance

First, a pre-paid funeral plan is not insurance, so you can only get out of the contract what has been paid in.

If a decedent only made a couple payments on the contract before passing away, the funds applied toward funeral expenses will be limited, and surviving family members might still get stuck with a big bill for the rest.

On the other hand, a final expense policy pays out the policy’s face value, which can significantly exceed the sum of premiums paid.

Thus, funeral insurance is better able to ensure sufficient funds are on hand to cover all expenses.

Limited Burial Choices

With a pre-paid funeral plan, you’re also committing to a specific location, which can make things difficult if your preferences or area of residence changes in the future.

Even worse, a funeral home is much more likely to go out of business than a life insurance company.

If that happens, it can be very difficult for the estate to recover the money already paid on the pre-paid plan.

Funeral or final expense insurance, though, pays out cash that the insured’s estate or beneficiary can apply toward whatever services the insured ultimately decides on, allowing for significantly more flexibility and less risk of loss.

Additionally, proceeds of a final expense policy can be put toward estate debts, administrative costs, and taxes, whereas a pre-paid contract is limited to burial and funeral costs.

How We Can Help You Get The Best Final Expense Insurance

At I&E, we work with dozens of the top life insurance companies.

We have an intimate knowledge of the various nuances of each company.

That means we can help align you with the right company, the right policy, at the right price for you, based on your unique needs and objectives.

It may turn out that one of the final expense companies listed above is the right choice for you.

Alternatively, we might discover that there is a better company that is more tailored to what you need.

So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today to see what we can do for you.

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