TV adverts that promote insurance for funerals

July 26, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , UK

Simeon Muller



Hazel Speed


I have written previously about one person’s difficulties to book their own funeral and the reasons therein.

TV adverts are currently blossoming, promoting insurance by individuals in readiness to meet the costs of a person’s eventual funeral, e.g. ‘To save one’s family the burden at that time,’ as ‘it would not be fair on them otherwise,’ type of sentiment.

Presumably, if relatives (or friends) were going to inherit the family home, then no doubt it would not be the anticipated burden to pay for a funeral out of monies achieved from the sale of such an inherited property, even if a bridging loan would be required in the short interim.

As for the TV adverts themselves there is, amongst the variations offered by different Companies, a complexity of phrases and literal ‘small print’ to consider.

It is well known as to what minimum monthly payments are required either by supermarket names generally, but in the TV ads there are some concerning facts such as; payments ‘start from’ £, etc, per month. This infers the viewer may prefer to contribute on a higher bandwidth of payments.

I have studied these ads, and some state what one would expect to ‘earn’ to cover the cost of a certain type of funeral payment due to ‘one’s family,’ and ongoing. The inference, and fact of the matter, is that there is no limit or end to payments, and presumably, if one tried, it could be considered a breach of contract, in which case, would all payment monies put in/due out, be lost in favour of the Company?

One advert states that upon the death of a person, all monies paid in and/or cost of the funeral as per agreement level (whichever is the highest), will be refunded.

Some have lots of small print on the screen.

What angers a number of viewers is a total lack of acknowledgment that some people have no family, or even Executors, so why should they continue paying over a projected funeral rate for their age range and estimated lifespan? Why should they pay in non-stop, to leave to whom? Someone may have donated to charities all their life so why should they be expected to do so in death?

There should be a get-out clause in these contracts.

It is amusing to see some ads that claim to specialise in ‘the personal touch’ which a Deceased may have requested, some funeral requests are now no longer legally allowed, i.e. to have their favourite song played at their funeral service, even if they have a CD and written permission from the relevant composer – the songs or music has to be chosen from an in-house selection. Like a type of Angelic customised jukebox brand of the Funeral Company and no doubt in conjunction with the PRS – Performing Rights Society.

The reader will see other issues I have previously highlighted, when people try and pre-pay for their funeral direct with one particular funeral company of their choice.

If an elderly person, perhaps living on their own, wishes to bank monies saved towards their own funeral, then should they receive certain benefits? Any funeral savings cannot be ‘ring fenced’ so would be considered as consumable income, ironic when one considers such a contingency may evolve leaving no option but for the Council to pay for a ‘pauper’s funeral’ – a horrible phrase and dreadful way for anyone to die in such circumstances.

Even then, the Deceased’s home would be raided (whether owned or rented), and any items seized which may be able to raise any money at all, regardless of amount, and/or if such items were bequeathed as sentimental gifts to friends or acquaintances of a deceased. Something worth £200 could subsequently be ‘flogged’ expeditiously for £5.

There is a gap in the funeral market here, and a moral obligation which the Government of the day should address.

There are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people of all ages who, for one set of circumstances or another, live and die alone. Many can only afford to rent, have no Executors, family or friends and who may die in their homes undiscovered for months. Who finds the body and has superior authority to ‘dispose/raid’ any items therein – Council or Landlord?

Or as one person in the above situation so aptly puts it using black humour – when is the wheelie bin collection day? Then again, they added, the poor homeless who live on the streets also die on them too, so there are those worse off.

There is something ‘not right’ about these TV ads, and I think they give one the sense of turning funerals into a money machine on the back of death.





Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

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