Is burial insurance worth it?

Burial insurance is a type of life insurance policy that can be used to cover funeral expenses. Learn more to find out how it works and if it’s worth it for you.

Mother holding and kissing her child

Whether or not burial insurance is worth it depends on a number of factors. These include your health, the amount of coverage you need, and your reasons for wanting this type of life insurance policy. If you need a policy that will provide a substantial death benefit to cover a mortgage or provide income replacement when you pass away, this may not be the best choice. However, if you want a simple policy that offers guaranteed coverage, doesn’t require a medical exam, and can help your loved ones take care of your final expenses, this could be the right choice for you. Such a policy can cover the basic costs of your funeral and burial. 

Do I need burial insurance if I have life insurance?

It’s not a case of life insurance vs. burial insurance. In fact, burial insurance is a type of life insurance that can provide the financial resources to cover your final expenses. Plus, it could cover outstanding debts that you leave behind, such as credit card debt and medical bills.

Why a burial insurance policy?

Losing a loved one is a particularly traumatic event. On top of the emotional stress, there are significant expenses that come at the end of life. Burial insurance (sometimes called funeral insurance or final expense insurance) can help pay for the cost of the funeral and for burial or cremation services. This may include a burial plot, a burial vault, a casket, flowers, a funeral home service, a headstone, obituary notices, transportation, and an urn service. 

The average cost of a funeral and burial in the United States is $7,848.1 If you get a vault—required by many cemeteries—that number rises to $9,420.1 The average cost of a funeral and cremation is a little lower, at $6,971.1 Purchasing a burial insurance policy, or final expense insurance, is a helpful way to ease the financial burden on the people you love. 

Please note that some life insurance companies—including New York Life—don't sell stand-alone burial insurance as a product. Instead, you can buy a separate, smaller life insurance policy to cover final expenses. Roughly six in 10 men own life insurance, while for women it’s less than one in five.2 Financial burdens can continue long after a funeral, so it’s important that you consider both final expense insurance and a more comprehensive life insurance policy. 

You should consider adding a burial insurance policy: 

 If you are single

Purchasing a burial insurance policy (or a small life insurance policy designed to cover final expenses) can help prevent the passing of any substantial debt to surviving family members. In addition, a more robust whole or term life insurance policy can help you provide financial support to aging parents or siblings.

If you have a young family

Burial insurance covers funeral and burial expenses; whole life insurance can help give your family members the resources they need to maintain their lifestyle. Life insurance can replace some or all of your income, pay off debts, help pay college tuition, help fund your spouse’s retirement, and cover final expenses. 

Life insurance can cover funeral costs; it also replaces income, pays off debts, and helps with college tuition.

If you have an established family

Whole life insurance can be an important part of your overall retirement planning. Additional insurance to cover final expenses can help ensure that your loved ones will not be burdened with debt should you pass away.

If you’re nearing retirement or are already retired

Supplementing your life insurance policy with burial insurance will allow you to settle your affairs by covering funeral costs and any other unexpected final expenses. A more robust life insurance policy will protect the financial future of your family and preserve the retirement you and your spouse worked so hard for. 

Are life insurance and burial insurance the same?

No, but they are similar. In fact, a burial insurance policy is a smaller whole life policy that can help your loved ones cover your end-of-life expenses, including funeral services, burial, and cremation. It is considered a type of life insurance policy, but it offers a smaller benefit amount than traditional life insurance policies, since its purpose is very specific. 

Does life insurance cover burial costs?

Yes, life insurance policies will pay a lump sum when you die to a beneficiary of your choice. That money can be used to pay for your funeral or for any other general financial needs of your survivors. The payment will be made to your beneficiary soon after you die, and it doesn't have to go through probate.


Want to learn more about life insurance?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.

1Katia Iervasi, “How Much Does a Funeral Cost in 2023?,” Life Insurance Finder, March 1, 2023.

2Chauncey Crail, “Life Insurance Statistics, Data and Industry Trends,” Forbes Advisor, January 2, 2023.