Press Release - July 2020

Millions of Brits burdened with unexpected funeral costs

Millions of Brits have run up unexpected debts covering the cost of a family member’s funeral.

In fact, almost half (47%) of UK adults have had to help pay for a funeral after a family bereavement, setting them back £2,000 on average – the equivalent of £49 billion nationwide.

This comes from the new British Seniors Funeral Report, released by leading over 50s life insurance brand, British Seniors Insurance. The report, which analysed two extensive surveys of UK adults, examined funeral costs, the impact on loved ones and attitudes towards death, in order to create a guide to planning ahead.

The report revealed, of those who helped pay for a loved ones funeral, 62% had to dip into their savings to cover the costs, a fifth (18%) resorted to using a credit card, more than a tenth (12%) had to borrow money from family and friends, and nearly one in 10 (8%) had to take out a payday loan. Worryingly, two-fifths said this expense was unexpected.

Despite this, more than two-fifths of Brits haven’t set any money aside or taken out life insurance for their own funeral plans, with a fifth confessing they haven’t given it a second thought.

Those who have prepared for the future have saved an average of £3,150 for when they pass, but one in 10 aren’t aware of how much they need and 27% worry about the rising cost of funerals.

The research found the average cost of a burial service is £4,359, whilst a cremation costs £3,674. It is therefore unsurprising one in four Brits feel stressed at the thought of funeral costs and 16% feel helpless or frustrated. Only 12% said they feel ‘prepared’.

When it comes to the topic of funerals, three in 10 said they didn’t like to talk about their own or other people’s funeral plans. However, two-fifths want to ensure their family is cared for when they pass away, and more than a third want to protect their family/relatives after they’ve gone.

Oliver Harcourt, Marketing Director at British Seniors, said: “Death isn’t necessarily something we want to talk about. It can be uncomfortable and daunting, which may discourage planning ahead.

“Sadly, a lack of planning can result in families being left with an unexpected financial burden when our time comes to pass. The British Seniors Funeral Report aims to help educate people on how to better plan ahead, so to ease the impact and stress on loved ones during an already difficult time.”  

Harcourt added: “We know Britons want to leave behind a positive legacy for their loved ones. At British Seniors, we want to support people in taking care of those they leave behind, by helping them prepare.”

Key Findings:

  • 47% of UK adults have had to help pay for a funeral, setting them back £2,000 on average.
  • 18–24-year-olds are 50% more likely to have to assist with a family member’s funeral costs, compared to over 55s.
  • The average cost of a funeral is £3,782.
  • Seven in 10 Britons say funerals are more expensive now than five years ago.
  • 57% of respondents have broached the subject of funerals, but three in 10 don’t like to talk about their own or other people’s funeral plans.
  • Full report available on request and can be found via the following link

Notes to Editors:

  • The data has been collated from two online surveys of 4,000 UK adults (nationally representative) and 1,500 UK adults (who have been involved in the planning of a funeral in the last five years).
  • If you would like to reference the report, please use the below:

British Seniors Funeral Report (2020), a guide to costs and planning,

  • British Seniors Insurance Agency is a leading UK specialist provider of over 50s life insurance.

For all press enquiries, contact:
Trilby Rajna: +44 175 391 3065

This information is for authorised intermediaries only and should not be presented to, or relied on by, retail customers. It is approved and issued by Neilson Financial Services Limited. Neilson Financial Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and entered on the Financial Services Register under reference 594926. Registered Office: Landmark Place, Windsor Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1JL. Registered in England and Wales, number 07986483.