Cigna Funeral, AA Funeral Insurance, Pinnacle Life Funeral plan are names we often hear as potential funeral insurance providers in NZ. What are the main differences?

Posted on 03 August, 2018 at 14:26

The broad basics of funeral insurance in NZ are the same. All funeral covers will pay an agreed tax free cash amount lump sum quickly to your nominated beneficary for the purposes of paying for your funeral (and related expenses). You choose an amount of cover suitable for your requirements whether it is just to pay for the actual funeral or if you require extra to clear some possible debt or in some cases we have people who wish to help family from out of town with their travel expenses (common with those who have extended family networks in the Pacific Islands).

So what are some of the key differences in the funeral covers offered?

The premiums definitely differ from insurer to insurer, and often by a lot more than you would imagine.  You must shop around.

Policy entry ages; AA Funeral Plan 50-79, Cigna Funeral Cover 45-80, Pinnacle Life Funeral Plan 30-75, State Insurance Funeral Insurance 30-75, Fidelity Life Funeral Fund 16-64

Cover amounts; AA and Cigna have maximums of $30000, others are limited at $25000 or some as low as $15000.

The age when premiums cease and cover continues for free; Pinnacle Life is age 85, Cigna and AA are age 90, many other insurers make you pay until claims time regardless of age

Some insurers have extras; for example if you buy Pinnacle Life Funeral Cover through our company you get an extra $5000 cover free if you happen to pass away resulting from an accident while overseas.

It pays to compare a minimum of 3 funeral plans (in some depth) before making any decision on what is best for you. What may be best for one person may not be best for another depending on their age, sex, smoker status or how much cover you want. For a more comprehensive comparison of 10+ funeral plans please click here

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance NZ

What are the most commonly selected cover amounts for funeral insurance NZ?

Posted on 20 June, 2018 at 04:21

Based solely on the cover amounts selected by our customers over the last 6 months we can say that around 40% choose $7500 and a similar (maybe smaller) amount choose $10000. Certainly these two cover amounts (or those in between) make up around 70% – 80% of all sum insureds selected.

$5000 is usually an option for the very budget conscious or where very simple funeral requirements are likely.

People who select funeral covers of $12500, $15000, $20000 usually do so as their requirements will be more significant than average, maybe very large families will be in attendance or include specific cultural requirements that may push up the price of the funeral or associated costs.

The really high funeral insurance cover amounts of, say, $25000 to $30000 tend to be taken when the customer also feels they may wish to clear debt (maybe a small loan or credit card) or leave a small amount for a family purpose (small inheritance for example).

It is important to know that with funeral insurance in NZ the claim is paid as a tax free cash amount to the nominated beneficiary. The proceeds can be used for any purpose ie not just to pay for actual direct funeral expenses. So, if you want extra to gift someone, clear debt, help with travel costs then that is all fine, up to you and the person who will receive the money.

The other consideration when selecting a cover amount for funeral insurance is affordability. The premiums must be affordable long term or it is just not worth the stress. So, sometimes the cover amount selected will be based solely on what you can afford. This is always a sensible way to decide even if it means you do not get quite the level of cover that is ideal. Sometimes some funeral insurance is better than none.

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance NZ

Who are the leading funeral insurance providers and how do they differ between each other?

Posted on 8 June, 2018 at 04:50

If you watch a bit of day time television you will probably have seen more funeral insurance ads promoting the Cigna Funeral Cover and the AA Funeral Plan than you would care to remember. Those two funeral plans are the most widely advertised and as a result are likely to dominate much of the top of mind awareness of funeral cover providers.
Interestingly a number of the larger life insurance providers such as Sovereign, AMP, AXA do not actively promote funeral insurance, instead tending to promote mainly life insurance.
Some of the big name domestic insurers (the ones who mainly sell house, contents and car insurance) such as AMI and State do have products but again are not heavily advertised. In some instances the domestic insurers do not actually hold the cover themselves instead acting like a broker and placing the business with a specialist insurer. The big banks fall in to same category, placing cover with specialist insurers but just branding with their name.
Funeral Insurance is actually an insurance type quite popular with some of the smaller, or niche market, insurers such as Pinnacle Life, Greenwich Life, Legacy Life (underwritten by AIA). They provide some specialist offerings with benefits not usually offered by the more mainstream insurers.
Some of the other providers of funeral insurance include Partners Life and Fidelity Life which sells a funeral fund and a product known as Golden Life.
So, how do the likes of Cigna Funeral Insurance, AA Funeral Cover and Pinnacle Life Funeral Plan differ? Well firstly the premiums differ from insurer to insurer with Pinnacle Life currently the lowest premiums as a rule. The age entry points also differ with AA requiring you to be aged 50 to 79 at the time of policy commencement, Cigna Life 45 to 80 and Pinnacle Life 30 to 75. The maximum cover available at Cigna Life and AA Life is $30000 whereas it is $25000 at Pinnacle Life.
With AA Life and Cigna Life you will pay premiums to age 90 after which cover continues for free. Pinnacle Life has a similar benefit although their cut off age for premium is 85 (not 90).
For a full to page comparison chart of up to 10 funeral plans please complete our online enquiry form

Who can buy a funeral cover plan in NZ?

Posted on 20 February, 2018 at 1:50

A standard funeral cover is available to those aged 30 to 85 but the age entry points do differ between insurers. For example, Pinnacle Life covers new customers from age 30 but at the oldest ages you then have the Partners Life funeral plan available to those up to age 85, Cigna Life 80 and AA Life 79.

To compare some of the top funeral cover plans the various age entry points are;

Cigna Funeral Cover – at the time of policy issue – ages 45 – 80
Partners Life – ages 55 – 85
AA Funeral Cover – ages 50 – 79
Pinnacle Life – ages 30 – 75
It is important to undertand that the higher ages shown such 85 or 80 are the oldest ages you can be at the time the policy is taken out, it is not an age the cover might cease once the policy is in force.

If you meet the age entry criteria above the other main rule is you must have NZ citizenship or residency and that you live in New Zealand at the time the funeral plan is taken out.

Customers with medical issues are not prevented from obtaining funeral insurance as funeral cover is guaranteed acceptance, the insurance company does not even ask about your past or present health at any time now or in the future. This is the opposite of life insurance where full health disclosure is required in nearly every instance. But a client with more serious health concerns may be affected by the 2 year stand-down period that is standard for claims arising from natural causes.

These are the two most important criteria that determines who can buy Funeral Cover NZ. It is generally very simple for the age group 30 to 85 who are NZ citizens and residents living in New Zealand with a wide range of insurer options available.

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance NZ

AA Funeral Plan, Cigna Funeral Cover, Pinnacle Life Funeral Plan and others, who is best?

Posted on 24 January, 2018 at 4:45

AA Funeral Cover, Cigna Funeral Insurance and Pinnacle Life Funeral Plan plus numerous other funeral plans NZ are all worthy of consideration. There is no ‘best’ funeral insurance plan as such as the policies do differ from insurer to insurer and the premiums definitely can vary widely between the different funeral covers NZ. In some instances, for example, the same funeral plan that may be cheapest for a 74 year old male might not be best for a 55 year old female.

You need to review more than one funeral plan before you can determine what is best for you. Do not be tempted to buy the first funeral plan you see, even if it is big name brand. Some plans are also only available for certain ages, for example Cigna Funeral Plan provides cover for those aged 50 to 85 at the time of application whereas Pinnacle Life is age 30 to 75. Likewise the levels of cover vary, some offer from $5000 to $30000 whereas the next option mght only offer $7500 to $25000 or in the example of the Fidelity Life Funeral Fund they have a single option of $12000 cover only.

Other policy type differences also include the period of time the premiums are payable. Cigna Funeral Cover is paid until claim time ie you could be paying at age 95 if still around whereas with the Pinnacle Life funeral plan you stop paying at age 85 with cover continuing free thereafter and with the AA Funeral Plan they have the same benefit but with premiums ceasing at age 90. This is a very important factor is determining a good option as it can save you a lot of money if you have a long life-span.

Payment options also differ between insurers and this can also be a point of difference ie some people detest paying via a direct debit which is the favoured option of many big mainstream insurers but some of the smaller, niche insurers, may allow options such as payment by internet banking or automatic payment.

Please complete our online enquiry form and we will promptly assist you by providing some easy to follow information on many of the points above together with a range of premium options.

Funeral Insurance or Life Insurance as an option?

Posted on 17 December, 2017 at 20:45

Funeral Insurance is typically taken for the specific purpose of paying for your funeral (although you can take a little more cover if you think you may want to clear any other debt, say a credit card or small loan). For the purpose of paying for your funeral it is common people take either $7500 or $10000 cover. But this can go to as high as $30000 with some insurers to provide for cover for extra expenses.

Funeral cover NZ can be purchased from age 30 but many customers tend to be 60 plus. So, often they have no debt and any sons or daughters are well past the age where they are dependant financially on their parents. So. cover for funeral costs is then all that is required. In this example life insurance simply would not be required.

Funeral Plans in NZ are guaranteed acceptance, ie no health type questions asked. So, it is easy to get funeral insurance, all you need to do is meet any age entry criteria. Premiums are also fixed for life (apart from some oddball type covers that may still exist) so again it is beneficial that you know exactly how much you will have to pay monthly at any time in the future. Some covers also have a fixed date when the premiums cease and cover continues for free.

Applying for Life Insurance has two distinct differences. Most importantly your health is very carefully assessed, so while many people will easily qualify it may not be so easy for other people depending on their current or past health. In some instances life cover may not be possible, certainly on standard terms and conditions. Life insurance premiums typically increase year by year also so while it may sometimes look a better option that funeral cover right now that may not be the case at some point down the track when you allow for life premiums possibly increasing 10-15% per year, especially once you are 65. Some life covers can have fixed premiums to age 65 or 80 you then have a big problem at those ages when life cover then becomes extremely expensive, usually to the point of un-affordability.

If you still have debt or children who are dependant on you then life insurance is ideal. Cover amounts can be much higher (up to $1 million is often no problem, or more depending on your age). You can take life cover and funeral cover if you wish, while most people take one cover or the other there is no reason why you cannot have both if your circumstances dictate

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance Helpline

Can I arrange funeral insurance NZ for a family member without their approval; or even knowledge?

Posted on 17 December, 2017 at 20:45

Yes, it is possible in some instances although more often that not the signature of the insured person is required. While this always sounds a bit sinister it is not of course, we often are contacted by family wanting to arrange cover for their parents (usually) who would not be interested at all in having or paying, or because of health reasons.

Other than Power of Attorney situations, typically with any form of insurance the person being insured must sign a declaration, therefore by default they are aware of the cover even if they are not arranging it themselves. There is one funeral insurance provider in NZ who we are aware of that will allow a close family member to apply for cover without any knowledge of the person. But that funeral plan is only available for those aged up to 70. The person arranging the cover is shown as the policy owner and typically it must be a spouse, son or daughter of the person being insured. They can also be the beneficiary for the claim proceeds and also be the person who makes the premiums payments.

This options is not just for the more reluctant parent it is also good for a family member who is ill and cannot understand sufficiently to sign themselves. It also avoids all the complications of applying using a Power of Attorney.

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance Helpline

How do Cigna Funeral Cover, AA Funeral Cover and Pinnacle Funeral Insurance plans compare?

Posted on 17 December, 2017 at 19:30

One big point of difference is that each funeral cover NZ insurer has different age entry points and sum insured options. For example with Cigna Funeral Insurance they provide cover for those aged 50 to 85 and sum insureds from $5000 to $30000. Pinnacles funeral plan NZ has cover from $7500 to $25000 and you must be aged 30 to 75 to buy cover. AA Funeral cover is available for those aged 50 to 79 and have covers from $5000 to $30000.

Each insurer has distinctly different premium structures so the premiums between these three options can differ significantly. With Pinnacle funeral cover the premiums cease at age 85 and after that time the cover continues for free. AA Funeral cover has something similar but their age cut off is 90. Cigna have no age cut off. Cigna Funeral cover currently comes with a 10% promotional discount for the first 12 months and Pinnacle have a similar promotional 10% discount but its continues for 24 months.

All these options have the same stand-down periods and timeframes for claims settlements. Generally their covers are similar other the above. All can all be counted on as reliable insurers who can be trusted to pay your claim appropriately at the right time.

For a full policy benefit comparison you can complete our online enquiry form, we send this easy to read two page chart together with a selection of comparative funeral insurance premiums promptly to your email.

Paul Woollams, Funeral insurance Helpline

Can you have multiple funeral plans with different funeral insurance providers? Any benefit to doing this?

Posted on 17 December, 2017 at 19:30

There is no reason at all why you cannot have multiple funeral plans in place at one time. You can have one with every insurer if you really want, your only constraint is how much you can afford. Because of the unique nature of funeral insurance NZ, ie it being so easy to obtain, sometimes people feel having a second policy is good value. In saying this the normal reason we are told for doing this is that they require a funeral cover level over what one insurer might provide. For example for very large extended families and an expected high funeral cost, often with the added expense of flying in family members from other parts of NZ or overseas at short notice. Also, sometimes there is some extra debt that would be good to clear at the same time, say the small balance of a mortgage.

As the funeral insurance claim is paid out as a cash benefit the money can be used for any of these reasons.

Some companies have a maximum funeral insurance cover of $15000 so if you want more you would take a second policy. But as one policy for $25000 is normally cheaper than one for $15000 and another for $10000 it might be best to consolidate in to one that allows $25000 rather than just getting a second policy for $10000. But if you are cancelling an old policy to do this you must realise the new policy will have the stand-down period again for the entire cover amount. Also, any new cover has the entire premium calculated on your current (older) age.

So, while it is possible to have more than one funeral cover NZ it is worth discussing with a funeral insurance expert why you need this as they can guide you on the best way to achieve what you need without problems.

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance Helpline

NZ Funeral Insurance plans do differ from insurer to insurer although there is a very common theme that all adhere to

Posted on 17 December, 2017 at 19:25

Standard funeral insurance covers in New Zealand are all guaranteed acceptance so have no medical criteria to meet. Generally they all have the same 2 year stand-down period for death by natural causes. Most also have fixed premiums that do not increase as you age.

There is a variation in what eligibility ages apply to each insurer with some requiring a minimum age of 50 while there are exceptions such a age 30 entry point. Different levels of sum insureds are possible between insurers.

For an extensive summary of the top funeral insurance plans please complete our online enquiry form and we will be pleased to provide this with no obligation together with premium quotations.

Paul Woollams, Funeral Insurance Helpline