Buy the RIGHT STUFF – An Insider’s Guide to Comparing Burial Insurance vs. Life Insurance

Coffin in morgueYou know you need life insurance for yourself or a family member.

The choices are overwhelming – and like most of us, you’re wondering how to make the RIGHT choice.

You’re not alone…we talk to people with the same concerns every day.

Let’s discuss the most popular options, and how to make the correct choice when comparing between “Burial Insurance” vs. “Life Insurance”.

Quick Article Guide

  1. Burial Life Insurance
  2. Burial Policy Cost Estimates
  3. Best Policies for Seniors
  4. Burial Policy Quotes
  5. $50,000+ Policies
  6. When to buy Term Insurance

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The Basics

“Burial” or “Final Expense” Insurance is  a form of whole life insurance.  It’s good for your “whole life“.

The other popular type of insurance is “Term” life insurance. Term means time…you buy this type of insurance when you need it for a limited number of years.

Another easy way to look at it is term insurance is for IF you die. Whole life/Burial/Final Expense insurance is for WHEN you die.

Life Insurance for Burial Expenses

Burial/final expense insurance policies are designed to cover relatively smaller expenses at the time of someone’s death. These expenses typically include, but aren’t limited to, a person’s funeral expense, medical bills, and maybe a little extra to cover other items or help pay off debt so that burden isn’t left to your family.

Who Gets the Money?

To correct one misconception, the payment for these policies is made to the “beneficiary” named on the policy, not a funeral home or creditor. The beneficiary is typically a family member or someone with an “insurable interest”. Insurable interest generally means someone who will suffer a financial loss as the result of another person’s death.

Insurance companies get uneasy when someone without a logical insurable interest is named. That being said, you can often change the beneficiary to whoever you wish once your policy has been in effect for a year or so. Theoretically you may have outlived your logical heirs, and want to leave the money behind to someone to care for your 11 cats. It’s really your choice once your policy is in force.

How Much Insurance Can I Buy, and What Will it Cost?

Burial/final expense policies are typically purchased in the $5,000 to $25,000 range, though many companies offer up to $50,000.

As with all insurance, the cost is based on your age and health when you start.

Clients often tell us the cost is higher than they anticipated. We kind of have to give them a reality check.  Either they have no idea what to expect, or have been misled by policies which give you a low “teaser rate” to begin, but then raise your rates as you age or cancel coverage at age 80.

You will not be offered these options by JRC Insurance Group.  We don’t believe in them, and won’t sell our clients anything we wouldn’t recommend to a family member.

We believe “an affordable $10,000 policy beats an unaffordable $20,000 policy”.

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Burial Life Insurance for Seniors

life insurance seniorsMost people call us for these policies for themselves or family members after they’ve been disabled or retired. The predicament is – they’ve missed the boat when life insurance was cheap, and buying when money is likely the tightest.

Think of this logically.

Let’s say you want to buy a $20,000 whole life policy for mom at age 65.

The average lifespan for a woman living in the US is to age 81.

If you were saving the money on your own,  ignoring interest, you’d have 16 years to save $20,000…which breaks down to over $1,500 per year, or $104 a month.

Burial Life Insurance Quotes

If you compare this cost to the chart below, and you’ll see that fixed rate/lifetime policies (the type recommended) aren’t that bad a value….as long as you keep them and don’t cancel. That’s when an insurance company “wins”.

Sample Monthly Rates for Females

 $10,000 Death Benefit$20,000 Death Benefit
AgeGood HealthNo Health QuestionsGood HealthNo Health Questions

Sample Monthly Rates for Males

 $10,000 Death Benefit$20,000 Death Benefit
AgeGood HealthNo Health QuestionsGood HealthNo Health Questions

Rates are for illustrative purposes only and are accurate as of 09/27/2019.

*You’ll notice two rate columns. One reflects the cost when applying in “good health”, and one with “no health questions” – neither requires a medical exam.

If you need help determining if you qualify for the “good health” policy, call us today for free quote at 855-247-9555. There’s no cost or obligation for our shopping services, and our agents offer multiple years of life insurance experience.

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Along with the higher premiums, the “no health question” policy has a 2-year “return of premium” waiting period before the full death benefit kicks in. In other words, in exchange for getting a “guaranteed issue” policy with no questions asked, there’s a 2-year period during which if you die during this time, your beneficiary receives all money paid in plus an additional 10%. Not a bad deal….you can’t lose money, unless you cancel the policy.

Yes, this is a recurring theme…don’t buy more than you can afford.

For more on burial expense policies, read our “Ultimate Guide for Burial and Final Expenses” article.

What If You Need More Than $50,000 in Life Insurance? What Other Options Are Out There?

More than $50,000 coverageOnce you’re at the $50,000 death benefit bracket and above, you get into the market for whole and term life insurance.

The amount and type of insurance is determined primarily by your purpose for coverage, and your income..to be blunt, you can’t be worth more dead than alive.

You may “need” $300,000 to pay off your mortgage, but if you’re disabled or have an income of less than $50,000 or other significant assets, you’ll have a tough time qualifying. And if you could, the cost of insurance in a high risk bracket probably isn’t worth the cost.

Assuming you’re in decent health and have income from working, pension, business or investments, you may have some pretty good options available. JRC Insurance Group specializes in helping the “over 50” age group, working with the companies with most competitive rates in the this bracket.

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Need More than $50,000? Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance May Be the Best Option

Guaranteed Universal Life (GUL) insurance is another option that is somewhat of a hybrid between whole life and term life insurance. A GUL insurance policy is guaranteed to stay the same price, offers $50,000 or more in coverage, and can be locked in until age 90, 95, 100, or even 121.

In practice, it works like a whole life policy, but at a lower cost.

Guaranteed universal life insurance is usually the best option available for healthy applicants between the ages of 65-79, that need at least $50,000 of coverage, for 10 or more years.

These policies are also ideal for anyone who needs to fund a life insurance trust, maximize a pension plan, or provide an inheritance to their loved ones when they pass away. 

We advise buying your coverage before the age of 75, otherwise it is much harder to be approved. Guaranteed universal life insurance is also popular with clients who have younger spouses and/or with a long term dependent or  a child with special needs.

Like a term policy, GUL policies typically offer larger amounts of coverage, and usually require a free medical exam for approval.

If you have a good-sized estate and need insurance for estate taxes/asset maximization, you’ll want to consider permanent options like a whole life or these guaranteed universal life policies. Our “Life Insurance For Estate Planning” article is a good resource for this subject.

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When to Buy Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance is the most popular form of traditional life insurance, due to its low cost and high death benefit, getting you the most bang for your buck. It’s pure insurance…you’re covered while paying for it, and when you cancel the policy or you reach the end of your “term”, you’re done.

Term life insurance is the type endorsed by financial experts like Bob Brinker, Suze Orman, and Dave Ramsey. As mentioned earlier in this article, it’s the type that pays “IF you die” – carried as a safety net, something like the fire insurance you carry on your home.

Term insurance usually requires a free medical exam and offers a wide range of coverage. A term policy is usually between $50,000 and $5,000,000 in coverage and can be guaranteed for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, or even 40 years with some providers.

NOTE: JRC Insurance Group works with dozens of insurance companies offering term life insurance with NO EXAM. You’ll pay a bit more, but the convenience and less rigorous medical review may be worth it.

A term policy is best designed for people applying before age 70 who have a need life insurance for a period of years – again, look at this insurance as a safety net if you die prematurely.

Most commonly, we see people buying term life who are worried about dying before paying off a home or other large debt, getting dependents through college, a divorce decree, or general “income replacement” helping a family maintain their standard of living for a few years.

Keep in mind there are minimum income requirements, outside of Social Security or other government assistance. Most companies require a minimum income of $15,000 to 20,000 to qualify for term life insurance.

Term life insurance is also ideal for businesses for buy/sell agreements or to insure the life of a Key Employee. To read more about insurance for business protection, click here.

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Along with your income, eligibility for term life insurance is determined by your health. The most common term insurance policies are purchased by our customers with families who rely upon their income.

For example, a 30 year term works great alongside a 30 year mortgage because it insures that if the income earner or earners pass before the mortgage is satisfied, the house will be paid off and stay within the family.

Term life insurance should be looked at as a vehicle to get you from point A to point B, so it is often used to ensure protection until retirement age or until the insured’s children are through college and self sufficient.

Term life insurance is also ideal to secure a loan, replace income, and even to settle divorce decrees or court orders. Something you won’t likely use, but want as that safety net without overpaying.

INSIDER’S NOTE: A common misconception with term insurance is that once your term (the guaranteed price period of 10-30 years) is up, your insurance is cancelled. This is not necessarily the case. We often recommend converting a percentage of your term policy into a universal life policy to cover final expenses and the cost of burial after your major debts have been satisfied. You can make this election without reproving your health. I’m in my mid-50’s and probably have dropped down for 4 risk classes, but my “conversion rate” is based on my original “Preferred Best” risk class. Pretty cool stepping back in time!

If your debts are already satisfied and you are shopping for insurance, you will want to consider whole life insurance for burial costs or final expenses.

Again, these policies are best for someone approaching retirement or even someone who is already retired and wants to make sure the cost of their funeral is not left behind for their surviving family members. Anything you can afford to leave behind is a blessing…and your final gift.

Still have questions? We have answers! Call us today and we will find the best type of policy for you at the lowest price available, and do the shopping completely free of charge. We work directly with over 50 companies and have multiple years of experience to share.   We want to earn your business…for life.

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Cliff Pendell

VP of Marketing at JRC Insurance Group
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.
32 comments… add one
  • Robbie Romero Flores March 3, 2015, 3:35 pm

    I want to get a monthly premium for myself . I am 48 in Regular health don’t smoke.

    • Chris Huntley March 10, 2015, 11:54 am

      Hey Robbie,
      No problem. We’ll email you or you can call us at 855-247-9555.

  • Topeka Strickland May 10, 2015, 6:38 pm

    I want to get term life insurance for my father…

    • Randy McClintick May 23, 2015, 12:28 pm


      We may be able to help if your father is “on board” and under the age of 80/85 (varies by state). Life insurance is regulated…the person being insured must understand and agree to it. If we can speak with him by phone to get his OK and determine his options, you would be able to pay his premiums and be beneficiary if that is your both your wishes. Give us a call at (855) 247-9555 and we’ll “shop the market” for life insurers for your state to determine if there’s a good fit.

  • Gary Colombo August 15, 2015, 2:18 pm

    I am 59, in perfect health, I work out 3 to 4 times a week, ride my bike 20 miles, I have never smoked, never drank, I have never even had a cup of coffee. My body test out at 37 years of age. I sing and dance for a living in Las Vegas. As an entertainer I have not made much money. I do not have any savings to speak of. I barely make my current overhead. But I do have four grown children who are all in the same position and if something were to happen to me, there’s no money to pay for burial or help out with any other expenses.
    I am in the process of raising funds through crowd funding to bury a friend of mine next week and obviously these questions have been precipitated by that incident.

    • Randy McClintick August 25, 2015, 2:41 pm


      Nice to meet you! In addition to being an insurance agent, I’m also a musician. One of my good friends used to perform at New York New York in the dueling piano lounge.

      No one wants their friends to “pass the hat” to pay for their burial, so we commend you on taking care of this for your childrens’ benefit while you’re relatively young and healthy. From what you described, you should qualify for “preferred rates” through Mutual of Omaha, (sponsor of the old “Wild Kingdom” TV show in the 60’s) a company specializing in final expense policies for healthy men in their 50’s and 60’s. They offer the lowest rates we’ve found, and are “A-rated” for financial strength and stability, and history of paying claims.

      $40.82 monthly for $10,000 death benefit

      $59.62 monthly for $15,000 death benefit

      $78.43 monthly for $20,000 death benefit

      $97.23 monthly for $25,000 death benefit

      It’s not uncommon for children to help their parents out with the their life insurance premiums. Discussing with them now can provide peace of mind for you and them. For less than the cost of their cell phone bill, they can make sure your passing won’t be a financial burden, and provide a proper send off.

      Keep in mind, life insurance death benefits are not taxed. A $10,000 death benefit will pay the full $10,000.

      It’s important to not miss payment for these plans…if a policy “lapses”, it’s rarely reinstated.

      Health can change overnight. Give us a call and we’ll help you get the ball rolling. (855) 247-9555.

      JRC is located in San Diego, CA….your same time zone.

  • Michael cabrera January 27, 2016, 2:23 pm

    Like to just get quote

    • Randy McClintick February 8, 2016, 3:26 pm

      Michael and Sally,

      Did you find the quotes for the life insurance you were seeking? If you have questions or would like a “real person’s” help, one of our agents licensed for your state will be glad to help you. We’re here from 8am-5pm Pacific/ 11am-8pm Eastern.

  • Jan abraham September 10, 2016, 8:35 pm

    Want to increase coverage
    To cover all expenses

    • Randy McClintick September 13, 2016, 1:14 pm


      Give us a call at (855) 247-9555 and we’ll determine your best pricing life insurance options.

  • michael January 9, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Hello there. My question is- does the FE insurance named “Living Promise” offered by united of Omaha require an exam and/or phone interview? This being for the level benefit plan. Am in very good health. Am resident of N.C. Thank You, ME

    • Randy McClintick January 20, 2017, 2:21 pm


      Thanks for your email. The requirements vary by age and amount of insurance you’d apply for. Give us a call at (855) 247-955 and an agent licensed for NC will help you. Should just take a few minutes with you being in good health….congratulations!

  • Stanley Reeves January 10, 2017, 11:20 am

    I would like to get some quotes for term life insurance or burial insurance.
    I’m 62 and in good health.

    • Randy McClintick January 20, 2017, 2:24 pm

      Hello, Stanley,

      Thanks for your email. We’ll be glad to compare term life rates and burial insurance. The costs, of course, vary by the amount you’re applying for, and some term insurance can be converted to a smaller amount of permanent insurance later without having to reapply or answer health questions. Give JRC a call at (855) 247-9555 and we can quickly compare rates for the top insurers licensed in your state.

      Best Regards

  • Tina January 15, 2017, 1:15 am

    49 female, excellent health, smoker, I want my funeral expenses to be paid for by me, not my children

    • Randy McClintick January 20, 2017, 2:27 pm


      Thank you for your email. We’ll be glad to help you compare rates. JRC works with a number of insurers which won’t penalize you for being a smoker, which can save you quite a bit of money. The policy cost will be locked in for life. Purchasing at 49 will get you rates which should always be affordable. Bless you for thinking of your children now. We often receive calls from people who are too old or ill to afford life insurance. Even sadder when their children are the ones calling us.

      We’re here 9-5pm Pacific time, Mon-Fri, at (855) 247-9555

  • Ruthel Rader March 8, 2017, 2:21 am

    I am looking for a policy for myself as well as one for my 32yr old son diagnosed with high functioning autism but in very good health. I am 71 with a few health concerns. I am wanting to get quotes for burial insurance. Can you provide the information I need?
    Thanks so much
    Ruthel Rader

    • Randy McClintick March 13, 2017, 10:17 am

      Ms. Rader,

      Thank you for your request and visiting JRC’s life insurance website.

      By “high functioning”, we’ll assume your son is working and not drawing disability. If so, he should have a number of choices for life insurance. If he’s drawing disability due to the autism or any other health condition, he’ll be limited to “guaranteed acceptance” life insurance. These smaller policies generally require an applicant be at least age 50.

      We’ll be glad to help you shop through top rated life insurance companies licensed in your state offering life insurance which won’t increase in cost as your husband ages, and is guaranteed for the rest of his life (he can’t outlive it).

      You’ll have a few options for burial insurance. In most states, policies are available in $5000 increments with death benefits between $5000-$30,000. The way these policies work is you will be covered for death by accident right away, and have a 2-year waiting period until you’re covered for death due to a medical reason. The safety net is that if you were to die within the 2-year waiting period, your beneficiary will receive back all money you’ve paid in, plus around 5-7% interest, depending upon the insurer.

      The key thing is to purchase coverage as soon as you can afford it to begin the 2-year waiting period “clock”, and to not buy more that you can easily afford. Many people over extend themselves, later cancelling their insurance due to lack of affordability.

      We’ll be glad to help you shop through top rated life insurance companies licensed in your state offering life insurance which won’t increase in cost as you age, and is guaranteed for the rest of your life.

      Call JRC at your convenience at (855) 247-9555. Let us know what cost fits for an ongoing monthly expense and we’ll work within your budget and answer all your questions

  • Debbie May 31, 2017, 1:25 pm

    My significant other is in bad health. We want just Insurance to cover burial. No Life Insurance.
    Is that even an option??

    • Randy McClintick June 1, 2017, 2:26 pm


      Thank you for your question and visiting JRC’s life insurance site.

      There are a number of insurance companies offering policies in the $5000-$25,000 range with no medical questions or requirements. The age requirement is that applicants must be minimum 50 years old. If your husband died within the first two years of the policy you’d receive all money paid in plus 5% or so, depending upon insurer. After 2 years, the full benefit is paid. We therefore recommend securing coverage to get the “clock” running to get through this waiting period, and don’t overspend. You must continue to pay premiums, like other types of insurance, for it to pay the “death benefit” to you at time of your husband’s death. This money would come to you completely tax-free.

      If interested, call JRC Life Insurance at (855) 247-9555 and we’ll find the lowest fixed rate policy for your state of residence.

  • Marie Stelz August 14, 2017, 1:39 pm


    Totally confused as to the type of insurance that can best provide coverage of funeral expenses. I am 71 years and in good health. I would like $15,000 coverage until age 90. Please advise.

    Thank you.

    • Randy McClintick August 16, 2017, 9:15 am

      Ms. Stelz,

      Thank you for your questions and visting JRC’s life insurance website.

      Most of our similar clients seeking funeral expense plans choose to purchase Gerber’s life insurance. Whereas you could outlive a policy to age 90, Gerber’s has no age limit and the cost of insurance will never increase. The cost is based on the tax-free death benefit, your gender, and age when you begin making payments. Purchasing at age 71, your monthly cost with a tax-free $15,00 death benefit would be around $108 monthly. No medical exam or questions, just has a standard 2-year money back waiting period before you’re covered for death due to a medical condition. Death due to accident/terrorism, etc. begins immediately.

      Call us if you have additional questions or would like to purchase. An experienced, licensed agent for your state of residence will assist you, including reviewing the policy when it arrives. You’ll have a 30-day money back “free look” period once it’s issued in case you determine the policy doesn’t meet your needs.

      JRC Life Insurance Service: (855) 247-9555

      Thank you

  • Loria Isom August 26, 2017, 4:55 am

    Looking for universal life or whole life. 75,000 and one for 25,000.
    52 year old female good health

    • Randy McClintick August 28, 2017, 9:41 am

      Ms. Isom,

      Thank you for your question and visiting JRC’s life insurance website.

      JRC represents over 40 highly rated insurance companies. We have a number of options for you to choose from based on your health and state of residence. Call JRC at (855) 247-9555 and a licensed agent will explain these options, provide free quotes for those you may be interested in reviewing, and answer your questions about how they work the application process.

      Thanks again….we look forward to helping you protect your family with quality, affordable life insurance.

  • Tracy Boone November 27, 2017, 12:26 am

    Looking into Burial insurance (maybe life insurance) for both my Brother and Father. I live in Washington state and they both live in Illinois.

    • Randy McClintick November 27, 2017, 9:16 am


      Thank you for your question and visiting JRC’s life insurance website.
      We can help your family secure burial insurance. Give us a call at (855) 247-9555 and we’ll help you review companies and plan options available for Illinois residents. We will eventually need to speak to your brother and father to confirm they wish to be insured (it’s the law) and their consent for you to pay for their coverage if that’s your plan.

      Best Regards,
      JRC Life Insurance

  • Arielle L. January 8, 2018, 12:35 am

    looking to insure my mother. She is 46 and in good health. We want enough insurance to cover funeral expenses, and debt.

    • Randy McClintick January 15, 2018, 10:40 am


      Thank you for your question and visiting our JRC Life Insurance website.

      We would be happy to review affordable life insurance options for funeral expenses and debit. Call us at (855) 247-9555 and a licensed agent for your mother’s state will help. With her consent, we can set the policy up so you’d be the payor and beneficiary if that’s your intention.

  • DAVID FROST February 7, 2018, 11:27 am

    I am 40, that just lost a parent. I want to be sure my children are covered in the future, in case something happens. I felt the burden from my parent and do not want then to suffer. I am in good health and trying to be proactive. I want some options

    • Randy McClintick February 8, 2018, 10:04 am

      Mr. Frost,

      Thank you for your request and visiting JRC’s life insurance website. We’re sorry to hear of your loss.

      Most parents purchase term life insurance to cover the period until their children are through college and self sufficient. Term insurance provides the highest death benefit for the lowest cost, plus a guaranteed option, regardless of future health changes, to reduce the death benefit and “convert” to lifetime insurance should you choose.

      In your case, a 15 or 20 year “term” (period of time) is likely appropriate, which should be very affordable if you’re in good health. We can help you determine the best value based on our age, state, health history, occupation, and other factors insurance underwriters consider.

      Give us a call at (855) 247-9555 and licensed agent for your state or residence will be glad to assist you. There’s no “hard sell” or cost for our services…we’re compensated by whichever insurance company you choose. We have ratings and very familiar with the each company as they all have their “sweet spots” for their target customer.

      Thanks again for contacting JRC Life Insurance. We look forward to helping you protecting your family and will make the process easy.

  • Darrell branham October 8, 2018, 7:34 am

    My mother has termed out on her life ins. I need advice on what to do she is 80 and has health issues. She is also on Medicare, so whole life is not a option

    • Randy McClintick October 11, 2018, 1:56 pm

      Mr. Branham,

      Thank you for contacting JRC Life Insurance and visiting our website.

      Maximum age to apply varies by state of residence, but we may have an option or two available for your mother. Call JRC at (855) 247-9555 and an agent licensed for your mother’s state will help you. You can determine if the cost and restrictions (expect a 2-year waiting period for full death benefit) will be better than “self insuring” by putting money aside on your own to prepare for final expenses.

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