Why Funeral Insurance is a Must in India
Funerals are an elaborate and highly emotional affair in India irrespective of religion, region, and status. Death of a dear one, not only wrecks emotional havoc in the family, but it also confers a financial burden on the family of the deceased. The pre-funeral and post-funeral rituals alone cost a hefty amount and demand a high engagement in organising different traditional rituals.
Funeral insurance or cremation insurance is a potent solution to the complexities related to death. It provides a financial cushion for the bereaved family. It further acts as an emotional backup and safeguard of dignity and respect of the deceased and his/her family.
Rising Cost of Funerals
Funeral insurance is especially important in India, where the average cost of a funeral can range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 2 lakhs, depending on the region, religion, and customs. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for funeral services, as well as the prices of cremation, burial, and transportation.
According to a report by IndiaSpend, the cost of cremation in Delhi rose by 300% during the second wave of the pandemic, from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000. Many families were struggling to cope with the loss of their loved ones, as well as the financial stress of arranging a dignified farewell.
According to the World Population Prospects Report published by the United Nations, the death rate in India has been rising since 2018 to 2024 as depicted in the chart below. However, unlike the general economic law of demand and supply, the costs have also followed a rising trend. The probable causes for this are identified to be:
- Lack of awareness
- Monopolistic nature of the places of cremation
- Absence of pre-planning of funeral/cremation
- Lesser penetration of Funeral Services and Funeral Insurance in India
Image Credit: UN-WPP
Here are some facts and figures that illustrate the need and benefits of funeral insurance in India:
- A survey by IndiaSpend reveals that only 8% of Indians have any form of life insurance, and only 3% have adequate coverage. This means that most Indians are underinsured or uninsured, and may not be able to afford the costs of a funeral in case of a death in the family.
- According to a study by Mihir Bhasin published in the International Journal of Social Science and Economic Research in 2022 the funeral market size in India stands at over USD 2.5 billion. In the same report the average cost of a Hindu cremation is estimated between a range of Rs. 25,000 to 1 lakh . This indicates that there is a huge variation in the costs incurred on funeral. Due to lack of standardization and unavailability of exact information, the funeral costs present an unbelievable variation. This strengthens the need for funeral insurance products in India, as more people are becoming aware of the benefits of planning ahead for their final rites.
- Another report by the World Health Organization proclaims that India has the second highest number of deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the world, accounting for 61% of the total deaths in 2016. NCDs, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory diseases, are often associated with high medical costs and long-term care, which can deplete the savings and assets of the affected families. Funeral insurance can provide a financial cushion for these families, who may otherwise have to borrow money or sell their assets to pay for the funeral services.
Weakening Social Support System
Traditionally, in India, the funeral expenses were borne by the extended family and the community, who also provided emotional and practical support to the bereaved. However, this social support system is weakening due to factors such as migration, urbanization, nuclearization, and individualization of families.
More people are living away from their hometowns, relatives, and friends, and have fewer social ties and networks. This can make it harder for them to arrange and finance a funeral, especially if they have to travel long distances or deal with legal formalities. Moreover, they may not receive the same level of emotional and spiritual support that they would have in their native place.
Funeral insurance can help you cope with this challenge by giving you the peace of mind that your funeral expenses will be taken care of, regardless of where you live or die.
You can also choose a funeral insurance plan that suits your preferences and beliefs, and communicate them to your family and friends. This can help them honour your wishes and respect your legacy, without worrying about the financial implications.
Improved awareness and availability of funeral insurance
One of the reasons why funeral insurance is not very popular in India is the lack of awareness and availability of such products. Many people are not aware of the benefits and features of funeral insurance, or how to buy it. Moreover, many insurance companies do not offer funeral insurance as a standalone product, but as a rider or an add-on to a life insurance policy.
However, this scenario is changing, as more people are becoming aware of the need and importance of funeral insurance, and more insurance companies are launching and promoting such products. Most of the insurers are partnering with funeral services provider like Last Journey to provide premium funeral services in lieu of a share of the premium paid.
These products are designed to cater to the specific needs and preferences of the Indian market, such as low premiums, flexible payment options, and coverage for different types of funerals.
How to buy funeral insurance in India?
There are multiple ways you can buy or opt for a funeral insurance in India. Some of these are:
- Directly approach the funeral service providers like Last Journey to get an advice on which funeral insurance suits your needs.
- Compare and buy funeral insurance online, through the websites or apps of the insurance companies, or through online aggregators or brokers.
- Consult an insurance advisor or agent, who can help you choose the best plan for your needs and budget.
The process of buying funeral insurance is simple and hassle-free, as it does not require any medical tests or extensive documentation. You just need to fill an application form, provide some basic details, and pay the premium.
What’s in it for the Corporates and Insurance Companies?
As an HR professional or an insurance company, you may be wondering how you can help your employees or clients with this issue. Here are some reasons why you should consider offering funeral insurance as a benefit or a product:
- It shows that you care: By providing funeral insurance, you are demonstrating your compassion and empathy for your employees or clients. You are acknowledging the emotional and financial challenges that they may face in the event of a death in the family, and you are offering them a solution that can ease their worries. This can boost their morale, loyalty, and satisfaction with your organization or service.
- It enhances your reputation: By offering funeral insurance, you are setting yourself apart from your competitors, who may not have such a benefit or product. You are showing that you are a socially responsible and progressive organization or service, that values the well-being of your employees or clients. This can enhance your brand image, attract new customers, and retain existing ones.
- It saves time and money: By providing funeral insurance, you are saving your employees or clients the hassle of finding and comparing different funeral service providers, negotiating prices, and arranging payments. You are also saving them the money that they would otherwise have to spend on these services, which can be a significant amount in India. This can free up their time and resources for other important matters, such as grieving, healing, and moving on.
If you are looking for a reliable and affordable funeral insurance provider in India, you may want to check out Last Journey funeral service. Last Journey is a one-stop solution for all your funeral needs, from arranging the funeral ceremony to providing the cremation or burial services, to handling the legal formalities. Last Journey is one of the most favoured funeral service providers in collaboration with leading insurance companies, corporates and embassies in India.
To know more about Last Journey funeral services and to collaborate with us for corporate plans and insurance partnerships, visit our website at www.lastjourney.in
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