Margaret Huntley Last Updated On: March 12, 2024

What Is Final Expense Life Insurance?

Final expense life insurance for seniors, or burial insurance, is a type of permanent insurance offered to adults between 50-85 years old who want to ensure their loved ones won’t have to pay for their final expenses. 

Understanding Final Expense Life Insurance

Final expense insurance provides one of the most thoughtful and enduring gifts you can give your loved ones: peace of mind. Unlike traditional life insurance, which aims to provide income for dependents in the event of your death, final expense life insurance is ideal for seniors who don’t have dependents anymore, but who do not want their loved ones saddled with the substantial cost of end of life expenses. From medical bills to burial and cremation services, end-of-life costs can add up and become a financial strain for your surviving family and friends. 

However, final expense insurance coverage alleviates that burden, by covering these expenses—no medical exam required. All you have to do is answer a few questions. And like traditional life insurance, final expense coverage stays active as long as you keep paying your premiums.

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Table of Contents

The Benefits of Final Expense Insurance

Grief is enough of a burden. The benefits of final expense insurance all center around the fact that it provides easy peace of mind for you while you’re here, and for your loved ones when you’re gone.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the final expense insurance benefits vs standard life insurance:

  • Lower premiums: For as little as $20 a month, the final expense insurance policy offers coverage for up to $35,000.
  • Flexible payments: Pay monthly or annually—whatever’s best for your cash flow.
  • Fast approvals: Not only does coverage begin as soon as you’re approved, but the application for the final expense insurance program is easy, quick and coverage is often issued in a matter of days—sometimes even on the same day you apply.
  • No medical exam: Unlike life insurance, you don’t need to pass a medical exam to buy final expense insurance.

What Is Covered By Final Expense Burial Insurance?

The costs associated with death can be expensive. Thankfully, final expense and burial insurance can cover the most common and most substantial and lingering expenses related to both end-of-life care and the funeral. 

These final expenses may include but not limited to: 

  • Unpaid medical and credit card bills
  • Burial costs, including burial plot, cremation, headstone purchasing and engraving, and interment
  • Funeral expenses, including services, flowers, and embalming

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral in 2021 was $7,848 for a viewing and burial or $6,971 for a funeral and cremation.

Keep in mind, that this doesn’t include additional costs, like flowers, monuments, or an obituary. However, these figures reveal that having a death benefit of even $10,000 can help policyholders feel confident that their final expense insurance will cover most, if not all, of their funeral-related costs.

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Why Choose Final Expense Insurance Coverage?

Your desire to do your best for your loved ones never fades. This is why so many people between the ages of 50 and 70 switch from life insurance to final expense life insurance plan: it reduces the stress put on your grieving family and friends. 

Final expense life insurance coverage is a thoughtful and affordable way to make sure your loved ones aren’t left with medical bills, funeral expenses, and outstanding bills that they have to pay out-of-pocket. 

You can easily apply for final expense insurance plans and have it in place for when it’s needed: there is no extensive application process and you can be on your way to comprehensive coverage for anywhere from $5000 to $35,000 that will give you priceless peace of mind. 

How Final Expense Life Insurance Works?

By helping individuals pay ahead of time for end-of-life expenses, final expense life insurance coverage allows older adults to free their loved ones from the burden of these costs, if not the burden of grief. 

Featuring significantly lower coverage rates, final expense life insurance is also affordable for retired individuals on fixed budgets. 

Here’s how final expense insurance works:

Step 1: Apply. Estimate your outstanding bills and final expenses (funeral plans, medical bills, etc) and tally them up. This will help you get an idea of your ideal coverage amount. Again, it’s just your best guess: you don’t have to be exact. 

Next, compare final expense insurance quotes online from different insurance providers and pick the best one for you. The application process is quick and easy, and in some cases, you may not have to answer any questions at all. In as little as a day, you could be insured. 

Step 2. Purchase. Once approved, start making your regular premium payments. Your policy will stay active as long as your payments stay up-to-date and will build cash value. You’re guaranteed that your payments won’t go up, which is helpful when you’re on a budget. 

Step 3: Protect. In the event of your death, either your family or a funeral home with which you’ve made arrangements will receive a lump sum payout equal to the amount of coverage for which you applied. Your family can use this money to cover your final expenses and if there is any leftover, they can save or splurge—whichever they’d like. 

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Types of Burial Insurance

For adults interested in burial insurance quotes, there are two types of final expense products available:
  • Simplified issue life insurance: This product is designed for individuals with moderate to no health issues that may or may not be eligible for traditional life insurance. Usually, applicants will answer a few health questions to gauge whether they have a critical illness; if not, jumpstarting the policy is straightforward and doesn’t require a medical exam. The typical coverage amount is up to $40,000; remember the higher the policy dollar value, the more your monthly premiums will be.
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: The second insurance option for seniors is guaranteed issue, which is for individuals with critical illnesses who cannot get standard life insurance. As the name suggests, coverage is guaranteed no matter your state of health, meaning no medical exam. The death benefit amount generally is capped at $25,000.
If you’ve never purchased life insurance before, either of these options are likely exactly what you might need to cover your final expenses. 

Alternatives to Burial Insurance

For individuals looking into all their life insurance options, there are a few alternatives to consider:
  • Traditional life insurance: For individual policyholders that qualify for the term, universal or whole life insurance, traditional life insurance does more than just pay for funeral expenses; the death benefit can go towards tuition or mortgage payments. This product is ideal for individuals with dependents (a spouse or family) or those who want “total life” insurance.
  • Pre-need funeral trust: Americans can pay into an interest-earning trust to help them cover their funeral-related costs.
  • Pre-need funeral insurance: Akin to a pre-need funeral trust, individuals can pay for their funeral expenses through their preferred funeral home.
  • Self-funded: The final strategy is for an individual to allocate funds for their funeral on their own, without utilizing an insurance product.
Making sure final expense life insurance for seniors is the right fit is critical, given the higher premiums. 

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Who Needs Final Expense Insurance?

Due to the high cost of burial insurance premiums, it is not suitable for every American. For instance, couples with a young family would do better with traditional life insurance, as the death benefit is designed to cover wage/income loss and to help pay for things like the mortgage should one partner pass away unexpectedly.  For individuals shopping around for a final expense insurance quote, this product is best for:
  • Those who don’t qualify for traditional insurance
  • Seniors over 70
  • Individuals with critical illnesses
  • Americans wanting small coverage amounts
Life insurance isn’t a fit for everyone, but most people would want the option to spare their loved ones the cost of their final expenses, and final expense life insurance for seniors does exactly that. If you’re looking to instead leave your loved ones a sizable lump sum, then death benefit life insurance would be a better fit (depending on your age). 

The Best Final Expense Insurance for Seniors

After a certain age, we no longer have dependents but this doesn’t mean we don’t want to take care of our loved ones. Instead of paying more sizable rates for life insurance, final expense insurance is a wonderful way to ensure your loved ones aren’t left to pay hefty end-of-life costs at a fraction of the cost—as little as $20 a month. 

Final expense life insurance is a perfect insurance option for people on a fixed income.

The average cost of a funeral is $9,000. Grief is already enough to shoulder: don’t make your loved ones carry the expense of a funeral too. Protect your loved ones, even after you’re gone. 

Final expense life insurance can help from the funeral expenses to medical bills to unpaid bills, this coverage provides compassionate, smart insurance for seniors. Your approval is not based on your answers to medical questions, so you can rest assured you’re getting the coverage you need at a price you can afford. 

Getting a Final Expense Insurance Quote: What You Need to Know?

You can quickly and easily get final expense insurance quotes online, but keep in mind no two insurance companies are the same. Rates are constantly changing, and each company will set its own rates based on actuarial data and underwriting criteria. So, one company’s best rate won’t be the same for another. This is why getting a final expense insurance quote is so important. A quote will allow you to see all your options that suit your needs. 

Ask yourself:

  • Which provider will give your family the financial protection they need?
  • Which provider will pay your claim the fastest?
  • Will your provider help your family with funeral arrangements?

All these questions are important and will guide you in finding the best coverage for your—and your loved ones—needs.

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How Much Does Final Expense Insurance Cost?

There is a significant price difference between final expense life insurance and traditional life insurance products, like whole life or term life insurance. Any insurance product that does not require a medical exam is guaranteed and costs more; it’s no different with burial insurance. 

To put it into perspective, a 50-year-old healthy male can expect to spend $46/month for a burial insurance death benefit of $10,000, while $41/month (with a medical exam) will get him $100,000 term life insurance. 

Is Final Expense Insurance Worth It?

We can’t tell you which life insurance policy is best for your specific situation, but we can suggest that final expense life insurance for seniors is an excellent option for older adults and individuals who don’t qualify for standard coverage. 

But even if you are eligible for traditional life insurance, it never hurts to get burial insurance quotes when shopping around for the best life insurance coverage for you!


People who no longer have dependents and who are looking for affordable coverage for end-of-life expenses like funerals and medical bills.
Good question! Life insurance is meant to replace income—and is, therefore, more expensive—whereas final expense life insurance is meant to cover only end-of-life expenses, and is, therefore, less costly.
Not exactly. Some companies will insure individuals over 85, but if you wait this long to get the coverage, you’ll likely encounter a high premium.
While it’s impossible to be specific, since your premium will depend on your age, sex, and health, the average cost per month for final expense life insurance is from $40-$60 for a policy between $5000 and $10000. Of course, you could pay less or more. This is just an estimate to give you an idea of what to expect.
You can expect to pay 30% more for your final expense insurance. In fact, tobacco rates are higher regardless of the type of insurance you’re looking to take out. Also, keep in mind the tobacco rates increase with age as well.


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