Burial Insurance Topics
What Is “The Funeral Rule”?
People are always at their most vulnerable when organizing a funeral. Simply trying to hold themselves together after the loss of family or friend is difficult enough, without having to think about making arrangements, talking prices and deciding what the deceased would have wanted. Yes, it is certainly a difficult time for all concerned.
The Funeral Rule
“The Funeral Rule” was designed to protect people during this fragile and emotional time and make sure that they get the level of service they are fully entitled to. Whilst we like to think (because it is true) that the majority of funeral providers are professionals with the best interests of the family and friends of the deceased at heart, there are always the unscrupulous few who would take advantage of people in such a vulnerable state by overcharging or providing unnecessary services. “The Funeral Rule” is applicable for those who are both preplanning their funerals and, of course, for those which happen a little more, shall we say, impromptu.
The Federal Trade Commission enforce the funeral rule, which states very clearly that all funeral directors are required by law to give you itemized prices for any goods or services, even if it’s over the telephone – if you ask for them! They are also required by law to give information about any additional goods and services. If you visit the funeral home in person they must give you a fully itemized price list, and if you ask about specific items such as casket costs then they need to tell you all about the choices available and the prices, before showing you their most popular (and expensive) model.
Here are a few more details which the Funeral Rule has to say:
- you are within your rights to choose any funeral goods or funeral services you want (of course, there are always a few exceptions)
- if you are required by law to buy something in particular for your funeral, then this must be highlighted on the price list (with details of the specific law)
- even if you buy something from somewhere else, for example the casket, your funeral provider may not refuse to use it, or even charge you a fee for doing so
- if your funeral provider offers cremations, he must also offer alternative caskets
So you see, the “Funeral Rule” is really there to protect people in their most vulnerable state, so don’t allow yourself to be bullied, it’s against the rules!
The FTC Funeral Rule
These guidelines are intended to help you, the funeral provider, comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission) Funeral Rule. The FTC Funeral Rule went into effect on April 30, 1984.
The Funeral Rule requires you to give consumers accurate, itemized price information and various other disclosures about funeral goods and services. In addition, the Rule prohibits you from:
- misrepresenting legal, crematory, and cemetery requirements;
- embalming for a fee without permission;
- requiring the purchase of a casket for direct cremation;
- requiring consumers to buy certain funeral goods or services as a condition for furnishing other funeral goods or services; and
- engaging in other deceptive or unfair practices.
If you violate the Funeral Rule, you may be subject to penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.
These guidelines do not amend or modify the Rule. They explain the requirements of the revised Funeral Rule and discuss how to prepare documents required by the Rule — the General Price List, the Casket Price List, the Outer Burial Container Price List, and the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected. The guidelines also include sample price lists and a sample itemized statement form. These guidelines represent the FTC staff’s view of what the law requires. They are not binding on the Commission.
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Burial insurance (aka funeral insurance) is a basic issue life insurance policy that covers people until they reach 100 years old. Burial insurance (also known as funeral insurance) is promoted as a way to pay in advance for your funeral expenses so that your loved ones won’t have to pay for your funeral. There are many things you can do to make your death easier on the wallets of those you love. Preplanning your funeral saves money and grief, as well as deciding whether you want to be buried in a casket or cremated and put into and urn, figuring out who gets what part of your estate and all the related turmoil associated with the end of life.