What is a cremation only funeral plan?

A cremation only funeral plan allows you to pay for a direct cremation or simple cremation funeral in advance.

It locks-in today’s price for your chosen services and protects loved ones from the cost of your funeral when the time comes.

Cremation only plans, also known as prepaid direct cremation or simple funeral plans, are the cheapest funeral plans available because they don’t include a traditional service.

Continue reading this guide to learn more about prepaid direct cremation and cremation only funeral plans…

Simple cremation funeral cover with Reassured

At Reassured, we can’t help you arrange a direct cremation funeral plan as discussed on this page.

However, we can help you arrange a SunLife Guaranteed Funeral Plan which provides a simple cremation funeral.

The funeral cover we offer allows you to cover the cost of your cremation funeral in advance.

You pay a monthly premium beginning from £19.18 a month ^ and a pay out is guaranteed after two years.

There are two funeral cover options to choose from. Both include the following key services:

  • A cremation at a crematorium
  • Return of ashes
  • A coffin
  • A funeral service
  • A hearse

To learn more about the funeral cover we have available, head to our funeral cover page or get in touch with our friendly team.

What is a direct cremation?

The term ‘direct cremation’ means a straight-forward cremation without a funeral service.

Typically, the deceased's body is cremated straight away, and the ashes are returned to loved ones afterwards.

Sometimes, a simple family-led service can be held at the crematorium before the cremation.

If this isn’t possible then the family may wish to organise a separate memorial service at another time.

Memorial services are usually more relaxed, held at a casual venue such as a local pub or town hall.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of direct cremations grew by 21%[1].

What’s covered in a cremation only funeral plan?

Each plan will cover different things depending on the provider and the level of service included.

However, a cremation only funeral plan for direct cremation should cover the following as standard:

  • Collection and care of the deceased
  • Transportation to the crematorium in a specialist vehicle
  • Help with filling in required paperwork for cremation
  • Basic coffin
  • Cremation fees

Some plans will also cover:

  • Doctor’s fees
  • Return of ashes
  • Bereavement support

Some of the higher priced plans will also cover a family-led service at the crematorium before the cremation takes place.

Depending on the provider, you can choose the length of the service and how many people you wish to attend.

How much does it cost?

How much you’ll pay for a cremation only funeral plan will depend on which services are included in the plan and the provider.

The table below shows the prices of direct cremation plans available from some of the UK's top providers.

Basic plans and simple cremation plans include a family-led funeral service at the crematorium. The cost depends on how many people attend the service.

Direct cremation planBasic planSimple plan
Simplicity Cremations£1,495£1,795£2,295
Age Co£1,495£1,795£2,295

The information in this table was taken from the separate providers' websites and is accurate as at 16/02/2022

How do you pay for a plan?

Cremation only funeral plans, like standard plans, have a choice of payment options.

You can choose to pay in one single payment or in monthly payments over a set period.

The maximum payment term will depend on the provider and your age, but it’s usually up to 10 years.

If you choose to spread the cost in monthly payments and the payment term is more than 2 years, then additional instalment fees will apply.

Why pay for your direct cremation in advance?

List icon Safeguard against higher cremation costs in the future

In just one year, the average cost of a direct cremation increased by 6% (currently £1,647). Plus, the average cost of a traditional funeral has risen 121% since 2004. Prepaying your direct cremation could protect your loved ones from any price hikes in the future.

List icon Protect loved ones from financial worry

Your loved ones can focus on commemorating your life, rather than worry how they’re going to pay for the funeral. Especially if your passing was unexpected.

List icon Makes sure your final wishes are known (and carried out)

Having a funeral plan in place leaves no room for doubt regarding your final wishes when the time comes - meaning less stress for your loved ones.

Cost of funerals infographic

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This calculator uses data from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2021 and should only be used as a guide.

What’s the difference between a cremation only funeral plan and a standard funeral plan?

The table below shows the differences between what’s typically covered in a standard funeral plan compared to what’s typically covered in a cremation only plan.

Standard funeral planCremation only funeral plan
Choice between cremation or burial List icon Cross
Advice and guidance from a professional List icon List icon
Collection, transportation and care of the deceased List icon List icon
Family viewing at chapel of rest List icon Cross
Attended funeral service - time and date decided by family List icon Family-led service with select plans
Choice of coffin List icon Cross
Hearse or choice of alternative vehicle List icon Cross
Crematorium feesCremation fees not always guaranteed List icon
Bereavement support for loved ones List icon List icon
Return of ashesSelect plansSelect plans

What’s not covered in a cremation only plan?

In general, a cremation only funeral plan won’t cover the cost of the following:

  • Minister or celebrant fees
  • Hearse
  • Limousine
  • Embalming
  • Memorial or headstone
  • Flowers or tributes
  • Catering
  • Venue hire
  • Repatriation from outside mainland Great Britain
  • Removing artificial limbs

In addition, you won’t be able to choose the funeral director or the crematorium, as this is decided by the cremation provider.

How safe are cremation only funeral plans?

Funeral plan providers that are registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and have applied for authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), are safe to purchase from.

Currently, the FPA are the only funeral plan regulator in the UK. However, from 29th July 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will take over regulation of this market.

This will ensure better protection for funeral plan customers and their money. Any funeral plan providers which have not applied for authorisation (or don’t intend to) won’t be able to continue selling their plans once FCA regulation starts.

Before buying a plan, it’s sensible to check if the plan provider has applied for authorisation on the FCA application status list.

Is direct cremation the right choice for you?

Direct cremation is the right option for some people, but not for everyone.

In some cases, it’s easier to choose direct cremation ahead of time because it may not be something your family considers when you pass away.

Despite the average funeral costing £4,056 in the UK, many families still overspend on extravagant services that the deceased may not have wanted[1].

Which is why if you have specific wishes, particularly to have a direct cremation, this should be planned out in advance.

It could give your family a little comfort when the time comes, even if that means not being able to attend a service before the cremation.

A cremation only funeral plan may be suitable for you if:

  1. You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a standard funeral plan
  2. You want a simple and fuss-free send-off
  3. You want to protect loved ones from the expense of traditional funeral elements, such as a hearse, limousines, and flowers
  4. You want to protect loved ones from the additional stress of planning a funeral service
  5. Your loved ones would prefer to grieve in private, away from a funeral setting (which may be too upsetting for them)
  6. You think it would be difficult getting everyone together for the funeral, because they live in different parts of the country or world, or suffer from health issues
  7. You want family and friends to hold a celebration of life which could be more joyful than sad

Joint cremation only funeral plans

A joint funeral plan allows two people, such as a married couple, to be named on one funeral plan.

This may be an option if you’re on a budget but want to ensure that one of you is protected from arranging the other’s funeral.

However, as a joint funeral plan covers one funeral only, the surviving person would be left without any cover.

If you have other family members who’ll have to pay for the funeral, then you may consider taking out two individual plans to ensure that they’re protected from unexpected costs in the future.

Funeral plan or life insurance?

Many people take out an over 50s plan for the purpose of covering their funeral costs.

An over 50s plan is a type of life insurance policy that has a maximum pay out of up to £20,000.

Like a prepaid funeral plan, acceptance is guaranteed to people aged over 50. However, the maximum age limit to take out a plan is usually 80 or 85.

With an over 50s plan you would pay a monthly premium until you pass away or until a specified age, and a pay out is guaranteed.

All these factors make an over 50s plan ideal for covering funeral costs, however, the older you are the more expensive your premiums may be.

Get in touch with Reassured to compare free quotes for over 50 life insurance.

For more information, we have written an in-depth review of life insurance vs funeral plans »

Secure cremation funeral cover from SunLife

Having a funeral plan in place will ultimately protect your loved ones from the significant, and perhaps unexpected, expense of your funeral.

As mentioned, Reassured can’t help set up a cremation only funeral plan today but we can help you arrange funeral cover for a simple cremation funeral provided by SunLife.

This is called the SunLife Guaranteed Funeral Plan.

FPA Providers SunLife Logo

Key features of this funeral cover:

  • Premiums beginning from £19.18 a month
  • Guarantees to cover the cost of your chosen cremation funeral services after two years
  • 100% pay out protection from the FSCS
  • Guaranteed acceptance if you’re a UK resident aged 50 - 80
  • Immediate accidental death cover from when you take out the plan


[1] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cost-of-dying/cost-of-dying-report.pdf/

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  • The SunLife Guaranteed Funeral Plan is an insurance policy which after two years guarantees to pay for your chosen funeral services
  • SunLife is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
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