Historically, funerals in the Kenyan setting are a community affair. The usual procedure once someone is deceased is that the family calls a meeting to plan the funeral. Typically, the extended family and friends contribute money and other resources towards the funeral costs.
However, this social model is slowly being abandoned due to a number of factors, mainly:
- Hard economic times have forced people to contribute less towards the funeral costs of deceased members of the family and friends.
- There is also a phenomenon that can only be described as “fundraising fatigue”. Most people with an income are simply overwhelmed with too many fundraising requests at any given time.
- The breakdown of the family and the reduced empathy of the majority in society towards the problems of their extended family members and friends.
The burden of dealing with funeral costs is increasingly being left to the immediate family members and to members of the wider family that are perceived to be affluent by the rest. To make matters worse, funeral costs continue to rise. Take the following example of the funeral cost from one of the funeral parlours in Nairobi:
- Standard coffin – Kshs 50, 000
- Embalming – Kshs 15, 000
- Hearse (with loudspeaker and ribbons) within Nairobi – Kshs 20, 000
- Storage per day – Kshs 3, 000
- Post-mortem – Kshs 15, 000
- Langata cemetery charges – Kshs 30, 500
In addition to the above, there are daily expenses to feed mourners, transport for family members, clothing and other unseen costs that can push the cost of a funeral for an average middle-class Kenyan to well over Kshs 200,000.
Planning Ahead for a Funeral
Without proper planning, the family of the deceased is usually left with a huge cash burden in addition to having to grapple with the loss of a breadwinner. Death is inevitable and we should all have a plan to deal with the financial implications of death.
The best way to plan ahead is through funeral insurance. Also known as last expense, last respects or memorial plans. These plans provide you with the financial support needed to address the costs incurred when you or a loved one passes away.
How Funeral Insurance Works?
The following is a funeral plan example from a leading insurance company in Kenya.
Who is Covered?
- The main member who is also the owner of the policy.
- A spouse
- Parents and parents in law.
- Brothers, sisters and other members of the extended family.
The policy has three tiers as follows:
- Tier one – 200,000 total benefit amount.
- Tier two – 500,000 total benefit amount.
- Tier three – 800,000 total benefit amount.
Upon the death of someone covered under the policy, the insurance company pays the following amounts to the claimant:
- Main member: 100% of the total benefit amount e.g. 200,000, 500, 000 or 800,000 depending on the tier chosen.
- Spouse: 100% of the total benefit amount.
- Child: 50% of the total benefit amount.
- Parents: 50% of the total benefit amount.
- Member of the extended family: 50% of the total benefit amount.
In addition to the above benefits, the plan also pays loyalty bonuses every five years i.e so long as the policy remains in force, the insurance company discounts some amount of premiums paid every five years.
How Much Does Funeral Insurance Cost?
The common misconception in Kenya is that insurance to cater for such eventualities in life costs an arm and a leg. Nothing could be further from the truth. A funeral one plan such as the one described above can be accessed at a cost of less than Kshs 300 per month for a total benefit amount of 200,000 to cover one person. Clearly, this is affordable by many working Kenyans. The issue is simply a lack of information.
There is absolutely no reason you should put a dent in your pocket to cater for funeral expenses as a result of a death in the family. Take out a funeral plan today and have peace of mind.
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