A man sits at a table and is using his laptop to apply for funeral insurance cover. He is considering how long the waiting period for his funeral cover plan will be and whether this insurer offers funeral cover with no waiting period.

What’s The Point Of A Waiting Period In Funeral Cover?

A solid funeral cover plan typically has a waiting period in place, in which the insured, or rather their family, may not make an insurance claim. This waiting period can last three months six months, or even a whole year, depending on the cause of death. This is why it’s important to get funeral insurance as soon as possible. You might not need it now, but if 2020 has taught us anything, you never know what might happen in the next few months.


Why Is A Waiting Period Necessary For Funeral Insurance?

A waiting period, in terms of funeral insurance, refers to the time between the policy commencing (usually upon payment of the first premium) and the period when funeral insurance companies would consider a claim.

For example, if your funeral insurance policy begins on 1 February 2020 (the commencement date, from which you first premium) and there is a six-month waiting period for death of natural causes, a claim for such a death would only be valid after 1 August 2020. Should one apply for a death within those six months, that claim will be denied.

However, different policies require different waiting periods. There are even some circumstances, in which the waiting period can be waived.


When Does The Waiting Period Not Apply In Funeral Insurance?

Most, if not all, funeral insurance companies will include an accidental death clause in their funeral cover policies. This clause states that if the insured dies in an accident, your insurance provider will pay out a claim, even if it falls within the policy’s designated waiting period. In this sense you can make use of the benefits of funeral cover without a waiting period. This is also what funeral insurance companies mean when they talk about giving you instant or immediate cover.


Six Month Waiting Period For Death From Natural Causes

As mentioned earlier, a funeral insurance company may require a six-month waiting period, typically in cases of a natural death. This is pretty standard across most funeral insurance companies in South Africa. This waiting period usually applies to folks taking out funeral insurance for the first time, but not always to a new policy with a different insurer.

However, if you were not the primary member of your previous funeral insurance policy, you may have to wait out these six months under a new policy, which has you as the main member. If you are already the main member of your current funeral policy and want to switch to a new insurance provider, this six-month waiting period will not apply and you can expect truly instant cover under your new policy.

It’s also important to note that this waiting period may also be applied to adding new benefits to your policy. For example, if you want to increase your cover amount, the full benefit amount can only be claimed after six months after it was added. If a claim is made before those six months are up, only the original benefit amount will be paid out.

Death from natural causes can include cancer, heart attack, or old age.


12 Month Waiting Period For Death By Suicide

There aren’t too many funeral insurance policies that cover death by suicide. Unlike an accidental or natural death, this kind of death is a liability to an insurance provider as one can make the decision to take one’s own life at any time.

In the rare cases that a funeral cover plan does make allowances for death by suicide, the insurance company will require a 12-month waiting period to have passed before they will accept a claim on such a death.

In a perfect world, suicide should not be a consideration for a funeral insurance policy and especially not for the person applying for it. There are many reasons why a person may choose to take their own life, but that person must also consider all the reasons they have to keep living – even if it is a struggle through an imperfect world.

If you or anyone you know are struggling with mental health issues and may be contemplating suicide, call the South Africa Suicide Crisis Hotline on 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 12 13 14.


Get Funeral Cover Sooner Rather Than Later

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Insurance products like funeral cover protect your family in the worst-case scenario, so it’s best to get it well before they may need it. Apply for funeral insurance today and save your family the financial stress of arranging your funeral.