Golden Charter is the largest provider of funeral plans in the UK. Registered with the Funeral Planning Authority and recommended by the National Society of Allied and Independed Funeral Directors, Golden Charter work with a network of over 3,300 independent funeral directors across the UK.
Why take out a pre-paid funeral plan?
While no one likes to think about it, we will all eventually have a funeral. Despite this, the vast majority of people make no plans for this unavoidable truth, and the burden (both emotionally and financially) of planning the funeral falls to their loved ones.
In recent years, there has been a rise in people taking out pre-paid funeral plans. Customers pay the cost of their preferred funeral plan (see the various options below), either in a lump sum or installments, and, when the time comes for the funeral to be arranged, the aspects of the funeral included in the plan are provided.
The big advantage of a pre-paid funeral plan is that it insures you pay current prices. This is important as, unfortunately, funerals are becoming increasingly expensive – in 1998 a traditional burial cost around £1,251, whereas in 2014, the average cost rose to as much as £3,600.
Those worries about the safety of their investment can rest assured (no pun intended) – the money customers put in to their plans is held by the Golden Charter Trust. This is a separate financial entity, which is run by a board of independent trustees, set up to insure that any issues with the Golden Charter company does not affect customers' plans.
Find out more information on the Golden Charter Funeral Plans website.
What do Golden Charter Funeral Plans cover?
There are four funeral insurance plans to choose from:
Base – includes the funeral director's services, a simple coffin, a hearse to a local cemetery or crematorium, transportation for the deceased within a 15 mile radius during office hours and a bereavement advice book. This plan does not include an allowance for essential third party costs (like cremation or burial fees, doctor's certificate or fees for the person officiating the service) - these fees will have to be paid at the time of the funeral.
Standard – includes all of the benefits of the Base plan, plus an allowance of £1,100 for essential third party costs.
Select – includes the funeral director's services, a hearse to a local cemetery or crematorium, one limousine, a high quality coffin, an allowance of £1,100 for essential third party costs, transportation for the deceased within a 15 mile radius (including outside of office hours), assistance with bereavement counselling and family viewing during office hours.
Premier – includes the funeral director's services, a hearse to a local cemetery or crematorium, two limousines, a superior coffin, an allowance of £1,100 for essential third party costs, transportation for the deceased within a 15 mile radius (including outside of office hours), assistance with bereavement counselling and family viewing during office hours.
All plans include the drafting of a will, but do not cover the purchase of the burial plot.
How much does funeral insurance cover from Golden Charter cost?
There are three ways you can pay for your Golden Charter funeral insurance cover – a lump sum, payments over 12 months or a flexible payment plan (between 2 and 20 years). The overall cost varies according to the number of installments, but, to give you an indication, we include the most popular options of 3, 5, 10 and 20 years (as listed on the Golden Charter website):
Base – lump sum: £2,699; 12 months: £216.67 per month, plus a deposit of £99; 3 years: from £76.64 per month; 5 years: from £47.81 per month; 10 years: from £26.31 per month; 20 years: from £15.85 per month.
Standard – lump sum: £3,685; 12 months: £298.83 per month, plus a deposit of £99; 3 years: from £105.45 per month; 5 years: from £65.69 per month; 10 years: from £36.04 per month; 20 years: from £21.60 per month.
Select – lump sum: £4,065; 12 months: £330.50 per month, plus a deposit of £99; 3 years: from £116.55 per month; 5 years: from £72.58 per month; 10 years: from £39.79 per month; 20 years: from £23.82 per month.
Premier– lump sum: £4,399; 12 months: £358.33 per month, plus a deposit of £99; 3 years: from £126.31 per month; 5 years: from £78.64 per month; 10 years: from £43.08 per month; 20 years: from £25.77 per month.
Please note you must be younger than 80 years at the end of your payment plan to qualify. If you die before the end of your payment plan, depending on how many installments have been made, the balance will be taken from your estate and the funeral will go ahead as planned, or the money will be returned to your estate,
What do reviews of Golden Charter's funeral insurance by customers say?
Presumably as this sector of insurance is still developing, there are not a lot of customer reviews online.
Golden Charter provide reviews on their own website. Customer feedback includes:
"The whole process of taking out a plan was very easy and simple. It’s always good to know that someone is on the other end of the phone to answer any questions." (4 stars out of 5)
"We have been dealt with in a professional and courteous manner. We would like to highlight the quality of your personnel and thank you for your help." (5 out of 5 stars)
Of course, it stands to reason that the company only publishes positive reviews about their services on their own website, but these are still real testimonials from happy customers.
What do reviews of Golden Charter's funeral insurance from the experts say?
Again, there is very little to go by here. Financial comparison website Which? Includes Golden Charter in its review of funeral plan costs, but does not provide a specific review of the service.
Over50Choices.co.uk offers a positive review of Golden Charter Funeral Plans, stating they are the only funeral insurance plan provider who includes the pick-up of the body from anywhere in the UK, back to the nominated funeral director. Additionally, Golden Charter would pick up the body from any UK airport, should the customer pass away abroad.
Prepaidfuneralreview.co.uk gives Golden Charter a score of 7.6 out of 10, saying - "Decent plans, if they are right for you - just avoid their expensive legal services!"