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Final Expense & Burial Insurance in Alabama

Alabama state flagIf you’re just starting to plan for your final arrangements, you might not know the scope of the costs. You might be surprised to realize that, all across the country, funerals can be quite costly. And Alabama is no exception. Depending on what particular details you want included in your final arrangement, the costs can be staggering. In fact, after buying a house and car, funeral goods and services are the most expensive thing many people buy.

It’s no wonder that many people now handle their funeral arrangements in advance. Some people choose to arrange the details and cover the costs of their funerals, while others plan ahead to leave additional money for their families to pay their final bills. Planning for your funeral is one of the kindest things you can do for your loved ones because it helps prevent them from experiencing a financial burden when you pass.

Each state dictates its own regulations for death care and final expense insurance. Let’s take a look at what Alabama law looks like, so you can pre-arrange your funeral to make sure your family doesn’t face the task after you pass.

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The Funeral Rule

Federal law dictates basic laws surrounding burial services. Known as the Funeral Rule, these rules apply to every state and are enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

  • Pricing – Funeral homes must quote prices for products and services over the phone if requested. In person, they must provide a general price list, a casket price list, and a burial container price list (when applicable).
  • Contracts – An itemized statement of charges and estimates must be provided before a contract is signed.
  • Pre-Need Funeral Plans – FTC laws do not apply to the language of pre-need contracts. They do not govern payment options, costs, modifications, transfers, cancellations, or administrative fees.

Funeral & Burial Expectations in Alabama

By Alabama state law, you may designate the person you want to carry out your funeral arrangements. You are allowed to provide the detailed instructions for your final wishes and set aside funds to cover your funeral expenses, including the costs of burial or cremation. Keep in mind, though, that Alabama law mandates a licensed funeral director’s participation in many types of final arrangements.

According to the Code of Alabama, a funeral director licensed by the Alabama Board of Funeral Service must oversee “every funeral service, memorial service, or interment, or part thereof.” This includes carrying out the disposition of a body, although the deceased’s loved ones retain the right to make the final decisions about the body and the funeral services.

Alabama law clearly lists the individuals who are permitted to make decisions about funerals and body disposition. This right and responsibility goes to the following people, in order:

  1. You, if you prepare a valid written affidavit naming someone to carry out your wishes.
  2. Your surviving spouse, unless you have filed for divorce.
  3. Your adult child or a majority of your children if you have more than one.
  4. Your parents.
  5. Your siblings.
  6. Your grandparents.
  7. Your guardian.
  8. The personal representative of your estate.

To legally name your final arrangements representative, your document must use special language required by Alabama law and must be notarized.


Death Certificates

The Code of Alabama requires a funeral director to file the certificate of death within five days of death and before the disposition of the body. The funeral director then forwards a copy to a physician (or chief medical officer of the facility where the person died) to complete the medical certification portion and transmit the entire document to the Office of Vital Statistics within 48 hours of receipt.

In Alabama, you need certified copies of the death certificate to complete several final arrangements, including arranging for the disposition of the body and transferring the deceased’s property to beneficiaries. The funeral director who files the death certificate may order certified copies but only for the following individuals:

  • the spouse, mother, father, child, or sibling of the deceased person
  • the grandchild of a deceased person when the record is necessary for the determination or protection of his or her personal property rights
  • the legal representative of the family or the deceased person's estate, or
  • a person listed on the death certificate as an informant who provided information

Embalming and Refrigeration

Embalming must be performed by a state-licensed embalmer, although embalming is only required if a body is to be transported across Alabama state lines. If the body has not been embalmed, disposition must occur within 48 hours after death unless the body is kept under refrigeration.

Burial Requirements

Caskets are expensive and range from a simple $500 to $10,000 or more. Because of this high cost, many people wish to forego a casket. And in Alabama, the use of a casket is strictly your choice. But remember that cemeteries can make their own rules regarding the type of burial container they require.

While Alabama permits licensed funeral directors to sell caskets, funeral homes must accept any casket, including one purchased from another source or even a hand-built option.

There are no laws in Alabama that prohibit a home burial, although this is typically for rural areas and you must get a burial permit from the local registrar of the district where the death occurred before the burial. Be sure to check local zoning rules prior to establishing a family cemetery and holding a home burial.

Cremation Services

If you plan to be cremated in Alabama, you must arrange the process through a funeral director who will request a permit from the medical examiner or coroner.

As in the case of burial, you are not required to use a casket for cremation. You may instead select an alternative container such as one made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard. In fact, federal law requires funeral homes and crematories to inform you of these options and even to make them available to you.

Cremains may be kept, buried, or scattered. Alabama has no laws governing ashes, but if you select a public location, you should research ordinances and zoning rules and get express permission from the landowner.


Average Funeral Costs in Alabama

Final expenses in Alabama vary widely, depending on what specific elements you choose and where your funeral takes place. Let’s consider some examples of costs in Alabama.


Service Costs by Type

Service Type Description Average Cost
Direct Cremation No viewing or ceremony $1,292
Immediate Burial No viewing or ceremony $1,975
Cremation Memorial Facility fees, viewing, & service $2,950
Full Service Facility fees, viewing, embalming $7,775


Birmingham Funeral Costs

Service Type Average Cost Price Range
Direct Cremation $669 $699 - $1,799
Direct Burial $1,500 $1,500-$3,000
Cremation Memorial $1,200 $1,200 - $2,200
Full Funeral $3,000 $3,000 - $7,900


Montgomery Funeral Costs

Service Type Average Cost Price Range
Direct Cremation $1,885 $1,870-$1,900
Direct Burial $2,450 $1,920 - $2,975
Cremation Memorial $4,700 $3,575 - $5,262
Full Funeral $7,290 $5,975 - $9,950

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Help with Funeral Costs in Alabama

Funeral costs continue to increase – and many people underestimate what the final cost of their funeral will be. Any life insurance policy can be used to pay for a funeral, and you have a few options when considering which type of insurance is best.


Term Insurance

When you buy term life insurance, you buy a policy that cover a specific term, such as 10 or 20 years. Premiums tend to be lower because of the likelihood that you will outlive the policy, and your policy will not accumulate a cash value. Consider this a short-term policy: you will need to purchase another policy when it expires – likely at higher premiums – and there is always a chance that age or poor health might prevent you from requalifying for a new term policy.

Whole life insurance is a policy you buy for the whole length of your life. The initial premium is higher than what you might pay for term insurance because of its duration, but the premiums will accumulate a cash value that you can use later in life in the form of a policy loan. Think of whole life insurance as permanent insurance: the policy you buy remains with you until your death as long as you continue to pay your premiums.

Final Expense Insurance

Final expense life insurance, also called burial insurance or funeral insurance, is a type of whole life insurance specifically designed to set aside funds for your loved ones to cover your end-of-life expenses. Depending on the policy you choose and the amount of coverage you select, your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit to help them pay for funeral costs and other final expenses, which might include paying for family members’ travel costs and any unpaid bills or medical expenses.

Under a final expense policy, your coverage never ends as long as you continue to pay the premiums. Because the death benefits are usually smaller (often between $10,000 and $25,000), most final expense plans don’t require a medical exam.

Funeral Advantage™, is a final expense program offered by Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company® that provides a cash payout for use at any facility, for any style of service, anywhere in the world. Every burial insurance policy from Funeral Advantage includes a free membership to the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society®. The sole mission of this not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization is to help its members save money. Your family gets a dedicated representative to help them price-shop funeral homes and final arrangements in their area.

Pre-Need Plans

To arrange your funeral prior to death, you can opt for a preneed funeral plan that leaves you fully in control of your funeral, from the type of funeral you will have to the way you will cover the expenses. By purchasing a pre-need plan, you may be able to lock in today’s prices for a future funeral.

Consider this option carefully because pre-need plans have some risks. Funeral homes and cemeteries in Alabama are not required to accept a contract written by another pre-need provider. In addition, pre-need contracts can be difficult to transfer: you (or your family) must secure the permission of the original provider, who is then entitled to deduct the amount of any merchandise or services already rendered plus a transfer fee.

Government Assistance

There are a few government-sponsored programs that can help with some of the costs of your final arrangements.

The Lump Sum Death Payment (LSDP) is a federally funded benefit managed by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). A surviving spouse or child may receive a one-time death payment of $255 if they meet certain eligibility requirements. Use this online questionnaire to find out if your loved ones may qualify.

If you are a veteran, your family may receive up to $300 toward burial and funeral expenses if you were not hospitalized at the time of death. Apply online to determine whether your beneficiaries are eligible.

But these benefits likely won’t come close to covering your funeral costs. And the state of Alabama does not have its own program offering additional financial assistance. Some counties and municipalities offer funding, although the most is typically less than $400. Visit the Alabama Department of Human Services for your county to see what’s available.


Average Overall Rates for Final Expense Insurance in Alabama

The cost of final expense insurance depends on your age, sex, health, and the amount of coverage you want. Women, for example, will pay pay less in premiums than males. You typically don’t have to submit to a medical exam to get final expense insurance, although if you opt not to answer the health questions, your premium will be higher. Also remember that requesting a higher death benefit will result in higher premiums.

Let’s consider the types of premiums you can typically expect.


Monthly Premium Rates for Men*

$5,000 Death Benefit
Age Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer No Health Questions Asked
50 $16 $20
55 $19 $24
60 $23 $29
65 $29 $35
70 $38 $44
75 $63
80 $65 $82

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

$10,000 Death Benefit
Age Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer No Health Questions Asked
50 $30 $40
55 $35 $46
60 $43 $57
65 $56 $68
70 $74 $88
75 $100 $125
80 $126 $162

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.


Monthly Premium Rates for Women*

$5,000 Death Benefit
Age Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer No Health Questions Asked
50 $14 $15
55 $16 $18
60 $18 $24
65 $22 $28
70 $28 $35
75 $38 $46
80 $48 $64

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.

$10,000 Death Benefit
Age Determined 'In Good Health' by Insurer No Health Questions Asked
50 $25 $28
55 $28 $36
60 $33 $45
65 $41 $55
70 $53 $69
75 $72 $90
80 $93 $126

* Estimated rates do not reflect the rates of any particular life insurance company.


Leading Causes of Death in Alabama

In Alabama, the top ten leading causes of death in the state are:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Lung disease
  4. Stroke
  5. Accidents
  6. Alzheimer's
  7. Influenza / pneumonia
  8. Diabetes
  9. Blood poisoning
  10. Nephritis / kidney disease


No Exam in Alabama

It’s possible to get a final expense policy in Alabama even if you have health problems. You’ll need to answer some questions about your health, but you won’t have to undergo a medical exam. The rates will likely be higher, but you’ll still be able to have peace of mind knowing you have coverage in place.


Free Look Period

The state of Alabama gives consumers 10 days after purchasing a life insurance policy cancel and receive a refund. If you keep your policy after this period expires, you are expected to pay your premiums as scheduled and will not be entitled to a refund.


How to Get Burial Insurance

Choose your provider wisely! When shopping for final expense insurance, only work with a reliable insurance company that has a solid track record in the industry and a strong reputation of trust among its customers. Make sure the policy you choose is right for you, with premiums you can afford that will leave enough for your beneficiaries to cover your end-of-life expenses.

Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company Locations in Alabama

Agent Success Management
3150 Lorna Road St 325
Hoover, AL 35216
(919) 780-8780

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