Final Expense & Burial Insurance in California

In California, the cost of a full funeral ranges from $2,770 to $10,000 or more depending on the style of service, materials used, transportation, and location of service. If you pass unexpectedly without savings or a life insurance policy, your family may struggle to pay for your final arrangements and other expenses.

Burial insurance, also known as funeral insurance or final expense life insurance, can help ease the financial burden of paying for final arrangements. It may also ensure you receive the memorial you desire. Loved ones may also use funds to pay down credit card balances, medical expenses, or other debts you may have.

You’ll experience a few differences when buying final expense insurance in California compared to other states. We’ll guide you through the process and show you how Funeral Advantage™ can help make it easier for your loved ones after you’re gone.

Table of Contents

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 California

Every state has its own set of laws for what happens to a body after death. Death certificates, embalming, and burial and cremation requirements are all determined at the state level.

Death Certificates

In California, a representative must file a death certificate within eight days of the death. Someone from the funeral home or mortuary will typically take care of this process. A person cannot be buried or cremated until this step is done.

Embalming and Refrigeration

California law requires embalming or refrigeration if the burial or cremation will not take place within 24 hours. There are a couple of exceptions:

  1. Families who will conduct in-home services may prepare and store the body without embalming or refrigeration.
  2. In the event you must ship a body via airplane or other common carrier, you must have it embalmed. You must also seal the body in an approved shipping container.

Burial Requirements

When, where, and how a person is buried is mostly up to the person (via his or her own pre-planned directive) or the next of kin. However, there are certain consumer protection laws in place to ensure fair treatment during the planning process. In addition to federal laws related to pricing and contracts, California requires the following:

  • Coroner Fees – According to state law, coroners may charge fees for certain services. Fees vary by county.
  • Retail Casket Sellers – Casket providers are not bound by the laws that regulate the funeral industry. However, in the state of California, all retail casket suppliers must provide a written price list of all caskets, alternative containers, and outer burial options. They must also provide information about the type, material, and construction of each casket.
  • Container Requirements – California law doesn’t require a casket or an outer container for burial.

Cremation Services

Prior to cremation, an authorized representative must sign a written form that includes a disclosure statement and payment agreement. The form must detail the location, manner, and time of the cremation service. Authorized persons may view the cremation process, but there may be a fee.

State law does not require a casket for cremation. By law, you may retain or store cremated remains by:

  • placing them in a columbarium or mausoleum,
  • burying them in a cemetery plot,
  • storing them at a residence or place of worship, or
  • scattering them on land or at sea (according to local laws and with the written permission of the property owner or government agency)

Average Funeral Costs in California

Final expenses in California average between $1,400 and $4,300, not including a casket, cemetery plot, or grave marker. Exact costs may be more or less depending on the products and services you choose.

See how much an average funeral costs nationally.

 

Service Costs by Type

Service TypeDescriptionAverage CostPrice Range
Direct CremationNo viewing or ceremony$1,385$550 – $3,540
Immediate BurialNo viewing or ceremony$1,790$650 – $4,400
Cremation MemorialIncludes facility fees, viewing, & service$3,295$1,775 – $5,820
Full ServiceIncludes facility fees, embalming, viewing, hearse, & graveside service$4,250$2,770 – $9,770

Funeral Product Costs

You can purchase funeral products locally or through online retailers. You may also rent a casket from the funeral home for use during viewings and services. Costs below are from local suppliers and funeral homes.

ProductDescriptionAverage CostPrice Range
CasketAvailable in a variety of materials & finishes$2,000$250 – $20,000
Casket RentalMay or may not include cost of alternative container for cremation or burial$1,075$950 – $1,175
Alternative ContainersUsed for cremation or eco-friendly burial$170$100 – $500
UrnFor cremation remains$140$25 – $3,000
Cemetery PlotSingle space for a casket or cremated remains$3,915$400 – $10,000
Grave MarkerAvailable in a variety of styles & materials$1,500$350 – $20,000

Los Angeles Funeral Costs

Service TypeAverage CostPrice Range
Direct Cremation$1,560$620 – $2,350
Immediate Burial$1,785$890 – $3,395
Cremation Memorial$2,825$1,550 – $6,560
Full Burial$5,640$4,210 – $9,705

San Diego Funeral Costs

Service TypeAverage CostPrice Range
Direct Cremation$1,330$640 – $2,645
Immediate Burial$1,565$825 – $3,890
Cremation Memorial$3,215$1,630 – $5,380
Full Burial$6,135$4,330 – $8,725

San Jose Funeral Costs

Service TypeAverage CostPrice Range
Direct Cremation$1,575$690 – $2,595
Immediate Burial$1,665$1,495 – $2,195
Cremation Memorial$3,350$2,290 – $5,935
Full Burial$6,380$5,205 – $9,280

San Francisco Funeral Costs

Service TypeAverage CostPrice Range
Direct Cremation$1,665$850 – $2,895
Immediate Burial$2,220$1,200 – $3,545
Cremation Memorial$3,775$1,625 – $5,395
Full Burial$6,780$4,300 – $8,440

Help With Funeral Costs in California

The time after a loved one passes away is hard enough without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for their burial or cremation service. With a little planning and some help from a trusted insurance agent, you can be sure your family will have the resources they need to plan and pay for the service of your wishes.

Life Insurance

Planning for your own death may seem morbid, but it’s necessary. Your estate plan should include your last will and testament, a written statement of your end-of-life wishes, and the means to help cover it through life insurance or final expense insurance.

  • Term Life Insurance – Term policies may cost less than other types of life insurance, depending on your age, sex, and general health. However, this type of policy is only good for a specific time period. Upon expiration, you must purchase a new term policy to remain covered. Qualifying may be difficult as you get older or as your health changes, and costs will likely increase as well.
  • Whole Life Insurance – This type of policy remains in place until the insured person passes away. Premiums are usually higher for whole life insurance but if you purchase a policy in good health, your rate won’t increase even if your health changes.
  • Final Expense Insurance – California families who are specifically concerned about funeral costs should consider final expense insurance. This is a type of whole life insurance designed to cover funeral expenses. Premiums vary based on age, sex, and overall health, and most people are eligible for this type of policy. There is usually no medical exam required to qualify. Applicants just have to answer health questions on the application.

Funeral Advantage™ is a final expense program offered by Lincoln Heritage that can be used anywhere in the United States. Funeral Advantage provides a cash payout for use at any facility for any style of service. As an added bonus, a burial insurance policy from Funeral Advantage includes a free membership to the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society®. The sole mission of this nonprofit, consumer advocate organization is to help its members save money. Every member’s family gets a dedicated representative who will help them price shop funeral homes in their area.

Government Funeral Assistance

The federal government offers a one-time $255 death benefit to eligible parties, payable to the spouse or dependent children of the deceased person. Pensioned veterans may receive up to $300 in burial benefits and $150 for cemetery costs according to the VA. Contact your local VA office for more details.

The state of California helps with service costs for victims of crimes and natural disasters. For these programs, any and all other forms of available payment must be applied first.

  • Crime Victims – Family members may receive up to $7,500 for the service, burial, or memorial service. The responsible party should contact the county district attorney’s office for information regarding eligibility and availability.
  • Disaster Victims – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distributes funds via the state Individual and Households Program to cover basic expenses.

Average Overall Rates for California Final Expense Insurance

A person between the ages of 50 and 80 can expect to pay between $14 and $162 per month for $5,000 to $10,000 in benefits. Cost factors include age, sex, health status, and amount of coverage.

Generally speaking, younger people and females will pay less for their plan. While no burial insurance policy for seniors will require an exam, plans with no health questions will generally cost more than those that verify health status. Of course, the higher the benefit amount, the more you’ll pay each month. Below is a sampling of what you can expect to pay in premiums.

 

Monthly Premium Rates for Men*

$5,000 Death Benefit$10,000 Death Benefit
AgeDetermined ‘In Good Health’ by InsurerNo Health Questions AskedDetermined ‘In Good Health’ by InsurerNo Health Questions Asked
50$16$20$30$40
55$19$24$35$46
60$23$29$43$57
65$29$35$56$68
70$38$44$74$88
75$51$63$100$125
80$65$82$126$162

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

Monthly Premium Rates for Women*

$5,000 Death Benefit$10,000 Death Benefit
AgeDetermined ‘In Good Health’ by InsurerNo Health Questions AskedDetermined ‘In Good Health’ by InsurerNo Health Questions Asked
50$14$15$25$28
55$16$18$28$36
60$18$24$33$45
65$22$28$41$55
70$28$35$53$69
75$38$46$72$90
80$48$64$93$126

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

Leading Causes of Death in California

California’s leading causes of death closely mirror those of the United States overall. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, the top 10 causes are as follows:

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Stroke
  4. Alzheimer’s Disease
  5. Lower Respiratory Disease
  6. Accidents
  7. Diabetes
  8. Influenza/Pneumonia
  9. Chronic Liver Disease/Cirrhosis
  10. High Blood Pressure

No Exam in California

Almost anyone of any age is eligible for a burial insurance policy without a medical exam. Insurers provide coverage based solely on responses to a health questionnaire answered during the applicant process.

Burial Insurance in California for People with Medical Conditions

In many cases, people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or long-term medical conditions are also eligible for final expense insurance. This is partially because the payouts are smaller, typically between $5,000 and $25,000. Some policies may offer up to $50,000 in benefits.

Free Look Period

In California, your free look period begins 10 days after you receive the policy and lasts for 30 days. During this time, you may review and evaluate your insurance policy. If you are not satisfied for any reason, you can cancel the policy and receive a refund of any premiums paid. After the free look period, insurance companies do not have to refund premiums.

How to Get Burial Insurance

The first step to getting burial insurance is to find a provider you trust. Look for a company with experience in the funeral insurance industry.

When it comes to the policy itself, look for a plan that offers the coverage amount you need and premiums you can afford. Some providers also offer family support services to help your loved ones during the planning and implementation process.

Contact Lincoln Heritage today for your free, no-obligation quote on burial insurance and see why people all over the Golden State choose Funeral Advantage™.