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Final Expense & Burial Insurance in Washington DC

Washington, DC, burial insurance (also known as final expense life insurance or funeral insurance) is a type of whole life policy that protects your family from common end-of-life expenses like funeral costs, medical bills, final utility bills, and anything else left behind by the deceased. A funeral insurance policy in Washington, DC, can also help family members pay down mortgages, make car payments, and cover any other debt.

Buying burial insurance for seniors in Washington, DC, really isn’t that different from buying life insurance in other states, but there is some important information specific to the nation’s capital that you’ll need to properly plan for your end of life expenses. We’ll go over this and more to show you why Funeral Advantage is the leading burial policy in the DC area.

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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 Washington, DC

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the average funeral cost in Washington, DC, is $9,000 – but your final cost will depend on the type of casket you choose and other arrangements. In addition to price, DC has some other state-specific things you need to know about.

Death Certificates

In Washington, DC, the funeral director is responsible for filing the death certificate. The first step is to obtain the medical certification from the death certifier. If the deceased was under a physician’s care at the time of death and died from that cause, the physician will file the certification within 48 hours. If not, the medical examiner will file it in the same time frame.

Next, the funeral director will obtain the personal data about the deceased from the person who has the legal right to control the disposition of the remains. After receiving this information, the funeral director must submit the death certificate within five days of death and before the final disposition of the deceased’s remains. In addition, before the body may be transported from the hospital, nursing home, or residence, a disposition transit permit must be obtained.

Embalming and Refrigeration

The District of Columbia does not have requirements for embalming and refrigeration, but it does state that disposition of the remains must take place within one week after death.


When someone dies in Washington, DC, state law determines who can make the final arrangements for the deceased, including burial. The people permitted to decide the disposition are (in this order):

  1. The deceased, if they left written instructions
  2. The surviving spouse or registered domestic partner
  3. An adult child; if there is more than one, the majority of them
  4. The parents
  5. The next of kin
  6. An adult friend or volunteer

The District of Columbia has no law that requires the deceased be buried in a casket. But the law does require that the remains are buried in an established cemetery.


Washington, DC, requires a disposition approval from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner via the Electronic Death Registration System before a cremation is allowed. The state doesn’t have laws pertaining to how the ashes are kept or scattered.


Average Funeral Costs in Washington, DC

While the NFDA states the median cost of an adult funeral with casket and vault is $9,000, this price tag doesn’t include common funeral items like flowers, headstones, and transportation of family members. The average funeral cost in Washington, DC, could be much more when these expenses are taken into consideration.

In general, the cost of a funeral with burial has increased by almost 7.4% nationwide since 2014, according to the NFDA’s findings.

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Service Type Description Average Cost Price Range
Direct Cremation No viewing or ceremony $2,870 $1,045 - $3,925
Immediate Burial No viewing or ceremony $5,273 $4,525 - $7,830
Cremation Memorial Includes facility fees, viewing, & service $3,356 $2,475 - $5,035
Full Service Includes facility fees, embalming, viewing, hearse, & graveside service $6,353 $4,825 - $7,618


Service Types Average Cost
Basic services of funeral director and staff $2,100
Embalming $800
Other preparation of the body $550
Transfer of the body $295
Forwarding remains to another funeral home $3,585
Church evening wake $700
Funeral at church $575
Videotaping of ceremony $200
Register book $30
Flower rental $65
Direct cremation with fiberboard container $3,925


Help with Funeral Costs in Washington, DC

Many families are often unaware of just how expensive a funeral is. Most people don’t have enough set aside to cover the expenses of their loved one’s final arrangements. Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare for these costs, even years in advance, depending on your specific situation.

Term Insurance

Term life insurance is one way you can help cover the costs of your final expenses. Term life policies are limited to the amount of time covered in the term. For example, you can purchase a 10-year term life insurance policy and be covered for 10 years. But the day after the policy’s expiration date, you are no longer covered. What’s more, when you renew a term life insurance policy, you will pay a higher premium. That’s because the rates are based on your age and health status. And if your health has changed for the worse, it will be much more difficult to qualify for this type of policy.

Final Expense Insurance

Whole life insurance has no end date and stays in force as long as the premiums are paid until the insured passes away. Premiums are usually higher for whole life insurance, but if you take out a policy while you’re still in good health, you can get a good rate that can’t be increased – even if your health changes later.

A specific type of whole life insurance called final expense insurance is perfect for DC families wanting to help their loved ones with funeral costs. A final expense policy – also called burial insurance or funeral insurance – helps protect surviving family from common end-of-life expenses. Final expense insurance usually has a face amount of $20,000 or less, which is just enough to cover funeral or cremation costs.

But you can take the protection one step further. Funeral Advantage is a program offered by Lincoln Heritage that packages a burial insurance policy with family support services. It’s a smart way to protect your family from rising funeral and cremation costs.

The family support services portion of the package includes a free membership to the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society® (FCGS), a not-for-profit consumer advocate organization whose sole mission is to help its members save money on funeral costs. Most people don’t want to price-shop when arranging for a loved one’s funeral, but the dedicated representatives at the FCGS will help them find the most affordable funeral homes in their area. Only Funeral Advantage has access to the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society.

Pre-need Insurance

You can purchase a pre-need plan directly from the funeral home if you want them to carry out your final wishes. You can choose between a guaranteed plan and one that’s not guaranteed. A guaranteed plan ensures that the amount you pay will be enough to cover the services you arrange for your funeral or cremation, even with inflation. These plans are costly because the funeral director has to take into account that funeral costs will continue to rise over the years.

It’s important to talk to several funeral homes and ask about their prices and services. It’s in your best interest to purchase a pre-need plan from a funeral home that offers competitive prices. You will want to make a list of questions to ask the funeral director. It’s important to get confirmation to questions such as:

  • What will happen to our money if the funeral home goes out of business?
  • What happens to the interest our money earns?
  • What happens if we want to change our plans and cancel the plan at some point in the future?
  • Do we receive any money left-over?

Government Assistance

If the deceased was a low-income DC resident, the Burial Assistance Program offers assistance for burials or cremations. The program will contribute $1,000 toward the cost of a burial and $650 toward the cost of a cremation – as long as the total cost of the burial or cremation is no more than $2,000. If the deceased requires an oversized casket, the total cost of burial or cremation cannot exceed $3,000. The assistance payments will be made directly to the funeral home selected by the deceased’s next of kin.

The federal government also pays $255 towards burial expenses, but only if you qualify.


Average Overall Costs/Rates for Final Expense Insurance in Washington, DC

Final expense insurance rates typically aren’t determined by where you live because most companies offer nationwide coverage. Instead, your insurance rate will depend on your sex, age, coverage amount, and overall health. While most final expense policies are between $10,000 and $20,000, you may be able to find a life insurance company that offers a $50,000 policy.

In general, rates for males are more expensive than rates for females because the life expectancy of men is typically shorter than that of women. Your rates will also be higher if you are a tobacco user. Tobacco use can cause your life insurance cost to go up as much as 30% or more depending on your age.

The biggest determining factor for your rate is your current health and health history. Many life insurance companies follow national underwriting guidelines, though some may offer state-specific plans. Check with your local life insurance agent to see what your options are.

You may not qualify for a standard final expense insurance policy if you’ve had any significant health issues or are taking certain types of medications. But many insurance companies offer final expense plans for people who aren’t healthy enough to qualify for a standard plan. If you qualify for one of these plans, expect your monthly premium to be higher. And you will also have a waiting period before the full benefit is eligible for payout.

Here is a summary of what you can expect to pay in premiums based on your age and sex:


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 $51 $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 Washington, DC

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the following are the leading causes of death in Washington, DC (as of 2017):

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Accidents
  4. Stroke
  5. Diabetes
  6. Chronic lower respiratory disease
  7. Alzheimer’s disease
  8. Homicide
  9. Flu/pneumonia
  10. Hypertension

Even if you have one of these serious conditions, you can still get coverage from some insurance companies. For example, if you have heart disease, you can qualify for a modified plan but will have to pay higher premiums and have a waiting period. If the insured passes away during this waiting period, all of the premiums paid into the policy are returned plus a small additional percentage.

No matter what health conditions you may have, it’s never too late to try and apply for a life insurance plan to help protect your loved ones from the financial burden that will come with your passing.

No Exam in Washington, DC

Depending on your current or past health conditions, you may not want to take a medical exam to qualify for life insurance. If you would prefer to keep your health to yourself, you will find many companies that offer a guaranteed final expense product. These types of policies don’t require a medical exam, and you won’t have to answer any health questions. But these are the most expensive plans available because the insurance company agrees to assume the risk of covering someone without knowing how sick they may be.

Other insurance companies – like Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company – offer standard final expense life insurance without a medical exam. To qualify for this type of insurance, applicants just need to answer a few health questions on the application. These plans are usually cheaper than guaranteed plans because the insurance company assumes less risk.

Free Look Period

When you purchase an insurance policy in Washington, DC, you have 10 days after you purchase the policy to change your mind. If you cancel your policy with the 10-day period, you will receive a full refund.

How to Get Burial Insurance in Washington, DC

If you’re interested in protecting your loved ones from experiencing the financial burdens associated with final expenses when you pass, you should get a free, no obligation burial insurance quote from Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage – the leader in final expense insurance. Every Funeral Advantage plan comes with free funeral planning through the Funeral Consumer Guardian Society. This benefit is only available through Funeral Advantage and can help save your family hundreds – even thousands – of dollars on your funeral costs.

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