Sara Routhier, Managing Editor of Features and Outreach, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming worl...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 29, 2020

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If you’re looking for instant final expense quotes, you’ve probably already taken a look at sample life insurance rates and realized the importance of having a plan in place for your funeral arrangements.

Unfortunately, not all people qualify for traditional life insurance because of their age or health. For them, a final expense life insurance policy could meet that need.

What is final expense life insurance?

Final expense insurance is guaranteed, low-value coverage specifically designed to cover funeral and burial expenses, as well as other small costs associated with an unexpected death.

This guide is designed to give you a complete overview of this special form of insurance to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you and your family.

If you already know that you want a final expense policy, you can use the FREE tool above to start comparing instant final expense quotes from multiple insurers now.

Best Final Expense Insurance Companies

As just discussed, when looking for reputable insurers, the best thing to do is start with the top insurers in the country. They represent the oldest and largest companies in the industry. While not all of them will be the best fit for you, that list represents some of what are the best final expense insurance companies around.

To help in your search, we’ve put together the following table that shows the current top 20 overall providers of life insurance by market share.

Top 20 Life Insurance Companies by Market Share
RankCompaniesDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
2Northwestern Mutual$10,550,806,0006.5%
3New York Life$9,385,843,0005.8%
5Lincoln National$8,825,314,0005.4%
8John Hancock$4,657,312,0002.9%
9State Farm$4,636,147,0002.9%
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Together, these companies are responsible for nearly 65 percent of 290 million policies in force today. There are plenty of great companies not on this list, but any of these would make a good starting point during your search for final expense life insurance quotes.

How much does final expense insurance cost?

To give you an idea of how much final expense insurance will cost you, here is a look at average sample premiums for a non-smoker with the top 10 life insurers in the country, according to the

You can see not only how much final expense insurance will cost you, but also how it compares to more traditional forms of life insurance. Comparing whole life vs. final expense insurance is a great way to be sure you’re choosing the best policy for you.

Term Life Insurance vs Whole Life Insurance

Now that you have an idea of the different types of life insurance available, take a look at some rates.

20-Year Term Life Insurance:

Average Monthly 20-Year Term Life Insurance Rates by Age & Gender for Non-Smokers
Policyholder AgeRates for Male with $100,000 CoverageRates for Female with $100,000 CoverageRates for Male with $250,000 CoverageRates for Female with $250,000 CoverageRates for Male with $500,000 CoverageRates for Female with $500,000 Coverage
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Whole Life Insurance:

Average Monthly Whole Life Insurance Rates by Age & Gender for Non-Smokers
Policyholder AgeRates for Male with $100,000 CoverageRates for Female with $100,000 CoverageRates for Male with $250,000 CoverageRates for Female with $250,000 CoverageRates for Male with $500,000 CoverageRates for Female with $500,000 Coverage
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Premiums on whole policies range anywhere from 200 to 600 percent higher than 20-year term life insurance policies at the same age and with an equal face value.

Final Expense Insurance:

Average Monthly Final Expense Life Insurance Rates – $10,000 Coverage
Policyholder Age$10,000 – Male$10,000 – Female
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Because final expense policies guarantee acceptance with no medical exam, the insurer assumes you’re in a life insurance risk class that is higher than you might actually deserve. They charge you high premiums relative to low death benefits to cover their costs quickly and turn a profit on a guaranteed payout that they expect to pay sooner rather than later.

Final expense policies can sometimes cost 10 times as much as comparable term policies. Finding cheap term life insurance is much easier.

For example, a $5,000 final expense policy for a 50-year-old with a top insurer costs around $30 per month. A 10-year, $100,000 policy for a non-smoker of the same age only costs $17 per month. That’s $95,000 more in coverage for almost half the price. A 20-year, $100,000 term policy is still $4 less per month than the final expense policy.

To further illustrate, take a look at the following table for a side-by-side comparison of monthly rates on a 10-year term life insurance policy of $250,000 versus a $25,000 final expense policy from the same top insurer.

Final Expense vs Term Life Average Monthly Rates by Coverage Amount and Gender
Age$250,000 Term –
$25,000 Final Expense –
$250,000 Term –
$25,000 Final Expense –
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Rates vary by insurer and also depend on your age and the coverage amount. However, as a rule, final expense policies will always have a higher proportional cost than term policies.

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How does final expense insurance work?

Life insurance policies fall into one of two general categories: term life insurance or whole life insurance. Term policies provide coverage for a limited period, usually between 10 and 30 years. Whole insurance (sometimes called permanent insurance) provides coverage for as long as you live. If you pay all your premiums, the insurer will pay a guaranteed benefit, no matter when you die.

Final expense insurance (sometimes called burial insurance) is a special type of whole life policy.

These policies offer the same guaranteed, lifetime coverage of a traditional whole policy, but with much smaller face values. Watch the video below for a brief overview of final expense insurance from a top provider.

Final expense coverage is also easier to obtain than most whole insurance because of the limited benefits. Face values typically range from $2,000–$25,000, with no medical exam required.

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What Final Expense Insurance Covers

The payout from a life insurance policy is generally meant to cover two types of obligations: immediate and future.

Immediate obligations are the things that need to be paid soon after your death. These include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills
  • Mortgage balances
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debt

Future obligations are all the expenses that you want to pay for after your death, either planned or unplanned. They include:

  • Income replacement
  • Spouse’s retirement
  • Emergency savings fund
  • Children’s college tuition

Final expense insurance doesn’t have a large enough payout to cover all those traditional obligations. Instead, they focus solely on the smaller of those immediate obligations. Watch the below video for a brief discussion on the importance of burial insurance.

People typically use the benefit to cover funeral costs first, with any leftover money used to cover smaller debts such as associated medical bills or credit card balances.

Who needs final expense insurance?

Most everyone needs some kind of insurance to cover final expenses. If you’re not convinced, just read these final expense life insurance statistics.

The average funeral costs upwards of $7,000. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that funeral prices have risen nearly twice as fast as consumer prices for all other items over the past 30 years. Those rising costs can be prohibitive for many. A 2018 survey from the Federal Reserve found that 40 percent of Americans would struggle to pay an unexpected $400 bill. The average funeral cost is around 20 times that amount.

A traditional life insurance policy is one of the best ways to cover those costs.

However, not everyone qualifies for a traditional policy. Others don’t need that much coverage. For them, a final expense policy could be the solution.

Final expense insurance is best suited for people in the following situations:

People without major debts

The main reason for buying life insurance is to protect your family from financial hardship after your passing. The most common form of life insurance is term life insurance, which is designed to provide coverage while you pay down large debts such as mortgages or car loans. Once that debt is paid, a large life insurance policy isn’t as necessary.

Those without those large debts might instead buy a smaller final expense policy so their family isn’t burdened with a funeral bill immediately upon their death. Doing so can help save money for other future obligations.

People with large savings

Another key reason for buying term insurance is to provide coverage while saving up for future obligations such as college tuition for a child or retirement income. For people who have already met their savings goals, a small final expense policy can cover the cost of a funeral and burial without impacting those funds.

Singles without dependents

Life insurance is meant to provide financial protection for those we leave behind. Single people without dependent children don’t have to worry about that. For them, a final expense policy can make sure their final wishes are carried out without leaving any extended family or friends with the bill.


Likewise, seniors with grown children who no longer depend on them have less need to leave behind a large death benefit. Final expense insurance can ensure that all funeral arrangements are paid for so that a spouse or adult child doesn’t have to cover the cost.

People in bad health

One of the main benefits of final expense insurance is that acceptance is guaranteed with no medical exam. Certain health conditions can disqualify people from getting traditional life insurance. For them, a final expense policy might be their only option.

It won’t give them the coverage to pay off large debts or leave an inheritance, but it will give them at least some form of protection. Families with sick loved ones have enough concerns without having to worry about covering the cost of a funeral when the time comes.

Senior Care Final Expense Insurance

Final expense insurance can be an ideal solution for seniors without major debts or any dependents. For that reason, many final expense policies are marketed directly toward those at retirement age under the terms Senior Care Plan or Senior Care Life Insurance. For example, one popular policy marketed to seniors is AARP final expense insurance.

Watch the below video for a look at how seniors can benefit from final expense insurance.

Some companies only sell final expense policies to those 60 years of age or older. Like most life insurance, the cutoff age for applying for a new final expense policy is typically 85 years old.

One common question regarding senior care life insurance is: Can I take out life insurance on another person?

The answer is yes and no. You can’t take out life insurance on another person without them knowing about it and then name yourself as the life insurance beneficiary. However, you can own and pay for a policy on someone else’s behalf depending on the relationship (spouse, romantic partner, parent, etc.).

To do that, that insured person must fill out and sign the application, as well as give you consent to be the policy owner and make policy decisions.

So if you have a senior in your life for whom you want to purchase final expense insurance, it’s possible. You just have to work with them to fill out all the necessary paperwork.

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How much final expense insurance do you need?

The face values on final expense insurance are too low to cover a lot of financial obligations. When calculating your coverage needs, your main concern should be buying enough to pay for your funeral costs. Then, if necessary, buy additional coverage to pay for some smaller obligations.

Average Funeral Costs

As mentioned earlier, the average funeral costs over $7,000.

There are a lot of variables that influence funeral costs. Your personal choices, such as casket type, facility, service, and burial site, can either raise or lower the price. Watch the below video for a brief discussion on the importance of funerals and the planning involved.

It isn’t necessary to already have every funeral choice made when you start shopping for final expense insurance. You can use average funeral costs in your area to figure out a minimum face value. The National Funeral Directors Association has a breakdown of median funeral costs by region, which take into account all your basic options.

The following table gives the median cost of a funeral with a viewing and ceremony followed by either burial or cremation.

Average Funeral Costs by Region
RegionFuneral & BurialFuneral & Cremation
Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)$6,626$5,611
Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY)$6,681$5,721
East South Central (AL, KY, MS, TN)$6,921$5,973
South Atlantic (DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, WV, VA)$7,078$6,078
West South Central (AR, LA, OK, TX)$7,196$5,921
Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA)$7,421$6,431
New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)$7,469$6,598
East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI)$7,595$6,364
West North Central (IA, MN, KS, MO, ND, SD, NE)$7,816$6,763
National Average$7,360$6,260
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You can use the above costs as a starting point when getting instant final expense quotes. Many funeral homes also offer final expense planning guides to help you calculate your total need.

Cosigned Debts

Laws vary from state to state, but generally, you aren’t responsible for the debts of a deceased spouse. The only debts you are obligated to pay are cosigned debts. If your spouse is a cosigner on any loan (such as a car loan), they still owe that debt. The same is true if they are a joint account holder on your credit card. Authorized users aren’t usually responsible for credit card debt, but if the card was opened jointly in both names, they are.

If you have any of these shared debts that are small enough to be covered under a final expense policy, you should consider adding them to your funeral costs when choosing a face value.

Types of Final Expense Insurance

Final expense insurance has multiple variations, each with the same general purpose.

Level Policy

Level policies are sometimes called immediate benefit policies. The entire face value of the policy is in effect the day the application is approved. When the insured person dies, the beneficiary receives the full coverage amount immediately. The main drawback is that these policies tend to be much more expensive for healthy individuals than a term policy with a much higher value.

Graded Benefit Policy

Graded benefit policies have a waiting period before the death benefit is paid in full. If you die immediately after buying the policy, your beneficiary will only be paid a partial sum. The waiting period is typically for two years.

During the waiting period, the insurer will start by paying a set percentage of the full benefit, which then increases over time until it reaches 100 percent at the end of the period.

In the event of a suicide, premiums are typically refunded, with no benefit paid. Some may pay a small percentage of the benefit in addition to the refund, but most don’t.

The main drawback here is that the benefit may not be enough to cover final expenses if you die before the end of the waiting period.

Modified Benefit Policy

A modified policy is somewhere between a level benefit policy and a graded benefit policy. They pay the full face value for accidental death from the day the application is approved but have a waiting period for non-accidental deaths (age and health-related).

If you die of non-accidental causes during the waiting period, the insurer typically refunds the premiums you paid plus an additional 10 percent.

Once the waiting period is over, they pay full value for both accidental and non-accidental deaths. Like graded policies, insurers typically refund premiums in the event of a suicide.

Modified policies have less of a drawback than a graded policy if you die an accidental death, but more if you die a non-accidental one. If you die of age or health-related causes during the waiting period, you run a higher risk of falling short of your funeral needs since the insurer does little more than refund what you already paid.

Guaranteed Acceptance Policy

The most common form of final expense insurance is the guaranteed acceptance policy. They provide coverage with no medical exam.

Like graded policies, guaranteed acceptance policies pay out a limited death benefit during an initial waiting period.

The main drawback is the price. Because they don’t require a medical exam, insurers automatically assign you to the highest health risk category. As a result, these can be the most expensive form of final expense insurance.

Pre-need Funeral Insurance

During your research for a no-exam final expense life insurance policy, you may have come across advertisements for pre-need funeral insurance plans. They are marketed as a form of burial insurance, but they aren’t really insurance in the traditional sense.

Pre-need funeral insurance is less like insurance protection and more like a layaway plan for funeral services.

Instead of paying regular premiums for the promise of a guaranteed life insurance death benefit, you simply pre-pay the full price of your funeral in advance. You either pay the funeral home in one lump sum or set up a payment plan to pay over one to 10 years. There is no real beneficiary of this policy. Instead, the funeral home itself is the beneficiary.

This type of policy comes with several drawbacks compared to a traditional final expense policy. First, if you don’t pay in full before you die, you won’t receive the full amount of services you selected. Second, you’re guaranteed to pay the full price of the funeral. With a traditional policy, there is always the chance of you passing before actually paying the full cost of a funeral in premiums.

Lastly, these policies are inflexible. If your plans change or you move away from the area where you prepaid your funeral expenses, you may not be covered. Pre-need insurance is often non-refundable.

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Shopping for Instant Final Expense Quotes

Final expense insurance is among the easiest types of insurance to buy. If you’re looking for an instant final expense quote, you can get one in several ways: online, directly with the insurer, or through an independent agent.

Final Expense Insurance No Exam

Final expense policies have low face values. Because of that, they represent less of a risk to the insurer. If you’re willing to pay, they’re willing to cover you. This no-exam life insurance means that acceptance is guaranteed with no medical exam required. With those hurdles already cleared before you even apply, getting an instant final expense quote is simple compared to some policy types.

Getting sample rates allows you to compare prices across multiple insurers to make sure you’re getting the best policy for the best price.

There are two main ways to get final expense quotes: online or through an agent.


Many insurers have quote tools on their website. You simply choose your desired coverage, enter some basic personal information, and the tool will return an estimated cost.

There are also independent quote tools (like the ones on this page), which will provide you with instant final expense quotes from multiple insurers at once, allowing you to compare prices quickly.

Most quote tools give prices for term policies rather than whole policies. However, because burial insurance is a simpler version of a whole policy, most insurers that offer them will give you instant final expense quotes. Some also let you apply for the policy directly online without ever having to talk to an agent, which isn’t typically true of whole life insurance.


Most life insurance products are sold through agents, even if the insurer provides online quotes. Insurance agents fall into one of two categories: A captive vs. independent agent.

Independent agents are brokers who are free to shop and sell policies from multiple insurance companies to find the best policy for their clients. A captive agent works for a single insurer and will only market and sell their employer’s policies. They are more like customer service representatives than they are life insurance agents.

If you want to compare costs and policies across multiple insurers, you can only do so with an independent agent.

Many insurers have an agent finder tool on their websites. Just like the quote tool, you enter your personal information and coverage needs, and an agent will contact you to discuss your options. This will naturally slow down the process by a day or two, so if you can get instant final expense quotes online, you should.

Final Expense Insurance Reviews

Before you start shopping for a final expense policy, you should review all your options to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for the best price. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Buy from a reputable life insurance company.

Make sure the company backing your policy is reliable. A good place to start is with the top insurers by market share. From there, read reviews on each that focus on policy offerings, financial stability, and reputation. You can do your own research by using the following resources:

  • Third-party rating agencies such as A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) measure an insurer’s financial strength and its ability to pay all its policy obligations.
  • J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Life Insurance Study measures overall customer satisfaction in four areas: annual statement and billing, customer interaction, policy offerings, and price.
  • The Better Business Bureau uses 13 factors such as time in business, open complaints, resolved complaints, and legal action against a company to assign one of 13 letter ratings, A+ through F.
  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Complaint Index lists the number of complaints registered against an insurer each year and compares it to that of other companies.

If the company has a good reputation, then you can start looking at the products they sell.

Compare life insurance policies.

Compare the policy offerings of each company to find the one that best meets your financial needs. Some companies may offer level policies, while others only offer graded benefits.

Also, research the maximum face values. Some companies have much lower limits than others. Make sure the company offers enough coverage to cover your expected funeral costs or any other miscellaneous expenses.

Get life insurance quotes.

As mentioned, you should always compare prices between companies by getting quotes. It’s quick and simple and will save you money in the long run. You can get instant final expense quotes without even leaving the page you’re on right now.

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Pros & Cons of Final Expense Insurance

Is final expense insurance a good deal? The answer depends on your personal situation. As with any product, final expense insurance comes with benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the biggest.

Final Expense Insurance Pros and Cons
Guaranteed acceptanceLimited benefits
No medical examMore expensive than traditional term
Easy applicationNot flexible
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Be sure to consider each carefully before making a decision.

Final Expense Insurance: The Bottom Line

Final expense insurance is the best way to ensure that your family won’t have to pay burdensome funeral costs out-of-pocket. They provide easy, low-value coverage with guaranteed acceptance and fixed payments.

Unfortunately, low-value doesn’t necessarily mean low-cost. Just look at a quick look at some of the sample rates for males and females under 50 from earlier.

  • How much does a $10,000 life insurance policy cost? Around $25 per month.
  • How much does a 20-year, $100,000 policy cost? Around $25 per month.

Final expense policies are often much more expensive than traditional term policies relative to their face values. In the above example, you’re paying the same price for $90,000 less in coverage.

For that reason, they are recommended mostly for people who don’t qualify for traditional life insurance due to old age or pre-existing medical conditions. Seniors without significant financial obligations can also benefit from burial insurance.

If you’ve had your life insurance application denied for any reason, final expense insurance may still be an option for you.

This guide was designed to give you all the information you need to decide if final expense life insurance is the best choice for you. Do you still have questions? If so, be sure to explore the Effortless Insurance Blog for all the insurance answers you need.

If you’re ready to start shopping for instant final expense quotes now, use the FREE tool below to compare rates from multiple life insurers at once. Whether you’re looking for final expense or term quotes, you’ll get some of the best options from the best insurers in the country.