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Be confident that you’ve made the right choice to give your family the funeral they deserve.

The global pandemic has made us all the more aware of how fragile and unpredictable life can be. And while we can’t predict the future, we can prepare for it, and protect our loved ones from unnecessary stress and trauma should the worst happen.

“Nobody ever wants to talk about funeral policies,” says Ayanda Ndlovu, Head of Agency Distribution at Sanlam Developing Markets Limited. “Yet the pain and time involved in making sure you have the right cover, is really nothing compared to the pain and stress that grieving loved ones are left with when a family member passes on and no funeral cover is in place.”

Indeed, while all of us will experience the loss of a loved one sooner or later, far less people know how simple and effective the right kind of funeral policy can be. As one of the easiest and most affordable policies available, this type of cover allows those left behind to concentrate on grieving and preparing a fitting funeral and send-off, instead of worrying about the unexpected and steep financial costs involved.

Having worked in this industry for almost two decades, here are three of Ndlovu’s top tips to ensure your loved ones get the goodbye they deserve.

1. First ask: what, who and when

WHAT: Before you choose your cover, make sure it fits your specific needs and budget too. In addition to that, different funeral policies might include additional benefits that will make things easier for you – like transportation of the body, accommodation of a family member travelling with the body, a grocery benefit, etc. Make sure you’re aware of what is and isn’t covered.

WHO: “Many people take out a policy and assume it covers everyone they love,” says Ndlovu. “This is not always the case – it’s really important you read the small print and ensure you know exactly who is covered.” If you don’t want any payouts to be delayed, it’s important to choose and write down the name of a beneficiary when you take up a new funeral policy.

WHEN: Ask when you and the lives assured will be fully covered. “It’s also important to know the length of the waiting period – that’s how long a person has to be on a policy before all the benefits really kick in,” says Ndlovu.

Try to compare three or four policies in terms of these three factors, including the policy provider’s reputation as well as its track record in paying claims before choosing the one that’s best for you.

2. Make sure your cover stays up to date

If you miss a payment and your cover lapses, you’ll effectively lose out on everything you’ve already put into your policy. If you or a loved one then unexpectedly passes on, the unanticipated financial costs for those left behind could be overwhelming. It’s not only regular payments that need to be made though, as Ndlovu explains: “Make sure all the necessary paperwork is done, the details are correct, and the right documents have all been submitted so that future payouts can be made without delay.” Something as simple as an incorrect birth date or a misspelt name could result in a problem with payouts later on.

“Make sure all the necessary paperwork is done, the details are correct, and the right documents have all been submitted so that future payouts can be made without delay,” says Ayanda Ndlovu, Head of Agency Distribution at Sanlam Developing Markets Limited.

3. Know how to claim before you need to

Most providers of cover have an agreed turnaround time of 24 to 48 hours once all documentation is received – some pay out even quicker. “Sanlam pays most funeral claims within four hours,” says Ndlovu.

To help make sure a claim is paid as quickly as possible, she suggests that:

  • Only the policyholder or the nominated beneficiary should complete the claims form – including all the correct details, like the policy number, full name, cellphone number, address and bank account.
  • Include all other certified supporting documents which include:
    • Death certificate
    • Identity documents of the deceased and beneficiary
    • Beneficiaries or policyholder’s bank statement where the funds will be paid
    • BI-1663 form completed by the medical practitioner
    • Police report if the death was caused by an accident

By making good choices today, you can have confidence about your family’s tomorrow – no matter what the future may bring.



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