African Unity Life provides innovative and white labeled funeral cover solutions for group schemes. Our standard benefit includes a predetermined amount of funeral cover for the principal member, as well as their eligible spouse, children and extended family. We also have some additional value-add products and services that can be added to funeral policies – easily and without the hassle!
Frequently Asked Questions About Funeral Cover
What is funeral cover?
Funeral cover is there to relieve the financial burden of the family when a loved one passes away. Our funeral insurance policy, offered specifically in Africa, ensures a cash payout within 24 to 48 hours of a death in order to cover the costs associated with a dignified funeral which offers friends and family the closure they need.
We offer cover not only for the principal member but for spouses, children and extended family too. We see all of our policyholders as real people with real responsibilities that need to be taken care of even if the worst happens.
Our extensive insurance policies cover accidental deaths and even death while commuting with public transport. We believe that funeral cover should touch all bases, and so offer HIV/Aids counselling, emergency assistance and other support. Our group scheme funeral cover is ideal for employers who would like to offer comprehensive coverage to their employees during their time of need. It is an affordable way of ensuring that your workers’ families will not be stressed during their time of difficulty and need.
A major benefit of this group funeral insurance is that we also offer emergency medical services, which can be used to move an employee to a nearby hospital in case they are injured while at work. We offer a wide range of payment options for the group funeral plans, all of which are affordable and offer the best coverage possible for employees. During the grieving period, African Unity Life is there to offer support.
Can changes be made to my funeral policy?
Yes, you are welcome to make amendments to your policy, although they are subject to specific terms and conditions. One of these states that you are able to change or amend policy details within a 30-day grace period, which applies to both personal and group funeral cover in South Africa.
You can add or remove dependants or extended family members, increase or decrease the amount of cover you require and you can request to take out additional value-add products and services. For employers, you are able to add, remove or amend the employees who are receiving the funeral benefits. And you can add their spouses, children, parents and extended family onto the policy so that they have peace of mind that their family is covered for every eventuality.
If your financial, marital or familial situation should change, you are able to make changes accordingly. You will have to submit the relevant documents which will alert the African Unity Life team to the fact that you wish to amend, change or even cancel your funeral cover policy. All of the information that you include must be correct and up-to-date, as this will help our team to amend your policy.
All amendments will be made in writing and will be exactly the same as was explained to you in the policy. If you would like to switch from one type of policy to another, for example, if you would like to change from a personal policy to a group funeral policy, you will need to speak to our advisers about the process.
When does my cover start?
Your membership starts on the first of the month after receipt of your first premium and cover commences after the relevant waiting period has expired.
What is the waiting period?
The standard funeral cover waiting periods for being paid out from a policy upon your death or a family member’s death are as follows:
- In the case of death due to natural causes, you will need to wait six months.
- In the case of death resulting from unnatural causes, your funeral cover is valid after receipt of your first premium.
- In the event of a suicide or attempted suicide, the waiting period for your funeral cover will be 24 months.
These waiting periods are put in place not only to protect your family from fraud but also to protect African Unity Life from fraudulent claims. We believe that taking out funeral cover at the last moment is detrimental to financial planning and for your future. These waiting periods help to avoid any misplanning or shortcomings that could occur if you do not apply for funeral cover at an early stage.
Our funeral policies will cover you from your very first premium for an accidental death, which is why it is the ideal option for companies whose employees work dangerous jobs, such as construction or even mining. We will not ask you to perform a medical check but you will need to be honest and upfront about any medical issues or pre-existing conditions that you have.
African Unity Life is adept at handling risk, which is why we follow the guidelines of the standard waiting periods. Your family will have peace of mind knowing that they will be covered fully should you pass away in an untimely manner due to accident or illness.
How long will my cover last?
Your funeral policy will remain active as long as you carry on paying the premium and will last for the entirety of your life up until you die, or until you stop making payments. If you are unable to make the regular payments, your cover will be suspended until such time that you can continue payments.
We do provide a grace period in keeping with the Policyholder Protection Rules which state that all insurers must offer a grace period in which you are able to make a payment if the payment was missed on the specified date that you need to pay. For example, if you had a debit order that was supposed to be debited on the first of the month, you have until the sixteenth day of that month to make your payment.
In the case of your spouse, children or another family member, their cover will end upon your passing or their passing. This is dependant on which happens first. Cover for your children will run out if they pass away or when they reach 21 years of age. Again, this is dependant on which occurs first. If your child is mentally or physically impaired, is still a student or is financially dependant on you, then their cover can extend up to age 25.
Keeping your funeral cover premiums up-to-date will ensure that their cover and your own does not run out before you need to make a claim.
Can I reinstate my policy?
If your funeral insurance policy lapses or is suspended due to non-payment, it can be reinstated subject to specific terms and conditions. If you need to reinstate your policy, the same waiting periods will apply as if you have applied for funeral cover as a new client.
This is put in place to protect both you, as the client, and African Unity Life from fraudulent activity on your account. You must provide the relevant documentation when you apply for reinstatement, and we will have a look at your risk profile while also taking into account the fact that you might have lapsed payments under your name.
A reinstatement will usually happen once the grace period is over and the funeral policy is no longer in place. Our process of reinstatement will depend on how much time has passed since your policy has lapsed and how many payments were missed.
We understand that life can be full of unexpected situations, which is why we will take all the details into account while reinstating your funeral cover.
Who can I cover on my policy?
You can cover yourself, your spouse, and your children. Additionally, you can get funeral cover for extended family, including your parents or parents-in-law, grandmothers or grandfathers and brothers or sisters. Your extended family will be charged an additional premium according to their age and the amount of funeral cover they require.
If you are covering your immediate family, such as your children or spouse, this is known as a family funeral plan. An extended family plan can be used to cover family members such as parents-in-law, and cousins, as well as aunts and uncles.
If your children are over the age of 21, they will be considered as adults and you will have to pay adult premiums for them. It is possible to have their cover extended as children if they are a student, mentally or physically disabled, or are financially dependant on you.
Your dependants will need to provide the relevant documentation along with their application for funeral cover, whether you are applying personally or as part of a group scheme funeral cover. This is because we need to ascertain how much funeral cover they will need based on their age and other demographics.
The additional premiums you will need to pay for each extended family member on your policy are minimal and allow your entire family to to grieve and give you or a family member a dignified funeral should the worst happen.
Will my family remain covered after my death?
African Unity Life understands that you do not want your family to remain unprotected should you pass away. So, our answer is yes. Your spouse can opt to continue with the policy whereby he or she will become the main member. It also depends on the product you have taken out. If you are part of an employer group (Compulsory Group Funeral Scheme), the policy will terminate if the principal insured member passes away.
However, if you are part of a voluntary church group or a funeral parlour group scheme, your spouse can choose to take over the policy as long as he or she is able to continue paying the premium each month.
If the person who will be paying the premiums each month misses two regular payments, the policy will unfortunately lapse and they will need to apply for reinstatement if possible. If the policy is not reinstated, the main member will need to take out a new funeral policy, and in this case, they would have the same waiting periods as a new policy. This new main member will need to be sure that they have enough money in their account to continue making regular payments for the policy.
For an extended family funeral policy, the new main member will have to continue paying the premiums for each family member as well as their own. You can speak to the African Unity Life team for more information on what will happen to your family when you pass away.
Can I decide who receives the money in the event of my death?
Yes. During the application stage, you will nominate your funeral cover beneficiary and this person will receive the benefit when you pass away. If you have not nominated a beneficiary, the money will be paid to your estate instead.
It is important to take this decision seriously, as the beneficiary of the funeral plan will be tasked with planning your funeral and using the money to care for your family after you have passed away. And because funerals often have hidden expenses, the person you nominate as a beneficiary will need to understand this and be able to use the payout in a smart and cost-effective way.
If you have more than one child on your policy, you can list all of them as your beneficiaries so that they will receive the benefits of your policy when you have passed away. You can nominate your beneficiary when you sign up for a funeral policy, or you can speak to our advisers for some advice on who might be the best option.
In the unfortunate event of the death of your beneficiary, you will need to contact African Unity Life and alert us that you will need to change who the beneficiary is. You must remember to keep the details of all beneficiaries up to date, especially their ages, contact details, and financial status. This is particularly important if you are naming children as beneficiaries and dependants, as their premiums and coverage will change according to age and income status.
Can I have more than one policy?
Yes, you can have more than one funeral cover policy, although this will be subject to specific terms and conditions. There are maximum cover amounts and this must be taken into consideration when you apply for funeral cover.
You will need to consider your financial situation and whether or not you can afford to pay for more than one funeral policy. It is important that the total cover that you have does not exceed your income as you might be unable to make monthly repayments and this could cause your cover to lapse.
If you have too many policies, you could become “over-insured” which means that you might not receive all of the benefits of one funeral policy. However, we can discuss your options so that you and your family receive the maximum amount of benefits to ease their situation from the different funeral policies that you have taken out with African Unity Life.
One example of having more than one policy is if you have taken one out for yourself but are also covered as a dependant on your adult child’s policy.
Or, as a young adult, you might still be covered by your parents but have taken out a funeral policy which covers them too. You should note that there is a maximum amount which each individual is covered for, which is not increased despite them having multiple policies.
Is there a limit to the number of people I can cover on my policy?
The limits will be discussed with you when you initially take out the policy. But the most important point is whether you can afford the premium for all the people you want to cover on the policy. The more people you cover, the more expensive the policy becomes.
If you would like to cover your parents, grandparents or siblings, you will need to apply for an extended family funeral policy. This will allow you to add more people who are not your immediate family, and your premiums will be calculated accordingly. The premiums might be affected by how much funeral cover your dependants need based on age and any pre-existing conditions.
Once your financial status has been examined, you will be able to add as many people as necessary to your funeral cover. If you have siblings, cousins or even nieces and nephews who fall under your financial care, you are able to add these dependants under an extended family policy.
The age of the people who are covered by your policy could have an impact on the amount that is paid out upon their passing away. You will need to provide us with all the relevant details of your possible dependants and we will assess each one and assign a payout amount as well as a premium amount according to these details.
While you are not limited to a certain number of people you can cover, we advise you to think carefully about how a large number of dependants will affect your finances.
When does my policy lapse?
A policy usually lapses after the non-payment of two consecutive premiums. It is therefore important that you pay your premium every month.
Your policy will have lapsed if you have missed these regular payments, which means that, unfortunately, you will be unable to make any claims if this happens. We have the grace period in place to allow you to gather the necessary funds to make up for your missed payment. This grace period should allow you enough time to collect the funds needed to make your payment.
You should always aim to make the payments every month on your funeral insurance policy, as this will ensure that you and your family will remain covered for the duration of your policy with African Unity Life. If your spouse or partner was listed under the same plan, they will be given the option to continue with the policy. But if they choose not to continue, then the policy will lapse.
There might be other circumstances that cause your cover to lapse, such as major life changes which you have not alerted us about or if you have not paid your premium within the grace period. If this has happened, your policy will be considered to have lapsed and you will have to speak to your advisers about reinstating your policy and what this process entails. You will have the same waiting periods as you would when you apply for a new policy.
Please consult with your intermediary on the terms and conditions of your specific policy.
If my policy lapses, do I get a refund?
No, unfortunately, you will not receive a refund if your policy lapses. Cover is provided on a month-to-month basis and there are no surrender values when your policy lapses.
If you would like to avoid your funeral cover policy lapsing, you will need to make your monthly payments on time and ensure that you pay in the right amount each time.
What documentation do I receive when I take out a policy?
You should receive a policy document (participation certificate) that confirms a number of important points. For example, who is covered on your policy, the starting date of the policy, the applicable waiting periods, the amount you’re covered for and the applicable terms and conditions.
It is important to keep this documentation stored safely and in an easy-to-find place in case you need to claim or make any changes to your policy. If you do need to make a claim, you will need to fill in a claims form as well as a beneficiary form and include all the relevant documentation. This includes a certified and valid death certificate, the identity document of the beneficiary as well as documentation that you received when taking out the policy.
You will also receive a copy of the contract you have entered into with African Unity Life as well as a full and detailed description of the product you have chosen to purchase with us. The contract will explain that there is the possibility of an annual premium escalation so that you are aware of this ahead of time.
The documents will also provide a breakdown of the premiums for each member, including how much they are covered for and any exclusions that might be included for children, young adults and the elderly. Having this knowledge will prepare you for the duration of your contract with us and enable you to make claims in the correct manner without any issues.