Best Final Expense Insurance: Cover Your Burial, Funeral and Other Expenses

The average burial and funeral cost is approximately $8,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). Final expense and burial insurance will help pay for these expenses, so your loved ones don’t have to incur the cost. MoneyGeek analyzed quotes and customer service from the top-rated providers to help you get the right burial insurance at the right price.

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Last Updated: 9/21/2022
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Dealing with the death of a loved one is stressful enough without having to worry about all the necessary funeral arrangements. Adding to the stress, family members often have to shoulder end-of-life expenses.

Unfortunately, funeral costs have been rising significantly in recent years and, currently, can easily exceed $10,000. Having final expense insurance ensures that your loved ones won’t be burdened with the financial cost of your funeral or cremation.

Like traditional life insurance, several factors affect the cost of your life insurance premium. MoneyGeek compared final expense insurance quotes from multiple companiesto help you determine which offers the best deal based on your needs and preferences.

Best Final Expense for Seniors: AARP

AARP

pros

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Offers multiple plans you can use for final expense plans

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Simplified issue whole life Insurance option has no waiting period

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Guaranteed life insurance does not require you to answer any health questions

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Premiums are the same whether you are a smoker or not

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Both AARP funeral insurance plans offer accelerated death benefits, also called living benefits, at no additional cost

cons

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AARP rates are more expensive compared to other companies

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek’s Take: AARP offers several final expense plans, giving seniors multiple options. Policies are endorsed by AARP and underwritten by New York Life Insurance Co., which has excellent financial stability scores from AM Best.

Senior buyers can consider two final expense insurance options offered through the AARP Life Insurance Program from New York Life Insurance Company. Seniors can choose between two options to help their loved ones cover funeral expenses.

If you’re between 50 and 80, you can either explore their simplified issue whole life insurance policy or go with their guaranteed life insurance. Spouses between 45 and 80 can apply as well.

The company’s simplified issue whole life policy requires you to answer health questions. If you qualify, your coverage goes into full effect on the first day.

Guaranteed life can be a better option if you know you have health conditions because it doesn’t require you to answer any health questions or complete a medical exam. The difference is that you’ll have a two-year waiting period before your coverage takes effect. Your premiums will not increase as long as your policy is active.

AARP’s rates also do not distinguish between smokers and nonsmokers, setting them apart from competitors. Most life insurance companies increase premiums if you smoke. AARP also offers accelerated death benefits at no extra cost, which allows you to access some of the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness with two years or less to live.

Policies Offered & Waiting Period:

  • Simplified Issue AARP Whole Life Insurance — no waiting period
  • AARP Guaranteed Life Insurance — two-year waiting period

Medical Exam & Health Question Requirements:

If you decide to go for AARP’s simplified issue whole life insurance, you’ll have to answer some health questions. Its guaranteed life insurance policy does not require any health questions or medical exams, and you are guaranteed to be approved.

Best Final Expense with No Exam or Health Questions: Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha

pros

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Policies can be purchased through multiple channels

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The graded benefit plan is available to buyers aged 45–80, allowing you to get coverage earlier

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The level benefit plan has no waiting period; you get coverage on day one

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The Living Promise final expense insurance plan automatically come with a terminal illness rider and a nursing home confinement rider for no additional charge

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Monthly premiums are affordable

cons

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Coverage options and policy types vary depending on whether you purchase through an agent, over the phone or online

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Minimum coverage is higher for Washington state only

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The graded benefit plan is not available in Arkansas, Montana, North Carolina and New York

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek’s Take: Mutual of Omaha saves you time and energy when applying for its policies because you don’t have to undergo a medical exam — you can simply fill out a health questionnaire from the comfort of your home.

You can get the best final expense coverage without having to go through a medical exam from Mutual of Omaha. With their Guaranteed Whole Life insurance plan, you also aren’t required to answer medical questions. The Living Promise Whole Life insurance plan does require you to answer a few brief health questions.

There are two sets of questions on the Living Promise Whole Life application form. The first set consists of knockout questions, meaning that answering “yes” to any of them will disqualify you from receiving coverage. The second set of questions determines whether you qualify for one of two burial insurance plans.

The Living Promise Whole Life insurance plan is offered to buyers looking for final expense plans. If you answer “no” to all the questions in the second set, Mutual of Omaha will approve you for the Level Benefit Plan, with coverage starting from the very first day. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions in the second set, you’ll still be approved, but for the Graded Benefit Plan. The difference is that it has a two-year waiting period for non-accidental deaths.

The Living Promise Whole Life insurance plan comes with terminal illness and nursing home confinement riders, which allow you to take advantage of living benefits. These are also free of charge. You don’t need to use them, but it’s handy to have them included in your policy.

Mutual of Omaha’s rates are generally affordable but vary depending on your age and preferred coverage level.

Policies Offered & Waiting Period:

  • Guaranteed whole life insurance — Two-year waiting period for non-accidental death
  • Level Benefit Living Promise Mutual of Omaha Burial Insurance Plan — No waiting period
  • Graded Benefit Living Promise Mutual of Omaha Burial Insurance Plan — Two-year waiting period for non-accidental death

Medical Exam & Health Question Requirements:

Mutual of Omaha does not require you to undergo a medical exam, but their application form comes with two sets of health questions unless you apply for guaranteed issue final expense insurance.

Best for High Coverage Final Expense: Globe Life

Globe Life

pros

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Offers a reduced premium for the first month

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Does not require a medical exam

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Offers final expense coverage for whole life up to $50,000 and up to $100,000 for term life plans

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No waiting period for all policies

cons

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68 complaints recorded for 2020, which is significantly higher when compared to companies of the same size

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Death benefit in New York is only up to $25,000 for whole life insurance policies

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Premiums for term life policies increase every five years

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek’s Take: Most life insurance companies provide coverage up to $40,000 to help cover end-of-life expenses. Globe Life offers death benefits up to $100,000, depending on the policy you choose. It also has options that won’t require you to complete a medical exam or answer health questions.

If you want a burial insurance policy with a higher payout, you can find several options with Globe Life. Whether you opt for a term life or whole life plan, your first-month premium will be the same — $1. After that, it increases significantly.

If you choose term life insurance for adults, rates will vary depending on your age, health condition and coverage level. One advantage of this policy is that it can remain in effect until you’re 90, which is longer than other term policies. It also offers the highest coverage amount — $100,000.

However, as with all term life plans, it will eventually expire. It’s also important to note that Globe Life's term rates increase every five years. Each time you turn an age ending in 1 or 6, like 51 or 56, your rate will increase based on a schedule determined by your state.

The option that gives you a guaranteed payout and rates is Globe Life’s whole life insurance for adults. You are not required to undergo a medical exam — just answer a health questionnaire — and there’s no waiting period. The drawback, however, is that the maximum coverage available is $50,000. That’s significantly lower than a term life policy but higher than what other life insurance companies offer. If your main objective is to ensure your beneficiaries will have enough to pay for final expenses, Globe Life’s whole life insurance may be a better option.

Policies Offered & Waiting Period:

  • Term life Insurance for adults — no waiting period
  • Whole life insurance for adults — no waiting period

Medical Exam & Health Question Requirements:

You won’t need to undergo a medical exam for term life or whole life insurance, but you must answer some health questions.

Best Customer Service When It’s Needed: State Farm

State Farm

pros

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Has a perfect score of 100 from J.D. Power

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A++ rating from AM Best

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No medical exam

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No waiting period

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Final expense policy is straightforward — you don’t need to worry about hidden fine print

cons

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Coverage limit is only $10,000

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Final expense policy is not available in Massachusetts and Rhode Island

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Premiums tend to be higher than other insurers

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek’s Take: State Farm is our pick if your priority is quality service. They have a perfect score of 100, based on J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Ratings.

Cost and product variety aren’t the only factors to consider when determining the best final expense insurance companies. The death of a loved one is a stressful time, and it’s essential to choose an insurer that won’t cause more difficulty during the claims process.

State Farm offers only one policy for final expense insurance, with a coverage amount of $10,000. The policy accumulates cash value over time, and you can use the amount to pay for your premiums or get cash back.

You don’t have to undergo a medical exam when applying for a State Farm final expense policy. However, you must answer a list of health questions to determine your eligibility.

One possible drawback is State Farm’s premiums, which are higher than other life insurance companies. Rates are also affected by smoking history, so if you’re a smoker, expect to pay more than a nonsmoker. That said, if you’re a male smoker between the ages of 78 and 80, you can get lower premiums from State Farm than from other companies such as Mutual of Omaha or Transamerica.

In a nutshell, qualifying for a final expense policy from State Farm is a little challenging, but once you do, they will take care of you.

Policies Offered & Waiting Period:

  • Final expense insurance ($10,000 whole life in New York) — no waiting period

Medical Exam & Health Question Requirements:

You won’t need to undergo a medical exam for State Farm’s final expense plan, but you must answer some health questions.

Best for No Waiting Period: Transamerica

Transamerica

pros

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No medical exam

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No waiting period for Immediate Solution and 10-Pay Solution policies

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Coverage begins as soon as policy is issued

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Does not take height and weight into consideration; they will not affect your premium

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Uses an automated underwriting process that makes same-day approval possible

cons

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Maximum death benefits vary depending on which plan you purchase and your age

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Some riders are only available in specific states

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MoneyGeek’s Take: Transamerica offers three options for a final expense plan. Two of these do not have waiting periods, which means your policy automatically goes into effect.

Transamerica offers three types of final expense policies — Immediate Solution, 10-Pay Solution and Easy Solution. None of them require a medical exam, but you will have to answer some health questions to determine whether you qualify for coverage and which plan you’re qualified for.

Easy Solution has a two-year waiting period, but there is no waiting period for the two other plans. Transamerica can pay your death benefit in full from the first day. All three policies take effect once they’re issued.

Accelerated death benefit riders are available for the Immediate Solution and the 10-Pay Solution policies at no additional cost, except in New York. However, these policies require the insured to be diagnosed with a qualifying event. The policies also follow the same process when determining maximum death benefits.

Unlike other companies that allow you to choose your preferred coverage level, Transamerica limits a policy's maximum death benefit based on your age. If you’re under 55, the maximum benefit is $50,000. The limit decreases to $40,000 for buyers between 56 and 65, and to $30,000 for buyers 66 to 75. If you’re between 76 and 85, the maximum death benefit is only $25,000.

In comparison, the maximum coverage limit for the Easy Solution is $25,000, regardless of age.

Policies Offered & Waiting Period:

  • Immediate Solution — No waiting period
  • 10-Pay Solution — No waiting period
  • Easy Solution — Two-year waiting period

Medical Exam & Health Question Requirements

Transamerica does not require a medical exam, but you must answer some health questions. These will determine whether you qualify or not and for which plan.

Best Final Expense Comparison Summary

Moneygeek’s study determined that these are the best final expense insurance companies. Depending on your priorities, the insurer that best meets your needs may vary.

  • Companies
    AM Best
    J.D. Power Score
    Age Range
    Coverages
    Online Quotes?
    Exam & Health Questions
  • AARP

    Best for Seniors

    A++

    771.5

    50 to 80

    $2,500 to $50,000

    No

    Health questions are required for
    simplified issue whole life insurance

  • Mutual of Omaha

    Best with No Exam
    or Health Questions

    A+

    783.4

    45 to 85

    $2,000 to $40,000

    (minimum for WA
    is $5,000)

    No

    No health exams, but you’ll have to
    go through a health questionnaire

  • Globe Life

    Best for High
    Coverage

    A

    810.4

    18 to 79

    $5,000 to $50,000 for
    whole life plans

    $5,000 to $100,000 for
    term life plans

    Yes

    No medical exam, but has health questions
    for term and whole life plans

  • State Farm

    Best Customer
    Service

    A++

    820.5

    50 to 80

    $10,000 only

    No

    No medical exam, but application includes
    health questions

  • Transamerica

    Best for No
    Waiting Period

    A

    736.4

    0 to 85 for Immediate
    and 10-Pay Solution

    18 to 80 for Easy Solution

    $1,000 to $50,000

    Yes

    No medical exam

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What Is Burial & Final Expense Insurance?

Final expense insurance is a type of whole life insurance, meaning it won’t expire after a specific amount of time. It provides coverage until you pass, though some companies have a maturation age, which only offers coverage to a certain age, usually 100 or beyond. People use various terms such as funeral insurance, burial insurance and modified issue whole life insurance, but all these refer to the same thing.

It is no different than other whole life insurance policies. However, it usually has a smaller death benefit, making it more affordable. If you have this coverage, your beneficiary can use the payout as they see fit. Primarily, however, it's used to cover expenses from a memorial service, embalming, purchasing a casket or having a body cremated.

With a death benefit from $5,000 to $25,000, burial and final expense insurance is popular among seniors who see it as a way of taking care of their families after their death.

How Does Final Expense Insurance Work?

You may worry about the expenses your family will have to shoulder when you pass away. This prospect can be particularly daunting if you’re already retired and aren’t covered by either a personal life insurance policy or one from your employer.

Getting final expense insurance is one way to give you and your loved ones peace of mind. You can typically purchase a policy after responding to a few health-related questions, and some don’t require any health questions. Once you have coverage, you can pay for premiums weekly or monthly.

The death benefit can cover end-of-life expenses, such as final medical bills, burial or cremation. Your beneficiaries may also use it for items like caskets and urns. However, like any death benefit from a life insurance policy, they can use it for other things, too.

See also: How does life insurance work?

How Does the Final Expense Payout Happen?

The process for claiming death benefits from final expense life insurance is similar to other life insurance policies. Your beneficiaries will need to present your death certificate and a completed claim form. It’s crucial that they also have your policy information.

In most cases, the insurer releases the payout within 30 days of filing. Your beneficiaries receive the amount as a tax-free lump sum.

How Much Does Final Expense Insurance Cost?

The cost of final expense insurance depends on several factors. Typically, the older you are when you purchase your policy, and the higher your coverage level is, the more expensive your premium becomes.

Life insurance companies also have varying requirements. Some will ask you to complete a health questionnaire, while others guarantee acceptance. Policies with guaranteed acceptance pose a lower risk for you, but they typically cost more than those that require you to answer health-related questions.

Final Expense Insurance Premiums for Healthy Nonsmokers

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  • Age
    Monthly Premium for $10,000 Coverage
    Monthly Premium for $20,000 Coverage
  • 60
    $31–$75
    $62–$98
  • 70
    $69–$115
    $103–$221
  • 80
    $98–$240
    $198–$400

This table shows average rates for buyers who are in good health and have no history of smoking. These include quotes from insurers regardless of whether they require a health questionnaire or not.

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Cheapest Final Expense Insurance Companies

No one insurer offers the cheapest final expense insurance for all profiles. Your unique information determines which company can provide the best deal.

Mutual of Omaha offers the most affordable guaranteed acceptance policies. Their policies’ premiums can range from $32 to $160 each month. MoneyGeek gathered final expense quotes for buyers from 60 to 80 years old with a $10,000 coverage limit to determine these rates.

In comparison, average rates for insurers that require you to complete a health questionnaire for similar profiles and coverage limits are more affordable. You can purchase the cheapest from Transamerica with monthly premiums ranging from $30 to $160.

How to Choose a Policy & Coverage Amount

Similar to other types of life insurance, final expense plans can have varying face-value amounts. Having a coverage amount of $10,000 minimum is ideal, but you can increase your coverage to $20,000 or even higher. Remember that the higher your limit is, the more expensive your premium becomes.

Final expense insurance is best suited for those of a certain age — typically, buyers who are 60 and older and little to no income benefit most from this coverage. It may also work for those who have severe health conditions because it is more affordable than term life or permanent life plans.

Depending on your preference, you can choose to purchase simplified issue life insurance, which requires you to answer several health-related questions. If you think your health condition is a cause for concern, guaranteed issue life insurance may be a better alternative.

How Much Are Final Expenses, Including Burial and Funeral?

Based on the 2021 National Funeral Directors Association’s General Price List Study, the median cost of a funeral has increased to $7,848. This amount of money covers only the barest of services. You'll pay an additional $1,572 if you want to add a vault to a traditional funeral. Cremation is less expensive at $6,970. Either way, it’s a significant amount.

Remember that these costs don’t include the price of internment in a cemetery, monument or marker prices, or even flowers. As a result, final expenses can easily exceed $10,000.

Will You Need to Have a Health Exam or Answer Health Questions?

Insurers often offer two types of final expense plans — simplified issue and guaranteed issue. Neither will require you to go through a health exam (most insurers won’t ask this of you for final expense insurance), but simplified issue life insurance will require you to answer several health-related questions.

Guaranteed issue life insurance, as the name implies, ensures automatic acceptance. It cuts out a step in the process but also costs more as a result and may require a waiting period before the full death benefit is available.

Guaranteed Acceptance vs. Final Expense With No Waiting Period

It’s easy to confuse a guaranteed acceptance life insurance policy with one that’s considered a final expense with no waiting period. A guaranteed acceptance (or guaranteed issue) policy doesn’t require a health exam, nor will you have to answer health questions. Because of this, these policies are generally more expensive. However, these plans typically come with a waiting period, which means your full death benefit won’t be available for at least two years unless you suffer an accidental death.

A final expense with no waiting period policy means your beneficiaries get your entire death benefit from day one of coverage, even if you’ve only made a single payment of your premium. That makes this kind of policy very popular for final expense plans.

Can Your Payout Be Denied?

Most policies guarantee that your beneficiaries will receive your death benefit within 30 days after filing the claim. However, there are several reasons why there may be delays. Here are some of the most common ones:

1

You file incomplete or incorrect forms.

There are several documents your beneficiaries need to submit to your insurer to complete the claim filing process.

2

The cause of death was homicide.

Insurers need to investigate and ensure the beneficiaries were not involved in the incident.

3

The premium payments are not up to date.

Most insurers have a 30- or 31-day grace period after the due date. If you pass away within the grace period, your beneficiaries may still be eligible to get the payout minus whatever is past due.

Does Final Expense Insurance Make Sense for You?

We all want to save our loved ones from additional stress when the worst happens. When you die, the last thing you would want is for your family to be under financial distress from end-of-life expenses. That’s what makes having final expense insurance a good choice.

That said, final expense plans are best suited to specific situations. Here are some things you may want to consider when deciding whether it's the right kind of life insurance for you:

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    Consider your age.

    There’s a reason why funeral insurance is popular with seniors — they are the target market for this type of insurance. Even if you’re well into your 80s, you can still purchase it.

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    Consider your financial responsibilities.

    People purchase life insurance to ensure their loved ones have financial support when they die. Funeral insurance is more affordable because the death payments are primarily for end-of-life expenses. If you have long-term costs such as mortgages or long-term dependents, it may not be the best option for you.

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    Consider your general health condition.

    Insurers factor in whether you’re in good health when setting premiums. If you’re not in the best health, you may find yourself paying for an expensive premium or not qualifying for a policy at all. Funeral insurance is typically a better option when you have health issues.

    If you’re relatively young and in good health, you may want to consider other types of life insurance policies.

Burial Insurance Alternatives

Final expense insurance isn’t your only option when you want to leave something behind for your beneficiaries to use for your funeral expenses. You may find other types of policies to be better suited to your current situation.

If you find that purchasing funeral insurance isn’t the most logical option for you, here are some alternatives to consider:

1

Term Life Insurance

According to the American Council of Life Insurers, out of the new individual life policies buyers purchased in 2018, 40% were term life insurance. These policies provide coverage for a specific amount of time, whether 10, 20, or 30 years. They're also more affordable compared to permanent life insurance. It may be a better option if you're relatively young and in good health.

2

Pre-Need Insurance

This type of policy, also known as a funeral policy, is offered by funeral homes and funeral directors. It allows you to arrange the details of your funeral — the service and the burial or cremation — in advance. It relieves your family of the burden of having to do all these things themselves. The payout goes to the funeral home after your death instead of to your loved ones.

3

Self-Insure

If the only reason you have for purchasing life insurance is to cover your end-of-life expenses, you may want to consider saving up for it instead of paying a premium for years. It’s best to decide on this early because the more time you have, the longer you have to set funds aside.

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FAQs About Final Expense Insurance

There is a lot of information available about final expense insurance — so much that it may become overwhelming for you. To help you better understand its nuances, here are some of the most commonly asked questions about it.

Final Expense Insurance Ranking Methodology

MoneyGeek goes the extra mile to ensure that you can feel confident about the information in our life insurance content. Our life insurance ranking for final expense insurance incorporates multiple data points from insurance industry research companies, such as J.D. Power, and our unique proprietary qualitative and quantitative policy research, including accurate quotes across major providers. Cost and quote information comes from analyzing real-life insurance quotes that were manually gathered using the personal profiles mentioned under each table. To learn more, visit our complete methodology page.

About the Author


expert-profile

Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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