Our Research into the Best Prepaid Direct Cremation Plans

This guide will help you to find the best prepaid direct cremation plan for you and your needs.

Our in house funeral team have extensively reviewed the Prepaid Direct Cremation Plan market to highlight, what we think, are the best prepaid plans avilable.
You can read how we score each provider below along and read our recommendations if you are looking to plan a direct cremation funeral in the future.

If you are looking to plan ahead without having to arrange a traditional funeral, then a direct cremation may be the ideal option.

While cost-effective and convenient, a professionally arranged, direct cremation remains a dignified funeral choice for either yourself or for your loved ones.

What’s more, you are free to plan your own memorial or celebration of life in a manner of your choosing, entirely separate from the funeral process.

Quick Overview of the Best Plan Providers

ProviderOverall RankReview
Golden Leaves2nd★★★★
Distinct Cremations4th★★★★
Affordable Funerals5th★★★★
Golden Charter6th★★★★
Pure Cremation7th★★★★
Celebration of Life8th★★★★

What is a Prepaid Direct Direct Cremation Plan?

A prepaid funeral plan is a way of paying for your funeral before you need it.
With your chosen provider or funeral director, you settle all of your arrangements in advance so that everything is prepared for you when the time comes.

A major advantage of prepaying for your funeral is that you can save money. Your prepaid plan should cost about the same as a direct cremation funeral today*, helping to protect you from the inflation of funeral costs before you pass away.
You also get to save your loved ones from having to cover the costs themselves immediately after your death.

While a direct cremation funeral means that there are fewer choices to make compared to a traditional service – no hearse, limousines or flowers, for instance – there are still important differences between the various prepayment plan providers.

So before you purchase a prepaid plan, you will want to know which services are offered and which are inclusive of the price – especially if you wish to avoid burdening your loved ones with any hidden charges.

What is Included in a Prepaid Direct Cremation Plan?

A typical prepaid direct cremation plan will include the following services:

Collection of the deceased from any hospital mortuary within working hours.
A special vehicle for transportation.
Preparation and care of the deceased.
A basic coffin.
An unattended cremation service at an allocated crematorium.
Delivery of the ashes to your chosen address or scattering in the Garden of Remembrance.

On the other hand, inclusion is likely to vary between providers when it comes to the following services, with some providers charging additional fees at the time of your funeral:

Collection of the deceased out of hours and/or from a private residence or care home.
Crematorium fees – some providers may only include an allowance.
Doctors’ fees.
Safe removal of medical devices.
Removal, storage and return of jewellery and other valuables.
Delivery of the ashes – some providers may charge more for this.

If a plan does not include these services, then your family or loved ones may have to pay for them separately at the time of your funeral.

Some providers may also offer you a choice of coffins and urns for additional prices.

A common difference between providers is that some will arrange your direct cremation funeral service through a local funeral home, or can otherwise guarantee a cremation at a relatively nearby crematorium.

Others, however, tend to centralise their services in one, two or three crematoria, regardless of where you are living when you die, so there is a chance the body will travel a long distance to be cremated.

Comparing the Best Prepaid Cremation Plans

Below is our comparison of the most popular pre-paid direct cremation funeral plan providers in the UK today.

ProviderAvalonGolden CharterDignityGolden leavesCelebration of LifeLow Cost FuneralsDistinct CremationsPure Cremations
Total Price£1,485.00£1,749.00£995.00£1,450.00£1,450.00£1,490.00£1,499.00£1,795.00
Our Review★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
Funeral Director’s FeesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Cremation FeesYesProvide a ContributionYesYesYesYesYesYes
Collection from Any Location, 24/7YesExtraWaiting for ConfirmationYesYesExtraYesYes
Doctors’ FeesExtraExtraYesYesYesExtraYesYes
Delivery of the AshesNo*No*YesYesYesExtraYesYes
Service through Local Funeral DirectorYesYesYesYesNoNoNoNo
Option to AttendYesNoNoNoNoExtraExtraExtra
Maximum Payment Term of Payment Plan15 years10 years5 years8 years5 years10 years/insurance10 years5 years/insurance
Moratorium Period for Instalment Payments12 months12 months12 months12 months***24 months12 months12 months24 months
Customer Satisfaction**4.9/5.04.5/5.04.7/5.04.7/5.05.0/5.04.8/5.04.9/5.04.9/5.0
READ Avalon ReviewGolden Charter REVIEWRead Dignity REVIEWGolden Leaves REVIEWCelebration of Life REVIEWLow Cost Funerals REVIEWDistinct Cremations REVIEWPure Cremations REVIEW

*Collection from local funeral director or crematorium
**According to Customer Reviews on to Trustpilot, Feefo or Reviews.io
***Instalment Plans for 2-8 years are funded by credit finance; coverage is immediate.

Who offers the cheapest prepaid cremation plan in the UK?

As of 2023, the cheapest direct cremation plan is £995 and is offered by Dignity Funerals.

Direct Cremation Plan Companies in the UK

Studies show that more than half of consumers in the UK are willing to consider a direct cremation – even celebrities such as David Bowie preferred to opt for this simple, funeral choice. After the COVID-19 lockdowns (which made traditional funeral gatherings more difficult), the popularity of direct cremation as a suitable funeral option is expected to rise by 10% in the coming decade.

Key Companies

1. Avalon

  • Prices start at £1435
  • FCA Regulated
  • Wide range of local funeral directors
  • Optional extra to attend the funeral
  • The price doesn’t cover everything

2. Distinct Cremations

Distinct Cremationare owned by the Westerleigh group who operates a large number of crematoriums across the UK.

  • A direct cremation with no attendees
  • High chance of a local service due to wide number of crematoriums they own
  • Prices start at 1499
  • Option to hold an attended funeral
  • FCA Approved

3. Pure

Pure Cremation is a company owned and managed by funeral directors with over three decades of industry experience. Pure owns its own crematorium and provides all services included in its plans. Its basic direct cremation package costs £1,595 and includes:

  • 24/7 body collection in England or Wales
  • Basic casket
  • Decent transport to the crematorium
  • Contribution towards doctor’s and crematorium fees
  • Scattering of ashes in Garden of Remembrance, or delivery or collection of ashes by family

4. Golden Leaves 

With its funeral planning history dating back to 1984, Golden Leaves’ plans are currently offered by a growing network of funeral directors across Europe. It is also the only funeral planning company that offers a repatriation plan.

  • Prices start at £1450
  • Wide range of local funeral directors
  • Body collection from hospital or coroner (regular business hours only)
  • FCA Regulated
  • Covers everything needed
  • No option to attend the service

Choosing the Best Prepaid Cremation Plan

Choosing the best prepaid direct cremation plan requires careful consideration of a number of factors – especially the price, services included, and any hidden costs. Some plans can appear affordable at first glance, but you may need to dig deeper to have a clear picture of the benefits you are paying for.

Fortunately, comparing different providers of prepaid direct cremation plans is quite easy if you follow these simple steps.

Know What You Want

The first thing you should do is think about the services that you are likely to want or need and then look into what is offered under each plan.

For instance, some providers may charge extra for collection from a private residence or care home rather than from a hospital or mortuary. Or some providers might offer to take care of jewellery or values free of charge while others might add an additional fee.

If you know that you are likely to need a particular service, then it makes sense to look at providers who guarantee its inclusion.

Compare Plan Providers

Once you have found a handful of providers who offer roughly the same kind of package that you want, then you can start to compare the prices they charge and their customer reputation.

Remember that while some plans are more expensive than others, opting for the lowest price alone may not be the most appropriate choice.

Every provider, at minimum, should be prepared to treat you and the deceased with respect and dignity. An offer may be inexpensive, but if the provider hasn’t established a professional reputation, it may not be worth the savings.

Research Provider

If you appear to have found a suitable provider, then you can look into some final aspects such as how their funeral arrangements work, how long they have been in business, and whether they are a member of an industry organisation – a good sign of their commitment to their customers.

You might also be able to visit their premises to see how clean and organised they are.

Some providers also operate through local funeral directors, so you should be able to speak to someone in person if you wish.

Your priority is to select a payment option that makes sense for you, your needs and your budget, especially if you are concerned about keeping costs to a minimum.

So if, for instance, you prefer to have the ashes scattered in the Garden of Remembrance, you could save money by opting for a provider who doesn’t include delivery of the ashes as part of the price.

Guaranteed coverage of services is important only if you want to ensure that all possibilities are taken care of.

Direct Cremation Plan Cost Options and Coverage

When it comes to paying for your prepaid plan, most providers offer the following, minimum payment options:

  • Full payment upfront.
  • Payment in monthly instalments for up to a year at no extra cost.
  • Payment in monthly instalments for between two to five years for an additional instalment charge.

Some providers also offer an insurance-based option where you pay a fixed, monthly amount from your plan start date until the date of your death. (Low Cost Funerals, Pure Cremation, Memoria & Sunlife)

How you pay will determine when you will be entitled to the plan benefits.

If you pay upfront, you should always be fully covered from the start of your plan.

If you pay by instalments, then most providers will guarantee your coverage after twelve months of paying into your plan – your loved ones shouldn’t have to pay the balance of your plan if you haven’t finished paying it off.

Is a Prepaid Direct Cremation Plan Right for Me?

The Pros & Cons of Prepaid Direct Cremation Plans

A prepaid direct cremation plan is likely to be a suitable option if:

You are unlikely to need a funeral within the next two years.
You wish to save money by locking in the cost of your funeral at today’s prices.
You wish to settle your funeral arrangements in advance so everything is taken care of when the time comes.
You would prefer a simple, no-fuss funeral option.
You are keen on organising a memorial occasion or celebration of life at a time and place of your choosing, entirely separate from the funeral process.

On the other hand, a prepaid direct cremation plan may be less suitable if:

You are likely to need a funeral in the next two years. In this case, paying for a funeral at-need is likely to be the most cost-effective option.
You or your loved ones would prefer a more traditional funeral service, or you follow a religion with precise stipulations for the end of life process which preclude a direct cremation funeral.
Remember also that you could end up paying more if funeral costs do not rise too much before you pass away.

Bonus Tips for Choosing the Best Prepaid Cremation Plan

  • If the provider offers you a local service, you may be able collect the ashes either from the crematorium or from a nearby funeral director. In this case, you could save money by not opting for delivery of the ashes to you directly.
  • If you wish to attend the cremation service, you may wish to look for a provider who is able to offer you a local or regional service.
  • If you are especially keen on receiving a personal/local service, then you may want to consider only those providers who offer their services through a nearby funeral director.
  • If you wear a considerable amount of jewellery, or if you benefit from the use of a medical advice (e.g. hearing aid, pacemaker, artificial limb), you may wish to check whether removing these items prior to cremation is covered by the cost of the plan.
  • Look especially at the different payment options. If you choose to pay by monthly instalments, make sure you will be able to afford the payments for the entire duration of the payment plan. Most providers will cancel a plan if you are not able to maintain an up to date payment schedule.
  • Hopefully you will never need to cancel your prepaid plan. But if you change your mind, you can normally do so free of charge within the first thirty days. If you cancel later, however, most providers will levy a cancellation free between £100 and £400. You should check the terms and conditions of each provider so you can be sure of your cancellation rights.
  • Check a provider’s customer satisfaction rating on TrustPilot, Feefo or Reviews.io. You may also be able to find industry ratings for each provider at Fairer Finance. The higher the rating the more reliable the provider is likely to be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most common questions we get asked.
Feel free to contact us with any more advice you might need.

What is Direct Cremation?

A direct cremation is an alternative to a traditional funeral service. Instead of a hearse and funeral procession followed by an attended ceremony/committal, the deceased is brought privately to the crematorium for an unattended cremation. The ashes are then either delivered back to your loved ones or they may be scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.

Can I Attend the direct cremation?

A direct cremation is normally an unattended funeral service. However, if you do not wish to deprive your loved ones of the chance to be present, some providers will offer the option for them to attend the cremation for an additional price.
The precise services available can vary between different providers. Some are fairly minimalist, offering the opportunity for a few mourners to attend the proceedings without any formal service. Others may be a bit more elaborate, including a ceremony with readings, music and a minister/celebrant.
In all cases, however, there will be no hearse, limousine, procession or any of the other trappings of a traditional funeral service. The time of the service is also likely to be early on a weekday morning.
Usually, the option to attend is offered as a separately named type of funeral plan. If this is the case, you should find it listed as the second least expensive option available (after the direct cremation plan).
Some providers will also allow your loved ones to decide whether they want to attend the cremation after you die, and they can pay separately at that time.

Are Prepaid Plans Safe?

As of July 2022, all providers of prepaid funeral plans are required to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
In order to protect your funds, your provider should invest them either in a trust overseen by independent trustees, or in whole of life assurance policies with a regulated insurance firm.
In the unlikely event that your chosen provider ceases trading, either the trust or the insurer will seek to work with other funeral providers to offer you the plan benefits. You may, however, have to pay a little extra in this instance.
If your plan benefits cannot be delivered then your money should either be refunded to you or you should be entitled to compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Each provider should offer you detailed information on precisely how they protect your funeral funds. It is advisable for you to read this documentation in full for your peace of mind.

Is direct cremation a good idea?

There are several advantages to a direct cremation funeral:
Save Money: A traditional funeral will be more expensive than a direct cremation. The average cost of a funeral in the UK climbed by about 130% over the past decade. In 2019, the average cost of a traditional funeral was £4,417, whereas a typical direct cremation cost only £1,626.
Flexibility: A traditional funeral is usually conducted shortly after the death of the deceased, offering only a short period of time in which to make arrangements. A direct cremation, however, allows you to arrange a separate memorial service at a time and place of your choosing. This is especially advantageous if you have a significant number of mourners who have to travel a long distance to attend the occasion.
Personal Preference: Many people today prefer to avoid the pomp and formality associated with a traditional funeral service. By handling the cremation process separately from your farewell, direct cremation offers you a better opportunity of saying goodbye in a manner of your choosing. You could arrange anything from a dignified, private scattering of the ashes in a favourite location up to a big celebration of life with dozens of guests – the choice is entirely yours.

Are there Medical Requirements or Age Limits for Prepaid Plans?

So long as you are over 18, neither your age nor your medical status should affect your eligibility for a prepaid funeral plan.
However, if you suffer from a life limiting condition (or otherwise expect to need a funeral within the next two years) purchasing a funeral at-need is likely to prove more cost effective for you. In this case, you can still plan ahead for your funeral. Many providers will offer you a free facility for you to record your wishes for when the time comes.
Additionally, some providers place age restrictions when it comes to paying for your prepaid plan by monthly instalment. Especially if you are over the age of 75, you might want to check that all of the options are available to you. If not, you should still be able to pay for the plan in a lump sum.

Why Choose Direct Cremation?

There are several reasons why you may find direct cremation a wiser choice for you and your family members.

  • Cost-Effective: Traditional funerals have always been expensive and continue to go up in price. The average cost of a funeral in the UK climbed by about 130% in the last ten years. In 2019, a basic funeral was priced at £4,417, while direct cremation was only £1,626 – rather measly in comparison.
  • Flexibility: Direct cremation has no time-related demands. As opposed to most funerals, which must be conducted immediately or almost immediately following the death, direct cremation lets people delay the memorial service. This gives them more time to make arrangements.
  • Personal Preference: Cremation gives the deceased better control over their personal preferences. Some prefer not to hold a wake; with cremation no wake is necessary. Additionally, this means that someone who has not revealed their funeral wishes will give their surviving loved ones fewer reasons to disagree on funeral components (casket, flowers, etc.).
  • Religious Considerations: Whether a person is religious or not, direct cremation allows arrangements to be made in the exact manner they have chosen.