Nine in ten Irish people over 50 worry their funeral costs will be a financial burden on their families – An Post Insurance survey

  • 68% have made no actual plan for their funeral, many saying they have had conversations with their loved ones about their funeral preferences
  • Cremation now the preferred burial option (47%) for over 50’s
  • Three quarters say it’s no longer important to wear black to a funeral, and that shaking hands and expressing sympathy is still a key Irish tradition


Nine in ten Irish people (94%) over the age of 50 worry that their funeral costs will be a financial burden on their family, according to a new Red C survey* unveiled by An Post Insurance into the attitudes to death and funerals in Ireland.


However, despite these concerns, a significant 83% of those surveyed say they don’t have a funeral specific insurance policy in place to help pay for their funeral.


While two thirds (65%) of those surveyed say they are ‘comfortable’ discussing death and funerals, only one in three have made some plan for their funeral. 68% of people haven’t made any plans.


Three in four respondents say they have had ‘conversations’ with loved ones about their funeral preferences and wishes, but despite this, 88% have not included their funeral preference and wishes in their will.


Cremation now the preferred burial option among the over 50 age group:

Being cremated has increased in popularity among the over 50 age group, with nearly half (47%) of respondents now preferring this option. 39% of respondents expressed a wish for a traditional burial, while 4% would rather their body be donated to science or have an ‘alternative’ style of burial such as a ‘green’ burial. 11% say they have given no thought whatsoever to how they want to be laid to rest.


€6,000 – the average cost of a funeral in Ireland in 2024:

The survey reveals that when it comes to the cost of a funeral, expectations versus reality are mostly aligned. Those who haven’t yet paid for a funeral (72%) estimated that it will cost approximately €6,409.


This is aligned with the actual average cost of a funeral, which research shows is now approximately €6,252*, according to survey participants who have paid for a funeral in the past five years. However, this is a 14% increase on the cost of funerals in just two years (€5,484*) and is a significant 42% increase since 2016 (€4,062**).


Live streaming of funerals now accepted as the norm thanks to Covid 19 pandemic:

The survey also reveals that traditional attitudes to funerals are shifting as a whole. Three in four people believe it’s no longer important to wear black to a funeral, and 69% believe that broadcasting or livestreaming funerals for those who can’t attend is a good idea, an option that gained prominence during the Covid 19 pandemic.


That said, Irish funeral traditions are still important to many. Wakes are still a respected tradition in today’s society with 81% agreeing it is an opportunity to pay tribute to the person who has passed away and three quarters believing it helps those left behind with the grieving process. A wake in their own home is the preferred choice of those surveyed (69%).


The following traditions are outlined as most significant by respondents:

  • 74% – shaking hands and expressing sympathy
  • 67% – soup, sandwiches and ‘good hospitality’ at the afters
  • 41% – a singsong after the funeral
  • 54% – telling stories about the deceased


With premiums starting at just €15 per month, a funeral insurance policy with An Post Insurance is an effective means to pay for some, or all, of the cost of your funeral, depending on the level of cover you take out.  For example, €15 (including 1% Government levy) per month a 50-year-old would be assured for cover of €4,700***.


Under an An Post Insurance Funeral Insurance policy, your loved ones will be provided with a fixed lump sum on your passing, once your policy has been in place for two years. If your death takes place within the first two years, your beneficiaries will receive a sum equal to the amount you have paid in at the time of your death. Total premiums over the term of the policy may exceed the death benefit. Costs can increase over time, while cover remains fixed***.


Remarking on the survey, Suzanne McGuinness, Head of Marketing at An Post Insurance, said:It’s great to hear that attitudes are becoming more positive around the discussion of death, and that Irish people are becoming more pro-active in forward planning.

“With such a high percentage of people worried about funeral costs, we are keen to help Irish people understand that taking out funeral insurance is a simple way to help them prepare financially.


While it may seem gloomy to think about, taking out a funeral insurance policy will ensure that some of the costs of your funeral will be covered, lessening the impact on your loved ones during a difficult time.”


Financial Advisor Paul Merriman, collaborating with An Post Insurance, echoed the same sentiment. Merriman said: “It’s encouraging to see that although some lovely funeral traditions are being maintained, there is a positive change in the Irish public’s willingness to discuss their own funeral. It’s important that these discussions are taken to the next step to ensure you get exactly the funeral you want.


A funeral insurance policy is a great place to start in terms of taking care of the expenses and ease the financial burden on your loved ones.


Get the peace of mind you need with An Post Insurance Funeral Insurance

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