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Is The Nation’s Most Popular Final Expense Plan All It’s Cracked Up To Be?
It’s never pleasant contemplating one’s own death, but when we’re approaching the grand golden years of our life, it’s important to consider how our eventual passing will impact those we leave behind, not just emotionally, but financially too.
Funerals these days can cost between $7000 and $12,000+, which is a devastating financial blow, even for the well off, and for the less fortunate among us, well… it doesn’t even bear thinking about.
But that’s where final expense life insurance comes into play. These policies pay out a lump sum to your chosen beneficiary in the unfortunate event of your passing, so your family and friends can afford a send-off that honors your final wishes.
If you’ve already started your search for a final expense insurance policy, you’ll no doubt have come across stalwarts of the industry, Lincoln Heritage, and their hugely popular Funeral Advantage plan.
At first glance, it can seem like a very promising prospect, but as is the case with any form of insurance, it’s best to do some research before signing on the dotted line.
So, to help you out with what can be a very stressful process, the team here at Simplified Burial Insurance has done a comprehensive, no-holds-barred review of Funeral Advantage by Lincoln Heritage.
Here, you’ll find everything there is to know about this burial insurance plan, so you can make an informed decision on whether it’s the right move for you and your loved ones.
Who Is Lincoln Heritage?
Founded in 1963 by Thomas Allen Londen, Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance (LHLI) is a company that specializes in final expenses, otherwise known as burial or funeral insurance.
Operating out of Phoenix, Arizona, Lincoln Heritage has steadily become the most prominent name in this field of the industry, providing more people with burial insurance than any other company, which is a pretty impressive achievement.
They have been known to trifle in term life insurance policies from time to time, and they still offer a bit of variety by means of optional riders, but last expense insurance has been their flagship product from the get-go.
Company Finances: Are They A Stable Entity?
In terms of the company standing and finances, you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about when choosing Lincoln Heritage. They’re not going to go bust and leave you and your family empty-handed.
On the contrary, they’re actually a very successful titan of the industry with an 18% surplus-to-liabilities ratio, which, in layman terms, means they’re incredibly financially secure.
The company also celebrates A- to A+ ratings across insurance grading companies such as A.M. Best that assess a provider’s ability to meet insurance obligations.
Make no mistake, Lincoln Heritage is an extremely successful, not to mention, large company, and while this can instill a certain sense of well-being in customers, bigger isn’t always better. Read on, and you’ll see just what we mean.
What Is Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage Insurance?
Funeral Advantage is Lincoln Heritage’s final expense insurance package designed for senior members of the public. It provides a chosen beneficiary with funds to cover burial expenses should an insured family member or friend pass on.
It’s advertised as instant coverage, meaning your loved ones are financially protected as soon as your application gets the Lincoln Heritage stamp of approval.
What’s more, there are no medical examinations involved in the application process, and at 98%, the acceptance rate is reassuringly high.
This can be an enticing prospect for seniors who foresee or perhaps are having trouble finding coverage elsewhere, but if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, especially in the world of insurance, so let’s dig a little deeper, and see if the Funeral Advantage plan is everything Lincoln Heritage makes it out to be.
Cutting To The Chase: Is Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage Insurance A Wise Move For Seniors?
This review is going to cover every single aspect of the Funeral Advantage plan, which means it’s going to belong. In light of this, we understand that you may not have time to take in our full investigation, so we’re giving you a condensed report of our findings right off the bat.
Lincoln Heritage certainly talks the sliver tongued talk, but there are several chinks in this company’s “customer-kind” facade that you need to know about before you sign anything or even consider their Funeral Advantage policy as an option.
The first major pull of Funeral Advantage is that Lincoln Heritage claims that they approve 98% of applicants, and that may well be true, but that should be more of a warning sign than anything else.
The reason they can afford to take on so many customers is that they have a lot of money, and they make a lot of money by overcharging their clientele and implementing waiting periods to reduce payout (more on that in just a bit).
Their 24-hour payout protocol is also intentionally misleading. In almost no circumstances will your loved ones receive money from Lincoln Heritage within 24 hours of your passing — we’ll explain why later in the review.
Then there are the outrageous Lincoln Heritage rates to consider. Choosing Funeral Advantage over a policy with one of our carriers could mean you’re paying 20–300% over the odds.
So, ultimately, despite their imposing presence in the burial insurance industry, Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage protection is not a wise move for seniors.
Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage Insurance: Pros And Cons
- The Standard policy comes into effect immediately.
- No medical examinations are required.
- No BMI thresholds are in place.
- They’re a financially stable entity.
- Lincoln Heritage is known for its exemplary customer service.
- Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage rates are 20–300% pricier than competitors.
- They have overly strict tobacco policies.
- They don’t pay out in 24 hours as claimed.
- A number of medical conditions and medications will force you into their expensive Modified policy.
- The Modified policy has extensive waiting periods.
- They engage in much more thorough health checks during application than most competitors.
- The included membership to the FCGS doesn’t bring any value to the plan.
- Lincoln Heritage agents sometimes employ aggressive sales tactics.
- Lincoln Heritage is a captive insurance agency.
Putting Funeral Advantage Under The Microscope: An In-Depth Breakdown Of Lincoln Heritage Final Expense Underwriting
Funeral Advantage isn’t actually a singular insurance policy, but two. There’s a standard plan and what Lincoln Heritage refers to as the “Modified” plan.
The specifics of each plan diverge dramatically, but they both arrive with 3 permanent benefits:
The coverage lock means that nothing can touch the agreed figure of financial protection. It cannot be decreased, and as long as you keep up with monthly payments, the policy will never expire.
Funeral Advantage monthly fees are unaffected by inflation or interest. They will be consistent throughout the entire payment term, thereby helping seniors with very rigid, fixed incomes to keep on top of their expenses.
Cash Value Pool
With every payment you make to Lincoln Heritage, they take a fraction, and place it in a cash value pool that can eventually be borrowed from in times of crisis.
The Standard Immediate Coverage Funeral Advantage Plan
The standard Funeral Advantage plan is aimed at seniors, but anyone upward of 40 years old may apply. It offers instantaneous coverage, and, should you wish, you can add various riders to the agreement to tailor it to your circumstances.
- Eligible Age Range: 40–85
- Protection Amount: Up to $20,000
- Waiting Period: There isn’t one
- Medical Examination: Not required
- Build Chart: No
- Health Questions: Yep… a lot of them.
- Coverage Type: Permanent
- Cash Value Pool: Yes
- Tobacco Rates: Yes
What You Need to Know
As soon as your Funeral Advantage application is finalized, you’re officially covered by the policy. Even if you tragically pass later on that day, your loved ones will still receive the full payout to help them cover funeral and burial costs.
Extensive Health Questionnaires
If you watch any Lincoln adverts or read any of their written marketing, you’ll be bombarded with phrases such as “No Health Checks”, “No Medical Exams”, and “Most People Qualify”, and, credit where credit’s due, these statements are, for the most part, quite true.
You won’t be poked and prodded by doctors at any point of the application process, and you don’t have to conform to certain BMI standards to qualify for a policy, but as attractive as those buzz phrases mentioned above are, they’re also criminally vague.
The detail Lincoln conveniently leaves out of all their ads is that they review an applicant’s health far more stringently than almost all competing insurance companies.
Should you have one of their red-list medical conditions or be on certain medications, you are no longer eligible for the standard Funeral Advantage protection.
Lincoln Heritage will automatically shift you over to their “Modified” plan, which is a concise and sterilized way of informing you that you’re going to be paying up to 300% more than you would be with one of their competitors.
Membership To The Funeral Consumer Guardianship Society
The Funeral Consumer Guardianship Society is a business that helps you and your loved ones with certain organizational aspects of your funeral and burial. A membership to the SCGS comes as standard when your application for Funeral Advantage insurance is approved.
Standard Plan Monthly Rates
Let’s get down to brass tacks and check out some cold hard figures, shall we? To provide a bit of perspective, we’ve assembled the rates of one of our most popular carriers, Mutual of Omaha, alongside those of Lincoln Heritage.
Rates For Female Seniors
|Age||Lincoln Heritage: $10,000 Coverage||Mutual Of Omaha: $10,000 Coverage||Lincoln Heritage: $15,000 Coverage||Mutual Of Omaha: $15,000 Coverage|
Rates For Male Seniors
|Age||Lincoln Heritage: $10,000 Coverage||Mutual Of Omaha: $10,000 Coverage||Lincoln Heritage: $20,000 Coverage||Mutual Of Omaha: $20,000 Coverage|
The Modified Plan
“Modified” is a carefully chosen word. It doesn’t sound too drastic, it doesn’t imply anything particularly terrible, it doesn’t even sound like a discrete entity, rather a slight reworking of the standard plan.
Some might even take it to mean they’re being offered an improved policy, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
With extortionate monthly fees and unacceptable waiting periods, the only thing the Modified plan is tailored to is Lincoln Heritage’s greed. It’s designed from the ground up to squeeze as much money from customers as possible.
- Eligible Age Range: 40–85
- Protection Amount: Up to $15,000
- Waiting Period: Yes (big ones!)
- Medical Examination: Not required
- Build Chart: No
- Health Questions: Yes, but you’ll have already answered them in the application for the Standard plan.
- Coverage Type: Permanent
- Cash Value Pool: Yes
- Tobacco Rates: Yes
What You Need to Know
Not only will you be paying a massive premium for the Modified plan (we’ll talk rates in just a moment), to add insult to this unreasonable and grave financial injury, Lincoln throws a hefty waiting period into the equation as well.
How long is this waiting period? Well, it doesn’t exactly fly by.
Depending on your age, you could be looking at a 2-to-3-year waiting period before you’re eligible for full coverage, despite the fact you’ll have been paying an extortionate premium the entire time — doesn’t sound all that fair, does it?
We know that waiting periods are an accepted staple of modified full life cover, but Lincoln Heritage pushes things a little far by writing into the contract that customers under the age of 50 have to wait a full 3 years to qualify for a 100% payout.
So, if you do sign on the dotted line of the Modified plan contract, be sure to take good care of yourself, because if – god forbid – you pop your clogs before the waiting period terminates, your family will only receive a fraction of the agreed-upon payment.
Waiting Period Payout Agenda
Age: Between 40 and 49 upon plan approval
- Passing within a year of plan approval: Premiums +10% are paid out to your loved ones.
- Passing within 2 years of plan approval: Premiums +20% are paid out to your loved ones.
- Passing within 3 years of plan approval: Premiums +30% are paid out to your loved ones.
- Passing beyond 3 years after plan approval: Full coverage sum will be paid out to your loved ones.
Things get a little more reasonable if you’re beyond the age of 50, but in our opinion, the following waiting periods are still completely unacceptable.
Age: Between 50 and 85 upon plan approval
- Passing within a year of plan approval: Premiums +10% will be paid out to your loved ones.
- Passing within 2 years of plan approval: Premiums +20% will be paid out to your loved ones.
- Passing beyond 2 years after plan approval: The full coverage sum will be paid out to your loved ones.
High Acceptance Rate
As there are only two medical questions you need to answer to qualify for the Modified plan, acceptance rates are incredibly high.
As mentioned earlier, Lincoln Heritage claims to accept 98% of all applicants, which, on the face of it, sounds fantastic, but when you consider the finer points of this plan, it’s clear that the only party that stands to benefit is Lincoln Heritage themselves.
Membership to the Funeral Consumer Guardianship Society
Even if you’re lumped in under the “Modified” umbrella, you still get a free FCGS membership to help ease the organizational burden of your funeral and burial.
Now let’s take a look at some Modified plan quotes. Brace yourself… it’s about to get ugly!
Modified Plan Rates
|Age||Female Seniors: $10,000 Coverage||Male Seniors: $10,000 Coverage||Female Seniors: $15,000 Coverage||Male Seniors: $15,000 Coverage|
As you can see, these prices are extortionate and keep in mind that these are all non-tobacco rates. If you suffer from one of the conditions that bar’s you from the traditional plan and you’re a smoker, you’ll be paying a ludicrous amount for very little coverage.
An optional rider is an additional insurance service that you can fix to your primary plan for an extra fee, allowing you to mold the overall policy to suit your wants and needs.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Optional Rider
This rider grants a maximum of $100,000 of extra coverage, and it’s sold in individual units that raise your monthly premiums. You can purchase up to 8 AD&D units from the following list…
- Accidental Death: $5000 coverage
- Single Dismemberment: $2500 coverage
- Fatal Automobile Accident: $10,000 coverage
- Fatal Common Carrier (Public Transport) Accident: $20,000 coverage
- Fatality Caused by Terrorism or Act of War (Only Available in Certain States): $20,000 coverage
- Transport for Mortal Remains for Fatalities That Occur Beyond 200 Miles of the Deceased’s Home: $1000 (max) coverage
Child Rider Optional Rider
Anyone who qualifies for the Funeral Advantage scheme can also tack on some additional child insurance for their children, grandchildren, or stepchildren.
Much like the AD&D rider, The Child insurance rider must be purchased in units, and each one increases the monthly payments made for the primary insurance plan. Eligible youths must be between 30 days and 18 years of age.
This rider has a unit cap of 5, and each one adds $2.00 to your monthly payments.
Should they want to extend their coverage, any insured child is permitted to convert this policy into a permanent plan; however, the permanent plan may only have a face value less than or equal to the current value of the Child Insurance rider.
They must also trigger the conversion before they reach the age of 25.
Limitations Pertaining To Age And Location
Despite Lincoln Heritage’s open-arms approach to last expenses applicants, there are a few limitations in place that either place a cap on the coverage you’ll receive or disqualify you from the Funeral Advantage plan altogether.
This is typical of life insurance policies as a whole, so you won’t be able to completely avoid limitations by choosing a different company, but the limitations will differ from provider to provider, so it pays to shop around (or have us shop around for you) to find a plan that suits you.
Here are the key limitations of Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage program…
If you’re below the age of 80, you can apply for up to $35,000 coverage, which is the maximum amount (excluding any riders you may want to tack on to your policy).
However, if you’re between the ages of 80 and 85, the ceiling rate of Funeral Advantage protection is $15,000. Should you be over the age of 85, you will not qualify for either the Standard or Modified plan.
All Lincoln Heritage policies are available nationwide, with the exception of New York. New York has famously stringent insurance regulations in place, so you’ll find that a lot of companies simply drop the city from their agendas.
As previously mentioned, there are also a few location-based limitations on the Fatality Due to Acts of Terrorism or War AD&D rider.
Tobacco, or smoking, rates are the premiums people pay on life insurance fees to account for the fact they smoke or in some way use tobacco.
As we’re sure you’re aware, no life insurance takes all that kindly to tobacco usage due to the health implications, but Lincoln Heritage has a decidedly strict outlook on the topic.
Typically speaking, an insurance company will charge you tobacco rates if you smoke cigarettes, but Lincoln Heritage piles another 4 items onto their tobacco red-list:
- Smokeless Tobacco
- Chewing Tobacco
This may seem reasonable to the laymen, but what we want to emphasize here is that such a strict policy is not the norm. Lincoln Heritage is twisting insurance conventions to optimize their profit.
We represent a number of insurance carriers that won’t penalize you for any tobacco use besides cigarettes, so it always pays to shop around before dedicating yourself to a last expense insurance plan.
The Funeral Advantage Application Process
To give you an idea of what to expect when approaching Lincoln Heritage, we’re going to be taking you through the Funeral Advantage application process right here, right now.
One of the key aspects of Lincoln Heritage’s marketing is the absence of medical or BMI checks to establish client eligibility, which sounds great on the surface, but that’s not to say they’re an “easy-going” company.
Lincoln Heritage’s questionnaire alone has far more medical stipulations than the majority of competing companies.
The questions are broken up into two discrete segments, the first of which contains only two questions posed to ascertain your general eligibility. They are as follows…
- Has the proposed insured been diagnosed with a terminal illness, HIV, or AIDS by a licensed physician?
- Is the proposed insured presently bedridden, hospitalized, or incarcerated in a care facility?
If your answer to both of these preliminary questions is no, then you qualify for their Modified plan at the very least. If you answered yes to either question A or B, you do not qualify for any form of Funeral Advantage protection.
The next, much longer, set of questions are designed to sort applicants into Standard or Modified plans. To qualify for the much more affordable (but still somehow very expensive) Standard plan, you must answer no to every single question.
Should your answer to any of the following questions be yes, you will only be eligible for the extortionate Modified plan, complete with extensive waiting periods.
- Over the course of the past 6 months, has the proposed insured been hospitalized twice or more?
- If the proposed insured is under the age of 25, have they been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Cerebral Palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Has the proposed insured been diagnosed with, treated for, or taken medication for the following:
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Alzheimer’s disease/dementia
- Angina Pectoris
- Diabetes-induced coma
- Other complications pertaining to diabetes (including blindness, amputation, or kidney disorder)
- Cancer (excluding Basal cell skin cancer)
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Congestive heart failure
- Circulatory system disease
- Heart disease
- Heart attacks between 12 and 24 months prior to applying (although if you’re still on your blood thinning meds, you’ll be denied the standard plan regardless of how long ago you suffered the attack).
- Heart surgery
- Insulin shock
- Kidney disorder
- Kidney disease (including kidney dialysis)
- Cirrhosis, Hepatitis C, and any other liver disease
- Transplanted organ
- Oxygen due to the need for assisted breathing
- Organic Brain Syndrome
- Stroke between 12 and 24 months prior to applying (but, again, if you’re beyond the 24-month period and still on your meds, Lincoln will force you into their modified plan)
- TIA (Transient Ischaemic Attack)
- Does the proposed insured require assistance with day-to-day essentials such as bathing, dressing, or feeding?
- Has the Proposed Insured been diagnosed with or treated for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) by a licensed physician?
- Has the proposed insured had or been instructed to have a diagnostic test, the results of which are yet to be determined?
Now that’s one hell of a list! The chances of reaching what’s considered a senior age without ever experiencing any of these medical conditions or events are quite slim, but we did some digging, and guess what?… this isn’t even the full list.
According to our sources, absolutely any condition that requires you to take blood-thinning or heart medication (excluding hypertension meds), will void your application for the standard Funeral Advantage plan.
So, on top of the usual list of medical conditions you have to be clear of to snag the standard policy, there’s a second, implied list of medical events commonly treated with blood thinners, that will have you paying a small fortune for cover, including…
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Blood clots
- Irregular heartbeat
Jeez… is that it? Well, no, we’re afraid not. You must also be clear of…
- Hepatitis A and B
- Chronic Bronchitis
Now, we know what you’re thinking… surely all funeral insurance policies have some sort of medical restrictions in place?
Well, some of them do, yes, but at least one carrier we represent here at Simplified Burial Insurance will accept your application for a standard policy even if you have one of the aforementioned conditions. They won’t charge you a premium, and they won’t tack on any cruel waiting periods, either.
You might be wondering at this juncture why Lincoln Heritage has become such a popular burial insurance company if they fall so shockingly short on almost all fronts.
It’s a good question. The unfortunate truth is that people don’t realize that they’re being taken advantage of when they sign their finances away to the Funeral Advantage plan.
As we touched upon earlier, Lincoln Heritage has a pretty airtight, catch-all marketing strategy. It’s designed to draw you in and inspire confidence quickly to deter you from shopping around and learning about your options.
In light of this, many people never discover that the medical stipulations of the Funeral Advantage plan are utterly unreasonable. In fact, scratch that; “unreasonable” isn’t a strong enough word… predatory is a far more accurate descriptor.
Deceptive And Despicable: The Truth About Lincoln Heritage’s 24-Hour Payout Boast
If you read any Lincoln Heritage leaflets, visit their website, or meet one of their agents, you’ll be berated with the idea that your loved ones will receive the insurance funds within 24 hours of your passing.
It sounds like a pretty good policy, doesn’t it?
With the money funneled almost instantaneously into your beneficiary’s possession, it’s one less thing they have to worry about as they prepare to say their final goodbyes, but here’s the kicker… it’s highly unlikely Lincoln Heritage would ever deliver on this front, especially not in the way they imply.
They may be named after Honest Abe, but this is really just more smoke and mirrors, and sleight of hand to draw and hold your attention.
What you need to bear in mind is that there is nothing penned into the Funeral Advantage agreement that states Lincoln Heritage is contractually obliged to pay your loved one what’s rightfully theirs within a 24-hour period, and that means that, legally, they don’t have to.
Take another close look at the small print regarding the 24-hour payout on their leaflet or on their website. What you’ll find is that the eye-catching “promise” is suffixed by a modifying term.
For example, it might say “Most claims are paid within 24 hours of claim approval”, or “Cash benefits are paid within 24 hours, once a claim is approved”.
Do you see what they did there? With just a few short words, they completely alter the nature of their promise to you, and they’re hoping you’re not going to notice.
In conversation, a Lincoln Heritage agent will omit these little post-promise details, leaving you with the impression that your loved one will receive the full Funeral Advantage benefit within 24 hours of your passing, but that’s not how the Lincoln Heritage system works.
Before any benefits can be paid out to your loved one, their claim has to first be approved, and this approval process can, nay, will take much longer than 24 hours.
The beneficiary of your Funeral Advantage plan might be waiting for days, weeks, even months for all the necessary paperwork to be stamped and for the in-house accountants to finally unlock the funds.
But Will You Receive A Payout Within 24 Hours Of Your Claim Being Approved?
So far, Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage has been one disappointment after the next, hasn’t it? But even if you do have to wait for claim approval, it’s still pretty neat that the funds will be made available within 24 hours, right?
Well, yeah; it would be neat if it were actually true, but Lincoln Heritage fails to deliver any proof that this will definitely be the case.
If you’re already with Lincoln Heritage or are on the verge of signing on with them, take another good look at the contract, and see if you can find anything remotely to do with 24-hour payouts after claim approval.
You won’t find anything, as, conveniently, it’s not there, so what’s the big idea? You can’t seem to shut Lincoln Heritage up about this stuff before you’ve given them the old John Hancock, and as soon as you’re in their system, all the promises seem to evaporate into thin air.
Now, we can’t say that Lincoln Heritage definitely won’t pay your beneficiaries within 24 hours of claim approval, but being that they’re not contractually obliged to do so, it’s unlikely that they will.
Ultimately, this is just another empty promise from a profiteering company that cares a great deal more about turning a buck than it does about actually helping those in need.
Let’s Talk About That Funeral Consumer Guardian Society Membership: Is It Really Adding Value To The Lincoln Heritage Final Expense Policy?
As you now know, one of the benefits Lincoln Heritage offers that competing insurance companies don’t is an FCGS membership.
In their own words, the FCGS is an independent senior advocacy organization, and, in a nutshell, their goal is to help you plan your funeral and your loved ones execute your wishes in a cost-effective and timely manner.
They have no affiliations with any religion, cemetery, or crematorium. In fact, the only affiliation they do have is the one they share with Lincoln Heritage, and it’s a pretty big one.
In 2015, the FCGS shut their doors to the public and announced that their service had become an exclusive facet of Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage insurance plan.
We can only assume that Lincoln Heritage is remunerating the FCGS generously to keep them on board, and we have to admit, it’s a shrewd business move.
Knowing that your loved ones will have access to this exclusive service when you buy a Lincoln policy makes you feel all special and warm inside like you’re going the extra mile to protect those that matter to you.
However, at this point of our review, you know as well as us that the devil is in the details.
So, let’s take a look at exactly what the FCGS can bring to the table and whether it has any true value.
FCGS Benefit Number 1: Planning Assistance
The first item on the FCGS agenda is to help you hammer out some of the details of your funeral — we’re talking location, whether you want to be buried or cremated, choice of flowers, music, if you want a viewing… you get the idea.
It’s a pretty good first move, but it’s not like they allocate you a team of experienced professionals to help you through what can be an emotionally taxing process; all you get is a couple of paper questionnaires in the mail.
You fill them out, return them to the FCGS, then they keep your choices on record and forward them on to your beneficiaries once you pass on… that’s literally it.
The Truth About Benefit Number 1
Essentially what you’re getting here are some prompts on a couple of pieces of paper.
Now, don’t get us wrong, it’s easy for certain aspects of a funeral to slip the mind, so using a prompt sheet is a fantastic idea, but what’s stopping you from creating your own prompt sheet, or, alternatively, printing out one of the many free funeral-planning templates you can find online?
If you don’t have access to a printer, you can simply copy out the prompts on a piece of paper, or contact one of the many hundreds of companies out there that will send a prompt to your door.
Even if you do choose Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage plan, you shouldn’t entrust your final wishes to the FCGS alone. What if there was some sort of filing error in their system?
What if there was a fire at their headquarters and a million final wishes went up in smoke? What if you simply decide to stop doing business with Lincoln Heritage and forfeit your FCGS membership?
You should have at least one copy of your final wishes kept safe somewhere you and your family can access it, but we digress… The thing to note here is that even though the FCGS membership is exclusive, the service they provide is not.
Anybody with an internet connection can request a funeral planning prompt sheet.
The only unique thing about an FCGS prompt sheet is that it will say “FCGS” somewhere on the paper. Are those 4 letters worth even a fraction of the 20–300% premium you’d be paying for Funeral Advantage cover?
Not even close, but let’s see if the other FCGS benefits sweeten the otherwise sour deal, shall we?
FCGS Benefit Number 2: Funeral Funding Information
The FCGS will also act as an intermediary between your beneficiaries and Lincoln Heritage, which supposedly smooths out and speeds up the financial transaction after your passing, so your beneficiary can cover your funeral expenses posthaste.
It sounds alright, doesn’t it? Sounds like it might actually be kind of useful, but, once again, if you stop to look twice at this so-called benefit, it quickly becomes apparent that something doesn’t quite add up.
The Truth About Benefit Number 2
The question is, how exactly does the FCGS streamline the payment process?
We’d love to say they pull out all the stops and try to make good on Lincoln Heritage’s promise of a 24-hour payout, but that’s not the way it goes down.
Do you want to know what this service begins and ends with? Drum roll, please… They call Lincoln Heritage and inform them of your passing. And how does the FCGS know this to begin with? Why your beneficiary gives them a call and tells them, that’s how.
Of course, your beneficiary could just use that very same call to contact Lincoln Heritage directly, cut out the middleman, and get the ball rolling on the transaction even quicker.
So, this is just another useless service dressed up in deceptive language to make you feel as if you’re receiving some sort of special treatment.
Does this add any value to the Funeral Advantage plan? Nope. If anything, the Funeral Funding Information benefit is even more redundant and, frankly, laughable, than their Planning Assistance spiel.
That’s two out of four benefits written off as nonsense. Can the FCGS claw back some dignity with the other half of their service? Let’s find out?
FCGS Benefit Number 3: Plan Security Service
Hold on to your hat, folks, cause this one’s a doozy!
Remember that paper prompt sheet that you return to the FCGS with your funeral preferences all noted down? Well, with this “benefit”, they take that sheet, digitize it, and store it in their computer system to prevent ne’er do wells from ever accessing your personal info.
You and your family will then be provided a unique ID code, so you can peep at the details as and when you need to.
The Truth About Benefit Number 3
We honestly don’t know where to start with this one — it’s so absurd that you couldn’t possibly make it up. There is absolutely no point in the HCGS logging your funeral plan on their computers, and here’s why:
- You can put your funeral plan on a computer yourself if you really want to. Even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, you can probably open the notes app on your iPad or Word on your laptop, and if that’s a little beyond your abilities, you no doubt have a friend or family member that can help you out.
- There is no sensitive information held in your funeral plan that would benefit hackers or thieves in any way. All they’d discover is your love of pink roses and that you really want The Wizard of Oz version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland playing as your family and friends see you off — not exactly the big payout criminals are after when they come after our information.
- You should be keeping your funeral plan (or a copy of the plan) in your home or a safe spot anyway, so a secure, digital version is completely unnecessary.
Furthermore, the entire unique identification code thing is just a gimmick.
It turns out that the “ID code” is simply a membership number the FCGS use to track your account internally, but when they call it a unique ID code and put it on a “special coded ID card”, it sounds like they’re offering something cutting edge and helpful.
So, does this service add any value to the Lincoln Heritage final expense plan? It’s another resounding no, which means the FCGS is 0 for 3 on the benefits front. They better have something special up their sleeve for benefit #4, huh?
FCGS Benefit Number 4: Plan Activation Help
The fourth and final FCGS offering is assistance contacting, passing funeral plans to, and negotiating prices with up to three different funeral homes or crematoriums to save your loved one’s money whilst ensuring your final wishes are executed.
You may have already come across this benefit because, boy oh boy, does Lincoln Heritage like to go on about it.
It makes sense, really. Seeing as this is the only FCGS benefit of any consequence, they want to divert your attention away from all the drivel and keep you focused on something a little more substantial.
According to Lincoln Heritage, the folks over at the FCGS are pretty good hagglers, and they’re able to save your beneficiary up to $1800 on traditional funerals and as much as $600 on cremations, which is some pretty serious cash, but is it too little too late?
The Truth About Benefit Number 4
Okay, so it might be that the FCGS’s Plan Activation Help can save your beneficiary some money, but, and we that to sound like a broken record here, but this is nothing a person can’t do themselves.
Granted, it’s heartbreaking dealing with the death of a family member or dear friend, but calling three funeral homes or crematoriums for quotes isn’t exactly a taxing job.
If your beneficiary isn’t feeling up to it, there’ll most likely be someone in your family or circle of friends they can turn to who’ll be willing to take on this duty.
Plus, the FCGS keeps their haggling techniques pretty close to the chest. They don’t give customers any information about how lower prices are arranged and how much effort they put into the endeavor.
For all we know, they may literally just request three quotes, choose the cheapest one, then play it off as if they’ve been battling your beneficiary’s case tooth and nail.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that they do work tirelessly to secure the lowest possible price for your funeral. Hell, let’s even say that they get that full $1800 or $600 off.
Does that really make up for all the half-truths and let-downs you and your family have had to endure thus far? No way!
And then there’s the golden question: Does this benefit add any value to the deal as a whole? A small amount, we suppose, but it’s completely eclipsed by the sheer size of the premiums you’re paying for Funeral Advantage, to begin with.
Even if your loved ones do save that $1800, the excess you’ve been paying Lincoln Heritage throughout your life would buy you far more than $1800 worth of extra coverage from a competing life insurance company.
FCGS Membership: A Clever Sales Gimmick And Nothing More
If you like the sound of these benefits, then by all means give Lincoln Heritage a try, but we urge you to at least consider your other options first. You’ll instantly see that you’re offered a better bang for your buck from a number of other carriers.
The only thing exclusive about this adjoined Funeral Consumer Guardian Society membership is the membership itself. Every service they provide is either completely useless or attainable elsewhere.
To be completely frank with you, it’s a scam. Neither Lincoln Heritage nor the FCGS are breaking any laws here, but they are playing it fast and loose with the truth, using clever language to pull the wool over your eyes and trick you into thinking you’re getting special and unique service.
The FCGS is Lincoln Heritage’s snake oil. They sing its praises, telling of all the problems it will solve and how it can make your life and the life of your beneficiary so much easier, but let’s be real… the FCGS does next to nothing for you.
Do yourself a favor and don’t allow Lincoln Heritage to draw you in with their swindler’s siren song. There are better deals out there. You just have to be willing to see them through the many diversionary tactics employed by this second-rate company.
If It’s So Unhelpful, Why Does Lincoln Heritage Place The FCGS At The Forefront Of Their Insurance Marketing Strategy?
The simple truth is that the optics of a final expense policy with an adjoined FCGS membership are very enticing, and it goes some way in (falsely) excusing the ridiculous premiums you pay for a Lincoln Heritage plan.
Hats off to the folks over at Lincoln that came up with this B2B collaboration, because it does look good on paper: One institution takes care of the purely financial aspect of a loved one’s passing, while the other deals with the organizational aspects of their burial.
At face value, it looks like you’re getting a comprehensive service that will help your family cope during the grieving period, but how things appear, isn’t necessarily how things are.
It saddens us to say, but the FCGS membership aspect of Lincoln’s Funeral Advantage policy is a mirage set in place to take advantage of your desire to help your loved ones when you’re no longer around to do so yourself.
It’s not that the FCGS is a completely hollow addition to the deal. They might be able to save your beneficiary a little money and take the lead on some organizational fronts, but they don’t do anything that you or your loved ones can’t do yourselves with relative ease.
The way we see it, the FCGS is a front to hide unscrupulous goings-on, a thin veneer designed to veil the fact that Lincoln Heritage makes you pay premium rates for zero benefits.
To sum up, this section of the review, let’s condense all the information into a few bullet points:
The FCGS membership is valueless because…
- There are a number of other completely free funeral planning services out there.
- You can have a member of your family or inner circle of friends ring around funeral homes or crematoriums for quotes. These businesses understand that it’s a difficult time for their prospective clientele, so they do everything in their power to make the process as easy as possible. They will assess your final wish plan and provide a fully itemized expense list, making price comparison a total doddle.
- You can compose a final wishes document yourself, and if you’re having trouble thinking of a few details, there are countless prompt articles and sheets available online.
- You should keep said final wishes document safe with your other important documents, so there’s no need for the FCGS to get involved with this element of your preparation in the first place.
- Your beneficiary should be contacting Lincoln Heritage directly after your passing. There’s no need whatsoever to filter the news through the FCGS.
What Is Lincoln Heritage’s Customer Service Like?
Lincoln Heritage’s customer service is their one redeeming factor. By all accounts, their approach to taking care of clients is second to none, but this is slim (if any) recompense for the financial damage they’ve caused their customers at this point.
Besides, you shouldn’t have to pay a premium just to be dealt with satisfactorily by your policy provider. Excellent customer service from a life insurance company should be a given, no matter how much you’re paying a month for coverage.
It’s also worth noting that you’ll only receive this sterling customer service once you’ve signed on the dotted line, and you’re officially in their pocket (and they in yours).
There have been an alarming number of reports claiming that Lincoln agents are incredibly aggressive, which is why we’d suggest never talking to them without a friend or family member present to support you.
Having a confident loved one in tow is particularly important if you’re meeting with a Lincoln agent in person, but it’s also worth having some backup if you’re only going to be discussing life insurance policies over the phone.
Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage: Frequently Asked Questions
You can find an informative list of general burial insurance FAQs on our Simplified Burial Insurance Home Page, but before we go our separate ways, let’s take a look at some FAQs pertaining to Lincoln Heritage and their Funeral Advantage plan specifically.
Is Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage legit?
Due to their aggressive agents and too-good-to-be-true marketing strategies, Lincoln Heritage and their Funeral Advantage plan can come off a little, shall we say… sketchy, but we can assure you it is a legitimate business and a legitimate plan.
Lincoln Heritage is actually the largest seller of burial insurance in the States. The only problem is, their plans just aren’t that good. They leverage their position in the industry to inspire trust and convince customers into taking one of the worst last expense policies on the market.
Is Lincoln Heritage A Decent Insurance Company?
Lincoln Heritage is certainly run by decent business people, but does that make it a good insurance company? Nope.
Sure, they’re financially stable, which is critical, but there are plenty of other insurance companies out there with solid finances that don’t charge astronomical fees.
We know every business has to turn a profit, but Lincoln Heritage takes things way too far. Their prices are unrealistic, their marketing is exploitative, and their intentions are to make as much money out of seniors as possible, no matter the consequences.
Does Funeral Advantage Have Fair Pricing?
Funeral Advantage pricing isn’t fair in the slightest. The fees are completely bloated, and you get nothing in return for the premium. Compare Lincoln Heritage rates to any other big name in last expenses insurance, and you’ll see this policy for what it really is, a shameless and abhorrent cash grab.
If you are considering Lincoln Heritage’s Funeral Advantage program, please, please, please check out your other options before making anything official. With our help, you could save between 20 and 300% on your burial insurance.
What Type Of Insurance Is Lincoln Heritage?
As far as we know, Lincoln Heritage is the only company in the US that focuses solely on final expense insurance, a plan that pays out to your loved ones to cover funeral costs after your passing.
Being that this form of insurance has been their bread and butter since their formation in the early 60s, you’d think they’d be a pretty good option for seniors, but this isn’t at all the case. Lincoln Heritage is without a doubt one of the worst insurance companies we’ve ever come across.
How Long Has Lincoln Heritage Been In Business?
The Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company was founded in 1963.
What Do Customers Say About Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage Cover?
Customer feedback for the Lincoln heritage Funeral Advantage plan is satisfactory at best, and it’s likely only this positive due to two overarching factors:
- The Lincoln Heritage customer service team is really quite good. They’re well-trained, quick to respond, and treat you with respect.
- People get sucked into the Funeral Advantage plan before they assess any alternatives, and with nothing to compare it to, they have no way of knowing they’re being taken for an extremely expensive ride.
Is Lincoln Heritage A Captive Agency?
Yep, Lincoln Heritage is a prime example of a captive insurance agency, which means that their representatives are only permitted to sell in-house insurance policies, and they do so by convincing customers that Lincoln Heritage insurance is the best on the market.
Now, we’re not necessarily speaking out against insurance salespeople here, after all, we’re in the same industry. The problem isn’t with representatives trying to make a sale. The issue we see is that prospective customers aren’t told that Lincoln Heritage representatives are captive before they talk on the phone or meet them in person.
Without this knowledge, the customer is likely to assume that they’re hearing an objective, unbiased opinion that Lincoln Heritage is the cream of the insurance crop when, in actual fact, if the representative doesn’t suggest Lincoln Heritage, they’ll be out of a job.
What Are Some Of The Best Alternatives To Lincoln Heritage For Final Expense Insurance?
We’d argue that every single insurance company that we carry is a good alternative to Lincoln Heritage for final expense insurance, but which one is right for you depends on your circumstances.
Not to worry, though. There’s no need to spend hours researching companies and comparing quotes, as Simplified Burial Insurance will take care of all that boring stuff for you.
What Happens If You Stop Paying The Monthly Funeral Advantage Fees?
If you stop paying your monthly Funeral Advantage fees, you will likely be contacted by Lincoln Heritage representatives who will try to resolve the issue. If you cannot be reached, or you refuse to/cannot pay the fees, your final expense insurance plan will be terminated.
It’s unlikely you’ll get any form of a refund, especially as the company doesn’t offer any premium-release riders during your application, but if you feel you are owed a refund, then, by all means, contact the Lincoln Heritage customer service team and plead your case.
Can I Cancel My Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage Insurance Plan?
You can indeed cancel your Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage plan. As mentioned above, you could simply cancel any direct debits and stop paying them, but that’s not your only option if you want to sever ties with the company.
You can call or email Lincoln Heritage to express your discontent and your desire to cancel your plan, but be prepared to deal with some pretty pushy agents. Keep a strong-willed loved one nearby for moral support.
Alternatively, you can use the Lincoln Heritage Online Policy Portal to discuss discontinuing your plan. Again, you’ll be met with fierce resistance, but stay strong, and you will be able to free yourself from their clutches.
Lincoln Heritage does not allow anyone to cancel their plans in face-to-face meetings or by letter, so save yourself some time and effort and contact them online or over the phone.
How Did Funeral Advantage Become Such A Popular Insurance Plan?
Considering everything we’ve covered here today, it’s hard to believe just how popular Funeral Advantage has become across the States. You have to ask yourself… How the heck has this happened?
Well, we’re not entirely sure what facilitated this company’s meteoric rise, but we can make a few educated guesses.
Firstly, Lincoln Heritage “specializes” in final expense insurance, which gives potential customers the impression that they know what they’re doing, and will be able to offer better deals than insurance outfits with a broader catalog.
Secondly, their marketing team are experts in the fine art of “spin”, and have successfully veiled all the flaws in the Funeral Advantage plan. Even fastidious consumers have trouble seeing through their cleverly worded facades.
Lastly, they have reached a tipping point at which the size of the company alone is enough to keep the clients rolling in.
How Many Policyholders Does Lincoln Heritage Have?
Lincoln Heritage currently claims to provide insurance to over one million policyholders, making them the largest final expense insurance company in the US.
Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage: The Final Verdict
Seniors are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and it’s not through weakness of will and certainly not through naivety, but humanity. As we get older, we learn what truly matters, what we should hold sacred and cherish.
When we enter the autumn of our lives, we care about certain things more than we ever have before, and companies like Lincoln Heritage, with their marketing strategists and obtrusive agents, use this pureness of heart as leverage to lure you into their spiderweb composed of equal parts deception, callousness, and greed.
Lincoln Heritage manipulates truth with surgical precision on all fronts, taking advantage of every loophole in the book to wriggle out of honoring their word, and they should be avoided at all costs.
We’re so shocked by what we’ve uncovered about this company that we don’t even feel that a rating is required. 0 out of 5 doesn’t seem to quite communicate just how woeful their underwriting and services are. We’d have to delve into minus figures to really get the point across.
The long and short of it is that Lincoln Heritage is going to charge you between 20 and 300% more than other companies for final expense coverage, which is unacceptable. To put that in perspective for you, let’s take a look at what that means in dollars.
Say you purchased $10,000 coverage with Lincoln Heritage. You could pay the same monthly rates for between $12,000 and $30,000 worth of coverage from a competing insurance company.
So, would you rather leave your loved ones $10,000 or $12,000 to $30,000 when you leave this earthly plane? Obviously, you want to help them out as much as humanly possible, so avoiding Lincoln Heritage is a no-brainer.
Sure, there are certain aspects of Funeral Advantage that make sense for seniors. The fixed monthly fees and the coverage lock are vital appointments, but they’re by no means a proprietary offering.
Almost all insurance companies with a final expense option understand that seniors have a fixed income and need to measure their outgoings precisely to ensure financial longevity, so they too include coverage locks and fixed fees in their policies.
To put a pin in it and conclude this review, there are no circumstances that position Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage as a good choice for seniors, but that doesn’t mean you have to seek out an alternative on your own. We are here to help.
How To Find Burial Insurance With Much Better Rates Than Lincoln Heritage Can Offer
Lincoln Heritage agents are all “captive”, which means they’re only permitted to offer you what the company says they can. They try to hide the fact that there are better options out there, so you’ll stay in the Lincoln ecosystem. This is part of the reason they take such an aggressive stance.
We, on the other hand, are an independent burial insurance agent, which means we collect, compare, and offer multiple different policies from a variety of the best providers in the US, so we can find you a plan that suits your finances, accepts your medical history and honors your wishes after the unfortunate event of your passing.
At least one of our carriers will accept any of the medical conditions that will see you herded into the Modified Lincoln Heritage plan, but they won’t make you pay through the nose for having suffered in your life, nor will they punish you with ridiculous waiting periods.
What’s more, unlike Lincoln Heritage agents, we will not try to force you into choosing an insurance policy and neither will representatives of our carriers. We simply find the best deals available, then pass our findings on to you.
We respect our clientele and understand that the final decision is yours to make. If you’d like our help, contact us today, and we’ll talk you through your options, or, alternatively, visit our website, type in a few basic details, and you’ll be directed straight to the most affordable option for you.