Perfect Choice funeral plans are offered by Ecclesiastical Planning Services, part of the Ecclesiastical Group, an insurer of the Anglican church founded in 1887.
Ecclesiastical is one of the UK's leading funeral plan providers, offering bespoke, tailored options to suit every budget. One of their key USPs is that, as a leading church insurance company, they provide a high level of financial security for your funeral plan investment. Their plans also fall under the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) regulation, providing added protection.
Your money is ring-fenced for life in one of Ecclesiastical’s insurance policies.
Here, we'll look at the current incarnation of Perfect Choice and its offerings.
Who is Perfect Choice?
Perfect Choice is a funeral plan brand operating as part of Ecclesiastical Planning Services. Ecclesiastical is a highly reputable and well-known insurer of churches, but Perfect Choice went somewhat off the radar at the tail end of 2018.
In 2021, Perfect Choice released a new brochure showing they're still around. You can get their services from funeral directors across the country, with Ecclesiastical Planning Services delivering the funeral.
All websites that used to point to Perfect Choice now point to Ecclesiastical Planning Services. However, the logo (the purple flower) is the same.
As of 2022, there are no specific prices on their website, which further confuses matters. In the past, Perfect Choice had four tiers of fixed-price funeral plans.
It seems now that their service is bespoke and tailored to each individual based on their location.
This makes sense, given the current funeral economy. Prices fluctuate significantly by area, so each plan will be unique and costed differently based on the buyer's needs.
Are Perfect Choice Reputable?
Perfect Choice works with over 800 funeral directors from across the UK, are part of NAPFP (National Association For Pre-Paid Funeral Plans, the National Association of Funeral Directors and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Perfect Choice’s 2021 brochure supplies the following quote:
“The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) believes that Perfect Choice Funeral Plans represents the most robust and professionally managed funeral pre-payment plan that is available to funeral directors and their customers.”
All the evidence suggests that Perfect Choice is reputable. Since they work with local funeral directors, their prices are often lower than national main brand competitors. However, this opens the plans up to greater local and regional variation. This is a good thing if funerals in your local area are cheap - Perfect Choice’s plans should align with lower local prices as well as higher ones.
This confers some advantage over other national plans based on average funeral costs.
There are also some drawbacks to this method of funeral planning, as your plan will be specific to your chosen (likely local) funeral director. This may be an issue if you move.
Perfect Choice says it will secure your funeral with your new local funeral director if you move. However, your family will have to cover any additional costs if your funeral plan doesn't.
On the flip side, if the new local funeral director is cheaper than the former, you won't get back the excess unspent cash.
Perfect Choice funeral plans
It seems like Perfect Choice no longer offers fixed-price funeral plans with different tiered features. Instead, they solely work with local funeral directors.
Many local funeral directors have pages on their websites stating their affiliation with Perfect Choice, like this funeral director in Caerphilly, this one in Newry, Northern Ireland, these funeral directors in Selkirk, Scotland and this one in Sutton Coldfield.
To demonstrate the features offered by Perfect Choice funeral plans, we have compiled 2018 pricing data on their previous plans. This pricing data is not necessarily a true reflection of Perfect Choice's current prices.
They previously stated on their website that their average funeral plan cost is around £3,665. Estimates have since been removed to better reflect the fluctuation in plans.
The following four funeral plans are based on 2018 pricing.
Perfect Choice Funeral Plans Basic Plan - £2,535
The Basic Plan is designed to cover the basic costs of a funeral. It will cover the funeral director's fees but little else, leaving the family to pay for all other third-party costs. However, it will still cover the costs of a simple coffin, hearse and documentation.
Third-party fees for cremation, ministers, services and other funeral features will have to be paid separately.
The Perfect Choice Simple Plan - £3,605
This plan adds a £1,200 contribution towards third-party fees, typically covering ministers, celebrants and doctor’s fees where applicable. This plan is competitively priced and fairs well compared to most other brands.
The Perfect Choice Traditional Plan - £3,915
The Traditional Plan covers all of your traditional funeral bases. It pays for the funeral director's services, documentation, funeral services, a veneered coffin, a hearse, one limousine, and a chapel of rest to view the deceased.
It also includes a £1,200 contribution to third-party fees.
Perfect Choice Burial Plan - Varies
This is the only Perfect Choice funeral plan to include burial. Back in 2018, this plan would have been priced on an individual basis. Most funeral directors have a standard price for burial services. The choice of a burial plot is a different matter entirely and will also be worked out individually.
Read our guide on where you can get buried for more information on this point.
Like the other plans, the Burial Plan also includes a £1,200 contribution to third-party fees.
As mentioned, this data is now possibly outdated. The Perfect Choice website says current plans are based on local prices, not national averages. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage, as it helps people secure reasonably priced funerals where funerals are at their cheapest. On the other hand, the portability of these plans is a potential issue, so if you intend to move, it'd be essential to discuss this before making a decision.
Does Perfect Choice provide guaranteed services?
Perfect Choice plans fully guarantee the main funeral director costs and services. This covers everything from the hearse to the coffin, service and documentation.
The cost of viewing the deceased may also be guaranteed, depending on the plan you choose.
Perfect Choice says, “Our plans cover your selected funeral director’s services as listed in your plan paperwork. You can choose to include a contribution towards third party costs, such as the cost of cremation. These are outside of the funeral director’s control and therefore cannot be guaranteed.”
Contributions to third-party costs
Costs outside the funeral director’s control, like cremation costs, ministers, celebrants and other special requests, are not covered as guaranteed services. Instead, your funeral plan will have to contribute to these costs. Any excess not covered by the plan will have to be met by your family.
Three of the 2018 plans had a £1,200 contribution to third-party costs. However, whether this will cover the total costs depends on your location and requirements.
The Basic Plan featured no contribution towards these costs.
If you want to make a more significant voluntary contribution to third-party costs, you'll likely be able to do so.
Your funeral options
One advantage of Perfect Choice's local funeral plans is that you'll be able to arrange bespoke options more easily with your local funeral director.
Perfect Choice has a brochure with example options here.
On their website, they've mentioned that they've completed various requests for their funeral plan holders:
- Military-style funerals
- Victorian horse-drawn hearse
- Environmentally friendly coffins
- Burial at sea
- Woodland burials
- Motorcycle hearse
- American-style funerals
- Customised coffins
It seems like Perfect Choice has an open mind concerning bespoke options, which is a benefit of their service.
Will my family have to pay out additional money?
Whether or not your family will have to pay out more depends on two things:
- Your contribution to third-party costs
- The costs of third-party services
You'll likely be able to make a higher voluntary contribution to third-party costs if you desire. However, costs exceeding your contribution will have to be met by the family.
Will my money be safe with Perfect Choice?
Ecclesiastical is a major insurer of churches and has considerable financial backing and security.
Your money will be paid into a whole life policy, which is ring-fenced and protected until your funeral. Perfect Choice's funeral plans are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) following the body taking over regulation of the sector in July 2022.
The new regulatory framework has imposed a ban on third-party commissions, and means you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if there are any issues with your funeral plan.
What are my payment options?
You can pay for your funeral plan in one lump sum or spread payments across 24, 36, 48 or 60 months. You will have to pay a deposit if you decide to spread the cost.
Another regular payment option allowing you to pay into your plan until your death or 90th birthday is available for those aged between 50 and 80 for plans costing between £1,000 and £10,000.
Are there other terms and conditions?
You have various rights over your funeral plan, including cooling-off periods and the right to cancel. You can read Perfect Choice’s terms and conditions brochure here. If you decide to cancel within 30 days, you may still be charged an admin fee of £160.
Is there an age limit?
So long as you’re over 18, you can buy a Perfect Choice funeral plan at any time with no upper age limit.
Will my funeral director accept Perfect Choice funeral plans?
Perfect Choice says they work with over 800 funeral directors from the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD). However, this doesn't mean your local funeral director is sure to work with them. Perfect Choice will discuss your options when you consult with them on a plan.
What if I move?
Perfect Choice states that if you move, they will attempt to find you a new funeral director with comparable costs. As far as we can see, you won't receive a refund if they charge less. But if the new funeral directors charge more than the former, you or your family will need to pay the difference.
Perfect Choice funeral plans
Perfect Choice is part of Ecclesiastical, a major insurer of Anglican churches. As such, the financial security aspect of their funeral plans seems assured.
Since Perfect Choice liaises directly with local funeral directors, there is likely significant variation in their funeral plan prices.
Perfect Choice offers many options and the opportunity to tailor your plan, with FCA regulation providing extra security. One downside is that their plans may not be easily portable if you move from one place to another. Ensure you consider all your options and maybe even take financial advice before committing to a funeral plan.