Husband Died Without Life Insurance: What to Do

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states.
After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu…

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Reviewed by

Rachael Brennan

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2022

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Here's the Scoop

  • Unfortunately, if your husband died without life insurance, you will be responsible for paying for final expenses and ensuring that your finances are stable
  • The average funeral and burial costs are between $7,000 and $12,000
  • You may be able to find charities and other organizations that will help pay for funeral and burial costs

If your husband died without life insurance, you might be wondering how to begin getting your finances in order. It can seem like an overwhelming task to handle the funeral and burial along with your regular bills and expenses. Hopefully, we can assist in guiding you in the right direction.

Below, we’ve discussed the cost of standard funeral and burial expenses, how to bury someone without life insurance, and some simple tasks you can complete to begin understanding your finances.

If you need help finding life insurance for yourself, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above.

Table of Contents

What happens if my husband died without life insurance?

What happens if your husband dies and has no life insurance?

Unfortunately, if your husband dies without life insurance, there are some immediate expenses that you will be left to pay for.

Funeral expenses cannot wait, but there are steps you can take to get the rest of your finances in order. If you relied on your husband for financial support, this can be a difficult task.

With that being said, grief is complex, and you should take things at a pace that you find comfortable for your emotional well-being. Prioritize the most pressing tasks first and don’t be afraid to ask other family members for help.

Now, let’s take a look at what you should know about what to do when a family member dies without life insurance.

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What kinds of final expenses will I have to pay?

The average funeral and burial costs are between $7,000 and $12,000. However, depending on the service and burial choices you make, some of the expenses you may face include:

  • Casket. Caskets account for a large chunk of the funeral costs. An affordable casket may cost around $2,400, with increasing prices for different materials.
  • Cremation. Direct cremation can cost between $500 and $1,500. The most significant factor affecting cremation rates is your location. However, cremation can reduce some other burial costs.
  • Embalming. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of embalming in 2021 was $775. However, this is only necessary if you plan a viewing.
  • Flowers. Funeral flowers can cost between $200 and $1,000, depending on the types of arrangements and how many you order.
  • Gravesite. Most plots cost between $1,000 and $2,500, but your costs may vary on your location and the size of the plot.
  • Gravestone. Flat grave markers cost around $1,000, while upright headstones can cost $10,000. The cost will vary based on color, material, finish, and more. However, military members get a free grave marker.
  • Memorial service. A memorial service includes planning, preparing obituaries, permits and death certificates, viewing, and gravesite coordination. The average cost is around $2,000.
  • Transportation. A hearse costs around $300, while a van or service car may cost an additional $150.

Unfortunately, there are very few ways to get help paying for a funeral. However, we’ve listed some sources for financial assistance below. Still, you may also want to consider taking out a loan or finding a funeral home that offers payment plans if you cannot afford to pay for the funeral out of pocket.

How can I get help with finances if my husband dies without life insurance?

If you cannot afford a funeral or burial, you can try finding programs in your area that can help cover the costs. Some state and federal programs may be available to families who cannot pay for a burial. This includes indigent burial assistance, which may pay up to $1,100 for a funeral and $552 for cremation. You may also find charities in your area that can help cover final expenses.

The Funeral Consumers Alliance is an organization that helps families all over the country find low-cost funeral and burial options. They partner with funeral homes and churches to help people who cannot afford final expenses.

The Social Security Administration also provides a one-time death benefit of $255. You and your dependent children may also qualify for ongoing monthly payments depending on your husband’s work history.

If your husband was a veteran, you may qualify for some help with burial costs from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA may pay up to $2,000 for service-related deaths or $796 for non-service-related deaths, plus $300 for death-related hospitalization expenses.

If you don’t qualify for any of the above programs, you may get help through crowdfunding. With crowdfunding, friends and family (and even kind strangers) may feel inclined to donate to a fundraiser created for your husband’s funeral costs and ongoing costs for your family.

What are some other things I can do to get my finances in order?

Besides funeral and burial costs, you will need to ensure that your finances are stable. As we said before, make sure that you don’t push yourself too hard during a difficult time. You may want to consider setting aside a small amount of time or commit to doing one task each day to organize your finances.

It would be best to focus on collecting death benefits or other assistance to help pay for your husband’s funeral and burial. You may need a death certificate for this, so make sure that obtaining copies is at the top of your list.

Moving on financially

You should also make sure not to push your regular bills aside. Instead, make sure that they get paid on time so that you don’t have a mess to deal with later. If you’re not familiar with which bills need to be paid, try checking past financial records to see which expenses were being paid regularly and when.

Be sure to take the 30 days after your husband’s death to observe your spending habits and your debts. Use this as a baseline to come up with a manageable budget.

Next, gather up the most recent statements for bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, loans, credit cards, mortgages, and any other important financial accounts you can think of. Finally, notify financial institutions of your husband’s death, and use these documents to get an overall snapshot of your finances.

You should also notify your husband’s employer of his death and inquire about pensions or retirement funds. You may be required to take a lump-sum distribution if you are listed as a beneficiary on your husband’s 401(k).

Finally, change the title and registration on vehicles in your husband’s name.

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Bringing it All Together

As you can tell, many things need to be managed if your husband died without life insurance. However, after you’ve completed all these tasks, it can be empowering to know that you were able to get through stressful times and that you have a greater knowledge of your finances.

You may want to consider purchasing life insurance for yourself, especially if you have dependent children, so your family does not have to go through the same situation. Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to find affordable life insurance near you.

Frequently Asked Questions: Husband Dying Without Life Insurance

We hope that we’ve been able to provide some guidance on this difficult topic. There are, of course, lots of other potential questions that can come up. Here are a few that come up often along with in-depth answers.

#1 — How do I find out if my deceased husband had life insurance?

You should first obtain a copy of the death certificate. Next, talk to people close to your husband (including friends, family, bankers, financial advisors, etc.). Also, be sure to ask your husband’s employer if he paid for a policy through his paycheck. You can also search through his personal belongings and check his mail and email. In addition, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a free policy locator if none of the above yields any results.

#2 — How does a widow qualify for Social Security survivor’s benefits?

In most cases, a widow can qualify for survivor’s benefits from Social Security if they are at least 60 years old and had been married to the deceased for at least nine months before their death.

#3 — Do you get life insurance if your husband kills himself?

In most cases, a policy must be in force for at least one or two years without changes before the insurance company will pay the death benefit if the policyholder commits suicide. Therefore, if your husband has had life insurance for at least one or two years, you may qualify for the death benefit.