How to Shop Around for the One Purchase Everyone Must Make

As comfortable as modern consumers are with shopping around – witness the thousands of product comparison Web sites – there is one major purchase many still seem unwilling to comparison shop for, and it’s a purchase everyone, or their loved ones, will eventually make.

Many consumers understand the importance of planning their final arrangements in advance, but fail to actually take the first step to making their plans. Yet comparison shopping in advance is the best way to find the funeral provider that’s right for you – one that carries out your wishes and delivers the quality, value and services you want.

Comparison shopping for your preplanned funeral arrangements really isn’t that different from shopping around for quality and value on anything else you buy. The basics are the same, with a few added considerations.

First, discuss your desire to prearrange your services with your loved ones. Remember that you have the right to decide for yourself how you would like your funeral to be. Next, compare levels of service and quality to determine the funeral provider and service options that are best for you. A quality funeral provider will listen to your wishes and work with you to plan the service you desire.

When researching funeral providers, look for added services and benefits that might impact your selection. For example, some people refrain from prearranging their funeral services because they are uncertain of where they may be living in the future. If this is a concern for you, look for a funeral provider that allows for portability of your arrangements. Members of the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral and cremation providers offer National Transferability of Prearranged Services, through which your prearranged funeral services are fully transferable and will be honored by any Dignity Memorial provider throughout North America should you move more than 75 miles from where your original arrangements were made.

Grief management support might also be a consideration. The loss of a loved one can be extremely difficult, as well as the accompanying grief. You may want to work with a funeral provider that offers grief management support. Dignity Memorial providers offer the Dignity Memorial Guidance Series, a collection of booklets, DVDs and CDs offering professional advice and compassionate insights into grief, and access to a 24-Hour Compassion Helpline® staffed by professionals with advanced degrees and specialized training in grief counseling.

Consider ways to personalize your funeral service to reflect your interests, hobbies or personality. Personalization is becoming increasingly popular, and making your arrangements in advance ensures your funeral will be the unique, personal service you desire. A quality funeral service provider will listen to and respect your ideas, and should work with you to incorporate them wherever possible.

When shopping around for a funeral provider, consider also the impact on your loved ones. Other benefits of the Dignity Memorial network include its Bereavement Travel Program, through which dedicated travel specialists will seek the best available airfares as well as hotel accommodations and car rentals for all family and friends to attend a funeral, cremation, memorial or graveside service, and its Child / Grandchild Protection Plan, available in some areas to provide funeral or cremation services at no cost up to the level of Dignity Memorial plan selected for any unmarried child or grandchild less than 21 years of age.

Lastly, when comparison shopping, remember that price should not be the only consideration or the primary consideration when planning funeral and cemetery services. Just as you might be willing to pay more for a luxury vehicle or luxury hotel stay, be aware there is a wide range of service standards, added benefits and other options among funeral providers.

Comparison shopping is commonplace for so many of today’s major purchases – it only makes sense to compare your options when shopping for final arrangements as well. It’s one purchase that everyone will eventually make, and comparison shopping now will ensure you find the funeral provider that’s right for you.

24-Hour Compassion Helpline is provided by Charles Nechtem & Associates Inc.
Child / Grandchild Protection Plan not available in Maryland or New York.

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