THE UK is facing a “critical” life insurance deficit, it has been claimed, after a recent case of a young woman who resorted to crowdfunding to pay for her mother’s funeral.

Eleesha Painter, 22, turned to the internet after she was unable to pay burial costs for her mother Ayshea Nicholls.

Poole-based insurance brokerage Protect Line donated the final £1,462 to reach the £3,000 crowdfunding target after managing director Jo Brewer saw the story on TV.

Research by JustGiving suggests the number of funerals paid for by crowdfunding rose 313 per cent between 2015 and 2016.

She said: “More than 2,000 people across the UK have crowdfunded to pay for family funerals and 2,007 crowdfunding pages were launched to pay for burials between January and September 2016 alone.

“When I came across Eleesha’s story I felt compelled to help and raise awareness of the huge life insurance deficit the UK is facing.

“I felt incredibly sad reading Eleesha’s story – she lost her mum in August and yet still could not pay for her funeral in October. We just wanted to help so her family could stop worrying about the cost of the funeral and take some time to grieve.”

Only 27 per cent of the UK population – around 14million people – have life insurance. Only nine per cent have critical illness cover – compared with 12 per cent who have mobile phone insurance.

The average cost of a funeral in the UK in 2017 was £4,086 and if funeral costs continue to rise at the same rate, the average cost by 2024 will be £5,925.

Mrs Brewer added: “The UK is facing a critical life insurance protection deficit. Life insurance is a purchase that people tend to put off until tomorrow but sadly, in many cases, tomorrow doesn’t come and then it is too late.

“Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the most emotionally vulnerable times in life and the shock of realising that a funeral will cost upwards of £3,000 could lead to guilt at not being able to afford the farewell a family member deserves.

“I hope, with greater awareness, more families like Eleesha’s aren’t forced to resort to crowdfunding to pay for the dignified farewell family members deserve.”

Eleesha Painter, whose mother died aged 43 after a series of health conditions, said: “When you are younger you don’t think about things like life insurance and you put it off.

“You live in a bubble, have your health and just assume the worst won’t happen to you. Then you need cover and don’t have it.”