“How much does a funeral cost?” is the most frequently asked question while planning a funeral. If you want to organise your funeral in detail, you’ll need to answer this question. We’ve assembled information on the average funeral costs and what factors into funeral costs, as well as some tried-and-true techniques to help you save money on your final expenses.
What is the Cost of a Funeral?
Funerals can range in price from $1,500 to $15,000, depending on a variety of criteria such as the quality of services provided and the location. We’ll look at national averages, different sorts of charges, and typical itemised funeral fees, as well as how prices vary depending on where you live in the United States.
What is the Average Funeral Cost?
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral cost in America is $7,360 for a funeral and burial and $6,260 for a full cremation service, however, funeral costs can vary greatly based on the exact services required.
How Much Does a Funeral Cost Depending On The Service?
The typical cost of a funeral is highly dependent on the services provided.
What Is the Cost of Cremation?
In 2021, the average cremation cost will be $6,260, which includes a service and cremation, as well as an urn, memorial prints, and other items. Cremations can be substantially less expensive if the service is held at one’s house and other goods such as the urn or prints are skipped: Depending on your location, direct cremations might cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000.
Cremation and service should cost around $6,000 for most people in the United States.
How Much Does a Burial Cost?
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a funeral and burial is $7,360. This average jumps to $8,755 if you get a vault.
It is critical to emphasize that this does not include a plot or a headstone. A burial plot in a municipal cemetery can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000, while private cemeteries can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.
Vaults, mausoleums, and erect headstones all add thousands to the overall cost. What is the cost of a headstone? Prices for grave markers and headstones range from $1,000 for a simple marker to $5,000 for an upright headstone.
That means that an unexpected funeral might easily cost between $9,000 and $15,000, depending on the services provided, the grave plot, and the headstone.
Many families may be concerned about the high average burial cost, however, there are less expensive solutions available. Direct burials, for example, cost between $3,000 and $5,000 because the body is not embalmed and there is no viewing.
In the event that one does not have a plot beforehand, a direct burial will most likely cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
Many families prefer to prepare and pay for plots ahead of time, or to purchase a family plot in which a specific area of a cemetery is reserved for family members. (If your loved one was a veteran, the Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to provide you with a burial allowance.)
It can be much simpler for family members when the plot has already been purchased, but make sure your family is aware of your plot purchase.
How Much Does a Funeral Service/Wake Cost?
Knowing the cost of funeral services may be beneficial if you’re attempting to decide whether or not to have a service or wake: When all of the fees are added up, the average cost of having a service is roughly $5,000.
To understand more about how such fees are routinely categorized, see our comprehensive breakdown of funeral costs. Due to corpse preparation expenditures, any service with viewing will always be more expensive than a funeral with no sight of the body.
Cremation vs. Burial: How Much Does It Cost?
The cost difference between a funeral and a cremation with a service is about $7,000 for a funeral and $6,000 for a cremation with a service, but the cost disparity becomes much more pronounced when the plot, coffin, and headstone are factored in.
A straight cremation with no service (which can cost as little as $1,000) is considerably different financially from purchasing a plot and service all at once (which can cost more than $9,000), so it all comes down to the family’s comfort and necessities.
To have a better understanding of the costs of cremation vs. funerals, check out our detailed breakdown.
How to Cut Down on Funeral Expenses
It’s critical to understand these costs and what you’re getting because a distraught, unprepared family could pay as much as $15,000 in fees. Even the most basic services can put you in a lot of debt. Here are a few easy ways to save your funeral costs significantly:
- Request a General Price List: By law, all funeral homes must provide you with a general price list upon request. Many funeral homes will raise their fees verbally in the hopes that you will agree, but regardless of what they say orally, they must honor the rates listed on their general pricing list. Each item will have its own line entry in every price list. You have the right to purchase only the services and commodities that you desire.
- Shop around: Get estimates on the services you want by calling four to seven funeral facilities.
- Don’t Tell the Funeral Houses How Much Money You Have: Don’t tell the funeral homes how much money you have. “I’m not sure, but it won’t be much,” you can respond if they ask about your budget. “What’s the best you can come up with?”
- Consider Purchasing a Casket/Urn Separately: You are under no obligation to purchase a casket, urn, prayer cards, or flowers from the funeral home. All of these products are often overpriced by the funeral home, and there are often cheaper alternatives. Costco, for instance, sells caskets and urns.
- Don’t Insist on a Viewing: Embalming and corpse preparation aren’t always necessary unless the body isn’t buried within a specified amount of time. Inquire about the availability of refrigeration.
- Consider a Direct Cremation/Burial: A direct cremation is a basic cremation that does not include any type of funeral service. A straight burial is a burial that takes place without any kind of liturgy or funeral ritual. Either way, you can save tens of thousands of dollars. Direct cremation is one of the most cost-effective funeral options. This could be followed by a service that comes to your home. However, many families may not want to organize a complete service themselves, making this a difficult decision.
Steps You Can Take to Prepare Financially for a Funeral
For the surviving loved ones who must pay these unforeseen expenditures, unpaid funeral costs can be a huge financial strain. This can be mitigated through funeral planning. Thankfully, there are a variety of options for budgeting for final expenses.
- Make a Cash Reserve: Reserve some cash to handle end-of-life expenses. This money must never be utilised for emergencies or any other type of life event. If you use it, it will not be available to cover your funeral expenses. Also, double-check that the dead are not the only account holder in the account where the funds are housed. The funds would then be subject to the probate process. You can even set up a funeral trust to keep the funds safe. This will ensure that the funds are available to cover funeral costs.
- Obtain Burial Coverage: Invest in burial insurance to cover your ultimate expenses. These are low-cost whole-life insurance policies meant to cover funeral expenses. Burial insurance prices are reasonable, plans are available for seniors up to the age of 85, and underwriting is quite lax. Some policies do not require underwriting, which means that everyone will be authorized.
- Pre-Pay at a Funeral Home: A pre-need policy can be purchased straight from a funeral home. This is a contract with your preferred funeral home that uses a life insurance policy to cover the funeral, with the funeral home identified as the policy’s beneficiary. If you want to pay for your funeral over a period of time, pre-payments are a terrific alternative. They also let you memorialize all of your final intentions, ensuring that the funeral is properly funded and planned.
- Get life insurance: All life insurance provides a tax-free cash payment to the beneficiary you designate. There’s no reason why this money couldn’t be utilized to cover funeral expenses. If you wish to insure your children, believe it or not, you may acquire infant life insurance. Basically, anyone between the ages of 0 and 90 can receive life insurance to pay final expenses (provided they are medically qualified).
Consider how much funeral costs, be precise in your will about your intentions, set aside money for the significant costs, consider pre-paying for some of the more expensive items, such as the burial plot, and make sure your family is aware of your plans ahead of time.