How much a funeral costs can be affected by the type of burial you choose. While the median national funeral with a viewing and burial costs $7,640, average funeral costs skyrocket past $9,000 when you include a vault. Because most funeral homes are able to handle cremations in-house, an average cremation costs only $350. The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), expects that 63 percent of funerals will be handled by cremation by 2025. Traditional burials are only 31 percent.
It doesn’t matter if you’re planning your funeral for yourself to help cover the funeral costs for your family or for someone else, knowing the cost of a funeral can make it a lot easier.
Funeral costs: Considerations
There are many fees associated with a funeral:
- The basic service fee: This fee is charged for a funeral. This includes all permit fees and administration fees.
- Service and merchandise fees: These fees cover transporting, preparing, and embalming the corpse, as well funeral home fees for viewing or memorial, and any equipment or services needed for the graveside ceremony. A casket, burial container, or other required services for cremation or interment will be charged.
- Cash advances: Your funeral can handle certain services for you such as clergy, funeral flowers and organists. To pay for the funeral home’s efforts you may be charged an additional service fee or higher prices. However, the Funeral Rule requires that these extra fees be made known to the customer in writing.
A casket on average costs around $2,000 while premium caskets made from mahogany, fiberglass and wood can cost up to $10,000.
Some buyers purchase a casket independently, to avoid third-party markups. The casket will need to be shipped to the funeral home. This can be costly. You can save money by choosing cremation. If you are planning on having a viewing or funeral, most funeral homes will rent you a caket. This is a cost-effective way to save money if you already have other burial plans.
These are the average funeral costs, as per the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).
- Funeral service fee: $2,100
- Funeral home rental: $500
- Staff at a funeral home: 500
- Vault: $13,395
- Cremation casket: $1,000
- Embalming: $725
- Urn: $275
- Beauty services starting at $250
- Hearse: $325
- Transport: $325
- Transport for the whole family: $150
- Materials and pamphlets: $160
The Federal Trade Commission provides a funeral pricing checklist to help you navigate the process.
Average funeral costs per state
Every year, the NFDA publishes its General Price List Survey. Here are their 2019 results:
Cremation is less expensive than a burial regardless of where you live. However, there are some areas that are more affordable than others. You will pay significantly less if you live in Colorado or Oklahoma than those who reside in Kansas and North Dakota.
How to prepare yourself for funeral expenses
Many people die without warning. While their loved ones grieve, they must also face the difficult question of how to cover such an unexpected expense. Financial planning is essential before you go to your grave. There are many ways to plan for funeral expenses.
Life insurance policy
A life insurance policy is an easy way for you to contribute to your funeral expenses while you are still alive. Even though it sounds bleak, all people eventually die. Life insurance policies can help you provide financial support for your loved ones.
A life insurance policy has the advantage that you pay a monthly premium, and your beneficiaries receive a death benefit at its end. This benefit can be used to cover your debts and pay for funeral expenses. Most beneficiaries will be able access the benefit in one to two weeks after the insurance company reviews the claim and confirms that it is correct.
To help you plan for your end-of-life expenses, there are many types of life insurance policies. Term life insurance provides coverage for a limited time period at a fixed premium rate. Whole life insurance provides insurance coverage for your entire life, as premiums are paid up to the maturity date. Beneficiaries can also benefit from additional savings. If you want lifelong coverage and a diverse portfolio, whole life insurance may be good for you. It can also be costly and require a significant commitment.
Final expense insurance
You can also use final expense insurance to pay for funeral expenses. Beneficiaries may also be able to use the benefits for medical and legal expenses. Final expense insurance may be more appealing to seniors than traditional life insurance policies because it doesn’t require as much coverage. The benefit amount might not be as large, however.
Traditional savings account
You can use a traditional savings account for funeral costs. A savings account has the advantage that it will be safe and easily accessible. Probate can be costly and delay the process. This means that the person paying the funeral expenses may need to use another method until the assets of the deceased are assessed.
Account with Payable-on Death (POD).
A payable-on-death (POD) account can be a better bet than a traditional savings account. You can set up a funeral savings account. After your death, you appoint the beneficiary to manage the funds. This person can access the funds by simply showing a valid certificate of death. The beneficiary can access the funds immediately after he or she has presented the death certificate. There is no probate process.
Benefits for military burial
Military members are eligible for special burial benefits, while others may opt for a bank loan or prepaid plan through their chosen funeral home.
There are also military benefits like the death gratuity program. For those who have served certain statuses in reserve or on active duty, this program is tax-free up to $100,000
A burial allowance benefit is available for deaths that are not related to military service. It is $300 for a non-service-related death and $2,000 for an unrelated death.
Nobody knows what the future holds and death isn’t something you can predict. To help you plan for the future, however, it is possible to make funeral arrangements ahead of time.
One way to prepare is through a will. A will can specify how you want your funeral to be conducted, and how you plan to pay for it. You can also make sure that certain assets are left behind in your will so that the right people receive them.
Advance funeral planning can make it simpler to plan for your loved ones and yourself financially. If you have many assets, you may state in your will that one of them should be sold to help pay your funeral expenses. You can also specify what type of funeral you would like.
Questions frequently asked
How much does an average burial cost?
Average funeral costs for a burial are $7,640. However, this price can be affected by many factors. There are many factors that can impact the cost of a funeral, such as staff, fees and services. It is important to research all options before you choose a particular funeral home or service.
How much does a cremation typically cost?
Cremations can be more affordable than burials at an average cost of $350. You may need additional services, such as funeral home staff or service fees and a rental casket for viewing.
Which is the most affordable funeral option?
Funeral homes tend to mark up their services in order to compensate for their labor and time. This can add up to a large portion of funeral costs. However, you can cut out the middleman and avoid unnecessary expenses. You can do the most you can by yourself, or ask your family and friends to help.