Average Funeral Costs: Complete Pricing Breakdown & Saving Options

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  • Post last modified:September 13, 2021

Funerals are a way to commemorate a loved one’s existence, recognize their presence, and meet with relatives and friends and grieve their death. Although they can be beautiful, sentimental, and inspiring, funerals can also be extremely costly.

Burial Insurance Can Pay Funeral Expenses. Get Quotes to Save!

When relatives are left devastated by the loss of a loved one, they would not only have to experience the mourning procedures, but they will also bear the additional difficulty of a financial strain.

The question is, how much is the average funeral cost in America this 2021?

The funeral cost in the United States of America is increasing very rapidly. In 2020, the average funeral cost was around $9,000.

In 2021, the cost is expected to stay between $9,500 to $12,500 (Adjusted based on inflation rate).

It’s essential to account for these expenses and offer your family peace of mind.

Once you’ve predetermined your funeral costs, you’re probably trying to spare your families from the risk of being thought about in extravagant purchases that you don’t want or intend to create.

You should consider buying burial insurance to cover the accelerating expenses.

How Much Does Average Funeral Cost in 2021?

funeral cost increasingWhen a beloved member passes away and has no contingency in motion, the hardest moment to make meaningful financial choices is right.

On many occasions, you’ll hear people claiming it costs over $9,000 on average for the funeral. The calculation, nevertheless, is based on a survey of values taken many years ago.

As for all else, funeral or memorial service rates have risen for inflation. Now the typical conventional North American funeral expenses range from $9,500 to $12,500.

Pre-planning for things that you realize would arise will allow you and your families to take some of the stress out of those bills–particularly the funeral costs.

Whether you’ve ever been involved in planning burial costs, you realize it may be tough to cover only the most minimal funeral expenses.

Unless you are heading through the cycle with a budget into consideration, specific add-ons alone will bring out of control the expense of a funeral spiraling.

It may be a struggle to seek to determine the expense of a funeral in advance. Standard funeral rates are on the increase, and there is a variety to remember.

It covers whether there should be a burial or a cremation, services to be provided, the urn or casket/vault and size, whether the corpse should be embalmed or not, and more.

It doesn’t need to be a nightmare to arrange burial expenses. You should train the family in advance with a bit of thoughtful funeral planning and know-how.

Release your family to morn on your passing, and let them leave the burial preparation burden behind.

Your relatives should be forced to concentrate on mourning your death away by pre-planning funeral costs instead of thinking over whether they’ll compensate for your funeral.

Depending on other variables, such as the quality of care and the venue, the cost of a funeral will be between $1,500 and $15,000.

With just 57 percent of Americans getting life insurance, many families are not ready to pay the cheapest funeral costs.

A Must Read: Life Insurance for Over 85

Breakdown and Estimation

calculate costSince the 1980s, funeral rates have gradually increased. Nevertheless, costing up to $25,000 or more is not unusual for the typical burial, based on whether the corpse is preserved or cremated.

Based on the type and material used, the caskets and urns will cost thousands of dollars individually.

There are three types of costs to remember when it comes to overall cost analysis for funerals: Baseline expenses, upgrade expenses, as well as miscellaneous expenses.

Baseline expenses are the expenditures for a simple death or cremation facility you would receive. Those involve expenses such as a casket or urn, charge for the service, fees for embalming, and transportation.

Upgrade expenses are charges connected with the form of urn or casket, style of service, and any potentially provided accessories for a funeral.

Miscellaneous expenses refer to items that are not specifically relevant to the mortuary but are sometimes viewed as an integral aspect of the burial, including services, a guest list, and a note of obituaries.

Understanding the expense of these things is half the fight to realize how much resources you’re going to have to put away.

Your relatives should be forced to concentrate on mourning your death away by pre-costs instead of thinking over whether they’ll compensate for your funeral.

Here is a breakdown and estimate as stated by the National Funeral Directors Association.

  • Professional Service Charge ($2.100): This cost includes the staff and supplies costs.
  • Embalming ($725): This is also needed for open-casket care or where an interstate transfer of the remains is to take place.
  • Transportation of Deceased to the Funeral Home ($325): That is the fee for the body’s move to the funeral parlor.
  • Miscellaneous Cosmetic Arrangements ($250): The expense of applying lipstick, shoes, and hairdressing is included by this charge.
  • Funeral Home Support Employees ($500): You can only be charged should you want to use the funeral home workers’ facilities to help in the funeral ceremony.
  • Facility Usage for Viewing ($425): When you choose to utilize the funeral home facilities for the viewing, this fee will apply.
  • Hearse ($325): It is the car used for moving the dead to the graveyard from the funeral home.
  • Service Car/Van ($150): This vehicle can hold family members or can be used instead of a hearse to move a person.
  • Printed Memorial Kit ($160): Mortuaries also print prayer cards and pamphlets to honor the departed and describe the service layout. Service Car / Van ($150): This vehicle can hold family members or can be used instead of a hearse to move a person.
  • Metal Casket ($2,400): Casket rates may be one of a funeral’s most expensive line pieces, based on what you are going for. The FTC reports that “an average casket costs slightly over $2,000” but “some caskets of bronze, mahogany, or copper retail for as much as $10,000.”
  • Cremation Casket ($1000): It is an entirely combustible jar where a corpse is put into the cremation chamber to be poured through.
  • Vault ($1,395): It is the structure in which the coffin lies to shield it from the earth’s weight and the massive construction machinery that runs over the grave.
  • Cremation Charge ($350): The body’s cremation is done for a minimal fee.
  • Urn ($275): The jar containing the deceased’s ashes may be very costly.

Other Costs:

  • Flowers ($150): Guests frequently submit floral, so a family will choose to buy a wreath or casket spray, which may range in value based on the flower styles.
  • Grave Markers and Headstones ($250-$6,000): Simple, flat grave markers typically cost a small fortune instead of thousands, whereas custom-made sculptures or upright monuments will cost over $10,000 based on the size of the project.
  • Funeral Plots ($2,000): Costs will vary from $1,000 to $4,000 for a community burial plot, regarding the location and the type of plot; private cemeteries appear to be more costly.

Know Your Funeral Rights

know your rightsIt is entirely reasonable, as we mature, to start worrying about the final preparations. Another crucial aspect of making a formal plan is to be sure you realize the risk of your death and have paid for it.

Before you proceed, it is necessary to realize that when it refers to a funeral, you have a unique privilege.

In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) first implemented the “Funeral Rule” to prohibit funeral homes from exerting leverage on customers to purchase products and services they did not require or want.

Also, it was aimed at helping prevent customers from being overburdened for the products they needed.

You are subject to the Funeral Rule:

  • Show a list of the rates for the casket.
  • Pricing details can be provided by phone.
  • Just purchase the products and services you want.
  • A comprehensive list of all the products and services shall be given.
  • A product list is given for the outer burial containers.
  • For cremation use an alternate jar.
  • Until submitting any payments be issued with a formal statement.
  • Decline embalming before a funeral.
  • Provide your own urn or casket.

Another thing is when making plans, and you reserve the option to provide a written, itemized document even before you spend. This wants to demonstrate just what you’re purchasing, every item’s expense, and overall price.

The declaration will also detail any civil, crematory, or graveyard laws allowing you to buy goods or supplies from the funeral parlor. The mortuary can claim payment in full in advance.

Moreover, in most states, without a funeral home, a person, society, or religious group may cope with death. You can do it all by yourself, or employ a home funeral services specialist or death midwife to help.

You may prepare the remains, collect the appropriate documents, hold a service or vigil, and take the body to the funeral or crematory location.

Nevertheless, nine states allow you to employ a funeral director: New York, Nebraska, Michigan, Louisiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, and Indiana.

When you are worried that your next-of-kin will not respect your wishes for your body’s temperament, in certain states, you may appoint another individual as your representative to satisfy your preferences.

Embalming is required anytime a person traverses Alabama state lines. New Jersey, Nebraska, and Minnesota, and allow embalming while transporting the remains via a specific carrier.

Many other states allow either a sealed casket or an embalming whether a particular carrier ships the individual.

This is never followed, though, and funeral homes in individual states may regularly carry unpackaged bodies (for Jewish customers).

Funeral Vs. Burial

Currently, over 1500 individuals are taking a pulse on burial rituals.

In the past, conventional burial, that is, a casket set in the field in a graveyard was the most common thing to do for remains upon death in the U.S.

This alternative was proceeded by cremation and strongly outweighed by the number of conventional burials.

For starters, in 1960, just 4 percent of Americans were cremated, while almost all the remainder were usually buried.

Yet conditions have changed. After the 1960s, burial traditions have changed dramatically, so they still keep changing.

A funeral is a service that is linked to the cremation, burial, etc. of a deceased person’s body, as well as the burial (or similar) with the accompanying observances.

Funerary traditions are the array of values and activities that society utilizes to honor and value the deceased, from the internment itself to numerous statues, prayers, and ceremonies performed in their memory.

The term funeral derives from Latin, which had different interpretations like the body itself and the funerary rituals. Funerary art is art created in association with burials, including several styles of tombs, and artifacts crafted for a corpse explicitly for burial.

Burial or interment is the ceremonial act of placing a deceased human or animal below the grave, often with objects.

It is done by excavating and sealing a hole or grave, positioning the dead and items in it. Most will accept that humans buried their dead long after the species emerged.

Burial is frequently seen as expressing love for the deceased.

Cremation Costs

A direct cremation, possibly the most economical burial option, is a straightforward cremation carried out by the crematorium, without the use of any burial practice. The corpse is picked, cremated and the remains are taken back to the relatives.

According to a study undertaken with the DFS Memorials cremation providers network, 80% of cremations performed in 2020 are direct cremations.

In a case study at a Boise, Idaho funeral home, Time magazine article focused on how Cremation Is Now Outpacing Traditional Burial.

Cloverdale Funeral Home’s Robert Boetticher, Jr., discussed when cremation was rarely stated in mortuary school in the 1980s. Still, now the incidents are 60% cases of cremation at his funeral home in Boise.

NFDA research also indicates the average cost of a casket cremation, and the urn is $6,645, including a general cremation charge of about $350.

The cremation is now becoming increasingly common because of its accessibility. In 2018, Statista registered a cremation rate of 53.1 percent in the U.S., up from 36.22 percent in 2008.

The average cremation cost is between $1,000 to $3,000 without basic service fees.

Many parts of the whole cremation cycle will be handled by crematory workers. That involves signing the certificate of death and taking the remains and moving it to the crematorium.

Although if any of these providers have a fee, it usually is small, and often a lot less money than mortuaries.

In the last 10 years, there have been several studies and polls on the growing increase of cremation. Many of these studies outline empirically that price was the guiding force in the move toward the more economical cremation option.

We might argue that through their tradition of gauging families at significant funeral rites, the funeral industry has brought this on itself.

Prepaid Funeral Plan

A prepaid funeral plan is nothing but pre-paying funeral costs. Simply take action to set out anything relevant to the death, and pay upfront to the home death.

Based on the family’s desires, expenses may involve a casket or cremation in the final days, operation, headstone, obituary details, and occasionally even medical treatment.

Pre-planning your death makes it easier for your relatives to bring your strategy into motion with the assurance that they realize they are working on your wishes. And they will be able to say farewell in their own way.

One way to continue is to sit down with a burial provider of your choosing to develop a comprehensive schedule. This will provide a detailed cost estimate, the places used for facilities, and any other information that you might want to have.

Most individuals want not only funeral arrangements but also to pre-pay them. Even before paying with these programs, you must be careful.

Funeral administrators and service suppliers are not malicious individuals or companies because they may often adjust their conditions.

If you like to consider your choices carefully, you can get several forms of plans:

  • Burial insurance: This is a scheme that protects any expenses borne after you pass. The recipient may take advantage of the death gain if they choose.
  • Irrevocable trust: It helps you to pay in advance your basic funeral expenses just as a revocable trust, you may build a package that charges directly to the owner of the funeral. This is an unchangeable lifelong trust, unlike a revocable trust.
  • Revocable trust: When you create a revocable trust, you also sign a deal in increments to compensate for your funeral. Deposits the payments into an interest-bearing loan through the funeral director. The funeral director (or anyone else you decide) is the beneficiary who uses the funds at the moment of your death to compensate for the funeral.
  • Whole-life policy. Unlike a regular life insurance policy, you invest in the lifelong scheme. Your recipient would collect the payment and compensate for the burial services after death.

How to Save Money on Funeral Plan?

funeral insurance to doAlthough nobody likes to worry about their death, the early end-of-life expenses preparation will spare the families and friends, a lot of extra stress eventually.

It’s a tragic reality that you can not question him or her if they want to be recalled until somebody is dead.

And though we would all prefer to believe our loved ones are doing what is right, sadness will affect the judgment of the individual.

No one would have to ask what you may have decided by setting out a detailed schedule ahead of time.

And what would you do to keep the family from collapsing under its financial burden?

Funeral Savings Fund 

It’s a smart plan to create a saving plan with a simple picture of how much funds you’ll need for your service. If you start young, you would have saved up enough to cover the expenses.

This approach will be outstanding if you are careful and adhere to putting aside the cash needed to cover all of the funeral expenses.

However, when unforeseen events occur which allow you to draw from the funeral savings fund, where it can become an issue.

Pre-Paying Entire Cost of a Funeral

If you are sure that your favorite funeral home will be in service at the time of death, arrange for your funeral beforehand.

You will pick all the elements needed for your funeral while prepaid. A document may be written up at the funeral home or graveyard, which would indicate the preferences.

At this time, you pay right up-front.

The advantages of pre-payment are numerous: 

  • Your funeral service is scheduled.
  • You lock in the current prices and stop inflation.
  • Your relatives need not care about logistics or settlements

However, there are few disadvantages of this as well, read details here.

Existing Life Insurance

Life insurance is a scheme that cashes out the clients as they pass away. The money earned by a life insurance contract is what is considered the death payout, which is usually compensated as one lump sum settlement and is tax-deductible.

When you have established life insurance or final expense insurance policy, that will be an ideal option to help compensate for the death and funeral expenses.


You seem not to be able to start talking about the final arrangements. However, waiting for things to be too late will place a great deal of strain on the families and loved ones.

Would you be prepared for the average funeral costs, at least?

Planning ahead allows you the opportunity to explore all of your choices without the pressure of taking a snap decision.

Linda Chavez

I'm a burial & senior life insurance expert, independent agent, Founder & CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. I have been working in this sector since 2004 and established my own company in 2014. I have a team of seven members, and we are trying hard to share the knowledge we've gathered. We know how difficult often it is to find an affordable policy. Hence, we are doing our best to help you.