Average Funeral Costs: Complete Breakdown & Plans
Looking for an Affordable Policy?
Nowadays, dying is not free as well. The funeral cost in the United States of America is increasing very rapidly. In 2019, the average funeral cost is around $9,000.
It was less than $6,000 a few years back. A typical American family spends $7,000 to $10,000 for a funeral program. However, there are some additional costs as well.
You should consider buying burial insurance to cover the accelerating expenses.
- History of Funeral Cost
- How Much Does Funeral Cost?
- Know Your Funeral Rights
- How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost in 2019?
- Funeral Costs Breakdown & Estimates
- What is a Prepaid Funeral Plan?
- Types of Funeral Plan
- Funeral vs. Burial
- How to Save Money on Funeral Plans?
- Funeral Insurance Can Pay the Expenses, How?
- Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
- It’s Time to Make the Financial Plan
History of Funeral Cost
The funeral cost was quite cheap in the past years. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the average cost was $6,580 in 2004.
After 10 years, in 2014, the cost became $8,508. Hence, you can see the difference. The bad news is, the cost is not holding, it is rising.
How Much Does Funeral Cost?
Every time, you will hear people say that any funeral costs almost $6,000. Yet, that cost is generally based on a cost survey conducted a few years ago, stating that funeral costs have increased due to inflation.
Nowadays, the average funeral cost in the States ranges from $7,000 to $10,000. The price includes the services offered in the funeral home and the cemetery.
Although the popularity of cremation is increasing, the traditional funeral still occupies first place in terms of disposing of corpses.
There are many factors why funeral costs are constantly rising. But, the main components of any funeral include the casket, hearse, embalming, vault, flowers, plot, basic services, clothes, and a grave marker.
There can possibly be other expenses related to the funeral. That depends on the funeral home chosen, the casket type, the grave marker, and the services offered during the funeral.
For instance, a chapel service may cost you a considerable amount of money, especially when the service is carried out at a facility independent from the funeral home.
If you are looking for a way to lower the costs, you can, let’s say, exclude the vault which is the liner surrounding the grave. Its cost often ranges between $1,000 and $2,500. But, it isn’t necessary, especially if you don’t care about the casket’s condition in the long run.
It’s worth mentioning that a lot of funeral homes provide cremation services for a handful of dollars. So this is another good way to save money.
Know Your Funeral Rights
Not only does a living human have rights, but also the dead. After you die, the government will guarantee your rights which include the following.
If you’re concerned about your body after you pass away, in the majority of states, you can appoint an agent to take care of it.
In order to guarantee a funeral within your budget, you are recommended to request a price list from several funeral homes whose directors are required by law to provide you with a General Price List.
In some religions, communities, traditions, or families, funerals can be handled without any directors. And that’s guaranteed by the law in the majority of states.
Funeral Home Services
The law grants you the right to purchase funeral goods and services that you want. You are not obliged to buy a full package of items, only the things you need or want.
The director is obliged by law to let you know that embalming isn’t required except in some special cases.
The law does not require the use of any casket to cremate a corpse. Instead, you can specify a cheap alternative container.
Caskets are among the most expensive items in a funeral. The funeral home must provide you with a list of caskets, including descriptions and prices.
The law doesn’t require the use of outer burial containers to enclose caskets. Yet, most grave homes require them for casket burials, and some require vaults for urns.
Grave houses are not obliged by law to provide you with a pricing list before you intend to purchase. Moreover, the law does not grant you the right to purchase only the services you want.
How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost in 2019?
Grieving is not the only thing your beloved ones will do when you pass away, they will be opening their pockets to cover for your funeral. Funeral costs as much as $7,000 or more.
Thinking of the future requires you to think also of undesirable things such as a funeral. Although no one likes to think when their loved ones die, it’s a great idea to prepare for their inevitable event.
The cost of a funeral varies depending on the state you live in, your needs, and your wishes. Getting yourself ready, whether by buying an insurance policy or saving money, can undoubtedly help you prevent any financial turmoil.
So, the median funeral cost including the burial costs and excluding the vault is $7,360. When including the vault, the median cost is $8,755.
It’s worth mentioning that baby/children funerals are almost the same as adults’ in terms of the average cost. They only difference is the cost of the casket because it’s smaller in size.
The aforementioned average costs are for the funeral and burial services. But, you should also prepare for other services such as the headstone, burial plot, and other services related to the cemetery.
Every grave house requires its own costs. On average, you will be paying anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000.
Just like all services related to funerals, there are astronomical headstones that can cost up to $10,000.
The cost of cremation service depends solely on the state you live in, the type of service you buy, the cost of the casket, urn, and alternative container. However, there’s no standard cost for a cremation service. This is the cheapest and most dignified method to dispose of a corpse.
Based on research by the Cremation Research Council, the average cost of a cremation service is $1,100.
This doesn’t include normal funeral services such as viewing the corpse before it is cremated. Thus, you are not supposed to spend money to purchase a casket and embalm the corpse.
You only need to get an alternative container to move the corpse and ready it for cremation within a short period of time after your death. You can still establish a memorial service after the corpse has been cremated.
It’s worth remembering that the cost of cremation should not include the fees of a funeral home’s service (fees of moving and temporarily storing the corpse).
Some cremation services may include extra fees for a witnessing service where your relatives and loved ones are giving the chance to initiate the cremation by starting the equipment.
Because the majority of funeral homes don’t have a crematorium, you will need to take into account the costs of transferring the corpse from the funeral home to the crematorium. Also, there are some extra costs such as municipal registration costs.
Rest assured that the Federal Trade Commission obliges funeral homes and crematoriums to provide customers with a pricing list before they buy the services they provide.
When it comes to disposing of what remains (the ashes), there are many options you can choose from including spreading them in the sea, which will include the cost of the yacht, and/or scattering them at a public park city.
If you want cremation insurance, check it out.
Funeral Costs Breakdown & Estimates
When you intend to choose which funeral home to buy services and goods from, it’s crucial to know all of the options available for you. Contacting many funeral homes can provide you with pricing lists related to the services. Consider the following average costs for the services and goods provided within a funeral ceremony.
Its cost ranges from $500 to $700 and doesn’t exceed the $1,000. Embalming is not the main requirement. It depends on whether the corpse is buried or cremated and also on how quickly it is done with. Refrigerating is an alternative to embalming, but it can cost many hundred dollars.
If you want to have flowers in your funeral, you need to set aside from $500 to $700, which will provide your funeral ceremony with an elegant view.
Using flowers is an easy method for families to save money. Some people accept flowers from guests as a way to pay respect to the dead. A lot of funeral homes have flowers that can be offered during the funeral. Contact florists to have an idea about prices and discounts.
They are usually placed around the casket and cost anywhere between $100 and $200. Wreaths vary in terms of size and cost. A big-sized wreath costs $500-$700.
A lot of people do not know that fact that grave houses are independent of funeral homes and accordingly have their own process. The average funeral plot costs anywhere between $1,000 and $4,000.
However, in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, the cost can be higher. Moreover, there is a fee charged upon opening and closing the grave, which can cost about $1,000.
Headstones are fastened on the grave and cost anywhere from $2,000 and $5,000 depending on their design.
It is fastened to the ground and costs about $1,000. In fact, the type depends on the material utilized; with stone being the most inexpensive compared to other materials.
Caskets are considered the most expensive items you can purchase for a funeral. They vary in terms of style, size, cost, design, and material.
The average cost of any casket is anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. They are mostly made of wood and metal. To your surprise, some caskets are sold for $10,000.
The majority of funeral homes charge service fees. Such fees range from $2,000 to $2,500. They include issuing death certificates, sheltering what remains after cremating the corpse and getting any needed permission. It’s worth mentioning that service fees don’t include optional items such as caskets.
It includes transporting the corpse or its remains after cremation to the mortuary. The cost of transportation is $325.
Cosmetic costs include applying makeup, hairdressing, and clothing, while the cost is $250.
A vault is an enclosure in which the coffin is placed. It is used to protect the corpse from the weight of the ground when anything passes over the grave.
When it comes to the cost, it falls anywhere between $1,300 and $1,400. It’s worth saying that they are also called grave liners, burial liners, and grave vaults.
The urn is the container in which the ashes of the cremated corpse are kept. It costs $275.
It’s the vehicle used to move the corpse from the funeral home to the grave house. It costs $325.
Staff fees are paid only when you choose to buy goods and services of a funeral home. The cost is about $500.
Facility Usage of the Viewing
It also applies in case you want to buy the services of a funeral home. The cost is about $400.
Service Vehicle Fees
This vehicle is used to transport family members who will attend the funeral. The cost is about $150.
It’s worth remembering that you are not required or obliged to purchase any funeral items from funeral homes. Purchasing outside of a funeral home helps you save money. Many people nowadays buy those items from Amazon and/or Walmart which also have shipping services.
What is a Prepaid Funeral Plan?
It is a plan made to help you layout the things related to your funeral. It can be the strategy you develop to purchase the items, products, and services provided during your funerals such as the casket, headstone, cremation, and obituary information. The plan can also include the medical care you receive on your final days.
Bear in mind that the cost of your funeral will range from $7,000 to $10,000 or sometimes more. So, setting plans now will make sense.
When it comes to experts, they have different opinions about prepaid funeral costs, but they all agree on a pre-plan.
When you die, your loved ones will have to make many decisions to cope with their loss. Those decisions will often be financial which they don’t have experience making.
So, making prepaid funeral plans will help your family avoid any financial issues after you pass away. This will also allow them to put your wishes into action. They will have peace of mind since the plan was made after thorough research on your end.
Experts recommend making a detailed plan with the help of a professional funeral provider. It should include a cost estimate of the funeral expenses along with the services and items which will be used during the funeral. Leave the plan with the family members, and give them the funeral home’s contact information, allowing them to contact it once you pass away.
Some people decide not only to pre-plan their funerals, but also prepay for it. However, experts urge caution. Some funeral homes recommend purchasing an insurance policy.
When you pass away, your beneficiary/s will receive a payout that covers all the funeral costs from A to Z.
Types of Funeral Plan
Funeral plans aren’t made arbitrarily but with military precision. And that depends on the type of funeral they are made for. For example, if the dead belonged to the military, their funeral must be arranged accordingly.
Here are the four different types of funeral plans you should take into consideration before planning for your funeral.
When a person serving in the military dies, they are qualified for a military funeral – also known as military funeral honors. Such a funeral is arranged to show appreciation and reverence to the person who died.
In order for you to be eligible for a military funeral, you should be an active duty military member, a former member of the military, or a former military member discharged from the service.
When it comes to the costs of the military funeral, the state will be responsible for paying some of the costs incurred during the burial.
When a veteran dies, the state government pays for opening and closing the grave, the burial flag, headstone, cremation (if needed), casket, urn, transportation of the remains, and perpetual car.
It’s worth mentioning that if the veteran is buried in a veteran’s cemetery, the funeral services will be offered by the state government. Those services differ from one state to another in the States.
With the average cost of funerals running over $9,000 nowadays, a lot of people are looking for alternative options as a way to make their last farewell affordable.
Here are some low-income options to take into consideration.
This option involves shopping around and comparing funeral providers since costs very. You can turn to the Internet and check many websites through which funeral homes provide their services to the public.
When you compare, ensure that you take advantage of the so-called funeral rule. According to the law, funeral home directors must provide customers with a pricing list before they choose what they want. So, don’t forget to request one.
Getting a direct burial is another way to make your last farewell affordably. With it, your corpse will be buried shortly after your death wherein things like embalming and memorial service are skipped.
Carriage or Horse Funeral
If your decision is to have a carriage or horse funeral, the only items required are a coffin, a container, caskets, and temporary embalming.
Corpse collection and preparation can cost about $550. Hiring a hearse can cost anywhere from $220 to $1,100 for a carriage, while the coffin’s cost is almost $100.
Therefore, the whole cost of renting a horse/carriage for a funeral can be $500 – $800 per hour. But, this cost can differ depending on the state, travel costs, and other factors relating to the event.
It is a way to care for the deceased with the minimum environmental effects which aid in the natural resources, the protection of staff health, and the restoration of habitat.
In green funerals, the dead aren’t embalmed or cremated. Instead, they’re placed in a shroud or a coffin made of hemp, bamboo, cardboard, or cork. It’s legalized in all the American states.
The benefits of a green funeral include using fewer resources, reducing the funeral costs, and being environmentally friendly.
Regarding green funeral costs, they are lower than traditional funerals’. For instance, the cost of embalming a corpse is about $700. But, the green funeral skips this step, reducing the costs by $700. Also, the average cost of a casket is almost $2,400. But, a biodegradable casket only costs $200. Can you notice the difference?
To plan for it, you should start by discussing your wishes with your family members because they can end up paying thousands of dollars if you don’t carefully pre-plan for everything.
Funeral vs. Burial
Let’s begin by shedding light on the definitions of both. Burial is a method to dispose of the dead’s corpse by placing it under the ground. On the other hand, cremation is another way to dispose of the corpse by burning it – both are usually done after the funeral.
Deciding which one is better has been difficult for many people for years. Over recent years, cremation has surpassed burial as the most common choice. However, many factors must be taken into account before making any decision.
When cremated, the corpse is burnt, so that nothing remains but the ashes which are then thrown away. But, when buried, the corpse remains intact and then placed as it is under the ground. Both can happen shortly after the person passes away, following a traditional ceremony (a funeral).
In this regard, one of the most common concerns of people is their wish to express respect to the deceased. That being said, for some people, cremation means maintaining the integrity of the corpse and allowing it to decay underground is not acceptable. Others think the other way round.
Accordingly, to some faiths, viewing the corpse is a crucial phase of the funeral. Some people think that cremating the dead makes this impossible. Actually, it is possible for viewing to happen before cremation.
If you care about choosing an environmentally friendly option, then there are advantages and disadvantages for both choices. There’s debate over which choice has less impact on the environment.
Some people believe that cremation releases a significant amount of pollutants during the process. Others believe that the lack of biodegradable materials utilized in caskets is why they think cremation is the best choice.
It’s worth mentioning that there is a rise in popularity in eco-burials. Those burials do not involve embalming, and coffins are made of materials that are friendly to the environment.
How to Save Money on Funeral Plans?
Nowadays, a funeral can cost up to $10,000 which can be unaffordable to many families. So, here are some tips to save on funeral costs.
The average cost of embalming is $700, and the law does not require it as an important part of a funeral.
So, if your funeral is one day long, ask your funeral home if you can refrigerate the corpse. This can mean a significant saving on the funeral costs because funeral homes charge $50 per day for refrigerating a dead body.
Choose Wood in Case it’s an Immediate Cremation
If you have decided to go for an immediate cremation without the viewing of the body, you do not need to buy a casket. In this case, you can go with a cheap wooden box or cardboard. There is nothing in the law obliging the use of a casket for immediate cremations.
Donate the Body
Families who donate the deceased’s body to a medical school do not pay a penny. This includes transportation costs.
Arrange a Funeral at Home
In the majority of states, it is legal for your loved ones to bid the final farewell at home – from beginning to end.
Your caretakers or family members can issue your death certificate, file it, take care of the corpse at home, and then transport it to its final destination.
Do Not Purchase From a Funeral Home
There are many options you can choose from when it comes to buying funeral items and services. The majority of states do not require people to purchase them from a funeral home.
Moreover, they don’t require you to pay fees over buying them from somewhere else. This, in fact, can help you reduce the costs of your funeral.
Funeral Insurance Can Pay the Expenses, How?
Funeral insurance refers to the products that cover for the final arrangements. Many people resort to this method in order to make sure that their funeral and burial are planned for in advance. The main reason why they do this is that they want to leave life with no burdens left to their loved ones.
Types of Funeral Insurance Coverage
- Life insurance considering family members as beneficiaries: many people purchase an insurance policy that, not only has death benefits but also covers for funeral expenses from start to finish.
- Preneed contract with a selected funeral home: such a contract covers for the burial plot, casket, cremation, embalming, grave marker, flowers, and funeral transportation.
How to Pay for Funeral Insurance?
Taking into consideration the type of insurance policy you purchase, you can have one of the following options.
- Single-Premium Payment: once making the lump-sum payment, you can have coverage for the death benefits. In case you are 70 of age or more, you will be provided with this option.
- Graded Death Benefit: the coverage amount gets increased over time. If you buy a 5-year payment policy, the death benefits you will have will be 30% of the amount during the first year, 70% the next year, and 100% thereafter.
- Whole Life Insurance: the amount of coverage remains the same unless you stop paying the premiums.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
What happens if I don’t have money for the funeral?
The government usually arranges funeral plans for people with low income to help them pay for a funeral. In case you get a funeral payment from the government, you will need to refund it from any source you get money from such as savings.
How much does it cost when someone dies?
The average cost of the funeral service, including cremation, burial, and transportation of the corpse is about $10,000.
Why are funeral costs increasing every year?
Funeral cost in the USA has risen over the last 30 years. This is leading to a crisis the government calls funeral poverty.
With the dying costs increasing faster than the living costs, it isn’t enough to pin the increase in funeral costs on the living costs alone.
One of the reasons why funeral costs are on the rise is because everything is getting more expensive.
Is funeral cost tax deductible?
Based on the Internal Revenue Service principles, the funeral cost isn’t deductible on tax returns. In other words, most people aren’t qualified for claiming a tax deduction.
What is the cheapest funeral plan?
A direct cremation is among the cheapest funeral plans in the USA. The process is as follows: the person dies, the body is collected, the formalities are completed, and then the body is taken to the cheapest crematorium. In this plan, no one but the undertaker is supposed to be present.
Does the funeral cost the same for babies?
If your baby dies within the first 24 weeks of their life, their body should be cremated or buried. Planning a baby funeral is traumatic for the parents. Here are a few options for the funeral.
- The hospital arranges for the funeral – usually for free or a small fee.
- The parents can involve a funeral home.
- The parents can arrange a funeral themselves.
It’s Time to Make the Financial Plan
We don’t want to think about death but it’s something that we all have to face. It’s good to have a financial plan for your family.
Funeral insurance plans are not costly, you can easily have one. However, if you want to give some additional financial support to your family, you should consider buying a life insurance policy.
You can get your policy even after 80 years. So, it’s never too late. Arranging the funeral costs and other financial needs of the family is our duty.
A life insurance policy can cover funeral costs as well as other debts or loans.
According to your age, you may check below:
Making a financial plan always helps the family stay on the safe side. No one can guarantee what is going to happen next. Hence, get a plan and protect your family.