Cost of an average funeral

Written by kim kenney
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Cost of an average funeral
(By the Museum of Funeral Customs at Wikipedia Commons)

Many people are shocked to find out how much the average funeral costs. While the family can choose less expensive options in products and services, the fact remains that the work funeral homes perform can be costly. When compared to other life milestones, such as births and weddings, the cost of a funeral is often less expensive than what is spent on more joyous occasions.

Funeral Costs

According to, in 2009 the average funeral cost is around £4,875. While the casket alone can range between £390 and £6,500, the average cost was about £1,495. The basic service fee for the funeral director was £910, plus £390 for embalming, £260 for calling hours, £292 for a ceremony, £406 for transportation and £325 for miscellaneous expenses including writing and placing the obituary, obtaining the proper permits and providing a register book.

Cemetery Costs

Cemetery expenses in 2009 include purchasing the plot for an average of £650 and opening and closing the grave for £325, according to Gravestones can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for a small, simple stone to several thousand for a more elaborate monument. The average gravestone cost is £975.

Why So Much?

Funeral directors are on call 24 hours a day. They handle all of the behind-the-scenes activities that the family often does not see. This includes getting the body released from the hospital, acquiring death certificates and burial permits and coordinating with the cemetery. In addition to the amount of work that goes into organising a funeral, there are certain overhead expenses, including the facility itself, the cost of the vehicles (hearses and limousines) and staff salaries.


When a family is experiencing "funeral sticker shock" their first reaction may be that the funeral home is somehow taking advantage of them during a time of loss. However, about 80 per cent of families choose to use the same funeral home again when the need arises. In addition, the average funeral home has been in business for 59 years. Consistently overcharging customers would certainly put a funeral home out of business quickly.

Reducing Expenses

Opting for a graveside service instead of using the funeral home can cut costs. Consider a less expensive casket or a smaller gravestone. Cremation and intenment of ashes or cremains costs less than paying for embalming, a casket and an in-ground burial. Ask in advance about extra costs including transporting floral arrangements from the funeral home to the church or the cemetery.

Advanced Funeral Planning

Today it is becoming more common to pre-plan and pre-pay for funeral services. This allows people to select their own caskets, services and grave plots and pay for them in advance at current market costs. Some life insurance policies include a death benefit that is used to pay final expenses.

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