Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2014: the facts

Oct 6, 2014
Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2014: the facts

I am looking forward to reading and sharing the latest information from the The Sun Life Cost of Dying Report 2014 which is due to be published later this month, providing an in depth insight into our changing attitudes and practices when it comes to pre-planning a funeral.

Cost of dying report now out - see our review!

Whilst I expect to see the average cost of funerals continue to rise, initial speculation suggests that this is by no means to the same degree as we have seen in previous years; a welcome change after years of consistently steep price hikes.

I am also expecting further discussion about the sales of prepaid funeral plans which are at record levels and of course the continued development of Over 50 Life Insurance plans which are frequently purchased by consumers who are looking to put money aside to help with funeral costs.

Looking back to last year’s report, the highlights of the sun life cost of dying report 2013 were as follows:

• The cost of dying was up 7.1% compared to 2012 with a significant postcode lottery showing prices varying wildly by region.
• Funeral costs had increased by an eye watering 80% since 2004 when the survey was first conducted – with the average funeral costing £3,456 and Sun Life predicting an increase to over £4,300 by 2018. 
• Burial costs remained significantly more expensive than cremation averaging £3,914; almost £1,000 higher than the average cremation at £2,998. 
• National funeral poverty stood at £131 million – an increase of 50% over just three years

The overriding message was that the total cost of dying (which includes death-related costs such as probate, headstones and flowers in addition to the basic cost of a funeral) had again risen way above the rate of inflation and stood at £7,622, an increase of 7.1% on 2012.

What to expect

As far as rising costs are concerned, the Mintel Funeral Report released last month has already forewarned us that the average cost of a funeral has risen again to £3,609, however this 3.5% increase in 2013 prices does highlight a dip from previous years where the increase has consistently averaged around 7% per annum; so perhaps things are finally starting to slow down.

Also the Funeral Planning Authority has recently announced record sales of prepaid funeral plans for the first half of this year and a considerable increase in the fifty plus age group now willing to talk about their own deaths and funerals marking a significant shift in our attitude.

I expect the 2014 Sun Life Cost of Dying Report will reinforce Mintel’s findings, although it will be interesting to see the detail and whether this varies by wealth and health

Last year’s report indicated that the increase in funeral costs was largely due to discretionary or essential costs, such as cremation or burial fees, whereas in previous years the increase has largely been due to funeral directors charges, so it will be interesting to see the contributing factor to the 2013 price change.

We are expecting the latest Sun Life cost of dying report to be published on 16th October 2014, so will share our findings with you as soon as they are announced

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