How much does a funeral cost?

Having continually outstripped inflation, the average funeral cost across the UK in 2018 is £4,271; that’s a huge increase of 122% in just 15 years.

In 2004 you would have expected to pay around £1,920 for funeral costs whereas today, that figure has more than doubled; not a small sum of money for any family to find, which is why an increasing number of people are looking for ways to help with funeral expenses.

What’s more, looking to the future, based on the Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2018, the cost of a funeral in just 10 years could be as much as £6,202 and a staggering £9,005 in 20 years time.

So if you are sat there reading this thinking you are too young to arrange and pay for your funeral – think again. Funeral prices are on the rise, so the sooner you do it, the more money you will potentially save.

What is the average cost of a funeral?

As funeral prices vary massively around the UK, your average funeral cost will depend on where you live and of course any additional funeral expenses you wish to include like cars, flowers and the reception or wake.

Also your choice of either a cremation or burial will affect your funeral costs as cremation prices tend to be cheaper; which probably explains why around 80% of people now choose cremation as their preferred option.

In fact burial fees are typically around £1,000 more than cremation prices, with an average of £4,798 for burial compared to £3,744 for cremation.

When you look at average funeral cost by specific area, the differences can be quite dramatic. For example the average funeral cost for burial in London is £7,538 with cremation prices of £4,591 – London being as you might expect the most expensive place to die.  In Northern Ireland however when it comes down to funeral costs, cremation currently stands at £3,231 with burial at £3,240.

How much will a funeral cost in the future?

As mentioned, funeral prices have been increasing consistently year on year with no real sign of slowing down, which is why it is important to plan for the future.

The funeral calculator is designed to help you understand what funeral prices could be in years to come, so you can make a decision on which funeral planning option is right for you – be it a funeral plan, over 50 life insurance plan, an ISA or savings. 

If you are relying on your savings to help with funeral expenses, then you will need to make arrangements that take into account funeral inflation, as the current low interest rate on savings accounts means that unless the funeral inflation rate drops, your savings may not cover the funeral expenses when the time comes, so someone may need to pay the difference.

Of course none of us have a crystal ball, so gauging how long you are going to live is complete guess work however when using the funeral calculator, it may help you to know that according to the Office for National Statistics, the average life expectancy in England & Wales is 82 for a male and 85 for a female.  

Funeral Calculator

Use the sliders below to see the benefit of paying for your funeral with a prepaid plan when the time comes vs using your savings.

Your age:
Your guesstimate of how long you will live:

Average cost of a prepaid funeral plan today is £3,750

The amount £3,750 will have grown to at 1.5% AER in a savings account
Cost of a funeral based on funeral inflation for the last 10 years at 4.7%
The amount you could save your family if you buy a prepaid plan today
According to Sunlife the average cost of a funeral in 2018 was £4,271
Note: Graph visuals are representative. Accurate figures and savings are provided

How much does cremation cost?

When paying for a funeral, costs fall into three areas; the funeral director’s charges, the third party costs also known as disbursements and the more personal requirements such as flowers and the reception.

The disbursements or third party charges are the essential fees that are beyond the control of the funeral director; namely the burial or cremation cost, the ministers or officiant’s fees for conducting the service and where applicable the doctor’s fees*.

As the so called nations favourite, the current average cremation cost across the UK is £832 without factoring in all the other third party charges and funeral directors costs. With these fees added, you are looking at a total cost of £3,750; £2,595 for the funeral director and £1,155 for the disbursements – which is why a funeral plan that fully guarantees these fees is worth considering.

On top of that families currently pay on average £2,061 for other more personal items which include death and funeral notices, order sheets for the funeral service, flowers and the reception or wake.

Can you get a cheap cremation?

If you are looking for a cheap cremation there are now a number of ways you can go about this. You could choose one of the cheaper funeral plans that have restrictions on the services included but ensure you read the small print. Some cheap funeral plans will cover the basic funeral cost but may not cover or only include an allowance for the third party fees, potentially leaving your family with more to pay when the time comes.

average cost of a funeral 2018

Other cheap cremation funeral plans will have limitations on the time of the cremation service. For more information on these types of plans, take a look at our prepaid funeral plan section.

Alternatively you can now choose direct cremation which is the cremation but without a funeral service. This type of new funeral plan appeals to those looking for cheap cremation but more frequently also for those not wanting the upset or fuss of a traditional funeral service.

Can I get help with funeral costs?

Although there is a Funeral Expenses Payment government grant, access to this is pretty limited and only available to those on certain benefits, so getting help with funeral costs is rather challenging. Therefore putting plans in place to help with funeral costs as early as possible is a good idea.

One way of securing your funeral services at today’s prices is with a prepaid funeral plan, which not only relieves your family from the pressure of paying for your funeral but also they won’t have the worry of having to make all the funeral arrangements too.

Alternatively you may want to consider a whole of life insurance plan like an over 50s life insurance cover to leave a cash sum to help with funeral costs, although this may not cover the full amount and your family will still need to make the funeral arrangements.

Of course you can always put your money in an ISA or savings account but don’t be tempted to dip into it over the years and do ensure it keeps up with rising funeral expenses.

Whatever you decide, just remember that families are reluctant to shop around for the best deal at the time of need as it is just too upsetting, so the more you can do in advance to help with even the basic funeral cost the better.

If you would like to plan ahead & freeze your costs request a funeral plan quote here

How much do funeral plans cost?

Funeral plans cost between £2,800 to £4,200 depending on the level of service you choose. The cheapest funeral plans generally have restrictions such as time of the funeral service whereas the more comprehensive plans will include a better quality coffin and one or two cars for the family.

There are also direct cremation prepaid funeral plans which cost between £1,500 to £2,000 depending on the company you choose. This type of plan will provide a simple cremation but with no funeral service, leaving the family free to ‘say goodbye’ their own way.

How much does a funeral plan cost per month?

Staring from around £14.70, the cost of a funeral plan per month depends on both the plan you choose and over how many years you spread your payments. Basically the longer you pay, the lower your monthly payments will be but the more the plan will cost in the end.

What happens if you can’t afford a funeral?

If you can’t afford a funeral as there is no money in the estate to pay for it and no relatives or friends to cover the cost, then your local council or hospital can arrange a Public Health Funeral, which is generally a cremation with a short service.

People can attend a Public Health Funeral however the council will decide on the time and date and there will be no extras such as viewings, flowers, cars or notices.

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