How much does a funeral cost?
When it comes to the question how much does a funeral cost in the UK, it depends on where you live and whether you are specifically looking at funeral costs or the total cost of dying, as they are quite different.
The average cost of a funeral across the UK is £4,078, having increased by 116% in just 14 years. This incorporates the basic funeral cost of the funeral director’s services and the third party costs for the cremation or burial.
The total cost of dying which also includes personal wishes such as the wake or reception and professional fees for administering the estate currently averages £8,905.
Both I’m sure you will agree are eye watering amounts to pay, which is why an increasing number of people are looking for ways to help with funeral costs so their families don’t have the worry.
What is your average funeral cost?
The answer to how much is a funeral is in your area of the country will depend on your local funeral prices which vary massively around the UK, whether you choose cremation or burial as cremation prices tend to be cheaper and of course what funeral expenses you wish to include.
Looking at a breakdown of funeral costs, Burial fees are typically around £1,000 more than cremation prices, with an average of £4,561 for burial compared to £3,596 for cremation. When you look at average funeral cost by specific area though, the differences can be quite dramatic.
For example the average funeral cost for burial in London is £7,311 with cremation prices of £4,591 – London being as you might expect the most expensive place to die. In Wales however when it comes down to funeral costs cremation currently stands at £3,049 with burial at £3,874.
Of course along with a perceived sense of ease, this variation between funeral prices for burial and cremation explains why around 75% of people now choose the latter as their preferred type of funeral service.
How much does cremation cost?
As the so called nations favourite, the cost of a cremation funeral falls into three parts; the funeral directors costs, the third party costs also known as disbursements and the more personal requirements such as flowers and the reception.
Although you can arrange a DIY funeral, the essential items for a more traditional style of funeral service are the funeral director’s fees and the third party charges which comprise of the burial or cremation cost, doctor’s fees if required for a second death certificate (for cremation) and the minster or officiant’s fees for conducting the service.
The average cost of cremation services in total is currently around £3,600 - £2,491 for the funeral director and £1,110 for the third party costs.
On top of that families currently pay on average £1,928 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 same print. Some 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.
Other cheap cremation funeral plans will have limitations on the time of the cremation service. For more information on these types of funeral plan, take a look at 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.
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 limited. 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 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 50 plan 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 costs.
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.