Average Funeral Cost
The average funeral cost has skyrocketed over the last few decades.
Funerals have increased in price by over 225% since 1990 while food, for comparison, has only increased about 72%. The average cost of gas has risen about 132%.
For most people, it’s a cost they plan to pay. So, let’s break down the costs and options for getting the bill paid.
Average funeral cost breakdown
On Dec. 19, 2019 the National Funeral Directors Association reported the Member General Price List Study showing the median cost of a funeral has risen to $7,640.
The report also listed the cost of a funeral with cremation, which is now $5,150.
The NFDA has calculated the median cost of a funeral with burial by totaling the costs of the following items: basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming and other preparation of the body (casketing, cosmetology, dressing and grooming), a metal casket, use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse, use of a service car/van, and a basic memorial printed package (e.g., memorial cards, register book, etc.). The cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs or miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as for flowers or an obituary.
National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Burial in 2019
Nondeclinable basic services fee
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home
Other preparation of the body
Use of facilities/staff for viewing
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony
Printed materials (basic memorial package)
Metal burial casket
Median Cost of a Funeral With Viewing and Burial
Total with vault
Options to pay for a funeral
There are several options to pay for a funeral. Burial insurance is typically the most flexible option if you haven’t funded a savings account to pay for it yourself.
Here are the most common ways to pay for a funeral:
- Pre-need insurance — Pre-need funeral insurance is a type of permanent life insurance offered by funeral homes. There is some downside to these policies. A funeral home can change ownership, there may not be a way to change your mind and go with a different funeral home, and the funeral home, not your family, is the beneficiary of these policies.
- Pre-need funeral trust — This trust accrues interest over time but the interest is typically taxable and they’re irrevocable.
- Self-funded burial — If you’re financially prepared for retirement, you may already have the money you need to afford your funeral.
- Burial insurance — Also known as Final Expense insurance. This is a type of life insurance that is meant to help your surviving family pay for your funeral and burial when you pass away. The coverage amount is typically no more than $25,000. This is because they are not meant to cover a loss of income like more common life insurance products. They are simply meant to cover a funeral, burial costs, and some leftover bills.
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