Funerals are important. They offer a social support system for loved ones, providing a safe place to express pain and a time to say goodbye.
But planning a funeral is not easy. You are not alone—planning a funeral brings up many frequently asked questions from others who have gone through the same experience.
How Much Do Funerals Cost?
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average funeral service with burial costs about $7,360, and $6,260 with cremation. However, depending on your location and desires, prices can be as high as $10,000.
- Costs may also vary depending on the funeral home itself. Keep in mind that funeral costs will likely include at least the following:
- Basic service fee (consists of the services provided by the funeral home, i.e., funeral planning, securing necessary permits, producing copies of death certificates, preparing death notices, sheltering the remains, and coordinating arrangements with the cemetery)
- Transferring to the funeral home
- Cosmetic preparation (dressing, hair, makeup, etc.)
- Use of facilities, equipment, and staff for a viewing, ceremony, graveside, and memorial service
- Use of a funeral coach or hearse (and van or limousine if necessary)
- Casket or urn
How Can I Pay for the Funeral?
As you can see, funerals are expensive. Most people cannot afford these costs without some financial preparation. Funeral homes will often offer payment plans called pre-need insurance.
Pre-need insurance is small plans that you contribute to either all at once or every month. With this plan, you will work directly with a funeral home to make all of the desired arrangements ahead of time. This way, the cost is already handled, and the preparations are made, ready to go when needed.
However, pre-need insurance is not for everyone. Most people opt for a more general life insurance policy that offers more overall flexibility. A great option would be a burial plan, with payouts ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.
These plans are meant to cover funeral costs and other final expenses, such as credit card debt or medical bills. Burial insurance, then, is a great way to pay not only for the funeral but also for other expenses.
What Are Ways I Can Save Money on the Funeral?
There are multiple ways you can save money on a funeral. If you or your loved ones feel they do not require a full funeral service, you may consider a direct burial or cremation. This will eliminate a lot of the fees involved.
Or, if you want a service, consider choosing cremation over the traditional burial, which is typically $1,000 or more less. And, make sure to compare your options with other funeral homes—ask for their General Price List (GPL). This itemized list will help you break down each cost and determine if you need it or willing to swap it for a cheaper alternative.
What Is Embalming and Is it Required?
Embalming is a process that preserves a body for the funeral service and visitation. However, it is not required by law, though most funeral homes will push you to use it. If you have a longer length of time between death and the funeral or between the service and the visitation, you may want to take advantage of this service to make the deceased look more natural as they were in life.
How Do I Choose a Funeral Home?
Choosing the right funeral home is incredibly important—you want to pick someone you can trust and give you a good price. Start by asking for their General Price List (GPL). You can then use it to compare their rates with other options in your area.
Also, consider how long they have been in the business. If they have been helping people for decades, they are likely doing something right. If they provide their services in-house instead of through a third party, you may feel more comfortable counting on a consistent product.
How Can I Personalize the Funeral?
Most funeral homes offer various pre-made “packages” of their most popular arrangements. These are a great starting place, but can often feel impersonal depending on your preferences.
Ask for substitutions within these packages to make them more personalized. Or, ask if they offer any special services or arrangements that would make it your own. Generally, asking the funeral director for personalization options will provide many options.
I Need to Plan a Funeral ASAP. What Can I Do?
Sometimes, for all of your plans and preparations, the death of a loved one can happen when you least expect it. Funeral homes know this, and offer 24/7 customer service to accommodate.
If you’re having trouble finding the money for an unexpected funeral, check with your county commissioner or funeral home itself for any payable options. Or, if you have good credit, take out a funeral loan with your bank. Most people will understand this situation and are willing to help in any way they can.
I Want Insurance to Pay for the Funeral. Where Can I Start?
Managing the cost of a funeral is a serious burden—most people do not have thousands of dollars lying around ready at a moment’s notice. Whether you are preparing for your own service or that of a loved one, you deserve peace of mind.
With a low monthly payment, you can ensure that no financial burdens are left behind once you or your loved one are gone. And, with Senior Life Services (SLS), we will make sure that your insurance plan more than covers your funeral preparations and fees. For a free quote on burial insurance, SLS is the best place to start. When you’re ready to get started, give us a call at (800) 548-3249.