There are many reasons a person might wonder- how much does a funeral cost? Maybe you have lost a loved one, maybe you and your spouse are planning ahead for your final arrangements, or maybe you are wanting to secure a burial insurance policy to pay for your funeral expenses upon your passing. Understanding the process of planning a funeral and knowing what the costs are can help ensure that the family is able to celebrate the life lost rather than being overwhelmed by the planning process. Let’s take a look at how much does a funeral cost and the factors to consider. If you are looking for instant burial insurance quotes Call us at 800-517-0810.
Choosing a funeral home
So, first stop when asking how much does a funeral cost is choosing a funeral home. Often people choose the funeral home based on a convenient location or because a friend or family member has used that funeral home. Some funeral homes help handle the arrangement for the family and other times, the funeral home is simply a home base for the service and the family handles the other needed parts of the funeral on their own. This is something to consider when choosing the funeral home- how much assistance would you like with the details and how much they charge for the extra help.
An average cost just for the use of the funeral home and consultation fees with the director are about $1500. It is possible to negotiate this fee but keep in mind that a funeral home is a business like any other and has to make a profit to continue its services. Also, there aren’t many competitors in this market and comparing funeral homes might mean a less convenient location for friends and family attending the services. It is best to concede the cost of the funeral home and try to make the most of your money in other areas of the funeral cost that are more variable.
Choosing a casket
When tallying how much does a funeral cost, the casket is one of the items that has the widest range of cost. A casket is synonymous with a coffin, meaning it is used to hold the body of the deceased. A coffin is considered more of a plain container without fancy designs whereas the word casket is used when there are decorative touches or upgraded wood or finish. It is overwhelming how many options there are. Of course, all caskets serve the same function but there are many types of wood, metals, finishes, ornamental designs, and lining that affect the cost. The funeral home will have some caskets on display to choose from but do not feel compelled to choose from just those options if you don’t see what you like. Sometimes if the body will be cremated and not viewed during a memorial service, this means the coffin can be very inexpensive because the decorative nature is not a factor in the decision.
Other times, families have preferences for a color and fabric for the interior and decorative touches on the handles meaning the cost would increase. When comparing caskets, it is also a little known fact that you do not have to purchase the casket directly from the funeral home. Some people purchase the casket from a third party due to cost savings or custom designs not offered by the funeral home. The least expensive coffin runs about $1000 where you can spend over $50,000 on a custom design casket. The average American spends a little over $2000 on a casket.
Burial plot options
Planning a funeral means deciding where you or your loved one will be buried after the memorial services. There are considerations such as distance for family members to visit the gravesite, reserving a space for a spouse to be buried alongside, and whether the family member chooses cremation, changing the need for an underground burial plot. Assuming a burial is needed, the average cost of the plot varies greatly depending on what state you reside. For example, the average in South Carolina is as low as $1100 where in California it almost tops $4000! That is a big difference. Usually people are aware when they live in an area of the country that has a much greater cost of living and they need to plan accordingly. A hidden cost that many aren’t aware of is the cost just to dig the grave and maintain the area after the service. Sometimes these expenses are as much as the plot itself. So as you tally the expenses of how much does a funeral cost, these kind of hidden fees add up to be a substantial portion of what you will pay for or should plan for when considering how to pay for a funeral.
Choosing a headstone
So many parts of planning a funeral will be left as memories or unseen after the burial is complete and the memorial service concluded. One of the most important ways to remember your loved one is through their headstone which remains visible and is a comfort for family members visiting the gravesite. Along with the casket, the headstone has the greatest range of options and therefore cost within the funeral expenses. The function of the headstone is to state the deceased’s name and dates of birth and death.
However a headstone can be so much more and include quotes, memories, pictures, or symbols as requested by the family. Headstones can be a simple stone set flat upon the ground or it can sit upright with a base stone and even flower vases on one or both sides. A double headstone can be used to remember a couple and countless other options are available. With such a spectrum of variables, it isn’t surprising to hear that a headstone can range from $300 all the way to a million dollars for a customized mausoleum. The average that people spends ends up being around $2000 for an upright headstone with a few more features beyond just name and dates.
Usually families hold the memorial service at their local church or at the funeral home. The funeral home is the common choice for a burial because it is one less trip for moving the casket. It also allows for the traditional schedule of allowing for a visitation time apart from the memorial service where friends and family may view the body and visit together in memory of their loved one. A church service can be common for a celebration of life following cremation or as a larger gathering apart from the burial services. During the memorial service, typically a pastor, priest, or other type of spiritual leader will offer comfort and lead the service. Friends and family may offer eulogies and share memories. The funeral home or church usually charges a fee for the arrangements that are made and for holding the memorial service. The average cost is $1000 which can be a lot to add to the growing cost of funeral expenses for any family.
What else will you have to pay for?
We have looked at the major expenses when asking how much does a funeral cost. Once the basics are paid for, there are many costs within a funeral that are easy to overlook. Some of the expenses associated with a funeral aren’t necessarily the cost of the funeral itself but the additional costs that accumulate as the family is handling the preparations and service. Secondary costs include transporting the body from the place of death to the funeral home and then additional transportation to the church and/or burial site. Visitation and services often include food and refreshments which add to the many decisions and expenses incurred.
The funeral home will also offer many additional features such as video montages, photo displays, and sentimental touches for the service such as customized music. These small additions add to the overall funeral cost. Finally, there is the expense of paperwork to file for the death certificate, obituaries, and any other legal needs that arise. Usually the leftover expenses total close to $1000 which has to be included in the financial outlook.
How can I pay for this?
So based on funeral home fees, caskets, burial plots, headstones, and other fees and expenses, the low end cost of a funeral is $10000. Most families aren’t in a position to just pay out $10,000 and are left wondering how they can pay for this. Thankfully, there are some options for paying for a funeral, even an unplanned one. If the funeral happens unexpectedly and monies aren’t saved and life insurance isn’t in place, some funeral homes have financing available for families in need. If you are planning ahead or have realized the detriment of being unprepared for paying for a funeral, there is an option for you called funeral insurance. This is a whole life insurance policy designed to protect families from the financial burden that comes from paying for a funeral. The burial insurance is set up in the amount needed to pay for a funeral and the family is able to use the insurance payout in the time they need it most.
So- now you know- how much does a funeral cost for most seniors? Most people are shocked by how expensive a funeral is and it can be a huge financial burden to pay for it. If you are having to plan an unexpected funeral, ask the funeral home and companies you are dealing with what you can do to offset some costs. Remember that you can compare options and prices between businesses. Try to focus on celebrating the life of your loved one amidst this difficult time.