When facing the loss of a loved one, the last thing someone wants to think about is the expense related to the funeral. Often the cost comes as a shock to the family.
The cost of the average funeral has dramatically increased in the last 25 years. However it’s an expense that we can’t avoid. Being prepared and understanding the costs involved can help the process of planning for a funeral a little bit easier.
The National Funeral Directors Association states the average funeral cost in the United States for a Traditional Funeral with viewing and burial was around $8,508 in 2014 and in 2017 it increase to $8,755. Average cost for a Cremation with viewing in 2014 was $6,078 and in 2017 it increase to $6,260.
Prices for identical products and services can vary tremendously depending on whose selling the product and geographic location.
The price for funeral services and products is sometimes difficult to determine. Vendors often require you to contact them for the price, making comparison difficult and time consuming.
Common Funeral Expenses
Professional service fee ($2,000): This fee covers the cost of their labor and equipment.
Transportation of remains to the funeral home ($310): Covers the cost to transfer the body to the funeral home.
Embalming ($695): Embalming is often required for open casket services or if the body is going to be transferred interstate.
Miscellaneous cosmetic preparations ($250): This fee covers the cost of applying makeup, clothing, and hairdressing.
Facility usage for viewing ($420): This cost will apply if you wish to use the funeral home’s chapel for the service.
Funeral home staff for service ($495): You will only pay this if you choose to utilize the services of the funeral home staff to assist with the funeral ceremony.
Hearse ($318): This is the quintessential vehicle used to transport the deceased from the funeral home to the cemetery.
Printed memorial package ($155): The cost to print pamphlets honoring the deceased, and detailing the outline of the service.
Metal casket ($2,395): Usually one of the costliest line items of a funeral, caskets are a big ticket item. They can get very expensive depending on the model. Make sure you ask to see a price list to ensure the funeral provider isn’t marking it up too much from their wholesale cost.
Vault ($1,327): This is the enclosure the coffin rests in to protect it from the weight of the earth and heavy maintenance equipment that will pass over the grave. They are frequently referred to as “grave liners”, “grave vaults”, or “burial liners”.
Cremation fee ($330): The basic cost to execute the cremation of the body.
Cremation casket ($1000): This is a fully combustible container a body is placed in that’s to be inserted into the cremation chamber.
Urn ($280): The container that holds the ashes of the deceased.
It is common now for people to plan ahead for their funeral services and even pre-pay or purchase a Final Expense insurance policy. Arrangements and payments can be made over time with the funeral home to help family members not be burdened with the costs and details of funeral arrangements in their time of grief. Even if your loved one hasn’t paid ahead, taking the time to consider what costs are really necessary and where you might be able to save is a good idea.
The Federal Trade Commission regulates funeral homes and has established a series of rules called - The Funeral Rule. The Funeral Rule protects consumers’ right to purchase funeral goods and services separately. You do not have to accept a package that includes items you do not want. The Funeral Rule requires every funeral home to have a General Price List (GPL). The GPL is a written, itemized price list of all the items and services the funeral home offers. The General Price List will be your guide to comparing funeral costs in your area.
A few funeral homes publish their GPL online. As consumers become more informed and insist on more price transparency, more funeral homes will publish their GPL online. If you don’t see the GPL as part of the funeral home’s website call or email them as ask them to send you a copy.
This is our rough guide for how much funeral services and products typically cost. Where we can we provide the National Funeral Directors Association’s statistics.
FINAL EXPENSE INSURANCE
Final Expense Insurance is a type of life insurance coverage that is purchased with the purpose of paying off one’s funeral and other related costs. These expenses can be quite substantial today – in many areas of the country exceeding the $10,000 mark when factoring in an individual’s memorial service, along with their headstone, burial plot, flowers, transportation, and obituary announcement.
Final Expense works like other types of life insurance policies in that an individual pays a premium to the insurance company and then, upon the insured’s passing, the insurance carrier pays out a sum of money to the named beneficiary.
Why consider purchasing a Final Expense Policy
► It is mostly purchased by those who are in the older age bracket. These purchasers will be between the ages of 50 and 90.
► Death benefit between $2,000 to $30,000
► No medical exam required. No blood and urine sample. Applicant must answer a few medical questions.
► Death benefit to beneficiary is Tax Free.
► Premium payment won't go up or down