How Much Does an Average Funeral Cost?

by Guest Author on August 20, 2012

Death is certain, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. When someone passes away, their loved ones are left to deal with their funeral arrangements. Planning a final goodbye for a loved one is difficult, and the cost of planning a funeral is expensive. The details and choices presented to the family of a deceased person are often overwhelming, and making decisions regarding the funeral can be especially tough for family members while they grieve. For this reason, many people are making their own funeral arrangements as part of their will, and even paying for them. Knowing what to expect when planning a funeral prior to finding yourself in that situation is helpful.

Average Cost of a Funeral

The average cost of a funeral is $6,000. This may seem like a lot of money, because it is. Unfortunately, this only pays for a very basic funeral. Typically, this does not include extras such as flowers, limos, or obituaries. Many people spend well over $10,000 planning the funeral of a loved one. Many people consider the amount of money they spend on a funeral as a reflection of their love for the deceased.

These estimated funeral costs include a casket. However, those who want to choose a special casket will spend even more. The average price of a casket is approximately $2,000. Prices increase when people want special caskets, such as one made of mahogany or other material. Specialized caskets cost as much as $10,000, which drives the price of a funeral up significantly.

What about cremation?

Some people want to be cremated when they pass. This is the act of burning the body and placing the ashes in an urn. Some people choose this option because they don’t want to be buried; they want to have their ashes scattered somewhere meaningful to them. For some, having their family gather to spread their ashes in their favorite place, or somewhere special is the obvious choice.

Opting for cremation significantly reduces the cost of a funeral. When your loved ones are cremated, they don’t need a casket. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a funeral for them. Most funeral homes allow you to have a viewing with a rented casket. This is much less expensive than purchasing an actual casket, which makes the planning process less expensive. The average cost of cremation is between $600 and $1000.


After the funeral, your loved ones body is cremated in an inexpensive wooden casket, which is included in the price of your loved ones cremation. You will receive the ashes after the cremation and are free to do with them as you please.

Help With Funeral Costs

There is help when it comes to paying for a funeral. Veterans are eligible to receive federal veterans benefits that help with the cost of funeral expenses. Funeral directors can help you figure out how to access these benefits. Additionally, many funeral directors will work with you if your loved one has a life insurance policy. By providing a copy of the valid policy to the funeral director, he or she can call the insurance company to verify the funds. The cost of the funeral then comes out of the life insurance policy when it is disbursed.

Prepaid Funeral Plans

Many people opt to prepay for their own funerals so as not to leave the expense of planning their burial to their loved ones. When purchasing a prepaid plan, it is important that people remember to ask what is included in the prepayment. Some prepayment policies include only a casket and burial. Some include other services, such as flowers and limos. The arrangements vary by degree, and it is imperative that you check the fine print before you sign over your prepayment.

Additionally, it is important that people ask exactly what happens to the money they use to prepay for their funeral. The laws are different in every state. Some require the funds are placed into an account until the death of the plan holder. Others require that a life insurance policy is taken out on the owner of the prepayment plan, and that the policy is made payable to the funeral home upon the deceased’s death.

There are many things to consider when you are planning for your own funeral, or the funeral of your loved ones. Knowing what all is involved is helpful when it comes to handling the planning of a funeral in the most efficient manner.

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things to face.  If you’re in need of encouragement, click here to view a list of encouraging bible verses.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Taka August 20, 2012

Funeral and death are not popular topics but the costs and effects are real. Judgement in this area is often clouded by negative emotions or by fear. However this subject needs to be discuss and planned done to minimize financial loses and further emotional loses that accompany them.

Unique article indeed!!

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Neel @ micrograam.com August 21, 2012

Cost calculations for funerals, I am not sure if many people are interested in that. But I have to say that this article is a very good idea.

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michelle August 21, 2012

I can’t be the only one who noticed the 2nd paragraph said “wedding”. Understandable error…gave me a smile. Please stress the expense of a vault if required by your area and embalming which is expensive. People are very sentimental when this time comes but I am reminded of the verse…ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It helps to get your family’s (children’s) views on this. My grown children are not opposed to cremtion so that’s what we will do. I’d rather my kids enjoy the dollar savings instead of enjoying a short funeral service.

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Tim August 21, 2012

Oops! Thanks for the heads up Michelle. I corrected it :)

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