How much do funerals cost (is it possible to find a cheaper funeral)?
According to a survey in 2014 the average cost of a funeral in the UK was £7600 with funeral prices having risen by 80% in the 10 years from 2004 (source – daily mail).
This average funeral cost was calculated from the cost of a burial or cremation (including non-discretionary fees) of almost £3500, plus the cost of memorials, funeral flowers & wreaths, and catering of roughly £2000, plus discretionary estate admin costs of over £2,100.
It was estimated that these funeral costs would leave 100,000 people in the UK struggling to pay the bill.
It is perhaps because of these ever rising costs that prepaid funeral plans seem to be more popular than ever, where you can pay now or in instalments and have a kind of funeral insurance policy that will guarantee to cover certain parts of your funeral bills;
And also why there are more and more funeral directors offering low cost, affordable funerals to cater against the expense of typical funeral prices.
The most competitive, lowest cost funeral that is available today is a direct cremation service, where the body of the deceased is escorted to the crematorium by the funeral director and then the cremation takes place.
These simple funerals do not involve a service of remembrance, flowers, hymns, songs, readings, or – perhaps critically – mourners, it is simply a delivery of the body of the person who has died to a crematorium where they are cremated, and their ashes collected.
Perhaps this is a sad indictment of society in general, when the end of a life of a Human Being is reduced to a simple process without ceremony, purely on a cost basis because of financial necessity.
It is worth pointing out that even though these are classed as the cheapest or lowest cost type of funeral, I suppose what you could call “cheap funerals”, this type of funeral will still probably cost in excess of £1000, which isn’t “cheap” at all by most people’s standards.
The cost of these funerals is made up partly of the charges from the crematorium, which will vary depending on where the cremation takes place, since it is set by the local council, plus doctors fees (they charge for issuing a death certificate), and some other sundry unavoidable costs.
Of course the funeral director also has to cover their costs and this also adds to the final bill.
So to answer the question of how much is a funeral, how much does it cost?
The total price depends entirely on the choices that you make, the flowers, the wreaths, whether you choose a burial or cremation, the type of hearse (horse drawn, motorbike, motor car, etc), the type of headstone and memorials, and all of the other options that are available to you.
These include things like the type of coffin, if you would like the releasing of doves at the funeral, if you would like memorial (cremation) jewellery, the place where the funeral and service will take place, catering, stationery, and everything else that you might decide on.
In essence the simpler the funeral and service the more affordable and the lower the cost, the problem is that a low cost funeral may not give us the peace of mind and sense of comfort that we crave.
It is a personal choice that we all must make for ourselves.
However, I feel that if you do need to opt for the lowest cost funeral possible then you should take solace in the certainty that, the person who has died would not want their loved ones to struggle financially to pay for an extravagant send off that was not necessary.
So yes, it is possible to have a cheap funeral, but the reduction in price comes at the expense of a reduction of what kind of service you can actually have, usually it means no mourners or service at the crematorium.