How much does the average funeral cost?

Not sure how you or your family will pay for your final sendoff – or what it will even cost? You’re in good company: Most people haven’t financially planned for their funerals.

Avoiding this topic is understandable; mulling over the details of your death can seem unpleasant. In fact, a study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) found that while 62.5% of Americans recognized the importance of planning for funeral expenses, only 21.4% have made appropriate arrangements.

Discussing death may be tough, but saddling your family with unanticipated expenses when you pass away is harder. Understanding the average funeral cost and doing some basic planning now can ease a significant burden for your family and give you peace of mind that your funeral expenses will be fully covered. Read on for answers to some of the most common questions about funeral expenses and tips on how to prepare for your own.

How much do funerals cost?

What is the average cost of a funeral in your area? Funeral costs typically vary by region, provider, and the type of service you choose. According to an NFDA study, the average cost for a funeral with a burial and vault is $9,135. Bear in mind this estimated cost doesn’t account for additional items like monument markers, a cemetery plot, reception costs, flowers, obituary placements, and other items you and your family might choose.

Types of funeral costs

While many funeral homes offer similar packages, there are quite a few options that will affect your total price tag. Accounting for these variables can help you answer the question: “How much does a funeral cost?”

Basic Planning Fees

Most funeral homes charge a required fee to cover basic administrative expenses. This fee comes in around $2,200 on average.

Service Fees

Funeral homes also charge for services like transportation to and from the funeral home, embalming, and equipment and personnel required for graveside services. Costs vary, but can range into the thousands of dollars. When tallying up the costs, remember that embalming isn’t actually a legal requirement for burial or cremation. However, most funeral homes require embalming if you’re planning to have a public open-casket viewing.

Merchandise Fees

Products like flowers, grave markers, and keepsakes used during the funeral and burial can make your service more expensive. Caskets are typically the single most expensive item families will purchase during the funeral process, with prices ranging from $2,000 for a basic model to $10,000 or more for some mahogany, bronze, or copper models.

Facility Rentals

Funeral service providers typically allow families to use their facilities for viewings and services. If you hold your service in a funeral home, the funeral home will add that fee to the total funeral cost. If you decide to host a service in a church or other gathering space, you may need to pay a fee there, too.

While the list above covers some of the most common and significant funeral expenses, it’s not exhaustive. For a more complete funeral cost breakdown, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s funeral expense checklist. You can use the form provided to collect prices from funeral homes in your area and compare options to see which fits your budget best.

Best way to prepare for funeral expenses

There are several simple ways to prepare and plan for funeral expenses. First, pre-planning with your preferred funeral provider can help you understand the exact costs to carry out your final wishes. Once you crunch the numbers, you can make important financial decisions about how to cover the expenses. Your options include:

Buying a Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to make sure your funeral expenses are adequately covered. For a small monthly premium, your life insurance provider will provide a lump sum of cash called a death benefit to your designated beneficiaries if you die while the policy is active. Your family can use this payout for whatever they like, like paying for outstanding bills and funeral expenses. Because term life insurance policies eventually expire, you may want to consider a permanent policy to guarantee the money will be there for your family no matter when you die.

Considering Final Expense Insurance

Final expense coverage is a life insurance policy specifically designed to help older adults cover everything from funeral costs to outstanding medical bills after a death. These policies come in smaller coverage amounts than other permanent policies, making them relatively inexpensive with easy approvals. For example, Fidelity Life’s RAPIDecision® Final Expense plans can provide up to $35,000 of coverage with no medical exams required and same-day approvals, in many cases.

Creating a Will

Even if you own very few assets, it’s a good idea to have an updated will. A will that clearly outlines how to use your estate to pay for funeral costs can protect your loved ones from bearing this expense. While many people do use proceeds from an estate to pay for funerals, there are some pitfalls to this approach. It can take months to settle someone’s affairs fully, which means your family could end up waiting on the funds they need. In contrast, life insurance plans typically pay out within days once your life insurance company receives and approves the claim.

Bottom line: How much does the average funeral cost?

While funeral expenses vary, the average funeral today can cost your family more than $9,000. Taking the time to understand those costs and prepare for them can ease financial burdens for your family later on.

We know sometimes it’s easier to speak with an expert, and that’s why we’re here to help. Our team is available to answer your questions and help you compare final expense or life insurance plans to find your fit. Give our agents a call or start your quote online today.

At Fidelity Life, our goal is to make life insurance simple, affordable, and understandable for everyday families. This content is intended for educational purposes only. Each post is carefully fact-checked, reviewed, and updated regularly to ensure the information is as relevant as possible.