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6 Things to Think About Before Choosing a Funeral Home

Whether you want to be proactive in picking out your own funeral home or must find one for a deceased loved one; it is essential that you’re able to be objective when looking at the options presented to you. It’s easy just to choose a funeral home that is close by or that you are familiar with. However, if you do not compare the experiences you will get, such as prices, services, and a number of other components, then you will not be certain that you’re picking out the right funeral home for your situation. When a loved one passes away or when you are faced with your own death by looking at funeral homes, it can be tricky making a decision. Here are six things to think about to make picking out the right funeral home an easier process.


1.  How Many People Will Be Attending the Funeral?

Funeral homes come in a range of sizes and so having a general count of how many people will participate in the funeral will give you a good idea of the funeral home size you are looking for. When considering the size of the funeral home you need, it’s important that you keep in mind the kind of service that will be held. For instance, if the service is going to be held at the funeral home then it will likely be easier to have one big room instead of a wrap-around ancillary so that everyone can have an unobstructed viewing. Otherwise, you may want several adjoining rooms so that people can gather in a similar fashion to how they would in a house.


2.  What Type of Funeral Arrangement Do You Want?

Do you want or will there be a cemetery burial, service, or full viewing? Otherwise, will it just be a simple cremation with a service to scatter the ashes in a lake? Deciding on the type of funeral arrangement is often tough, especially if you are choosing it for yourself. In the case of deciding on a funeral home for your loved one, the hope is that he or she made the decision before their passing otherwise it is often a decision that must be done with other family members that are tasked with planning the burial.


3.  What Are Your Priorities When Making Funeral Arrangements?

When thinking about your priorities for the funeral arrangement, you must consider both convenience and personal choice. If you want the funeral home’s location to be close to the cemetery or your home, then it will be best to pick a funeral home that is close by. If you want the burial to go by particular religious’ practices, then ensure that the funeral homes you are considering are comfortable and even have experience with those practices. By having a well-rounded set of priorities, you will know what components of the funeral home you can sacrifice and which ones are non-negotiable. Be aware that you may have to do some trade-offs in picking a funeral home, but just ensure that your family agrees on the things that are must-haves.


4.  Will There Be Handicap Attendees?

If the funeral procession will have a large gathering, then there more than likely there will be some handicap attendees. The chances of this increase tenfold when the funeral will be made up of an older crowd. If so, then take into consideration whether a particular funeral home has exterior access ramps, as well as handicap bathrooms so that all of the attendees can feel comfortable. Moreover, if there will be handicap attendees, then it is best that all of the public areas are on the ground floor.


5.  What is Your Budget?

Choosing a funeral home is a similar process to shopping around for a car. You must decide on the benefits and features you want, as well as the price that you can afford. It is recommended that you have a family discussion to figure out a budget that won’t break the bank and is reasonable to determine your funeral home budget. You will want to decide on what you and your family want in a funeral to come up with a viable budget.


6.  Do You Want to Have Printed or Multimedia Materials?

Digital slideshows, music, and videos are not always wanted. However, they are becoming a staple in many services. If you want these sort of materials at your service, then you should look for a funeral home that will provide them. Many funeral homes now offer digital presentations and will create a slide show in-house for the service. Additionally, if you want guest books or prayer cards at the funeral then look into those funeral homes that provide them so that you do not have to purchase them elsewhere.


6 Key Things Funeral Directors May Not Tell You


Although no one particularly enjoys planning for a funeral, it is a reality that must be faced. With funeral costs in the United States reaching well over $6,000 on average, there are plenty of reasons why you would want to prepare for a funeral in advance.


After all, the last thing you want to do is to leave your loved ones with a burden of debt.


Which is why it is so important to put a plan into place. However, before you decide to purchase the first policy that comes your way, there are a few things you’re going to want to know.


1.) It pays off to shop around


It is common for many people to pick the first funeral home they come across. Whether it is out of convenience or because it’s the place where their family has always used, few people explore their options.


However, this is by far one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to final expense insurance. Comparing prices from providers can save you hundreds if not thou


While funeral home directors may tell you that they have the lowest prices possible, it’s always a wise move to double check. After all, a funeral is no small expense.


2.) Cremations can save you significantly


Did you know that cremations on average cost half of what a traditional funeral costs? In fact, cremation services on average only run about $3,000 with an urn costing as little as $30.


While funeral home directors may try to upsell you on full funeral services, keep in mind there is nothing wrong with opting for a cremation. Saving you and your family potentially thousands, cremations can be an affordable option.


The key takeaway here? If you think a cremation is an option you want to explore, do not hesitate to do so.


3.) You do not have to purchase products directly


Sure, funeral home directors make it convenient to purchase products directly, but that doesn’t mean you should. While you can certainly purchase plenty of high-end (and often overpriced) caskets from funeral homes, you can also purchase from other sources.


For example, did you know that you can save significantly by purchasing items such as urns and caskets online? Not to mention that you can also save by price checking various retailers in your area as well.


Remember, just because it is available through a funeral home does not mean it is the best option.


4.) You do not have to spend a fortune on a casket


Just as you do not have to purchase products directly from a funeral home, you also do not have to spend a fortune on a casket. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not necessary to spend thousands of dollars.


In fact, if you want, you can find a basic casket such as a pine box for as little as $500. Now, if you’re looking for a full-scale mahogany or bronze casket then go for it, just keep in mind that this is a personal decision to matter.


The reality is that there is no right or wrong universal answer here, it is about what is best for you and your loved ones.


5.) Funeral directors are business people first


While countless funeral directors may have honorable intentions, it’s also important to remember that they are also business people first. After all, funeral home directors are not clergy.


While funeral home directors can conduct services, at the end of they are running a business.


This is not to say that funeral home directors have bad intentions but rather to show you just how critical it is to be objective as possible Although it can be an emotional process, by taking a critical comparison of your options you’ll be able to maximize your options.


Have questions when it comes to funeral planning or just final expense insurance in general? If so, be sure to check out Final Expense Insurance Blog for more answers.


What Is The Average Amount Someone Can Expect To Pay For A Casket?


Believe it or not, a casket can be one of the biggest expenses when it comes to a funeral. While many people assume the plot or services to be the most expensive cost, the casket can actually end up being the most expensive part of the entire bill. However, the question may not be so much whether or not a casket is expensive, but rather how expensive.

Of course, as you may have guessed, casket costs can vary greatly. While you’ll find average costs ranging from around $2,000 upwards to $10,000 this is by no means definitive. The total amount you could end up paying out of pocket can depend on everything from casket materials to your final expense insurance coverage, so there’s no simple answer here.

However, there are a few basic price points to consider that can help you better gauge your potential expenses when it comes to casket costs.


Price Points To Consider


While casket prices can vary, there is some good news; there are plenty of options available at your disposal.


Material & style

Today, there are a wide variety of casket materials to select from, some of the most common materials include;

Wood: Often constructed from hardwoods such as elm or oak, wooden caskets are typically hand sculpted and formed. In addition, many come equipped with a sheer gloss, giving the wood a shiny and pleasant appearance. You’ll find that many wooden caskets are often advertised as protected or sealant secured. However, this makes little difference in terms of inevitable decay.

Metal: Metal is a popular choice and for good reason, the options are almost limitless. Constructed from bronze, stainless steel, or even copper, metal caskets are priced depending on their weight per square foot along with their overall thickness. Depending on the type of metal utilized, prices will fluctuate.

Fiberglass: Fiberglass caskets are often thought to be the most inexpensive option along with the lightest option. Often used for infant services, but available in every size, fiberglass caskets are beginning to become a more popular choice.


Who you’re purchasing from

Did you know that a funeral home is not the only place where a casket can be purchased from? While a casket can certainly be purchased from a funeral home, it is no longer the only option.

Independent Retailer: In some states only licensed funeral establishments are able to sell caskets. However, this does not tend to be the case from most states. In fact, today there are a number of independent casket retailers. Often offering significant savings, independent retailers have become a viable option.

Online Retailer: Is there anything you can’t buy online today? Many online casket retailers are able to ship directly anywhere within the United States. Providing convenience and big savings, online retailers are quickly increasing. However, not all online retailers are authorized or credible, so never purchased from an unauthorized or untrustworthy merchant.

Funeral Home: While there are may be numerous independent retailers, funeral homes are still one of the most common choices for many casket purchasers. Packages and pricings for caskets vary by location; however keep in mind that funeral homes must provide a pricing list before showing you any physical products. Also, keep in mind that some funeral homes will price-match online retailers, so be sure to ask before making any final decisions.


The Final Verdict


To put things in perspective, realistically, you’re looking between $2,000-10,000 for a casket. Seem a little steep? Many people are surprised to find out just how much a casket actually costs.

As you can imagine, dealing with these unexpected costs can be overwhelming. Unless you’re prepared for these expenses in advance, they can feel massive. While there are options such as cremation that can lower your costs, you should be aware that it’s not the only option.

In fact, final expense life insurance can help you and your loved ones save tremendously when it comes to covering end of life costs. After all, preparing for a funeral is exhausting and a difficult burden for anyone to bear. Final expense life insurance can help offset some of these hefty final costs and worries for your loved ones.

While whole life insurance may offer some coverage for casket costs, a final expense insurance policy provides superior coverage. A simple policy can help offset thousands.

Want to find out if final expense life insurance is worthwhile for your needs? If so, be sure to use this handy calculator to estimate your potential costs and coverage.

How Much Does The Average Funeral Cost?


Do you know what the average cost of a funeral is today in the U.S? While many people guess a few thousand, the truth is, when it’s all said and done the average funeral is much higher than a few thousand. How much higher? The average funeral in the U.S. often ranges from $7,000-10,000, and that is not even on the high end.

Funeral costs, along with just about every cost, have been subject to inflation over the years. Meaning, what the cost of a funeral was 5-10 years ago does not accurately reflect the cost of what you can expect to pay for a funeral today. While a traditional funeral is certainly not the only option, it still remains one of the most popular choices. Although cremation services have increased, traditional funerals are still more common.

While you should keep in mind that funeral rates are heavily influenced by your geographic location, here are some key costs to consider when it comes to calculating your average funeral cost.


Basic Costs to Consider


A traditional funeral service will typically include the following costs. Keep in mind that there is no rule of thumb here; these are only estimates of what you can expect.

Basic Service Fee: Nearly every funeral home will charge a basic service fee, sometimes referred to as a professional fee. Often, this fee will range anywhere between $800-2,000. Normally, this fee is non-negotiable and represents your total cost, excluding other services as the casket, embalming, etc.

Casket: While you probably do not want to spend your days shopping for caskets, keep in mind that caskets can get very pricey very quickly. In fact, caskets can sometimes be marked anywhere up to 300% or more.

Embalmment: Believe it or not, this service is not always included in your basic service fees. In fact, you will find that this cost will vary by provider. If this fee is not included, expenses typically range from $400-800.

Transfers: In the event that a transfer of the remains needs to take place, this is an additional fee as well. This fee includes the pick-up of the body to the funeral home.

Plot: Some plots are free, however, most are not. Plot costs range widely. From small community plots to for-profit plots, there is no hard rule here. Each plot will have established rates and standards.

Headstone: Headstone prices can range greatly as well. Depending on the size and engraving, a headstone can run anywhere from as little as $300 for a flat stone to $3,000 for larger stones.


Unexpected Expenses To Be Aware Of


In addition to the costs referenced above, there are some additional and often unexpected expenses that you should be aware of. While all of thee expenses may not be relevant to you, you may find some that are.

Additional Visitation Hours

This will again vary by funeral home; however, you will often find that a service fee will only include a set amount of hours of visitation. For example, a blanket service fee may only cover up to 1 hour of visitation. Additional hours will often be extra.

Service Car/Van

While it may not be something that you can necessarily prepare for, it is no uncommon that the use of a service van or vehicle by a funeral home can be an additional charge.

Long-Distance Transfers

In the event that a long-distance transfer of the body is necessary, the vast majority of funeral homes will charge an additional rate for this service. The rate will vary by funeral home and will often depend on the length of the trip. Keep in mind, not all funeral homes will provide this service.


Options Going Forward


This was a quite a bit of information and you may now be wondering, what’s next. After all, is there any real way that you can prepare for this? Well, going forward you have one of two options.

Wait & Delay

A common choice but often a mistake, many people delay making a choice for the inevitable. They put off worrying about their final days and leave it up to their loved ones left behind. However, there is nothing more stressful to a grieving loved one than coping with their loss and worrying about the finances of it all on top of it. As you may have realized, final expenses are costly.

Prepare Today

The other option is to take action today. While there is no guarantee of what the future may hold, by planning for your final days, you can ensure that the ones you love most are not left with an overwhelming burden. Final expense insurance removes the financial burden and worries, relieving your loved ones of the anxiety that comes with the unexpected expenses.

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