How Much Does The Average Funeral Cost?

Written by Ross Quade

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 not 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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Ross Quade
Ross Quade has been a licensed insurance agent since 2008. State of Texas license #1702965. He has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Minnesota and minored in Applied Economics. He has been quoted in several online publications including Huffington Post, Young Startups and various financial blogs. Ross frequently writes about issues related to the insurance and finance industry.
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