How Much Does a Funeral Cost?

Unfortunately, many families are unprepared for the death of a loved one. Even if death was expected, it is still a difficult experience for those who survived. A funeral is something that many individuals feel is necessary for their deceased loved one; however, it can be fairly expensive. Many individuals who plan a funeral wonder what is included in the funeral costs.

Before establishing what may or may not be included in traditional funeral costs, it is important to remember that no two establishments are the same. This means that one funeral home, church, or cemetery may offer particular services all for one price, but another one may not. Below is a list of some of the most common funeral costs; however, it may not be the same for all funerals.

When the services of a funeral home are explained, the process of planning a funeral goes as easy as it could go at this difficult time. Many funeral homes will take care of just about every aspect of a person’s death and funeral.

This means that a funeral home can make burial arrangements, order a funeral casket or burial urn, complete all of the paperwork surrounding the death certificate, and much more. This process makes funeral planning easy for the surviving family, but the process does not come free.

As previously mentioned, the amount of money that a funeral home will charge for its services is likely to vary. Even though the price may vary all of their services will likely be covered under one fee. This fee is often a flat fee that is charged to individuals no matter what type of funeral services they wish to have. Simply by contacting a funeral home director or visiting their online website you should be able to determine their funeral costs.

The majority of funeral homes are likely to charge a flat-rate fee for their services; however, you may be charged additional funeral costs for the supplies that you need. These supplies are likely to include the casket or urn, the cemetery burial site, and any funeral flowers that you may have ordered. These additional funeral costs will likely be billed together, but they may appear as separate charges.

Additional funeral costs may be incurred if outside assistance is used. This outside assistance may come from a florist or an outside funeral planner. These and other similar services are likely to be billed separately from the funeral home. It is important to remember that if you are planning a funeral service you can plan it any way that you want; however, many funeral homes will take care of just about all funeral planning aspects for a small fee.

Funeral costs and what they cover will mostly depend on what funeral home or other funeral establishment is being used. The best way to know all of the funeral costs is to ask up front. The death of a loved one is a difficult time; however, it is still important to know exactly where your money is going and what it is being used for.

Why are funerals so expensive?

A common complaint in the USA and many other countries is that the cost of a funeral is too high and rising in some cases. The truth of the matter is that a traditional funeral with a viewing, a service, and a graveside service for an adult over three days cost about $3,500.00 in 2006. 

When you look at the total it sure looks like a lot right? Consider for a moment the cost of a casket. They are often handmade, some can cost more than $7,000 on their own. 

Now for a moment think about the last large wedding you attended or a baby shower. What do you think the combined cost of that fancy wedding was, likely more than ten thousand dollars, and the combined total for all of the gifts from a baby shower? Likely more than four thousand. 

Funerals get a lot of complaints and criticisms because they are one of the less joyous events in our lives. The fact of the matter is that owning and operating a funeral home is a 24 hour 7 day per week labor of love for those in the industry. 

The Cost of Funerals and Burials

Most people who have never planned a funeral are not aware of all of the costs. Though the different parts of a funeral or burial may seem inexpensive, everything will add up and it’s easy to end up spending more than was expected before the planning began.

On average, the cost of a funeral with burial is between $7,000 and $10,000. The average cost for cremation is between $5,000 and $7000.

Some of the costs to consider when purchasing burial insurance or planning for a funeral include the following.


Caskets average up to $5,000, though they can be more expensive if they have a more ornate design. If the deceased is to be cremated, the casket may be less expensive, as it must be a fully combustible container and cannot have any metal components.


Most funeral homes will require a fee of around $350 to do the cremation as they will need to have a third party handle this process for them. Funeral homes that have a crematory on the property will not charge this fee. Cost may increase if a green cremation is requested.


Basic urns average at around $300. The cost can increase for more extravagant urns or if multiple urns are desired by the family.


The embalming process may be needed if there will be an open casket. If this is needed, it will generally cost around $750.

Body Preparation

If there is going to be an open casket, the body will need to be prepared regardless of whether embalming is done. Body preparation will cost around $250 and can include reconstruction, hair styling, makeup, dressing the body, and other services.


The casket will need to be transported to the burial site, so a hearse will be required. This can cost around $300 on average, though costs can increase if the drive is longer than average.

Service Vehicles

The family of the deceased may opt to use service vehicles to get to and from the burial site instead of using their own vehicles. This can cost around $150, though it does depend on how many vehicles will be needed.

Printed Materials

At funerals, there are generally printed materials passed out to attendees that may include memories of the deceased or photos. The printed materials can also include a guest book for attendees to sign. This can cost around $150 to $200 depending on the number of guests anticipated.

Service Fees

There will be basic fees to cover the services provided by the funeral home. These are generally around $2,000 though they can be more expensive, depending on how long the funeral takes and how much work is done by the funeral home.

Use of Facilities

On top of basic service fees, funeral homes generally charge for the use of their facilities and the staff members who work on the funeral. This can be an added $500 on top of the basic service fees.


If the deceased is buried at a cemetery, the cemetery may require the purchase of a vault. This can cost around $1,500 depending on the location and size of the vault.

Headstones or Monuments

Once the deceased is laid to rest, monuments or headstones can be placed to state who is buried. These can range in cost significantly based on the size, materials, amount of writing done, and other factors.


Most people will place an obituary to honor their loved ones. This can be done in local newspapers or online. The cost for this will vary based on the size, what features are added, and whether it’s in print or online.

How to Reduce the Cost of a Funeral

If you are tasked with planning a funeral in the moment, it is going to be tough to lower the cost in real time. Sure, you can get quote from funeral homes near you, but ultimately you will need to front the full cost. However if you want to save on funeral costs for a future family event, your best bet is to get burial insurance.

Burial insurance, otherwise known as final expense insurance, is a type of life insurance designed to cover the costs of a funeral, burial, casket, headstone, and other family event expenses.

Click here to learn more about burial insurance and to get a quote today.