In 2014, the average cost of a funeral was $7,181 according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). We get asked about funeral planning a lot here at The Senior List®, so we thought we'd begin a multi-part series on the subject. Today we'll investigate and answer this most important question.
What is the Average Funeral Cost?
The real answer of course is… that “it depends”. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the median price for a funeral (viewing + burial) in 2014 was $7,181. Tack on another $1,327 for a vault (if one is required). The reason it depends is that you can request (and funeral directors must provide) a la carte pricing if you request it from them. More on the FTC Funeral Rule below.
Average Funeral Cost Breakdown
According to the NFDA, here are the average costs per line-item in a typical funeral:
- $2,000 Nondeclinable basic services fee
- $310 Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home
- $695 Embalming
- $250 Other preparation of the body
- $420 Use of facilities/staff for viewing
- $495 Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony
- $318 Hearse
- $143 Service car/van
- $155 Basic memorial printed package
- $2,395 Metal casket
- $7,181 Total
- $1,327 Vault (if needed)
- $8,508 Total with vault
*NFDA notes that these costs do not reflect costs for; cemetery, monument or marker costs, or miscellaneous cash-advance charges (for flowers or an obituary or other).
What Is The FTC Funeral Rule?
The FTC Funeral Rule is an imperative that gives you (the consumer) certain protected rights which are backed by the Federal Government. Specifically;
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), makes it possible for you to choose only those goods and services you want or need and to pay only for those you select, whether you are making arrangements when a death occurs or in advance. The Rule allows you to compare prices among funeral homes, and makes it possible for you to select the funeral arrangements you want at the home you use. (The Rule does not apply to third-party sellers, such as casket and monument dealers, or to cemeteries that lack an on-site funeral home.) – Funeral Rule/FTC.gov
The FTC Funeral Rule allows a consumer the following rights:
- Buy only the funeral arrangements you want
- Get price information on the telephone
- Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home
- See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets
- See a written outer burial container price list
- Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay
- Get an explanation in the written statement from the funeral home that describes any legal cemetery or crematory requirement
- Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation
- Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere
- Make funeral arrangements without embalming
RELATED: TIPS FOR REDUCING FUNERAL COSTS
How Much Is A Direct Cremation?
According to varying sources online (including the cremation resource council), the average cost of a direct cremation is around $1,100. A direct cremation is only for the cremation itself. No service, no casket, no embalming, etc. Calling around to both funeral homes AND crematoriums will give you the best prices for this option. Remember funeral homes must provide you with a la carte pricing for these things (see above). You can expect to hear about other fees that may or may not be included with direct cremation services like death certificates, transporting the body, obtaining an urn, etc. This is likely to push the price up a bit, but no where near the cost of a traditional funeral service. Our friends at The Motley Fool have some good advice on Cremation Costs.
If you're looking for a great resource on funeral planning, download this PDF from the FTC titled Shopping For Funeral Services.
Click here if you'd like to discuss tips on reducing funeral costs!