How Much Does A Funeral Cost?

How much does a funeral cost

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).

How much does a funeral cost?


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/

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



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!


  1. Great post! The biggest concern we see with people as they come to our Neil Bardal Funeral Centre is the cost behind each aspect of a funeral.
  2. I appreciate the information you included about the Funeral Rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission about funeral expenses and arrangements. I had no idea that there was such a law to protect you and allow you to compare prices and rates among funeral homes. I also had no idea that funeral expenses exceed $5,000 on average.
  3. My husband’s mom recently passed away and we are in the process of planning her funeral right now. It’s a lot of work and it’s very emotional. I really like the tip about getting price information on the phone. My husband is just too emotional right now to leave the house and visit potential funeral homes, so that’s good solution for us.
  4. My mother has been talking about planning her funeral, so I should help her figure out approximately how much it should cost. She’ll be glad to know that the FTC Funeral Rule will allow her to have the right to only purchase the funeral arrangements she wants, and get price information on the phone. I should make sure that she knows this before she decides to pre-pay for any services. Thanks for the tips!
  5. I think it’s important to make sure that you take careful consideration into your funeral plans. You need to make sure that you only get the arrangements that you want and don’t end up overpaying. It can be hard to think rationally when you’re dealing with something like death, though. Thanks for sharing.
  6. Welcome to Caribe Funeral Home ! Caribe funeral home newest and biggest funeral home in Brooklyn serving community of all New York. We believe in personal attention and uncompromising quality. We are proud of our long standing traditions, our serene facilities and steadfast commitment to serving families in their deepest time of need. [Link(s) disabled by Admin]
  7. I really appreciate this information on how much funerals cost and what the break down is. My grandfather is really close to the end of his life, and we want to make sure the funeral will honor him in the best way possible, so this really helps. It seems that working with the right funeral home would make a big difference. Thanks for the information!

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