We, at eFuneral, have posted several articles on the average cost of a funeral or memorial service, how to save money on a funeral, and helpful tips for planning a burial or cremation service. Below is some information we compiled from the Term Life Insurance blog relating to funeral service costs.
The Federal Trade Commission relays that a funeral is the third most expensive purchase most people make in their lives. It might seem counterintuitive that so much money would be spent on death, but the costs of a funeral are much like the costs of a wedding when you think of all of the corresponding parts. Most people don’t mentally break down the expenses associated with a funeral, which can include the funeral event itself, a casket, vault, flowers, food, obituary notices, acknowledgement cards, and limousines. There are also service fees paid out to the funeral director which cover a myriad of necessary details, including funeral planning, obtaining permits and copies of death certificates, preparing the notices, housing the remains, and coordinating the arrangements with the cemetery, crematory or other third parties. It’s already a rough time for everyone involved without adding a financial burden to the scenario.
The cost of a funeral
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price for a funeral in the United States is $6,500, without factoring in the additional expenses associated with the burial itself (like a vault) and the headstone. And, a Pasadena Weekly notes that funeral costs are increasing, potentially as a result of the combination of funeral directors raising their prices and consumers choosing more expensive services and merchandise. According to the article, the costs of funerals generally climb about seven percent per year.
Federal protection against unfair funeral home practices
To protect against unfair funeral home practices like requiring funeral planners to purchase certain goods or services, the Federal Trade Commission enacted the Funeral Rule. The federal regulatory body requires funeral directors to give individuals itemized prices (known as a general price list) in person or over the phone. Funeral homes are also required to provide funeral planners with a casket price list, and they may not force the sale of a burial or cremation package. If a funeral planner bought a casket elsewhere, the funeral director may not charge an extraneous fee or refuse to handle the foreign casket.
A breakdown of some funeral service costs
Caskets: Caskets may cost anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000 depending on the material and style chosen. Standard pine caskets, for instance, are cheaper than mahogany, bronze, or copper caskets. Funeral homes may not have the cheapest options on display but funeral planners may ask to see caskets within their price range.
Embalming: Funeral planners may also choose to embalm their loved ones, but embalming is not always necessary, especially when the funeral service does not include a public viewing.
Cemetery plots: The cemetery plot is where the coffin itself will be buried. The closer a plot is to a city, usually, the more expensive. There may be an extra fee associated with maintaining the plot – funeral planners should be sure to ask about those fees in advance. Not all cemeteries allow grievers to decorate cemetery plots with flowers. The bottom line is, funeral planners should do some research to find a plot that meets their needs.
Outer burial containers: Another expense is accrued from the burial vault or grave liner. While state laws do not require a vault or liner, cemeteries often do because it helps keep the ground from sinking or caving-in over time. The grave liner or burial vault provides an infrastructure, typically concrete, around the coffin itself. The vault is more substantial than the liner, encompassing the entire coffin while the liner only reinforces the sides.
Other funeral expenses may include:
Should funeral planners opt for cremation, the cost may be less. Urns, for instance, are generally less expensive than caskets, as is the cremation process in comparison to the burial process. When all is said and done, planning a funeral service can be stressful. However, with a little planning beforehand, individuals arranging funeral services can minimize the costs and ease some of the difficulties that would result from having to make last-minute decisions in a time of mourning.
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