A traditional funeral involves a number of services which add to the total cost. Besides a non-declinable basic services fee, other charges may include removal/transfer of the body to the funeral home; embalming; other preparation of the body; use of facilities and staff for viewing; use of facilities and staff for the funeral ceremony; use of a hearse, service car, or van; a basic memorial printed package; metal casket, a vault or grave liner, and purchase of a cemetery plot.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a traditional funeral is approximately $7045. This includes the cost of embalming and a metal casket. The purchase of the gravesite and a burial vault or liner can add as much as $3000 more to the $7045 cost.
The median cost of a funeral plus burial today is $8,343. In contrast, a cremation with basic services (no funeral) will run about $3,190, while a cremation with a funeral costs around $4,715.
There are a number of reasons that cremation is increasingly becoming the first choice for final arrangements. While it is true that cremation is significantly less expensive than a traditional burial, other factors also influence the decision process. These factors include:
- A growing acceptance of cremation, both from a secular and a religious standpoint
- A population that is increasingly on the move, with less ties to tradition
- A growing attitude toward cremation as a more environmentally responsible choice
- Greater flexibility in memorialization options
The average cost to inter an urn in a cremation burial space or columbarium is $995.
In general, when referring only to the cremation process itself, with no additional services or funeral arrangements, you may expect the following average costs. Direct cremation (in which the body is cremated and the ashes returned to the family, with no funeral or other services added) is the most simple, and least expensive option.
Depending on the region in which you live, a direct cremation can run as low as $495 in certain areas (Florida and Nevada, for example). However, in most parts of the United States, the average cost runs somewhere between $700 to $1000. A direct cremation, as defined here, should not cost more than $1500 at the most, regardless of the location.
The best way to find out the average cost of a direct cremation in your area is to contact local
funeral homes and crematories, and ask them for a quote for a direct cremation with no additional services. That way you can compare “apples to apples”. Ask questions to make sure that the price you are quoted is not part of a package, which can significantly increase your cost.
When looking at cremation costs, the first thing you must realize is that there is no set answer to this question. Cremation costs can and do vary by location or geographic region. Prices are set by the individual crematory providers or funeral homes, and can vary widely from one provider to another, even within the same local area. Cremation costs also depend on whether other services are included with the cremation, the cost of the casket or container used during cremation, and other factors. According to the Cremation Association of North America, the average cost of a cremation with a simple memorial service is $1650. Generally, a cremation with additional services handled through a funeral home will cost between $2000 to $4000. If the cremation is handled directly through a crematory, the average price will fall somewhere between $1500 to $3000.
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