What is the cheapest cremation? A direct cremation is the…
Essentially, the cost of a funeral can be broken down into three categories:
|1. Funeral director fees||2. Third-party fees||3. Optional extras|
|The cost of a funeral director to help arrange all aspects of the funeral, as well as provide a coffin, hearse and limousines.||Fees for the cremation or burial to take place, the minister or celebrant to lead the ceremony and the doctors’ fees to sign medical certification.||For all the additional elements you may choose to include to help personalise a funeral. These may be flowers, order of service, memorial, and so on.|
Funeral director fees + Third-party-fees + Optional extras = Total funeral expenditure
The amount you may spend on each of these categories depends on where the funeral takes place, the type of funeral it is (cremation or burial) and how you choose to personalise the send-off.
Continue reading for a full breakdown of funeral fees and charges. We also explore typical funeral costs for cremation and burial as well as funeral costs in different regions.
If you’re thinking about prepaying your funeral costs, and want to avoid future price hikes, then get in touch with Reassured to learn about our prepaid funeral plans.
Concerned about funeral costs? Visit our funerals on a budget guide for plenty of money-saving tips.
The average cost of a basic funeral is currently £4,184 according to the SunLife Cost of Dying report (12.6% of the average salary).
This amount breaks down into two categories:
A basic funeral becomes a proper send-off when you start to add optional extras, such as flowers, order sheets and limousines (the elements that make it more of a personal occasion).
In 2020, people spent on average £2,532 on optional extras when arranging their loved one’s funeral.
£4,184 + £2,532 = £6,716 Total average cost of a funeral
As mentioned, the actual cost of a funeral will depend on various factors (some within our control and some out of our control). These include:
This table shows a breakdown of basic funeral costs for cremation, burial, direct cremation and direct burial:
|Type of funeral||Average UK cost||Basic funeral costs|
Let’s look at the three main funeral costs in more detail…
1. Funeral director fees
Funeral directors provide a vital role in supporting bereaved family members and ensuring that the funeral is arranged according to their wishes.
They liaise with the necessary third-parties and make sure the funeral runs smoothly on the day.
Funeral directors across the UK tend to offer all-inclusive funeral packages with fixed pricing. However, they can also tailor their services to suit specific needs and budgets.
Standard funeral director services, for either cremation or burial, may include:
According to the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2020, funeral director fees were the highest of all funeral costs - at £2,687 on average.
2. Third-party fees
Third-party fees are for additional services that aren’t provided by a funeral director but are necessary for a traditional funeral.
Typical third-party fees include:
They may also include fees for a church or cemetery chapel service.
In 2019, third-party fees for a cremation funeral cost around £1,200 and third-party fees for a burial funeral cost around £2,300 (on average).
Some places in the UK have considerably higher cremation fees and burial fees, such as London and the South East/East of England.
3. Optional extras
Optional extras are for all the other elements of a funeral that make it special and personal.
They may be included as part of the service, such as a bespoke floral arrangement, or they may be separate costs for arranging the wake, such as catering.
Whilst personalisation is an important aspect of organising someone’s last goodbye, it can significantly increase the overall cost.
Optional extras include but are not limited to:
As mentioned, people who’d arranged a funeral in 2020 spent on average £2,532 on optional extras.
Additional funeral related costs
When arranging a loved one’s funeral, you may also be responsible for dealing with their estate.
If you choose to hire a professional such as an accountant or solicitor to manage probate and administer the estate on your behalf, then you’d need to pay their service fees.
According to the Cost of Dying report, people spent on average £2,547 on professional fees in 2020.
£4,184 + £2,532 + £2,547 = £9,263 Total cost of dying (on average)
There are some cases in which you won’t need to hire a professional. For example, a family member or friend could take on the responsibility, especially if the estate is small and uncomplicated.
These days, burial funerals are far less common than cremation funerals in the UK and they can cost much more.
The average price of a funeral with burial is currently £5,033. This amount is based on the total average cost of:
Third-party fees for a burial funeral breakdown as follows:
Burial fees are variable depending on where you’re having the burial in the UK.
For example, in London, the average cost of a burial funeral is currently £7,816 whereas in North West England the average cost is much lower at £4,152.
Additional burial costs may include:
See our comprehensive cost of burial UK guide for more information »
The average cost of a funeral with cremation is currently £3,885 in the UK. This amount is based on the total average cost of:
Third-party fees for a cremation funeral breakdown as follows:
Cremation fees vary significantly across the UK.
For example, in the South East of England, the average cost of a cremation funeral is currently £4,600 whereas in Northern Ireland the average cost stands at £3,322.
Additional cremation costs include:
See our comprehensive cost of cremation UK guide for more information »
Direct cremation is the low-cost and fuss-free alternative to a traditional cremation funeral with full-length service.
In 2020, 14% of all funerals in the UK were direct cremations and these cost on average £1,554 (60% less than the average cremation funeral).
Typical direct cremation costs breakdown as follows:
Direct cremations are less expensive than traditional funerals because they exclude ceremonial aspects.
There’s no funeral service, so there’s no need to pay for optional extras such as flowers, limousines and funeral music.
95% of funeral directors in the UK can offer a direct cremation option. Some of the better-known providers that specialise in direct cremation include Simplicity Cremations and Pure Cremation.
The cost of a simple direct cremation is low, but depending on what choices you make, there are additional fees and charges to consider. These include:
Direct burial is another low-cost alternative to a traditional funeral, allowing a burial to go ahead without the usual ceremonial elements.
Typical direct burial costs breakdown as follows:
Some direct burial packages will include the cost of interment (the burial itself).
Direct burial usually costs more than a direct cremation because the fees tend to be higher.
Additional burial fees and charges:
As mentioned, funeral fees and charges vary significantly from region to region.
Where you live or where you choose to hold the funeral can impact the overall cost.
London is usually the most expensive place to have a funeral, whilst Northern Ireland tends to be the cheapest.
|Region||Average funeral cost|
|South East & East England||£5,007|
|East and West Midlands||£4,488|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£4,270|
|North East England||£3,826|
|North West England||£3,785|
The average cost of a funeral is relatively high in the UK. But how does this compare to other countries?
We’ve listed 3 of the most expensive countries and 3 of the least expensive countries to have a funeral:
|Country||Average funeral cost|
Japan has the highest average cost at an incredible £22,320 - which is an enormous 68.3% of their average salary. If we had to spend this percentage amount in the UK, the average funeral would cost £23,892.
India has the lowest funeral cost at just £96 - which is only 2.4% of their salary.
Germany is the most expensive European country to have a funeral by a considerable amount. The Netherlands is not far behind at £5,440 followed by the UK at £4,184.
Whilst some death-related costs will be out of your control, other expenses for a funeral can be managed or cut back if needed.
Sometimes, there isn’t enough money to pay for a funeral. If this is the case, then there are some ways you can get help to cover costs.
A prepaid funeral plan allows you to pay in advance for your own funeral and at today’s price.
By locking in today’s costs, you can protect loved ones from higher prices in the future.
A funeral plan also allows you to organise your funeral and record your final wishes ahead of time.
This means that when the time comes, your loved ones won’t have to worry about the details because they would’ve already been taken care of.
A funeral plan covers the essential services for the type of funeral you want to have. Reassured can help you arrange a funeral plan for cremation, burial or direct cremation.
You can also choose to pay in full or spread the cost in monthly payments so that it’s affordable.
For more information, visit our funeral plans page or get in touch with our friendly team.
We’re an award-winning broker and we don’t charge a fee for our services.
 SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021
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