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Please note, as of 1st February 2022, Reassured no longer sell conventional funeral plans.

However, we can instead offer funeral cover via the SunLife Guaranteed Funeral Plan, which is an insurance policy that guarantees to pay for the funeral services included in their plans after two years of continued payments.

SunLife Guaranteed Funeral Plan key features:

  • Prices beginning from £19.18 month^
  • Guaranteed acceptance ages 50 - 80
  • Pay out guaranteed after two years
  • 100% pay out protection with FSCS

^For a 50 year old buying a traditional plan with premium increases of £0.95 per year rising to £38.18 per month. Premiums will vary depending on your age and the plan you choose. Pricing correct as of 1st February 2022

Cremation costs 2022

Cremation is less expensive than burial in the UK, and is the more popular option, but how much does a cremation cost exactly?

In this guide, we break down the average cost of cremation in the UK according to research recently carried out by SunLife.

We also explain:

  • The cheapest and most expensive places to have a cremation
  • How you can save money on cremation costs
  • Why cremation is more affordable than burial
  • The average cost of direct cremation.

Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about cremation fees and cremation funeral costs in the UK...

Avoid rising cremation costs with a prepaid funeral plan

Between 2004 and 2019, the average cost of a cremation funeral increased by 123%[1].

It’s expected that cremation fees could increase by another 20% in the next 5 years.

However, by taking out a prepaid cremation funeral plan today, you could protect loved ones from higher prices in the future.

This is because the services included in a plan are locked in at today’s price.

You can also take charge of all the arrangements so that your loved ones have less to worry about when the time comes.

Secure a funeral plan through Reassured from as little as £19.11* a month.

How much is a cremation?

According to the SunLife 2021 Cost of Dying report, the average cost of a basic cremation funeral is currently £3,885.

However, the overall cost of a cremation depends on various factors, including:

  • Where the cremation takes place
  • The type of funeral services included
  • How you choose to personalise the send-off with optional extras, such as flowers

Our infographic below shows the average cost of a basic cremation funeral in different parts of the UK:

Cost of a cremation UK desktop

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This calculator uses data from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2021 and should only be used as a guide.

Cremation costs breakdown

The average cost of a cremation in the UK (£3,885) can be broken down into the following categories:

  1. Funeral director fees
  2. Cremation fees
  3. Minister or celebrant fee
  4. Doctor's fees

Let’s take a look at these costs in more detail…

1. Funeral director fees

Funeral director services tend to be the most expensive part of a basic cremation funeral according to the Cost of Dying report.

Funeral director fees cover the following elements:

  • Transportation, care and preparation of the deceased
  • Professional guidance and advice
  • Making all the necessary arrangements
  • Liaising with third parties
  • Family viewing at the chapel of rest
  • A limousine
  • Provision of a hearse and pallbearers
  • A standard coffin

2. Cremation fees

Cremation fees are charged by the crematorium and are separate from the services of a funeral director.

These cover the following elements:

  • A service at the crematorium chapel (including an organist)
  • The cremation process until the ashes are returned

Cremation fees vary from region to region, therefore the location of the crematorium will determine the overall cost.


3. Minister or celebrant fee

The average cost of cremation includes the fee charged by a minister or celebrant to conduct the ceremony.


4. Doctor's fees

For cremations outside of Scotland, it's necessary that two different medical certificates are obtained and signed by two different doctors to certify the death before the cremation can be permitted.

Additional cremation costs

As well as funeral director’s fees and third-party fees (minister or celebrant fees, cremation fees, and doctor's fees), a cremation funeral tends to include additional extras that make the send-off.

In 2020, people spent on average £2,532 on additional extras which are optional for a funeral.

Optional extras Average cost
Memorial £1,016
Catering £450
Additional limousine hire £336
Venue hire £282
Flowers £193
Order sheets £94
Funeral notice £86
Death notice £75
TOTAL AVERAGE £2,532

Other optional costs you may need to consider include:

  • Embalming
  • Scattering of ashes (there may be a charge for this depending on the location)
  • A burial plot for the interment of ashes

Cost of cremation across the UK

As shown in our infographic above, the average cost of cremation varies from region to region across the UK.

The table below shows the average cost of a cremation in different locations in 2020:

Region Average cost
South East & East of England £4,600
London £4,328
East and West Midlands £4,174
Yorkshire and the Humber £4,014
South West England £3,964
Scotland £3,683
North West England £3,656
North East England £3,531
Wales £3,498
Northern Ireland £3,322
NATIONAL AVERAGE £3,885


As you can see, the South East & East of England have the highest average cremation funeral cost at £4,600, (18.4% higher than the national average).

Northern Ireland, however, has the lowest average cremation funeral cost at £3,322, (14.5% lower than the national average).

Cost of cremation vs cost of burial

The average cost of a cremation funeral is around 20% cheaper than the average cost of a burial funeral.

This is because of the additional costs involved with having a burial funeral.

On top of funeral director fees, third-party fees and optional extras, there's:

  • The cost of a burial plot
  • The cost of interment (the burial itself)

Burial plots vary in price across the UK from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds.

The average cost of a burial is £5,033, however, the overall cost will depend on where the burial is taking place, the type of funeral services included and which optional extras are chosen.

How much is direct cremation?

The average cost of a direct cremation in the UK is currently £1,544.

However, as mentioned, cremation fees vary from region to region so the overall cost will depend on the location of the crematorium.

A direct cremation doesn't include a funeral service at a church or at the crematorium before the cremation.

Direct cremation costs include:

  1. Funeral director fees to arrange a simple cremation
  2. Return of ashes
  3. Cremation fees
  4. Doctor's fees

In 2020, the number of direct cremations increased significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Planning a cremation funeral

As well as cost, there are many things to consider when planning a cremation funeral, from the type of service it will be to, what music will be played.

If you’re using a funeral director, they’ll be able to help with most of the arrangements and can advise on many aspects.

For information on planning a cremation funeral, head to our planning a funeral guide »

How to reduce the cost of cremation

There are various ways you can save money on cremation costs, whilst also arranging the perfect send-off for your loved one.

Here are our top 5 tips:

1. Shop around and compare quotes

Compare prices from different funeral directors and crematoriums in your local area.

The cost of services and funeral packages will vary between providers.

Most funeral directors offer low-cost funeral options or they can tailor their services to suit your budget.

You may also find that shopping around for things like flowers will help you to find the most affordable option.


2. Pick an off-peak time slot (if suitable)

You can save money by choosing an off-peak time slot for the cremation.

For example, early morning weekday slots tend to be cheaper than any other time.


3. Keep things simple

Many aspects of a cremation funeral are optional, and therefore, you can choose to cut back on these costs if needed.

Ways you can save on funeral service expenses include:

  • Don't embalm the body. Embalming isn't usually necessary and not a requirement for a funeral
  • Don't have limousines. You could travel to the venue by car, public transport or taxi
  • Cut back on flowers. You could find a simple floral arrangement for the coffin but not have any flowers at the service
  • Don't have pallbearers. Family members could carry the coffin or you can request a wheeled bier
  • Choose a simple coffin. There're different types of coffins at different prices, some of the cheaper ones are made from eco-friendly materials, such as cardboard or pandanus leaves

4. Consider a direct cremation

A direct cremation costs around 60% less than a traditional cremation funeral.

Also referred to as ‘no funeral just cremation’ or ‘direct disposal’, direct cremation is the cheapest way to be cremated as only the basic services for a cremation are required.

This means there is no funeral procession, no funeral service, and no mourners in attendance.

Instead, the cremation takes place at a time and date decided by the crematorium and, following this, the ashes are either collected by loved ones or delivered to them.

As there’s no ceremony to attend, loved ones usually arrange a separate celebration of life, memorial service or get-together at another time and place.


5. Have a ‘Do It Yourself’ funeral

There’s no law to say that a funeral director must be used to carry out a cremation funeral[2].

Family members could handle all the arrangements themselves instead.

However, it could be quite stressful and time-consuming as there are many elements for them to consider.

A DIY funeral would include the following arrangements:

  • Caring for the deceased before the cremation
  • Booking the cremation with the crematorium
  • Organising the paperwork e.g. cremation certificate, medical certificate.
  • Sourcing and purchasing a suitable coffin or casket
  • Arranging and holding the funeral service or ceremony
  • Arranging or providing transport for the deceased to and from the crematorium
  • Organising of the order of service, flowers, venue, catering and so on

Cremation funeral plans with Reassured

A funeral plan allows you to plan and pay for your cremation funeral in advance, protecting loved ones from the obligation in the future.

As funeral costs continue to rise, it’s also a benefit that you can lock-in today’s rate.


Funeral plans arranged through Reassured cost from as little as £19.11 a month.

Make the most of our fee-free service today to get your best quote.

Sources:

[1] SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021

[2] https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/arrange-the-funeral

*£19.11 per month pricing includes a £75 discount only available to Co-operative members and is based on a 50-year-old purchasing a Co-operative Simple Funeral Plan at £3,020 over the maximum term available of 25 years (total amount repayable £5,733.40) as of 1st March 2021

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