Cremation funeral costs

Planning a funeral is stressful enough without having to get your head around all the costs involved.

To help, Reassured has put together this comprehensive guide on the cost of cremation in the UK.

This includes a clear breakdown of the cost of cremation fees, the cost of cremation services, and how they differ across the country.

We also look at the cheapest and most expensive places to have a cremation, how you can save money on cremation costs and why a cremation is more affordable than a burial.

The data in this article has been sourced from the Sunlife Cost of Dying Report 2020[1].

Avoid rising cremation costs with a prepaid cremation plan

Since 2004, the national average cost of a cremation funeral has more than doubled (+123%).

If this rising trend continues, then by 2035 cremation funeral costs could exceed £9,000.

However, it’s possible to protect your loved ones from higher cremation costs in the future by taking out a prepaid cremation funeral plan.

A funeral plan allows you to pay for your own cremation funeral at today’s price.

You can also make all the arrangements for the day, giving you peace of mind that your funeral wishes will be met.

Secure a funeral plan through Reassured, award-winning FCA registered broker, from as little as £20.38* a month.

What is the cost of cremation?

Basic cremation fees (the fees for carrying out the cremation itself) are currently £860 on average in the UK.

However, this doesn’t include doctors’ fees to certify the death, which are on average £164 in the UK, (excluding Scotland).

And, you may appoint the services of a funeral director to help with all the arrangements and take care of the deceased up until the funeral - funeral director fees are on average £2,687 in the UK.

On top of that, you may require a minister or celebrant to hold the ceremony, and their fees are on average £169.

Cost of a cremation UK infographic

What is the cost of a cremation funeral?

Taking into account all the necessary costs described above, the total average cost of a funeral with cremation is £3,858.

Although, how much you ultimately spend depends on the level of service you choose, where the funeral takes place and how you personalise the send-off.

Cremation costs breakdown

The cost of cremation funeral services in the UK can be broken down as follows:

Cremation funeral costs Average cost
Funeral director fees £2,687
Doctors’ fees £164
Minister or celebrant fees £169
Cremation fees £860
TOTAL AVERAGE £3,858


Funeral director fees

The professional services of a funeral director are usually required for a funeral, (unless family intend to make all the arrangements themselves).

How much a funeral director will charge overall will depend on the location of the funeral and the level of service they provide.

The national average for funeral director fees is £2,687.

This amount includes the cost of the following services:

  • Transportation, care and preparation of the deceased
  • Professional guidance and advice
  • All the necessary arrangements
  • Funeral personnel such as bearers
  • Viewing at the chapel of rest
  • A limousine for the procession
  • Provision of a hearse
  • A standard coffin


Funeral director fees are variable, as they can tailor their services to suit different needs and budgets.


Third-party fees, or ‘disbursements’

Third-party fees are for the other services required to carry out a funeral.

A funeral director is likely to liaise with the appropriate third-parties and manage the payments on your behalf.

Third-party fees add up to on average £1,171 in the UK and include:

  • Doctors’ fees to certify the death - £164 (£0 in Scotland)
  • Minister or celebrant fees to hold a service - £169
  • Cremation fees - £860


Cremation fees vary depending on the where the crematorium is in the UK and whether it’s local authority or privately owned.

Optional cremation costs

These cremation costs are optional because they aren’t necessarily required for a funeral, however, they help personalise a final send-off.

The table below shows what people spent on average in 2019 on the optional extras for a cremation funeral:

Optional extras Average cost
Memorial headstone £910
Catering £408
Additional limousine hire £313
Venue hire £245
Flowers £184
Order sheets £88
Death notice £82
TOTAL AVERAGE £2,306


Other optional costs you may consider include:

  • An urn for the ashes
  • Scattering of ashes at the Garden of Remembrance
  • A burial plot to bury the ashes
  • A burial plot for internment of ashes
  • Memorial masonry


Some funeral providers will include the cost of scattering the ashes in their funeral packages.

It’s difficult to provide an average cost of an urn or a burial plot as prices vary so much.

How much does a cremation cost in England?

In England, both cremation fees and the cost of a cremation funeral vary from region to region.

As mentioned, cremation fees pay for the cremation itself and the cost of a cremation funeral includes cremation fees and the cost of professional services.

The table below shows the average cost of cremation fees by region in the UK in 2019.

Surprisingly, the North West of England has the highest cremation fee.

Region Average fee
North West England £936
South West England £911
East and West Midlands £893
Yorkshire and the Humber £888
London £861
North East England £854
South East & East of England £836
Scotland £828
Northern Ireland £818
Wales £772
NATIONAL AVERAGE £860


Northern Ireland and Wales are reported to be the least expensive regions in the UK for cremation fees.

The table below shows the average cost of a cremation funeral by region in the UK in 2019.

As you can see, London has the highest cremation funeral cost of £4,291.

The North West of England, however, now has the lowest cremation funeral cost of £3,412.

Region Average cost
London £4,291
South East & East of England £4,288
Yorkshire and the Humber £4,235
East and West Midlands £4,094
South West England £4,040
North East England £3,680
Wales £3,557
Scotland £3,515
Northern Ireland £3,471
North West England £3,412
NATIONAL AVERAGE £3,858

How much does a funeral cost in your area?

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This calculator uses data from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2020 and should only be used as a guide.

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.

But if you need any further help Reassured has put together this planning a funeral guide.

Cost of cremation vs cost of burial

The cost of cremation is considerably less than the cost of burial.

This is due to the additional costs involved with having a burial funeral.

On top of funeral director fees and third-party fees, a burial plot must be purchased.

Burial plots vary in price across the UK and usually start at a few hundred pounds.

Burials are also more expensive because usually the grave is marked with a memorial/headstone (unless it’s an eco-burial which doesn’t require either of these).

With a cremation, it’s not necessary to purchase a memorial as the ashes can be scattered at no cost at all.

How to reduce the cost of cremation

If cost is a concern for you and your family, then there are a number of things you can do to keep costs down whilst also organising the perfect send-off for a loved one.

Shop around and compare quotes

Whilst you’re dealing with a loss, it may seem like the easiest option to go with the first funeral director that provides you with a quote.

However, prices will differ between funeral directors and their associated crematoriums.

Therefore, it’s worth shopping around and comparing quotes from a number of local providers.

This can be done quickly online, where you can also check their reviews and credibility.

The bigger funeral providers, such as Co-op Funeralcare, offer a broad range of services at competitive prices.

The same can be said for caterers, florists and venue hire - compare prices to find the right option that best suits your budget.


Pick an off-peak slot

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

For example, early morning and weekday slots tend to be cheaper than weekend slots.


Keep it low-key

People tend to overspend on funerals because they say ‘yes’ to unnecessary products and services, thinking it’s what their loved one would have wanted.

However, the financial repercussions of this can be devastating.

It’s sensible to be realistic about what you can afford and to be open about this with your funeral director.

They can help you choose a simple coffin and can advise on affordable memorial options if this is what you require.

You could also cut back on optional extras, for example, flowers could be kept to a minimum and family could take their own transport to the service, instead of using expensive limousines.


Consider a direct cremation

A direct cremation, also known as ‘cremation without ceremony’ or ‘direct disposal’, 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 to suit the crematorium and, following this, the ashes are either collected by loved ones or delivered to them.

This gives loved ones the opportunity to arrange a separate celebration of life, memorial service or get-together at time and place convenient for them.


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.

Rising cost of cremation

Cremation funeral costs have risen at an unprecedented rate (+123% since 2004).

By 2025, cremation funeral costs could have risen a further 20%.

But what if you could freeze today’s cremation funeral prices?

A prepaid cremation funeral plan can do exactly this, and you can arrange yours through Reassured today.

All our funeral plans are fully guaranteed, locking in all your essential cremation costs including third-party fees.

Protecting your loved ones from not only the significant expense of your funeral but also from higher funeral costs in the future.

You can pay in full for instant cover or spread the cost over 2 - 25 years from just £20.38* a month.

Our award-winning team can talk you through all the options and services so that you can be confident in your choice.

Seize the opportunity whilst you can and get in touch with Reassured today.

Sources:

[1] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2020/

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

*£20.38 per month includes a £75 discount only available to Co-op members, based on a 50-year-old purchasing a Simple Funeral Plan at £3,220 after discount with 25 years payment term (total amount payable £6,115.40)

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