Cremation costs 2021

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.

We look at the average cost of a direct cremation, the average cost of a cremation funeral and other cremation costs that may need to be considered.

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 2021[1].

Avoid rising cremation costs with a prepaid cremation plan

Between 2004 and 2019, the average cost of a cremation funeral increased by 123%[2].

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, award-winning FCA-regulated broker, from as little as £19.11* a month.

How much is a cremation (without a funeral)?

In the UK, the average cost of a cremation without a funeral service is currently £1,554.

A cremation without a funeral service is also known as a direct cremation.

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

This type of send-off costs around 60% less than the average cost of cremation with a funeral service.

It’s also 70% cheaper than the average cost of a burial with a funeral service.

How much is a cremation funeral?

The average cost of a cremation with a simple funeral service in the UK is currently £3,885.

This cost includes:

  • Funeral director’s fees
  • Cremation fees
  • Minister or celebrant fee
  • Doctor’s fees

The infographic below shows the average cost of a cremation funeral in different parts of the UK.

Cost of a cremation UK desktop

Cremation costs breakdown

The cost of a cremation with simple funeral service can be broken down as follows...

1. Funeral director fees

Most people require a funeral director to help arrange and carry out the funeral.

Their services, included in the average cost of a cremation funeral at £3,885, include:

  • Transportation, care and preparation of the deceased
  • Professional guidance and advice
  • Making all the necessary arrangements
  • Viewing at the chapel of rest
  • A limousine
  • Provision of a hearse & pallbearers
  • A standard coffin

2. Third-party fees

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

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

The average cost of a cremation funeral includes the following third-party fees:

  • Doctor’s fees (for the medical certificate)
  • Minister or celebrant fees (to lead the service)
  • Cremation fees (what the crematorium charges for the cremation)

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

How much is a cremation funeral, including the send-off?

As well as funeral director’s fees and third-party 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
  • Urn
  • Scattering of ashes (there may be a charge for this depending on the location)
  • A burial plot for interment of ashes
  • A memorial or headstone

How much does a cremation cost in England?

In England, the cost of cremation with funeral service varies from region to region.

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

How much does a funeral cost in your area?

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Avoid rising funeral costs. Protect loved ones. Buy a funeral plan today.

This calculator uses data from the SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2021 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.

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

Cost of cremation vs cost of burial

The average cost of 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 and third-party fees, there is:

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

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

The most expensive burial grounds tend to be in central London.

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

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 weekday slots tend to be cheaper than any other time.


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

As mentioned, 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 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

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.

Why buy a plan through us?

  • We’re an award-winning, FCA regulated broker
  • We provide quick, personalised quotes for a variety of plans
  • We help set up the plan on your behalf, saving you the hassle
  • Funeral plans are approved by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA)
  • We have over 50,000 "Excellent" Trustpilot reviews 
  • Our service is fee-free and without obligation

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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