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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:
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%.
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.
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:
Our infographic below shows the average cost of a basic cremation funeral in different parts of the UK:
The average cost of a cremation in the UK (£3,885) can be broken down into the following categories:
Let’s take a look at these costs in more detail…
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|
|Additional limousine hire||£336|
Other optional costs you may need to consider include:
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:
|South East & East of England||£4,600|
|East and West Midlands||£4,174|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£4,014|
|South West England||£3,964|
|North West England||£3,656|
|North East England||£3,531|
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).
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:
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.
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:
In 2020, the number of direct cremations increased significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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 »
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:
4. Consider a direct cremation
A direct cremation costs around 60% less than a traditional cremation funeral.
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.
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:
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.
 SunLife (2021), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2021
*£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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