What is the cost of dying in the UK?

The average cost of dying in the UK is £9,263, as published in the Sunlife Cost of Dying report 2021.

This amount is the sum of all the costs associated with having a funeral, which includes:

  • A basic funeral
  • The send-off
  • Professional services

As reported, the cost of dying has risen faster than the cost of living (+39% since 2010), meaning many families struggle to cope with the expense.

But the cost of dying needn’t be a burden for any family.

More and more people are making the selfless decision to plan ahead of time and ensure adequate financial provisions are in place for their own funeral, for example with a funeral plan.

A funeral plan includes all the essential funeral services and freezes today’s price.

What is the Sunlife Cost of Dying report?

Sunlife, a leading financial products provider, has been studying the cost of dying and funeral costs in the UK for the last 16 years.

Since 2007, their findings have been published in the annual Cost of Dying report. Although the data goes as far back as 2004 when they started tracking funeral costs.

The report breaks down the cost of dying and draws attention to various topics such as rising funeral costs and changes in funeral trends.

Continue reading to find out more about funeral costs in the UK and how you can protect your loved ones in the future, (as well as make significant savings)...

How is the cost of dying calculated?

As mentioned, the average cost of dying in the UK is £9,263, but how is this sum calculated?

The break down is as follows:

  1. Average cost of a basic funeral £4,184
    Cremation or burial fees, funeral director services, doctor and minister or celebrant fees.
  2. Average amount spent on the send-off £2,532
    Order sheets, venue hire, additional limo(s), funeral flowers, death notice, funeral notice, memorial, catering, viewing of the body, embalming, live music and recorded music.
  3. Average amount spent on professional fees £2,547
    Hiring a professional to administer the estate.

As you can see, the most expensive element is the funeral, which amounts to 45.2% of the total cost of dying.

A basic funeral in the UK costs on average £4,184. But what does this figure include?

Funeral director fees

Standard services they provide include transport, care and preparation of the deceased, making all necessary funeral arrangements, provision of a coffin and family viewing at chapel of rest.

Third-party fees

These are services separate to those of the funeral director, and include:

  • A doctor (to certify the death)
  • Minister or celebrant (to hold the funeral)
  • Cremation or burial fees (including a burial plot)

Rising cost of funerals

Research has shown that the average cost of a funeral has risen 128% since 2004 - one of the reasons why the total cost of dying has risen so much.

They’ve predicted that in the next five years, funeral costs will rise a further 20%.

Meaning that the average cost of dying could go beyond £10,000 in just four years’ time.

Cost of funerals infographic

Avoid rising funeral costs with a prepaid funeral plan.

A basic funeral is the most expensive aspect of the cost of dying, and funeral prices continue to rise year on year.

But with a funeral plan arranged through Reassured, you can lock-in today’s price for your final send-off and protect loved ones from the expense when the time comes.

There’s also a choice of flexible payment options, allowing you to spread the cost if you need to.

Funeral plans start from as little as £19.11* per month, so secure yours today.

Average cost of a funeral in the UK

As mentioned, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is currently £4,184 (+1.7% since 2018).

This figure is calculated by looking at the mean average of the cost of a burial funeral and the cost of a cremation funeral. It’s also weighted by the proportion of burials and cremations in the country:

  • 74% of funerals are cremation
  • 26% of funerals are burial,

Therefore, breaking these down changes the average cost significantly:

  • Average cost of a burial is £5,033
  • Average cost of a cremation is £3,885

Average funeral costs also vary across regions in the UK.

For example, London is the most expensive place to have a funeral and Northern Ireland is the cheapest.

Prepaid funeral plan tip

Be mindful that some funeral plan providers offer regionalised pricing, which means the eventual cost of your plan will depend on where you live in the UK.

Therefore, the price they advertise isn’t necessarily the price you’ll pay. Especially if you live in the more expensive parts of the UK, then the price may jump up significantly.

However, funeral plans arranged through Reassured offer fixed pricing, so that no matter where you live in the UK, the price remains the same.

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.

Why are funerals so expensive in the UK?

According to the SunLife Cost of Dying report 2018, funerals have become more expensive due to a number of contributing factors.

For cremation, this includes:

  • Cuts to local authority funding by government
  • Rise in fuel prices
  • Mercury emissions abatement target

For burial, this includes:

  • Lack of space for new graves (rising burial costs)
  • Reduced local authority funding
  • Increased investment in cemetery infrastructure
  • Reduced number of burials, due to low death rate and more people opting for cremation

With the option to now take out a funeral plan, you’ll protect your loved ones from any future price increases and can choose to have either a burial or cremation.

How to reduce the cost of dying?

There are a number of ways to reduce the cost of dying and protect your loved ones from unnecessary costs.

Arrange your own funeral in advance

Plan your funeral in advance - with a realistic budget in mind.

This means less pressure on your loved ones to get things right for the day or to overspend on unnecessary services.

You could plan and pay for your funeral in advance with a funeral plan (see below).


Shop around for a funeral plan (and avoid rising costs)

Funeral plans include all the essential services required for a funeral, frozen at today’s price.

Most funeral plans, including those arranged through Reassured, are guaranteed at today’s prices. This means the cost of all the services included in a plan, remains the same no matter how much prices rise.

Funeral plan prices vary between providers, so it’s important to compare multiple plans.

You can do this for free using our FCA registered broker service today.


Have a cremation funeral

Cremation fees are much lower than burial fees in the UK.

You can save several thousands of pounds by opting for a cremation funeral.


Consider a direct cremation

The average direct cremation costs £1,554, which makes it the cheapest way to be laid to rest.

A direct cremation is a cremation only, without a funeral service beforehand.

More and more people are choosing this option as it allows loved ones to arrange a separate, more private gathering to say their goodbyes.

You can plan your direct cremation in advance with a direct cremation funeral plan arranged through Reassured. Plans start from as little as £15.97** a month.


Choose a simple coffin

Traditional oak coffins could set you back more than £500.

More affordable coffins (or shrouds) tend to be made from materials such as cardboard, bamboo leaf and fabric.


Implementing one or more of these could help save several thousands of pounds for your loved ones when the time comes.

Making financial provisions

There are several safe and affordable ways to set aside money for your funeral in advance.

A prepaid funeral plan

With a funeral plan, you can beat rising funeral costs, arrange your own funeral in advance and have peace of mind that your family will have all the support they need when the time comes.

Funeral plans arranged through Reassured offer flexible short-term and long-term payment options and cost from as little as £19.11* per month.


A life insurance policy

A life insurance policy, such as an over 50s plan, can cost from as little as 30p-a-day and can provide a significant pay out to ensure that the total cost of dying is covered.

See our article life insurance or funeral plan? if you need more help to decide.

We can help arrange either a funeral plan or life insurance policy at Reassured, so get in touch today to get your quotes.

In summary

The cost of dying in the UK has continually risen since 2007, albeit slowing down in recent years.

Rising funeral costs are mostly to blame, and loved ones are spending more on arranging the perfect send-off.

But there are ways to reduce the cost of dying and to ensure your loved ones aren’t put under any unnecessary stress during an already difficult time.

It’s important to make plans for the inevitable, whether that be sharing your funeral wishes with loved ones, or by taking out a funeral plan or life insurance policy for that extra financial security.

If you feel that your family may benefit from a form of financial protection for when you’re no longer around, get in touch with Reassured.

We are an award-winning, FCA registered broker service that dedicates our time to helping you find the most suitable cover, at the best price (and we don’t charge a fee).

Sources:

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

https://www.co-operativefuneralcare.co.uk/pre-paid-funeral-plans/

*£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

**£15.97 a month is for the Simplicity Cremations Lily Plan, provided by Reassured which is for a direct cremation only, at £1,495 with 10 years payment term (total amount payable £1,916.77)

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