Direct disposal funeral UK

Some funeral providers will offer ‘direct disposal’ as a simple and cost-effective alternative to a traditional funeral.

With a direct disposal funeral, only the basic services are provided for a cremation or burial, keeping the costs down.

A growing number of people consider a direct disposal funeral for one or more reasons which may include:

  • Affordability
    A direct disposal costs less than half of the amount of a traditional funeral
  • Flexibility and convenience
    A funeral service isn’t held, which means loved ones can hold a separate memorial service or gathering at a time and place convenient for them
  • Simplicity
    Some people would rather not have a traditional funeral and instead may prefer this quiet and modest way to be laid to rest

Perhaps, due to the coronavirus pandemic and thus, the restrictions in place for funerals, a direct disposal funeral may seem like a sensible option.

Whether you’re considering a direct disposal funeral (or a ‘no fuss funeral’) for yourself or for a loved one, continue reading to learn more...

What is a direct disposal funeral?

'Direct disposal' isn’t the nicest of terms, but this is sometimes used to describe a direct cremation or direct burial.

It means that a cremation or burial takes place without a funeral service or any mourners present.

The person who has died is taken directly to the crematorium or to the burial site to be ‘disposed of’ in a simple manner.

A direct disposal funeral may not be considered a funeral at all - loved ones can’t visit the person who has passed in the funeral home, they can’t attend the final disposition and there are no flowers or other personal elements.

Did you know?

Funeral costs have risen by a staggering 130% since 2004 and predicted to rise a further 20% by 2025[1].

As a result, many people choose to either prepay their own funeral with a funeral plan (and lock in today’s funeral price) or choose a no fuss funeral such as a direct burial or direct cremation to keep costs down for loved ones.

The time, date and location of the direct disposal is decided by the crematorium or cemetery.

Loved ones may hold a gathering or memorial service at a separate time and place of their own choosing, which may include the scattering of the ashes or a visit to the burial site.

Thinking about prepaying for your funeral?

Reassured can't offer quotes for direct disposal funerals, however, we can compare quotes for prepaid funeral plans.

With a prepaid funeral plan, you can organise and pay for your own funeral at today’s prices.

A funeral plan protects your loved ones from the significant expense of your funeral but also from higher funeral prices in the future.

All our funeral plans include the essential services required for a funeral and loved ones can attend the ceremony to say their goodbyes.

Reassured can help you arrange a simple, low-cost funeral plan that starts from as little as £20.38* a month.

Make the most of our award-winning broker service today and get in touch for your FREE quotes.

How much is a direct disposal funeral?

As mentioned, a direct disposal funeral is much less expensive than a traditional funeral.

After comparing prices between a number of providers, we found that a direct disposal costs from approximately £1,000 to £2,000 - with direct cremation at the lower end of the scale and direct burial at the higher end.

Funeral directors tend to charge a fixed price for a set of basic services for direct disposal. They’ll also assist with all the arrangements and take care of the necessary paperwork.


Basic services for a direct cremation may include:

  • Transportation and care of the deceased
  • A simple coffin
  • Funeral personnel
  • Container for ashes
  • Cremation fees


Basic services for a direct burial may include:

  • Transportation and care of the deceased
  • A simple coffin or burial container
  • Pallbearers/funeral personnel
  • Burial fees


A direct burial is more expensive than a direct cremation as burial fees are higher and there are some costly additions, which include:

  • A burial plot (cost depends on where the burial takes place)
  • A memorial/headstone (on average £910, but this is optional)

You may wish to compare different funeral directors and the services they offer to find one that offers the best value for money.

Looking for a prepaid funeral plan for direct disposal?

If so, prepaid direct cremation plans generally cost from around £1,500.

Major providers such as Co-op, Simplicity Cremations and Pure Cremation offer prepaid direct cremation plans.

This means you can pay for all your cremation services in advance at today’s price.

When the time comes, the provider will liaise with your family and will carry out all the necessary services for a direct cremation.

It’s important to compare plans and prices to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Prepaid direct burial plans are not yet a product, although this could change at some point in the future.

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

Who would have a direct disposal?

Celebrities such as David Bowie and John Lennon have had direct disposal funerals.

Whilst they would have had plenty of money for a big final farewell, having a direct disposal meant that their families could pay their respects in private and at a time and place that suited them.

You may feel that a direct disposal funeral is suitable because:

  • You and/or your family would find it difficult to get the funds together for a traditional funeral
  • Your family live all over the UK, or in other parts of the world, therefore they may struggle to attend the funeral (particularly during the coronavirus pandemic) and/or you may have loved ones that are unable to attend due to health reasons or because they are vulnerable to the virus. Therefore, it may make sense not to have a funeral service but instead to arrange a separate memorial service or get-together at another time and place if and when it’s convenient
  • You’re not bound by religious beliefs or family tradition, you can choose what’s best for you and how you wish to be remembered (or how your loved one is remembered)
  • Your loved ones may find the process of arranging a traditional funeral too stressful and overwhelming, particularly during a time when they're grieving
  • It fits well with having a natural, eco-friendly funeral – there would be no need for embalming of the body or an expensive coffin or headstone


As you can see, there are a number of reasons why someone may choose a direct disposal funeral.

According to reports released by leading funeral providers, the Co-op and Sunlife, the approach to funerals is changing and we may see more direct cremations and direct burials going forward.

Especially as these days people are more likely to discuss their funeral wishes with loved ones and are becoming more aware of the financial impact of their passing.

Changing funeral trends

In 2019, the Co-op reported that their funeral directors are arranging a growing number of funerals that take place outside of traditional religious settings[2].

Their research includes a survey of 4,000 British adults, of which over a third of people said they’d prefer for their loved ones to have a get-together to celebrate their life, instead of having a full funeral service.

Their research also reveals that people are requesting the funeral to be more unique and personal to the person who has passed away.

With a direct disposal, loved ones have the opportunity to arrange a personalised ceremony arranged by themselves, away from a funeral setting - and they don’t have to follow a traditional order of service.

However, this format won’t suit everyone and, for many, having a traditional funeral with a formal service is an important part of the bereavement process.

At a traditional funeral, loved ones could have the opportunity to:

  • Personalise the coffin, hearse, flower arrangements and so on
  • Travel to the crematorium or cemetery in a funeral procession from their home
  • Say a few words, play music and read the eulogy during the funeral service
  • Place keepsake items into the coffin such as photographs

If you’re thinking about having a traditional funeral for yourself and want to protect your loved ones from the cost, you may consider a prepaid funeral plan.

Get in touch with Reassured for your personalised, no-obligation, FREE quote today.

No fuss funerals

Some providers refer to direct disposal funerals as ‘no fuss funerals’ - probably because this sounds far more appealing.

A no fuss funeral is exactly what it is – a funeral without the fuss and expense of a traditional funeral.

As funeral costs continue to rise in the UK and with the coronavirus still looming, no fuss funerals may grow in popularity.

Direct burial UK

A direct burial is far less expensive than having a traditional burial as there's no funeral service beforehand.

The deceased is taken directly into the care of the funeral home who’ll arrange the time and date of the burial with the cemetery.

Loved ones won’t be able to visit the deceased in the funeral home beforehand or attend the burial on the day.

However, usually, they can choose the cemetery where the burial will take place and can visit the burial ground at another time.

As mentioned, a direct burial is more expensive than a direct cremation because a burial plot must be purchased and loved ones may wish to mark the grave with a headstone.

Direct disposal cremation

A direct cremation is the cheapest way to be laid to rest in the UK and is more affordable than a direct burial.

The deceased is taken directly into the care of the funeral home who’ll arrange the time and date of the cremation with the crematorium.

Like with a direct burial, loved ones won’t be able to visit the deceased in the funeral home beforehand or attend the committal at the crematorium.

It’s also unlikely that loved ones can choose the crematorium.

Following the cremation, you can either collect the ashes or pay to have them delivered (some funeral directors will offer free delivery of ashes).

Generally, ashes would be held in a simple container or tube, but once they are in the family’s possession then they may wish to transfer these to an urn.

A direct cremation gives loved ones the opportunity to hold a ceremony with the ashes at a different time and place.

They can either scatter the ashes at the crematorium or at a location that was special to the person who has passed.

A direct cremation may become more costly if family decide to bury the ashes (as they would need to purchase a burial plot), or if they wish to memorialise these in some way.

Direct disposal funeral or traditional funeral?

The decision whether to have a direct disposal or traditional funeral comes down to your personal circumstances and your budget.

In the UK, the average cost of a basic traditional funeral is £4,417.

And with many people without adequate financial provisions in place for their funeral, some (or all) of this expense may become the responsibility of loved ones.

A direct disposal funeral is more affordable and prevents loved ones from overspending on optional extras such as flowers and limousines.

On the other hand, you may also consider how loved ones may feel not being able to attend the funeral, would it cause any upset or conflict between family members?

At the end of the day, it’s sensible to discuss your thoughts with close family and friends before coming to a final decision.

The table below helps compare some of the common products and services included in a traditional funeral, to the products and services that may be included for a direct cremation and direct burial.

Products or services included Traditional funeral Direct cremation Direct burial
Collection, transportation and care the deceased Yes Yes Yes
Funeral director services Yes No No
Professional guidance Yes Yes Yes
Choice of coffin Yes No - Simple only No - Simple only
Pallbearers Yes No Yes
Hearse or choice of alternative vehicle Yes No Yes - Hearse
Limousine Yes - Optional No No
Funeral procession Yes No No
Visitation to chapel of rest Yes No No
Choice of time and date Yes No No
Funeral service at church, cemetery or crematorium chapel Yes No No
Minister or celebrant to hold the ceremony Yes No No

Prepaid funeral plans with Reassured

If you’re looking to plan and pay for your own funeral in advance and want to give your loved ones the opportunity to say goodbye in the traditional format, then you can purchase a prepaid funeral plan through Reassured.

We provide a choice of funeral plans for either cremation or burial starting from just £3,220 or £20.38* a month.

All plans are approved by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) and are fully guaranteed, which means all your essential funeral costs are locked in at today’s rate.

Get in touch with our award-winning team for your no-obligation, FREE funeral plan quotes today.

Sources:

[1] SunLife (2020), Cost of Dying Report, sunlife.co.uk/costofdying2020

[2] https://www.coop.co.uk/funeralcare/funeral-trends

*£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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All of the funeral plans we provide are fully regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) ensuring you and your money are protected.

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