What is the cheapest way to be cremated in the UK?

The cheapest way to be cremated is to have a direct cremation, also known as ‘cremation without ceremony’ or ‘unattended cremation’.

A direct cremation is the cheapest cremation because there’s no funeral service or ceremony before the cremation.

  • Direct cremation costs £1,554 on average in the UK[1]
  • In 2020, 14% of all funerals in the UK were described as direct cremation
  • More and more people are choosing direct cremation as an alternative to a traditional funeral

Whether you’re planning ahead for your own funeral or arranging a funeral for a loved one today, you may wonder:

Continue reading as we explain all below…

What is a direct cremation?

Direct cremation is a cremation without a funeral service or ceremony beforehand.

It means a cremation takes place as soon as possible, at a time and date decided by the crematorium, and loved ones don’t attend.

The ashes are either scattered in the crematorium gardens or can be returned to loved ones to keep or scatter where they wish.

A direct cremation is suitable for those who want to keep costs down and have as little fuss as possible at their send-off.

As loved ones can’t attend the funeral, they could arrange a separate memorial service or celebration of life once the ashes have been returned.

Prepaid direct cremation plans, (avoid rising costs)

A prepaid funeral plan allows you to pay for your own funeral in advance at today’s prices.

It not only protects your loved ones from higher funeral rates in the future but also from having to pay for additional services that you may not want.

With a funeral plan, you can make the arrangements for your funeral before the time comes, ensuring that all your final wishes will be met.

At Reassured, we can help you arrange a prepaid funeral plan for a simple cremation funeral. Prices start from just £19.11* a month.

Get your free no-obligation quotes using our award-winning broker service today.

How much does a cremation cost?

A traditional cremation funeral costs on average £3,885[1] in the UK.

This amount includes:

  • Funeral director fees
  • Doctors’ fees
  • Minister or celebrant fees
  • Cremation fees

However, a direct cremation costs on average just £1,554.

This is because a direct cremation doesn’t require the costly services of a funeral director, or any of the additional extras that would usually be part of a traditional funeral.

Instead, only cremation fees and doctors’ fees need to be paid for along with a few other necessary services provided by the cremation provider.

These may include:

  • A specialised vehicle to transport the deceased
  • Care and preparation of the deceased
  • A basic coffin
  • Return of ashes

Direct cremation packages start from as little as £950, although it’s important to read the small print as to what’s included in the price of a plan, and what’s not.

Factors that can determine the overall cremation cost may include:

  1. Where the crematorium is in the country as prices vary from region to region
  2. If the person needs to be collected from home or from a nursing home (there may be an additional fee for this)
  3. The size of the coffin (if a larger one is needed then there could be an additional fee)
  4. If the ashes need to be returned or collected, or if these are scattered in the crematorium garden
  5. If a burial plot is purchased for the interment of ashes

Top 5 cheap direct cremation funeral packages:

  1. Memoria Direct Cremation - £950
  2. Simplicity Cremations Unattended Funeral - £995
  3. Trust Cremations Direct Cremation - £1,175
  4. Pure Cremation Direct Cremation - £1,195
  5. Farewill Cremation - £1,200

Prices have been taken from the separate providers' websites and are accurate as of 10/06/2021

What happens at a direct cremation?

What happens before, during and after a direct cremation is usually as follows:

  • The funeral provider arranges collection of the deceased in a specialised vehicle
  • The deceased is taken to the mortuary and cared for until the cremation
  • The cremation takes place as soon as possible, at a time to suit the funeral provider
  • Only the crematorium staff are present at the committal
  • After the cremation, the ashes are prepared and placed in a simple container.
  • The ashes are either scattered at the grounds of the crematorium or returned to loved ones

As there is no funeral service, loved ones can arrange a separate memorial or celebration of life at a time and place to suit them.

What’s the difference between a standard cremation and direct cremation?

The differences between the services that may be included in a standard cremation funeral and a those of a direct cremation funeral are shown in the table below:

Services Standard cremation Direct cremation
Guidance and advice from a professional funeral planner List icon List icon
Collection, transportation and care the deceased List icon List icon
Choice of time and date for cremation List icon Cross
Choice of crematorium List icon Cross
Choice of coffin List icon Cross
Pallbearers List icon Cross
Viewing of the deceased at the chapel of rest List icon Cross
Hearse or choice of alternative vehicle List icon Cross
Funeral procession with limousines List icon Cross
Funeral service at church or crematorium chapel on the day of the committal List icon Cross
Return of ashes List icon List icon

What is the cheapest way to be cremated, other than a direct cremation?

Whilst a direct cremation is the cheapest way to be cremated, it won’t be the right way for everyone.

For example, you don’t want the fuss and expense that comes with a traditional funeral but you also still want to have a ceremony before the cremation.


Fortunately, there are other options available to suit different needs and budgets:

Simple funerals with Simplicity Cremations

Simplicity Cremations arrange direct cremations and simple cremation funerals.

Their simple cremation funerals start from as little as £1,395 and include the option to have a family-led service at the crematorium before the cremation.

This can be a short service with a limited number of people or a full-length service with unlimited attendees.

The price is low because, like with direct cremation, there’s no need for funeral director services or additional extras such as embalming, officiant fees or a high-quality coffin.

Simplicity also provide prepaid cremation only funeral plans from £1,495.


Do It Yourself’ funeral

A Do It Yourself (DIY) funeral means family members would handle all the arrangements of the funeral instead of using a funeral director.

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

This type of funeral may save you money but could also be stressful for the family particularly whilst they are grieving.


Donate body to science for a free cremation

This may be more difficult with the threat of coronavirus still looming - but it could be possible to donate your body to science and this wouldn’t cost your family a penny[2].

Medical institutes across the UK accept body donors for anatomical examination, research and education.

The institute may arrange a cremation and memorial for donations, or the family could request the body to be returned so that they can have a private burial or cremation.

This may not be a preferable option for some people due to religious reasons or family tradition.


Other ways you could save money on cremation funeral costs:

Shop around for the best prices

Find the cheapest cremation in your area by shopping around and comparing the prices and services offered by local funeral providers and crematoriums.

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


Cut back on optional extras

In 2020, people spent on average over £1,000 on flowers, limousines, venue hire and catering. If you want to make big savings on a cremation funeral, this is a good place to start.

The family could arrange their own transport, flowers could be kept to a minimum and the wake could be held in someone’s home free of charge.

How do you cremate someone with no money?

If you’re unable to arrange and/or pay for the funeral of a loved one who has passed away and there isn’t enough money remaining from their estate to cover the funeral, then the following options may be available:

  • The local council or hospital can arrange a Public Health Funeral, (or ‘Pauper’s funeral’)
    A Public Health Funeral is usually a basic cremation and includes a short funeral service that loved ones can attend
  • Those on certain benefits can claim a Funeral Expenses Payment from the government[3]
    A Funeral Expenses Payment may help cover some funeral costs such as the cremation fees, doctors’ fees, and moving of the body. How much you get will depend on your individual circumstances
  • Raise funds by using a crowdfunding platform
    You could fund a funeral by sharing your story on a crowdfunding platform such as Crowdfunder.co.uk or GoFundMe. Although, it’s difficult to know exactly how much you’ll be able to raise and if you’ll have enough in time for the funeral

Can I arrange my own cremation?

Yes, you can arrange your own cremation in advance with a prepaid funeral plan.

Once you take out a funeral plan, you can make all the arrangements in advance for your cremation.

A funeral plan also allows you to pay for your key funeral services at today’s price.

Cremation costs rose 123% between 2004 and 2019, and this rising trend is forecast to continue[4].

With a funeral plan, you can protect your loved ones from the cost of your funeral whilst also protecting them from higher funeral costs in the future.

Reassured can compare prepaid cremation funeral plans on your behalf to help you find the right plan for you and your family.

Make the most of our free, award-winning quote service today.

Sources:

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

[2] https://www.hta.gov.uk/donating-your-body

[3] https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/help-paying-for-a-funeral

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

*£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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