How does the cost of a funeral breakdown?

The cost of a funeral can be broken down into three parts:

  1. Basic funeral costs - £4,141 on average in the UK[1]
    The cost of funeral director fees, a coffin, limousine, cremation or burial fees, and minister or celebrant fees
  2. Professional fees - £2,749 on average
    For hiring a professional to administer the deceased’s estate
  3. Optional extras - £2,768 on average
    For additional elements that help to personalise a funeral, such flowers, order of service, memorial, and so on

Adding together basic funeral costs, professional fees and optional extras equals to a total of £9,658 on average for a UK funeral (up 6.6% since 2022).

However, the exact amount you spend will depend on many factors, including where in the UK the funeral will take place and the type of funeral you choose (cremation or burial).

In this guide, we breakdown the cost of a funeral in more detail, as well as explain the various costs you may encounter when arranging a funeral.

Over 50s life insurance from £5 a month +

If you’re looking to help towards the cost of your funeral, it’s worth considering over 50s life insurance.

This is a type of life assurance which guarantees a pay out to your loved ones after you pass away.

If you’re a UK resident aged between 50 - 85, acceptance is guaranteed as no medical information is required.

You can secure up to £20,000 (depending on your age and budget) to help cover your funeral expenses.

Why not contact us for a free, personalised quote?

How much over 50 life insurance do you need?

Enter your financial commitments below to understand the level of over 50 life insurance you require.

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According to Uswitch, it’s estimated that 23,000 people in the UK will still be paying off their mortgage by age 75.

Although an over 50s plan can’t cover the full cost of a mortgage (as cover is capped at £20,000), it could help to contribute some funds towards keeping your family in their home.

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Research by Saga shows that nearly 6 million over 50s owe money on credit cards and loans, with average debt amongst this age group totalling £12,000.

Depending on your personal circumstances, an over 50s plan may not be able to cover all debts (as cover is capped at £20,000) but it could allow you to cover some debts in your name.

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SunLife’s Cost of Dying 2023 report found that the average cost of a basic funeral is £3,953, with the overall cost of dying totalling £9,200.

A pay out from life insurance can help to cover all or some of these costs.

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Age UK have found that many over 50s and 60s will be reliant on their pension to get by.

Life insurance can provide your partner with a helping hand on top of their pension.

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An inheritance can provide your loved ones with a cash gift to spend as they wish.

Alternatively, you could leave a portion of your pay out to a charity that’s close to your heart.

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If you already have a life insurance (or other financial protection) policy in place, and/or you have your own savings, factoring these into your sum assured could reduce the level of cover you require - helping you to save money.

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How much does a basic funeral cost?

The average cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £4,141, according to the SunLife Cost of Dying 2024 report[1].

This amount includes the average cost of funeral director fees and third-party fees (such as cremation or burial fees), but it doesn’t include send-off costs.

When additional send-off elements are included, such as flowers, limousines and order sheets, a basic funeral becomes a more personalised funeral, and the cost will go up.

In 2023, people spent on average £2,768 on optional extras when arranging their loved one’s funeral.

The actual cost of a funeral will depend on various factors. These include:

  • The location of the funeral - Funeral fees and charges vary across the UK, with some regions having higher costs than others
  • The type of funeral - The average cost of a cremation funeral is currently £3,795 - The average cost of a burial funeral is £5,077[1]
  • The level of service and personalisation - Including optional send-off extras, services and personalisation. The more you choose to include, the higher the cost of the funeral

The below table provides a breakdown of basic funeral costs for cremation, burial, direct cremation and direct burial:

Type of funeralAverage UK costFuneral costs include:
Cremation£3,795
  • Funeral director fees for a traditional funeral
  • Third-party fees:
    - Minister or celebrant fees
    - Cremation fees
    - Doctors’ fees (medical certificate)
Burial£5,077
  • Funeral director fees for a traditional funeral
  • Third-party fees:
    - Minister or celebrant fees
    - Burial fees (burial plot and interment)
    - Church or chapel fees
Direct cremation£1,498
  • Funeral director fees for basic services
  • Coffin and transport
  • Return of ashes
  • Third-party fees:
    - Cremation fees
    - Doctor’s fees
Direct burial£1,657
  • Funeral director fees for basic services
  • Coffin and transport
  • Pallbearers
  • Third-party fees:
    - Burial fees

Funeral director fees, third-party costs and optional extras

The cost of a funeral can be split into three further areas:

Breakdown of funeral costs funeral director fees

1) Funeral director fees

Funeral directors provide a role in supporting bereaved family members during a difficult time and ensure that the funeral is carried out as per your wishes.

Hiring a funeral director is usually once of the most expensive parts of a funeral.

Standard services may include:

  • Collection of the deceased and caring for them at the funeral home
  • Preparation of the deceased for the funeral
  • Completion of the legal paperwork
  • Chapel of rest for family viewing
  • Liaising with third parties e.g. crematorium or cemetery
  • Providing a coffin and hearse
  • Pallbearers for carrying the coffin
  • Limousines
  • Advice on additional extras for the funeral

The cost of funeral director fees will vary significantly depending on which services you’ve chosen to include for the funeral, the location of the funeral home, and things like the quality of the coffin and type of hearse.

Breakdown of funeral costs third-party fees

2) Third-party fees

Third party fees cover additional services that aren’t provided by a funeral director.

Third party fees include:

  • Minister or celebrant fees for leading the ceremony
  • Doctor’s fees for cremation certificates (applicable to cremation funerals only)
  • Cremation or burial fees

According to the Funeral Guide, cremation fees cost on average £934 and burial fees cost on average £1,698 in the UK[2].

Breakdown of funeral costs optional extras

3) Optional extras

In 2023, people spent on average £2,768 on optional extras for a funeral they arranged. The biggest expense is the memorial, which is £1,037 on average, followed by catering for the wake at £476 and additional limousine hire at £402.

Optional extras can include:

  • Flowers
  • Death notice
  • Funeral notice
  • Additional limo hire
  • Order/service sheets
  • Memorial
  • Catering for wake
  • Venue hire
  • Viewing of the body
  • Embalming
  • Live music
  • Recorded music
  • Live streaming of service

If your funeral wishes require many optional extras, or you’re concerned about your loved ones covering the cost, why not contact Reassured about over 50s life insurance?

This is a type of life insurance which guarantees a cash pay out for your loved ones when you pass away.

It also guarantees acceptance to UK residents aged between 50 - 85 and you don’t have to answer any health questions.

You’ll pay an agreed monthly premium (monthly payment) until you pass away in return for your cover. Premiums start from just £5-a-month through Reassured.

Your family could use the sum assured (cash lump sum) to contribute towards your funeral costs.

Simply contact Reassured to find out more.

Breakdown of funeral costs: Burials

Burials are far less common than cremation funerals in the UK. SunLife’s Cost of Dying report noted that only 27% of people opted for either a burial or direct burial in 2023.

This could be partially down to the price, with burial funerals currently costing £5,077 on average.

The average breakdown of burial costs consists of:

  1. Funeral director fees
  2. Third-party fees, consisting of:
    - Minister or celebrant fees for leading the ceremony
    - Burial fees for the interment (the burial itself) and Exclusive Rights of Burial (to purchase the grave space)
    - Church fees for holding the ceremony in a church or other place of worship
  3. Optional extras (flowers, order of service, limo hire, catering, memorial etc):
    - Embalming if necessary
    - Fee to assemble memorial
    - Memorial maintenance

Direct burial

Direct burial is a low-cost alternative to a traditional funeral, allowing a burial to go ahead without the usual ceremonial elements.

However, direct burial usually costs more than a direct cremation because the fees tend to be higher.

Typical direct burial costs are:

  • Funeral director fees for transportation and care of the deceased
  • Basic coffin
  • Pallbearers
  • Interment (burial) costs (some direct burial packages include this). This includes burial plot

Additional burial fees and charges:

  • A memorial and fees to assemble if necessary

Breakdown of funeral costs: Cremation

In 2023, 53% of people opted for a cremation funeral and 20% opted for a direct cremation.

The average cost of a funeral with cremation is currently £3,795 in the UK.

The average breakdown of cremation costs consists of:

  1. Funeral director fees
  2. Third-party fees, consisting of:
    - Minister or celebrant fees for leading the ceremony
    - Cremation fees for the crematorium to carry out the cremation
    - Doctors’ fees for cremation certificates
  3. Optional extras (flowers, order of service, limo hire, catering, memorial etc):
    - Embalming if necessary
    - Urn for ashes
    - Scattering of ashes (if there’s a charge for this)
    - Interment fee for burial of ashes
    - Fee to assemble memorial
    - Memorial maintenance

Direct cremation

Direct cremation is the low-cost and fuss-free alternative to a traditional cremation funeral. It’s, on average, the cheapest option available at £1,498 in the UK.

Typical direct cremation costs breakdown as follows:

  • Funeral director fees for transportation and care of the deceased
  • Basic coffin
  • Third-party fees (cremation fees, doctors’ fees)
  • Return of ashes in a simple container
  • Optional extras (flowers, limousines and music not required as there’s no funeral service)
  • Urn for ashes
  • Scattering of ashes (if there’s a charge for this)
  • Interment fee for burial of ashes
  • A memorial and fees to assemble if necessary

Funeral costs across the UK

As mentioned, funeral fees and charges vary significantly from region to region.

Where you live or where you choose to hold the funeral can impact the overall cost.

London is usually the most expensive place to have a funeral, whilst Northern Ireland tends to be the cheapest.

Burial and cremation fees vary across the UK.

The average cost of a burial funeral in London is currently £8,083 whereas, in North West England, the average cost is much lower at £4,196[2].

In the South East of England, the average cost of a cremation funeral is currently £4,233, whereas in Northern Ireland, the average cost stands at £3,284.


The below map provides information about the cost of a basic funeral according to where you live:

Cost of funerals infographic desktop


Much like the cost of living, funeral costs are also increasing in the UK, with the total cost of dying rising by 6.6% since last year.

This may raise concerns of how your loved ones may afford a funeral in the future, especially if prices continue to rise at the same rate.

Reassured offer over 50s plans, which can help contribute towards your funeral costs - relieving your loved ones of this expensive financial obligation.

If you’re aged 50 - 85, you could be eligible to secure up to £20,000 depending on your age and budget. The pay out could be enough to help cover the cost of a basic funeral in the UK.

Acceptance is guaranteed so why not contact Reassured today to secure over 50s life insurance?

Funeral costs across the world

The average cost of a funeral is relatively high in the UK. But how do we compare to other countries?

We’ve listed 3 of the most expensive countries and 3 of the least expensive countries to have a funeral.

Research was completed by SunLife in July 2020 and amounts have been converted into Sterling[4].

World funeral costs desktop


Japan has the highest average cost at an incredible £22,320 - which is 68.3% of their average salary. If we had to spend this percentage amount in the UK, the average funeral would cost £23,892.

India has the lowest funeral cost at just £96 - which is only 2.4% of their salary.

Germany is the most expensive European country to have a funeral by a considerable amount. The Netherlands is not far behind at £5,440 followed by the UK at £4,417 (based on 2020 data).

Need help with funeral costs?

Sometimes, there isn’t enough money to pay for a funeral. In this case, there are some ways you can get help to cover costs.

Icon green tick Funeral Expenses Payment

A provision by the government to help those with a low income to cover funeral expenses.

It usually covers basic cremation or burial services and there’s a small contribution towards funeral director fees and optional extras.

You’d need to be receiving certain welfare benefits and/or tax credits to be eligible for the payment. You can find out more on the government website.


Icon green tick Public Health Funeral or ‘Pauper’s funeral

The local council can step in to provide a basic funeral if there’s no money at all.

You’d need to provide a written statement renouncing responsibility of funeral costs and they’ll take care of arrangements.

Pauper’s funerals won’t include the funeral notice, flowers, transport, or viewings at the chapel of rest.


Icon green tick Body donation

It’s possible to donate a body to science, removing the cost of funeral arrangements. However, the deceased would need to provide consent to be a body donor in their wishes.

Medical schools keep donors for several years before having them cremated.


Icon green tick Crowd-funding

Online fundraising for funeral expenses is not unheard of.

You can use a platform such as Go Fund Me or Just Giving to share your unique story and ask family, friends and the general public to kindly donate. Be mindful that there’s no guarantee you’ll raise all the required money.


Icon green tick Over 50s life insurance

If the deceased had an active over 50s life insurance policy, the lump sum payout could be used to contribute towards a funeral.

Secure an over 50s plan to help cover funeral costs

If you’re concerned that you or your family couldn’t cover the cost of your funeral, why not consider over 50s life insurance?

Any UK resident aged 50 - 85 is eligible to take out a policy and you could be covered for up to £20,000.

Cover will last for the rest of your life, guaranteeing a pay out to your loved ones when you pass away.


Reassured can help you secure cover with a SunLife or OneFamily policy. The below are quotes based on a non-smoker for £4,000 of cover:

Age SunLife logo OneFamily logo
50£13.75£12.00
55£15.48£14.00
60£17.35£16.00
65£20.67£20.00
70£27.36£27.00
75£38.75£39.00
80£53.54£65.00
85£72.29-

Prices not shown mean this age group aren’t eligible for this sum assured

To lock in your premium rate, simply contact Reassured to secure your over 50s plan today.

We can compare quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers. Quotes are personalised, fee-free, no-obligation and start from just 20p-a-day.

Our friendly, UK based teams are here to assist to see if we can help you save money on your life insurance.

Sources:

[1] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs/

[2] https://www.funeralguide.co.uk/blog/cremation-and-burial-costs

[3] Information obtained directly from SunLife

[4] https://www.sunlife.co.uk/over-50-life-insurance/funeral-costs/international-cost-of-dying/

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