Average cremation costs 2023

Cremation is more common than burial in the UK and is usually the cheaper option of the two.

On average, a direct cremation in the UK costs £1,511, while a cremation with a funeral service is £3,673[1].

However, this varies depending on where in the UK you live, and how much is spent personalising the funeral.

In this guide, we break down the average cost of cremation in the UK, according to the annual SunLife Cost of Dying report, while also including:

If you’re worried that your family couldn’t afford the cost of your cremation when the time comes, it’s worth considering over 50s life insurance.

This is a life insurance product which will pay out up a cash lump sum when you pass away for a fixed monthly payment (premium).

Depending on your personal circumstances and budget, it’s possible to secure up to £20,000 of cover help contribute towards your cremation.

If you’re a UK resident aged between 50 - 85, you’re eligible to secure a policy. No medical information is required, and quotes start from as little as 20p-a-day + .

Simply contact us today for your fee-free quote comparison.


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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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How much is a cremation?

According to SunLife’s Cost of Dying report for 2022, the average cost of a basic cremation funeral is £3,673[1].

However, the overall cost of a cremation depends on various factors, including:

  • Where the cremation takes place
  • The type of funeral services included
  • How you choose to personalise the send-off with optional extras, such as flowers

The table below shows average cremation prices per region in the UK. The most expensive place for a cremation funeral is London at £4,260. Whereas the cheapest place is Northern Ireland at £3,372:

RegionAverage price
Wales£3,832
South East & East of England£4,032
London£4,260
East and West Midlands£3,572
Yorkshire and the Humber£3,419
Scotland£3,648
South West England£3,507
North West England£3,666
North East England£3,426
Northern Ireland£3,372
NATIONAL AVERAGE£3,673

How much is direct cremation?

The average cost of a direct cremation in the UK is currently £1,511[1].

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 cremations have recently dropped in price but increased in popularity. Prices have decreased by 8.2% from an average of £1,647 in 2021, and 18% chose direct cremation in 2022, compared to just 3% in 2019.

This is due the impact of the coronavirus pandemic when traditional funeral services were not possible, and direct cremations were a practical alternative.

Cremation costs breakdown

Both cremation and direct cremation funeral costs are broken down into the following categories:

  • Funeral director fees
  • Cremation fees
  • Minister or celebrant fee
  • Doctor's fees
  • Optional extras

Let’s take a look at these costs in more detail…

1. Funeral director fees

Funeral director services tend to be the most expensive part of a basic cremation funeral.

Funeral director fees cover the following elements:

  • Transportation, care and preparation of the deceased
  • Professional guidance and advice
  • Making all the necessary arrangements
  • Liaising with third parties
  • Family viewing at the chapel of rest
  • A limousine
  • Provision of a hearse and pallbearers
  • A standard coffin

2. Cremation fees and return of ashes

Cremation fees vary, as they’re charged by the crematorium. They’re separate from the services of a funeral director.

These cover the following:

Cremation fees vary from region to region. The location of the crematorium will determine the overall cost.


3. Minister or celebrant fee

The average cost of cremation includes the fee charged by a minister or celebrant to conduct the ceremony. In 2022, the average clergy fee was £174, and the average humanist celebrant fee was £210[2].


4. Doctor's fees

For cremations outside of Scotland, it's necessary that two different medical certificates are obtained and signed by two different doctors to certify the death before the cremation can be permitted.


5. Optional extras

Optional extras include elements such as the memorial, funeral notice, flowers and order sheets. The cost of these can vary greatly, but in 2022 the average amount people spent on optional extras when arranging a funeral was £2,669.

These elements are optional, and not legally required, unlike the funeral director fees (if you use a funeral director), cremation fees and doctors’ fees.

The cost of the most common optional extras are depicted in the table below:

Optional extrasAverage price
Memorial£1,064
Catering£467
Additional limousine hire£353
Venue hire£312
Flowers£210
Order sheets£105
Funeral notice£80
Death notice£77
TOTAL AVERAGE£2,669

Other optional costs you may need to consider include:

  • Embalming - This isn’t legally necessary for a cremation, but is required if a service with the deceased will take place before the cremation
  • Scattering of ashes - There may be a charge for this depending on the location (like Gardens of Remembrance). However, loved ones can also scatter the ashes independently if they wish
  • A burial plot for the interment of ashes - If not on private land, a fee may be required

Contribute to the cost of your funeral with over 50s life insurance. It’s possible to secure cover for up to £20,000, depending on your personal circumstances and budget.

The cost of dying UK

The average cost of dying in the UK is £9,200[1]. This takes into consideration the cremation/burial of the loved one’s body, and additional funeral costs.

As well as cremation costs, funeral costs will vary depending on your location.


The below table shows the difference in average funeral costs for both burial and cremation:

RegionAverage price
Wales£4,012
South East & East of England£4,300
London£5,283
East and West Midlands£3,892
Yorkshire and the Humber£3,742
Scotland£3,848
South West England£3,640
North West England£3,832
North East England£ 3,668
Northern Ireland£3,317
NATIONAL AVERAGE£3,953


As you can see, London has the highest average funeral costs at £5,283, (33.7% higher than the national average).

Northern Ireland, however, has the lowest average funeral costs at £3,317, (16% lower than the national average).

Cost of cremation vs cost of burial

The average cost of a cremation funeral is around 31% 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, minister or celebrant fees and optional extras, there's:

  • The cost of a burial plot
  • The cost of interment (the burial itself)

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 £4,794[1]. 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.

Secure an over 50s life insurance plan to help towards your funeral costs.

Planning a cremation funeral

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.

A direct cremation is half the price of a cremation with funeral and requires less planning as a service isn’t necessary.

5 tips to reduce the cost of cremation

There are various ways you can save money on cremation costs, whilst also arranging the perfect send-off for your loved one.

Here are Reassured’s top 5 tips:

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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 find the most affordable option.


Save time by using Reassured Advise

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.

Many crematoriums will choose the date and time for direct cremations. While this provides a cheaper option, it means no funeral service or ceremony can take part beforehand.


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3. Simplify the send-off

Many aspects of a cremation funeral are optional extras, and therefore, you can choose to cut back on these costs if needed.

Ways you can save on these expenses include:

  • Not embalming the body - Embalming isn't usually necessary and not a requirement for cremation based funerals
  • Don't have limousines - You could travel to the venue by car, public transport, or taxi
  • Cut back on flowers - For example, you could purchase a simple floral arrangement for the coffin and not have any flowers at the service
  • Don't have pallbearers - Family members could carry the coffin or you can request a wheeled bier
  • Choose a simple coffin - There're different types of coffins at different prices, some of the cheaper ones are made from eco-friendly materials, such as cardboard or pandanus leaves
  • Funeral wakes - Not everyone will want or require a wake. However, if you wish to give your loved one a wake, you can save money by providing your own catering or using a private residence as a venue

Funeral

4. Consider a direct cremation

A direct cremation costs 59% less than a traditional cremation funeral on average, based on figures from SunLife.

Also referred to as ‘no funeral just cremation’ or ‘direct disposal’, direct cremation is the cheapest way to be cremated as only the basic services for a cremation are required.

This means there’s 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.


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5. Have a ‘Do It Yourself’ funeral

A funeral director doesn’t legally have to carry out a cremation funeral[3].

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:

  • 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

Secure over 50s life insurance with Reassured

Over 50s life insurance is a policy which can help to protect your loved ones from cremation and funeral costs when the time comes.

The maximum cover amount is up to £20,000, depending on your age, smoking status and budget, and a pay-out is guaranteed.

With the average cost of dying being £9,200, the money could contribute towards the cost of your final send-off.

If you’re a UK resident aged between 50 - 85, you’re eligible to secure over 50s life insurance.

Secure a free, no obligation quote through Reassured today. We can also help to write many of our over 50s life insurance in trust for free.

Our friendly, UK-based teams are here to assist as well as to help you find the cheapest quote from our panel of top UK insurers.

Use our award-winning comparison service and we’ll do our best to help you save money today.

Sources:

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

[2] Information obtained directly from SunLife Press Office

[3] hhttps://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/arrange-the-funeral

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