How much does a cremation cost?

Recent data has revealed that the average cost of a basic cremation funeral in the UK is £3,795[1].

This amount includes the cost of funeral director fees, cremation fees, a coffin, limousine, doctor, and minister or celebrant.

The average cost of a direct cremation, which is a cremation without a funeral service, is £1,498.

Cremation costs in the UK can vary significantly depending on:

  • Where the crematorium is located
  • The day and time of the cremation
  • The type of funeral services included

In this guide, we break down the average cost of cremation in the UK, as well as provide the average cost of cremation across different regions.

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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 to help contribute towards your cremation.

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How much does a funeral cost with cremation?

The average cost of a funeral with cremation is £3,795 according to the SunLife Cost of Dying report 2024.

This amount includes the average cost of funeral director fees, cremation fees and other services that are typically required for a cremation funeral. It doesn’t include optional extras such as flowers, a memorial, catering and venue hire.

The table below shows average cremation prices per region in the UK[2]:

RegionAverage price
Northern Ireland£3,284
East & West Midlands£3,622
North West England£3,657
North East England£3,694
Yorkshire & The Humber£3,694
Scotland£3,742
South West England£3,827
London£4,094
Wales£4,101
South East & East of England£4,233
NATIONAL AVERAGE£3,795

The cheapest cremation price is in Northern Ireland at £3,284, and the most expensive is in the South East & East of England at £4,233.

The average cost of a cremation funeral in the UK has increased by 3.3% since 2022.

Breakdown of cremation costs

The cost of a funeral with a cremation can be broken down into the following categories:

Funeral director fees

Funeral director services tend to be the most expensive part of a basic cremation funeral. Their fees cover transportation, care and preparation of the decreased, help with all the arrangements for the funeral, professional guidance and advice, limousine, coffin, hearse and pall bearers.


Cremation fees

Cremation fees vary depending on the crematorium. This cost is separate from funeral director fees and covers the service at the crematorium chapel and the cremation process itself.


Minister or celebrant fee

The average cost of cremation includes the fee charged by a minister or celebrant to conduct the ceremony. In 2023, the average clergy fee was £193[2].


Doctor's fees

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

The cost of dying UK

The average cost of dying in the UK is £9,658. This takes into consideration the average cost of a cremation or burial funeral, as well as professional fees and send-off costs.

The cost of dying has increased by 5% since 2022.

  • Average cost of a basic funeral - £4,141

This amount includes fees for a cremation or burial, funeral director, limousine, coffin, doctor and minister or celebrant.

Funeral costs have increased by 4.7% since 2022.

  • Average amount spent on professional fees - £2,749

This is the cost to hire a professional to administer the estate of the deceased.

Professional fees have increased by 6.6% since 2022.

  • Average amount spent on the send-off - £2,768

These are the optional extras that people tend to purchase for a funeral, such as flowers, a memorial, funeral notice, order sheets, venue and catering.

The below table shows average amount spent on each optional extra per funeral in 2023:

Optional extrasAverage price
Memorial£1,037
Catering£476
Additional limousine hire£402
Venue hire£347
Flowers£220
Order sheets£111
Funeral notice£93
Death notice£81
NATIONAL AVERAGE£2,768

The average amount that people spend on send-off costs has increased by 3.7% since 2022.

Other optional extras that can affect the cost of cremation include:

  • Embalming of the body
  • Scattering of ashes
  • A burial plot and burial fee if burying the ashes

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How much is direct cremation?

The average cost of a direct cremation in the UK is currently £1,498, according to the SunLife 2024 report.

This amount includes the cost of funeral director fees, cremation fees, a coffin, and returning the ashes.

A direct cremation is also known as an ‘unattended cremation’ as it takes place without a funeral service beforehand or any visitors to the crematorium.

It provides an affordable alternative to a traditional cremation funeral and is an option chosen by those who want a simple send-off.

Direct cremations have dropped in price but increased in popularity in the UK.

Since 2021 prices have decreased 9% from an average of £1,647, and 20% of people chose direct cremation in 2023, compared to just 3% in 2019.

Cost of cremation vs cost of burial

The average cost of a cremation funeral is around 25% 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)
  • Grave maintenance costs

Burial plots vary in price across the UK from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds, impacting the overall cost of a burial even before arranging a service.

According to the SunLife 2024 report, the average cost of a burial funeral is £5,077. However, the actual amount you’ll pay will depend on where the burial takes place, the type of funeral services included, and which optional extras are chosen.

The average cost of a direct burial, which is simply a burial without a funeral service, is £1,657.

Whether you’re planning a cremation or burial after you’re gone, it’s important to consider the impact the cost may have on your loved ones during a difficult time. Secure over 50s life insurance to help towards your funeral costs.

How to reduce the cost of cremation [top tips]

With the cost of cremation increasing in the UK, more and more people are looking for ways to save money when arranging the service.

Here are some tips to help you cut the cost of a cremation:

1. Shop around and compare cremation prices

Comparing prices from different funeral directors and crematoriums in your local area can help you to find the best prices.

Unfortunately, only a small number of people compare quotes when arranging a funeral, even though it could help cut the cost.

Many funeral directors can offer low-cost funeral options, or tailor their services to suit your budget, so it’s important to be clear about how much you want to spend.

Also, shopping around for things like flowers, catering and venues can help you to find the most affordable options.


2. Choose a cheaper cremation slot

It’s possible to save money on cremation costs by choosing an off-peak time slot for the cremation.

Early morning weekday slots tend to offer the cheapest prices and weekends tend to be the most expensive.

Direct cremations tend to have cheaper cremation fees as these usually take place first thing in the morning.


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
  • Fewer pallbearers - Alternatively, family members could carry the coffin or you can request a wheeled bier which doesn’t require pallbearers at all
  • 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
  • Hold a home wake - If you choose to have a wake, you can avoid the cost of a venue by holding this at home, and provide your own catering rather than hiring a catering company

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’, direct cremation is the cheapest way to be cremated as there’s no funeral service.

Some people choose to hold a simple wake and/or memorial service after a direct cremation, but this isn’t a requirement.

As the average cost of a direct cremation is £1,498 in the UK, it can provide an affordable alternative to a traditional cremation.


5. Have a DIY cremation

A DIY or ‘do it yourself’ cremation involves planning the practical elements of a cremation yourself without a funeral director.

It’s not a legal requirement to use a funeral director so it’s possible that family and friends can get together to make the arrangements.

You’d need to consider all of the following:

  • 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

How to prepare for your funeral costs [over 50s life insurance]

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.

With the average cost of dying increasing to £9,658, the money could help contribute towards the cost of your cremation and other funeral related costs.

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

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