Low cost funerals: Your 2024 guide

It’s easy for funeral costs to spiral out of control.

In fact, according to SunLife’s cost of dying report, 90% of funeral directors say people spend more money than they need to, especially on flowers, the coffin and limousines[1].

With 69% of people feeling under pressure to get things right[1] while also being in mourning, you can feel pressured into emotional over-spending by additional family members and friends.

It may seem disrespectful to cut back on a final farewell, but it’s also important to be realistic about what’s within budget.

Even if you’re happy with your own funeral being on a budget, you wouldn’t want to leave any unnecessary financial impact on your loved ones.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep costs down, various budget funeral options available through most funeral directors, and policies which could potentially cover the cost of your funeral for your loved ones.

Reassured can't offer funeral plans for yourself or your loved ones. However, we can help you to protect loved ones from expensive funeral costs with life insurance products.

Life insurance options at Reassured which guarantee a pay out* include:

*Providing premiums are up to date and a claim is successful

Continue reading this helpful guide from award-winning broker, Reassured, for more information...

What type of budget funerals are there?

As traditional funerals are expensive, including ceremonial elements such as a procession with hearse and limousines, many people are opting for funerals within a budget.

Traditional funerals also require more organisation from a funeral director, who charges fees for each of the services they provide.

Cost of funerals infographic desktop


The cost of a basic funeral in the UK is £3,953 on average[1] but it’s possible to spend less if you choose a budget funeral.

The pay out from a life insurance policy could help towards paying towards these budget funeral options.

Budget funeral options include the following:

Direct cremation

Direct cremation^

  • Most budget-friendly option
  • No funeral service or ceremony before cremation
  • Your loved one is collected and taken directly to the crematorium
  • Ashes are returned to you
  • Only the basic services need to be paid for
Eco burial

Eco-burial

  • Environmentally friendly alternative
  • Can choose a simple shroud / coffin
  • Embalming costs aren’t necessary
  • Burial plot required
  • Can be arranged on a budget as only a burial plot and funeral director fees required
DIY funeral

Do-it-yourself (DIY) funeral

  • Does not require a funeral director
  • Requires the booking and planning of the whole funeral
  • Requires you to complete all the necessary legal paperwork
  • Provides the option for you to find the best price for everything the funeral requires
  • Can be arranged on a budget as not tied to a funeral plan
Simple funeral

Simple funeral

  • Can be offered as a cremation or burial
  • Includes all the essential services
  • Is less flexible on time and dates
  • May not include expected ceremonial aspects like a procession to the funeral venue
  • Allows you to say goodbye to your loved ones at a traditional funeral service

^Some funeral directors offer a direct burial option too, although these are less common

Is a budget funeral acceptable?

Yes, there are many reasons why a family may want or need to arrange a funeral on a budget.

For example, if the deceased didn’t set enough money aside for their funeral, then it’s down to the family to cover the cost.

According to LoveMoney, funeral costs push thousands into debt, with each bereaved individual owing an average of £1,305[2].

Sometimes, it’s the deceased’s wishes for their family to spend as little money as possible on their send-off.

This is mainly because they don’t want a huge fuss and/or they’re aware that the expense could cause financial stress for loved ones.

Is it worth securing life insurance to help towards a funeral?

You can't secure life insurance to cover someone else’s funeral. However, it’s worth considering life insurance as an alternative way to help cover your own funeral.

Life insurance is a type of policy where, in exchange for paying a monthly premium, your loved ones are paid a sum assured if you pass away.

While this is not guaranteed to cover the cost of your funeral, your loved ones can use the funds to help pay towards your funeral so they may not have to dip into their own savings.

Reassured have a range of life insurance options available which could be taken out to protect your nearest and dearest from an expensive bill for your funeral.

Budget friendly options to cover your funeral

Life assurance could offer an affordable way to help protect your loved ones from the expensive cost of your funeral.

You’ll pay for your cover on a monthly basis (via a life assurance premium) and upon your passing, your loved ones can receive a lump sum pay out.

Depending on the level of cover you choose, and the cost of your funeral, there could also be an additional sum left for your loved ones to spend as they wish.

Reassured offer two life assurance policies which provide lifelong cover and guarantee to pay out to your loved ones when you pass away (as long as premiums are up to date and paid). These options are:

Whole of life insurance

  • Provides lifelong cover
  • Pay out is guaranteed
  • Fixed premiums
  • Fixed sum assured
  • Maximum sum assured of £1,000,000
  • Medical information (and other lifestyle information) is required to calculate your monthly premium
  • Affordable cover from 27p-a-day ±

Best for those:

  • Who are later in life but still in good health
  • Who require a larger sum assured
  • Who can afford the higher monthly premiums
  • Who are worried about their family covering their funeral

Over 50s life insurance

  • Provides lifelong cover
  • Pay out is guaranteed
  • Fixed premiums
  • Fixed sum assured
  • Maximum sum assured of £20,000 (depending on your personal circumstances and budget)
  • Medical information not required (premiums are calculated using your age, sum assured and sometimes your smoking status)
  • Affordable cover from 20p-a-day +

Best for those:

  • Who are UK residents aged between 50 - 85 (acceptance is guaranteed to this age group)
  • Who don’t need a large cover amount
  • Who have less than favourable health and have struggled to secure standard cover
  • Who are worried about their family covering their funeral

Due to being able to take cover out over a longer period, and with a higher sum assured (depending on your personal circumstances), whole of life insurance tends to be more expensive.

However, the benefit of providing a larger sum assured is that your loved ones don’t have to be on such a tight budget when planning your funeral.

Over 50s life insurance can be well suited to those who are happy with a budget friendly funeral, as the sum assured is considerably less.

It’s also a good choice for those who have struggled to secure standard cover, as acceptance is guaranteed to those age 50 - 85.

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Calculate how much life insurance you may need by filling in the costs you’d like your policy to cover.

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£137,934 is the estimated mortgage debt per household in the UK.

The purchase of a home is likely to be the largest financial commitment any of us will make in our lifetime. Your life insurance should cover your remaining mortgage balance to allow your loved ones to stay in the family home should anything happen to you.

Source: Moneynerd.co.uk

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The average monthly household budget in the UK is £2,548 (that’s £30,576 per year), which is spent on transport, food & drink, utilities (gas, electricity, water etc), clothing, council tax and leisure activities.

With energy prices hitting a record high and the cost of living rising sharply in the UK, you may wish to factor in utility bills and family living expenses into your cover.

Source: Nimblefins.co.uk

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The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.

Source: Money.co.uk

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According to SunLife, the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,953 (with the overall cost of dying at £9,200).

Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.

Source: SunLife.co.uk

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When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

This could include childcare (£7,000 per year for part-time care), school expenses (£1,519 per school year for uniforms, lunches, stationary etc), as well as an additional sum for further education (this could be a contribution of up to £5,000 per year).

Sources: Daynurseries.co.uk, Primarytimes.co.uk & Savethestudent.org

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2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.

Source: Moneyage.co.uk

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If you’re lucky enough to have your own savings or are part of the 30% of UK residents who already have a life insurance policy in place, this can provide financial protection for loved ones.

By entering your current cover, savings or death in service amount you can reduce the sum assured you require.

Source: Scottishbusinessnews.net

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Why not talk through your needs with an expert member of our team?

We can provide you with all the information you need about all your available options to help you make a fully informed decision.

We can also provide you with quotes from some of the UK’s best life insurance providers.

Funeral planning on a budget: Top 12 tips

There are ways to keep costs down when arranging a traditional religious or non-religious funeral.

You can pick and choose which elements could be scaled back to help you meet your specific budget.

Here are our top 12 tips on funeral planning on a budget:

1. Shop around and compare quotes

Shop around and compare quotes from more than one funeral director or company.

You’ll get a much better idea of what services are available and how much these should cost.

Plus, by comparing prices you’ll be able to find a local funeral director that offers the best deal for the services you want.

Be open about your budget with your chosen funeral director; check their pricelist before making any final decisions and ensure there aren’t any hidden costs.

You don’t want to end up paying for additional extras that you didn’t ask for.


2. Use social media

Instead of paying for a newspaper notice, you could invite family and friends to the upcoming funeral using social media (e.g. Facebook).

Social media is a free way of sending invitations, while also being more efficient.

Furthermore, with no paper used, it means it’s better for the environment - perfect if your loved one requested an eco-burial.


3. Choose an off-peak time

Funeral directors tend to charge more for funerals they hold outside of usual working hours and/or at weekends.

You may find the cheaper funeral options will have restricted times and dates for the funeral, but this could be ideal if you’re flexible.


4. Don’t have limousines

Funeral packages that include limousines or executive cars are more expensive.

It’s much more affordable to hire a minibus or multi seat taxi which could transport multiple guests to the funeral service.

Or guests could simply travel to the service using their own method of transport.


5. Cut back on flowers

1 in 4 people noted that certain funeral costs, including flowers, surprised them. See a full breakdown of funeral costs here.

When you think about how long the funeral service is (between 30 - 45 minutes) this may be the only time the flowers are seen by loved ones.

Compare prices from local florists to find a floral tribute perfect for your loved one and that’s within your budget.


6. Don’t have pallbearers

Having pallbearers to carry the coffin will add to the cost of the funeral.

To save money, you could ask a few family members and/or friends to do the honour instead.


7. Don’t embalm the body

Embalming allows the body to be preserved for family viewing before the funeral.

Sometimes, the embalming process isn’t necessary and it’s an additional cost that could be avoided.

That being said, if you choose to have an eco-burial, you wouldn’t be able to have the body embalmed as the chemicals used are toxic to the environment.


8. Choose a simple coffin

You can make significant savings just by choosing a simple coffin for your loved one.

Most people prefer the traditional coffin, with most popular choice in the UK being a wood veneer coffin.

Whereas a cardboard coffin is the cheapest and can either be provided through a funeral director or ordered directly online.

A funeral director can help you choose a coffin that’s at the right price point for you.


9. Hold a wake at home

Many people spend extra on venue hire and catering for the wake following the cremation or burial.

However, if you’re on a budget, you could simply hold a wake at someone’s house free of charge.

You could ask everyone to bring a dish or just provide a simple buffet for guests.

Sometimes it’s not always possible to have all loved ones at a wake.

Utilising a platform like Zoom or Skype can ensure everyone can pay their respects to the deceased, regardless of where they are in the world. This means those who would be coming from far or abroad will not need to pay for accommodation or transportation.


10. Have a cremation

The average cost of a cremation in the UK is £3,953, whereas a basic burial costs on average is £4,794[1].

A burial is more expensive due to additional burial fees (cost of digging a grave, lease of a burial plot and so on).

Also, headstone memorials aren’t cheap and they may require special maintenance over the years.

If your religion permits it and you don’t have any family traditions to abide by, then cremation is a budget-friendly option.


11. Get help with funeral costs

Why not check if you’re entitled to help from the government?

There’s a Funeral Expenses Payment (or Funeral Support Payment in Scotland) available to those on certain benefits.

This payment can be up to £1,000 and can help cover essential funeral costs, such as burial or cremation fees.


12. Have a plan for your own funeral

There are options to cover your funeral in advance, including funeral plans and life insurance.

While Reassured doesn’t offer funeral plans, we can help you secure life insurance which could help towards the cost of your funeral.

Simply get in touch today.

More top tips for a budget friendly funeral

  • Create an order of service at home using a computer and printer, or ask a family member/friend to create one for you
  • Alternative vehicles to a hearse can cost less and personalise a funeral more
  • Have a family-led service instead of having an officiant to do this, as they charge a fee
  • Shop around for a memorial that’s within your budget. Or select a natural memorial that doesn’t cost anything, such as a particular plant or tree (also check which memorials are permitted at the cemetery you’re using)

Funeral costs can make an upsetting situation even more stressful. If you’re struggling, the following places can offer assistance:

Help protect your loved ones from funeral costs with Reassured

A funeral is a difficult time for those grieving a loved one. However, it can also be a celebration of a loved one’s life and accomplishments.

While it’s possible to arrange a funeral on a budget, we can offer life insurance to help give you peace of mind about your own funeral costs.

Our award-winning call centres are available to help you to compare life insurance quotes from leading insurers, saving you time and money.

We’re an award-winning, FCA-regulated broker and all our services are FEE-FREE, so why not get in touch?

Sources:

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

[2] https://www.lovemoney.com/news/38985/uk-funeral-debt-reaches-142m

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