The truth about Funeral Costs in 2020
The truth about Funeral Costs in 2020 (Best Burial Insurance)
The typical traditional funeral service will cost the average family closer to $8,000 – $10,000.
Most people planning a funeral use the services of a funeral home.
The funeral director’s main responsibility is generating profits for the funeral home.
Unfortunately, this often means the funeral director’s main objective is to increase the amount of money you spend at the funeral home, leaving cemetery and headstone costs as a separate expense for the family.
This is why the typical funeral service is publicized as costing $6,000 – because the family often pays about $6,000 to the funeral director.
However, the family still has to pay the cemetery for the purchase of a grave spot and the dealer for the price of a headstone.
It’s these additional goods and services that add another $2,000 to $4,000 to the price of a funeral.
Unfortunately, many families do not find this out until after they have signed a contract for the funeral services with the funeral director.
Average Funeral Costs in 2020
The average family often spends closer to $10,000 when all is said and done, it makes sense to break funeral costs into their three main components: what’s paid to the funeral home, what’s paid to the cemetery, and what’s paid to purchase a headstone or grave marker.
The family spends approximately $6,000 on goods and services purchased from the funeral home. Here is a price breakdown of some of those typical costs:
- casket – $2,300
- funeral director’s basic services fee – $1,500
- embalming and body preparation – $600
- funeral ceremony and viewing – $1,000
- miscellaneous (hearse, death certificates, obituary, etc.) – $600
The average family will spend approximately $2,000 for goods and services at the cemetery. Here is a price breakdown of the typical costs:
- grave space – $1,000
- cost to dig the grave ( sometimes called the open/close fee) – $1,000
If the body is buried in a cemetery you will also need to purchase a headstone or grave marker.
The type of stone you are required to buy depends on the section of the cemetery in which the body is buried.
A headstone is typically a two-piece granite rock that sits on top of the grave site.
It’s typically two feet high.
A grave marker is typically a flat granite or bronze plaque that lies flat on the ground on top of grave site. Here is a rough approximation as to what you can expect to spend on a headstone:
- Headstone – $2,000
- Grave Marker – $1,000
Again, the funeral home may coordinate the purchase of the cemetery space and headstone on behalf of the family – it just depends on the funeral home.
While this can be a great convenience to the family, the price can be higher because the cemetery or headstone dealer will have to pay an additional sales commission to the funeral home.
Average Cost of a Burial Plot in 2020
The average cost of a burial plot is dependent on several factors, including the location of the cemetery, (urban
cemeteries are more expensive than rural cemeteries), whether it is a public cemetery or a private cemetery, (private is more expensive), the type of cemetery plot, the location of the plot within the cemetery itself, and whether the plot was purchased individually or as part of a family package.
Generally speaking, the average cost of a plot is as follows:
- A burial plot in a public cemetery:The average cost for a single burial plot is $200 to $2,000. Rural cemeteries fall within the lower end of the range, while urban cemeteries are in the upper end of the range, as land is at a premium. Plots for infants and children are less expensive.
- A burial plot in a private cemetery:The average cost of a single burial plot is $2,000 to $5,000, depending on where the cemetery is located, the cemetery’s amenities, and whether the plot is in a more desirable section within the cemetery. As with public cemeteries, infant and child burial plots are less expensive than adult burial plots. In densely populated urban areas, a burial plot in a private cemetery can skyrocket up to $25,000 for a single burial plot, and up to $50,000 or higher for a double depth plot.
- A burial plot for cremated remains in a public cemetery:The average cost for burying cremation ashes in a public cemetery is $350 to $500.
- A burial plot for cremated remains in a private cemetery:The average cost for burying cremation ashes in a private cemetery is $1,000 to $2,500.
Compare Funeral Costs: Cremation Urn and Memorial vs. Casket and Headstone
For those planning a funeral with limited financial resources, it is prudent to evaluate the cost of cremation urns and memorials compared to a casket and headstone. Cremation offers the most versatility and opportunity to control costs for those on a budget, while burial costs mount quickly.
Alternate Plans to a Funeral
Using alternatives means to remember your loved one can cut the costs dramatically.
Plan a memorial service as an alternative to a funeral.
This service is held without the deceased’s body, and because you can hold the event at your home or in a park, it has little associated cost.
Another alternative is to donate the body to a medical school.
This approach typically involves little to no cost to you and, provided you know the deceased person would have approved of the idea, is an effective way to control funeral-related spending.
Best options on how to pay for a funeral or cremation
Cash or Check:
Paying with cash or check at the time of need is how most people deal with paying for a funeral.
Although many within the funeral industry will encourage us to pre-plan and purchase a pre-need funeral plan, this does not always guarantee the best discount of funeral services ahead of time.
Paying with cash can give you some negotiating power.
Funeral directors are caring, compassionate professionals but they are also business people.
Purchasing a funeral is a consumer transaction just like any other consumer purchase you make, so you should approach it the way you would any other purchase.
Do not disclose what your actual finances or budget is. Make sure you know comparable prices from local funeral homes.
Do not feel under pressure to make an instant decision.
Do not feel embarrassed about bartering for deals -overpaying is NOT dignified.
Do not be coerced into purchasing ancillary products and services. There are so many families who are up-sold to, in fact it has been quoted that some funeral homes “up-sell to 60% of customers”.
Remember being forewarned is being forearmed!
Pre-need funeral contract:
If your recently departed had pre-purchased a funeral contract from a funeral home or insurance agent, then this can alleviate a lot of your concerns about paying for the funeral.
A preneed funeral policy is assigned to cover the cost of the pre-arranged funeral contract and the monies are invested to ensure that they can meet the future needs of your contract.
However, it has been known that preneed contracts purchased 20+ years earlier can sometimes fall short on funeral costs today and you may need to supplement the funds.
Life Insurance Policy assignment:
Funeral homes will accept payment via a life insurance assignment.
If your loved one had a life insurance policy you will need the details of the insurance company to verify to the funeral home that you have a genuine policy that will pay-out and cover the funeral costs.
The policy must have been held be over 2 years to be uncontestable.
You do not, and indeed should not, disclose the value of the life insurance policy as the funeral home does not need to know this. They merely need to be able to contact the insurance company to confirm that the policy in question covers the funeral expenses.
Do not agree to sign over the insurance policy in lieu of the funeral expenses – you could find your funeral costing as much as your policy value!
Funds within the deceased’s estate:
The difficulty with an unexpected death is that arrangements may not have been made for surviving family to manage the deceased’s estate.
This is obviously further complicated if the deceased had not even made a will.
The estate is subject to Probate and it can take time to release funds.
A funeral home may be willing to negotiate with you if you can provide reliable evidence that there are funds in the estate and the costs for the funeral are well-covered.
This is another reason why a vital aspect of preplanning and putting your affairs in order, should involve setting up a Payable-on-Death (POD) account, or Totten Trust, that is not subject to Probate and a named beneficiary in the family can access the funds immediately.
BEST Burial Funeral Life Insurance in 2020
Death isn’t a subject that most people like to talk about, but facing the topic head-on can make the burden of planning and cost a lot easier for you and your family.
Get together with your loved ones today, speak openly and review your options, and rest assured that everything has been taken care of well in advance.
Call us at 813-964-7100 or 716-565-1300