How Much Does a Funeral Cost?
How much a funeral costs depends on many factors, including the type of funeral, casket type, funeral home and the state you live in. Find out more details below about how much a funeral costs.
Funeral Costs With Viewing and Burial
The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) estimates the national median cost of a typical funeral with a viewing and burial at about $7,640 in 2019.
Costs for the services listed below can vary widely and depend on the funeral home, casket material and the state you live in. The following are ballpark estimates of typical funeral costs from 2019, according to the NFDA:
- Basic service fee: $2,500
- Casket: $2,500
- Funeral director’s fees: $1,500
- Embalming and body preparation: $750
- Funeral ceremony: $925
- Transportation: $500
Cemetery burials include additional considerations, such as selecting a burial plot and choosing a grave marker or headstone. Costs for headstones vary widely depending on the material.
Funeral With Cremation
According to the NFDA, the national median cost of a funeral with viewing and cremation in 2019 was $5,150 and includes:
- Transfer of remains to a funeral home
- Preparing the body for a casket
- Facilities for the funeral ceremony
- Service car
- Cremation fee
This average cost does not factor in the cost of a cremation casket, urn and other costs for families who choose to bury their loved one’s cremated remains in a cemetery. The actual cremation typically costs about $350.
The Funeral Rule
The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule permits funeral providers to assess a basic services fee. The basic services fee is a standard price associated with a funeral and covers planning, permits and administrative costs.
Under the federal guidelines, funeral homes and providers must provide an itemized statement that outlines all the costs of goods and services associated with the arrangement. If the funeral director doesn't know the cost, they are required to provide a “good faith estimate.”
The Cost of Funeral Caskets
Prices for caskets can vary widely and generally depend on material. Most caskets are constructed of wood, fiberglass, metal or plastic. The least expensive caskets may cost a few thousand dollars, and more expensive caskets made with mahogany, copper and bronze can cost upwards of $10,000.
The Funeral Rule requires that the funeral home director is required to show you a list of all the available caskets his or her business sells, including descriptions and prices, before they show you the actual casket.
For cremation procedures, you can rent a casket from a funeral home for the visitation hours and funeral to avoid the cost of buying a casket. If you opt for a direct cremation without a viewing or other form of ceremony where the body is present, the funeral director must offer an inexpensive wood box or alternate container that is cremated with the body.
Average Funeral Cost by State in 2021
Where you reside in the United States impacts your funeral costs. Maine has the highest funeral cost on average at $8,675, according to data collected from Policygenius, while Florida has the lowest average funeral costs of $5,875.
Ten states with the highest average funeral costs are:
- Hawaii ($14,975)
- California ($11,777)
- New York ($10,799)
- Oregon ($10,418)
- Massachusetts ($10,216)
- Alaska ($10,084)
- Maryland ($10,069)
- Connecticut ($9,914)
- New Jersey ($9,712)
- Rhode Island ($9,269)
Mississippi, which has no estate or inheritance tax, is the cheapest place to have a funeral — a funeral in Mississippi costs $6,684 on average.
How to Prepare for Funeral Costs
Funerals can be expensive, but it's possible to plan and coordinate an affordable funeral without risking the financial well-being of those you love.
A life insurance policy is an easy way to offset funeral expenses, since it lets you make contributions towards funeral costs through monthly life insurance premiums.
Funeral expenses can also be set aside in a traditional savings account, although there could be delays with probate and benefit distribution if you go with that option.
Funeral Insurance and Trusts
Other options include funeral insurance and funeral trusts, both of which can help cover funeral costs. A funeral trust is similar to a regular savings account, but the funds are legally set aside to be used solely for funeral expenses, with any remaining funds going to your estate after your funeral.
One important step you can take is leaving behind instructions for how you want your funeral planned, coordinated and paid for. You can leave financial information and your desires about your funeral arrangement in a will and testament or with a lawyer or family friend who manages your estate.