The average cost of cremation in the US, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, is $6,078 with a ceremony and viewing, or $2,300 for a direct cremation. Prices vary by state, too - the most expensive state for direct cremation is Connecticut, at an average cost of $2,995, and the most affordable is Kentucky, at an average cost of $1,941.
The table below shows the average cost of burial and cremation in the US:
|Cremation with a ceremony||$6,078|
|Burial with ceremony||$7,180|
A direct cremation (sometimes called a simple cremation) is the cheapest option, because you only pay for the cremation itself - there is no service, and no viewing. A team will collect the person who has passed away, they will be cremated, and the ashes will be returned. The simplicity of this process can save families thousands of dollars.
To find out more about direct cremation, read our full guide here.
Even direct cremation can get expensive, though, if you’re not careful. Here are some simple ways to save when making arrangements:
Cut out the excess: a traditional funeral home can offer everything you need - but they often charge a premium as they have the added cost of the store front. Online providers offer a lot of the same services, but at a fraction of the price.
Arrange an alternative memorial service: services that are arranged through a funeral home or religious building can be expensive. A picnic with your family or a gathering at home can be really personal and far cheaper.
Buy an urn online: the average cost of an urn from a funeral home is $280, but you can find plenty for less than $100 online. Shop around to get the best value.
Plan ahead: if possible, it is a good idea to start looking at options before the person has passed away. The days after a death can be overwhelming, and some families end up spending thousands of dollars more than they need to because they don’t have the time to compare providers. At Tulip, you can even do all the paperwork ahead of time, taking the pressure off an already difficult time.
Comparing prices between funeral homes is important if you want to get the best value for money, but be aware that this can be like comparing apples and oranges. Headline prices on adverts do not always tell the full story - they may not include necessities like the collection of the person who passed, or a container for the cremation.
In fact the NPR found that in 2017, 1 in 4 funeral homes do not disclose proper pricing information. This means you should always check what is included when you are comparing prices. The important things that should be included are:
Read about how badly American families misjudge the cost of cremation here.
There are some additional costs that a funeral home has no control over. It is important to take account of these, to understand what the whole process will cost:
Coroners operate separately from funeral homes and so the coroner fee will not be included in a funeral home’s price. The fees will vary hugely from county to county - a removal costs $100 in Merced and $628 in San Francisco, for example - but will often include a fee for storing your loved one, every day after their autopsy.
Death certificates are needed for a number of things, including closing accounts, accessing benefits and claiming life insurance. In general, the more complex the ‘estate’ of the person who has passed, the more death certificates will be needed. The cost varies by county - typically between $20 and $25 per death certificate.
Read our guide on death certificates to find out what they are and why you may need them.
If a person passes in a private residence, the funeral home is likely to need to send an additional member of their team to make collect your loved one. This will add a small amount onto the total cost.
If the person weighs over 250 lbs, they will usually require a second team member to make sure the collection is safe. Specialist equipment is also likely to be used throughout the process - in total the extra cost is likely to be several hundred dollars.
Battery operated devices, like pacemakers, can explode during cremation and so they need to be removed beforehand. This will also add a cost that can range between $50 and $200.
Every funeral home will have a general price list either on their website or available upon request. This has to display a comprehensive list of every cost in the cremation process. When making arrangements, you have the right to request any packaged services can be removed, except for the charge for the basic services.
Tulip’s GPL is available at the bottom of every page. You can also see a breakdown of every cost on our pricing page here.Read Next: Direct Cremation Explained