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The cost of cremation


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:

DispositionAverage Cost
Cremation with a ceremony$6,078
Direct cremation$2,300
Burial with ceremony$7,180
Direct burial$2,995

The lowest cost cremation

A direct cremation (sometimes called a simple cremation) is the cheapest option, because you only pay for the cremation itself - read our guide on direct cremation here. Even direct cremation can get expensive, though, if you’re not careful. Here are some simple ways to save when making arrangements:

Don’t get stung by hidden costs

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:

In fact, we found that 2/3 people vastly underestimate the cost of cremation in the US.

The Other Costs Of Cremation

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:

Coroner Fees
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
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.

Complicated Removal
If a person passes in a private residence, or if they are over a certain weight (250lb or more), the funeral home is likely to need to send an additional member of their team to collect your loved one, costing a bit more.

Pacemaker Removal
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.

To find out the cost of direct cremation with Tulip, click here for a quote.

Read about how badly American families misjudge the cost of cremation here

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