A Comprehensive Breakdown of Funeral Costs

Death is an inevitable part of life.  So it’s only natural to want to be prepared for when our time comes. 

Part of that preparation involves understanding the costs associated with funeral services and burials. This blog post will provide a detailed breakdown of those costs so you can be as prepared as possible.

The Average Cost of a Funeral

According to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association), the median funeral cost in the United States is $11,360.

This figure includes funeral service and burial costs but does not factor in additional expenses like flowers, obituaries, or transportation.

Below, we’ll look at various components that make up this figure.  For a more complete breakdown of average funeral costs, see the linked article from GetSure, an online burial insurance agency. 

Funeral Home Services

The most significant chunk of the funeral bill will go towards services provided by the funeral home. This can include everything from transport to embalming and makeup services. The average cost of these services is $2,500. 


The next most considerable expense is the casket. Depending on the style and material, caskets can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. The average cost of a casket is $2,495. 

Burial Plot and Vault

Unless you plan on being cremated, you’ll also need to purchase a burial plot or crypt. While the average cost of a burial plot is $1,000, vaults can get very pricey.

Most cemeteries require a vault to hold the casket in place and keep the ground from caving around it. Vaults typically cost between $500 and $1,000. 

Headstone or Marker

In addition to the plot or crypt, you’ll also need to purchase a headstone or marker. The average cost of a headstone is $1,500.       

Why do funerals cost so much?

Funeral and burial costs are often a financial burden for families already dealing with the emotional fallout of a loved one’s death.

Several factors contribute to the high cost of funerals, including the costs of transportation, memorial services, and cremation or burial.

In addition, many funeral homes require the purchase of insurance policies that cover the funeral costs if the family cannot pay. As a result, the costs of funerals can add up quickly, making them a significant financial burden for families.

What is typically the most expensive part of a funeral?

The most expensive part of a funeral is typically the burial. This is because it requires the purchase of a burial plot as well as a coffin or casket.

In addition, the burial usually takes place at a cemetery, which may charge fees for things like opening and closing the grave and maintaining the grounds.

Funeral homes also typically charge fees for their services, which include transporting the body, storing it, and providing a venue for the funeral service. All these costs can add up, making burial the most expensive part of a funeral.

Of course, funeral and cremation costs are not just financial. There is also the cost of grief, which is immeasurable but absolute. For many people, the grief that comes with losing a loved one is worth any amount of money.

Who is responsible for funeral costs?

Funeral costs can be a burden for family members who are already struggling to cope with the death of a loved one.

In most cases, the family is responsible for covering the costs of the funeral. However, there may be assistance available from government or charitable organizations. The size and type of funeral will affect the cost.

Many families choose to hold a small, private service rather than an elaborate public event. Whatever the family’s decision, it is essential to remember that funeral costs are just one more expense to consider at an already difficult time.

Saving Money: What type of funeral is the cheapest?

Average funeral costs can vary widely, depending on the type of service and the family’s specific needs. Generally speaking, the cheapest option is a direct cremation, which does not involve a formal service or viewing. Instead, the body is cremated soon after death, and the ashes are later returned to the family.

This option can be incredibly cost-effective if the family does not wish to hold a public memorial service. Another relatively inexpensive option is a graveside service, which takes place at the cemetery rather than a funeral home.

This type of service often involves fewer costs for transportation and venue rental. Finally, many families purchase final expense insurance (also known as burial insurance and funeral insurance) to cover the costs of a traditional funeral and burial.

While this option requires an upfront investment, it can help to reduce financial stress during an already difficult time.

Whatever type of funeral you choose, consider all costs to make the best decision for your family.

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