Cremation is becoming an increasingly popular funeral option, as more and more people are choosing this method of disposition for themselves or their loved ones. And while there are a wide variety of reasons why someone might choose to be cremated or have a loved one cremated, the cost can and often will play a factor in the decision-making process.
This is why in this article, we’re going to provide an overview of the costs associated with cremation, including a breakdown of the various expenses and factors that can affect the cost. As well as discuss some of the advantages choosing to cremate will have over a more traditional burial.
Cremation is the process of reducing a deceased person’s body to ash and bone fragments through the use of high heat and flame. The body is placed in a special chamber, called a cremation chamber or retort, where it is subjected to extreme temperatures. The resulting ashes, are then placed in an urn or other container and can be kept by the family, buried, or scattered in a special location.
The recent popularity of cremation as a method of final disposition in the United States and other Western countries began to increase in the late 20th century. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cremation rate in the United States was only 3.56% in 1960, but by 2018 it had risen to over 50%.
The increasing acceptance of cremation can be attributed to a variety of factors, including cost, cultural changes, and environmental concerns. Additionally, some religious denominations have become more accepting of cremation, which has also contributed to its growing popularity.
The average cost of cremation can vary depending on location, services, and other factors, but according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the median cost of a cremation in the United States in 2020 was $6,045.
It’s important to note that this cost can vary significantly based on the services and products included, as well as the location of the cremation. The average cost of a basic cremation, which includes the use of the crematory and the return of the ashes to the family, can range from $600 to $3,000. However, when additional services and products such as a memorial service, urn, or death certificates are included, the cost can increase significantly.
It is important to compare prices and services offered by different providers in your area and to understand what is included in the price before making a decision. It is also important to remember that the cost should not be the only factor considered when choosing a cremation provider and that the reputation and level of service offered by the provider should also be taken into account.
Additional services and expenses that can increase the cost may include a viewing or visitation prior to the cremation, a memorial service, and an urn or other container for the ashes. Additionally, many crematories offer a variety of cremation packages that can include additional services such as transportation, death certificates, and obituary notices.
It is important to note that some crematories and funeral homes may not advertise or disclose their prices online, and it’s always a good idea to contact them to get an accurate quote, as well as to compare prices with other providers in your area. This is where planning ahead can be very advantageous because the last thing you want to be doing while morning the passing of a loved one is negotiating the price of their funeral.
Cremation vs Burial Costs
As we stated above, according to the National Funeral Directors Association the median cost of a cremation in the United States in 2020 was $6,045 with the basic cremation services costing anywhere between $600 to $3,000.
In comparison, the median cost of a traditional funeral with a burial in 2020 was $9,135, according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). This includes the cost of a casket, a cemetery plot, and other expenses such as embalming, a viewing, and a funeral service.
So as one can see, cremation while expensive can be significantly less expensive than the average burial.
Factors that can increase the cost of any kind of burial or cremation ceremonies
There are several factors that can increase the cost of both burial and cremation ceremonies:
- Location: The cost of burial and cremation services can vary significantly depending on the location. Urban areas tend to have higher costs than rural areas, and costs can also vary depending on the state or region.
- Additional Services: Many funeral homes and crematories offer a variety of additional services and products that can be added to the basic cost of the service. These can include transportation, embalming, a viewing or visitation, a memorial service, and an urn or other container for the ashes.
- Urns: The cost of urns can vary widely depending on the materials used, level of customization, and size.
- Type of casket: The cost of a casket can vary widely depending on the materials used and the level of craftsmanship. Some caskets can cost several thousand dollars, while others are much more affordable.
- Cemetery plot: Cemetery plot prices can vary depending on the location, size, and type of plot.
- Headstone or marker: The cost of a headstone or marker can also vary depending on the materials used and the level of customization.
- Perpetual Care: Some cemeteries charge an additional fee for the maintenance and care of the gravesite.
- Burial Vault: Burial vaults are used to protect the casket from the weight of the earth and to prevent the ground from settling. They can be made of various materials and can vary in price.
It’s important to consider all the costs associated with burial or cremation and compare prices and services offered by different providers in your area before making a decision.
Payment methods for cremation ceremonies
Payment methods for cremation ceremonies can include various options such as:
- Out-of-pocket: This means that the cost of the cremation is paid for directly by the family or the deceased’s estate.
- Pre-paid funeral plans: This option allows individuals to pay for their own funeral in advance, which can help to relieve financial burden on their loved ones.
- Life insurance: Some life insurance policies include a death benefit that can be used to pay for the cost of a cremation.
- Final expense insurance: This type of insurance is specifically designed to cover the cost of final expenses, including cremation. It is also known as burial insurance.
- Government assistance: Depending on the location, there may be government assistance programs available to help cover the cost of cremation for individuals who are unable to pay.
It is important to check with the funeral home or crematory to find out which payment methods they accept and to understand any financing options that may be available. It’s also a good idea to plan ahead and consider the cost associated with the end-of-life expenses, so that it will be less burden for the family.
What is a final expense insurance policy and how do they work?
Final expense insurance policies are a type of life insurance that are specifically designed to cover the cost of end-of-life expenses, such as cremation or burial costs, as well as other expenses such as medical bills, outstanding debts, and other final expenses. These policies are also known as burial insurance, funeral insurance, or end-of-life insurance.
Final expense policies are typically whole life insurance policies, which means that they provide coverage for the entire lifetime of the policyholder, as long as the premiums are paid. They are also small in terms of the coverage amount, usually ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. They are also easy to qualify for, regardless of age or health status, making them a great option for those who want to ensure that their final expenses will be covered.
How they work is, when the policyholder passes away, the death benefit is paid to the beneficiaries, who can use the funds to cover the cost of the funeral or cremation, as well as any other final expenses. The death benefit can also be used to pay off outstanding debts, medical bills, or other expenses that may arise after the policyholder’s death.
It’s important to note that, final expense insurance policies are typically more expensive than term life insurance policies and can contain a waiting period before they will provide full coverage (graded death benefit), but the premiums are generally fixed and will not increase with age, unlike term insurance.
If interested in learning more about how a final expense insurance policy might be able to alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling about financing one’s own or a loved one’s cremation or burial services, we would encourage you to give us a call. Because we here at IBUSA fell that it’s important that individuals and families understand the costs associated with end-of-life services and realize that there are insurance products that can help them pay for these costs, provided that they plan ahead.