Average Funeral Costs & How to Plan for Expenses 2019

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Funeral costs

Aside from taxes, it’s the only other definite in life.

No one wants to think about his or her mortality. But, not considering the costs of a funeral and not having a plan in place can costly for your family and loved ones.

The average funeral costs have risen in recent years. But, with proper planning, you won’t have to worry about your final expenses.

In this article, we will guide you through the expenses and help you put together a plan on how to cover them.

If you’ve ever attended a funeral, or even saw the portrayal of a funeral on TV, you already know the essential elements of a traditional service.

While many consider this type of funeral to be the best option, there are other options available. A funeral is an incredibly personal affair, meaning that there isn’t one “correct” method.

That said, here are the average costs of every aspect of a traditional funeral service.

Embalming and Body Preparation

Many people cherish the option to see or be seen by their loved ones. If you’d like to consider having an open casket at any point, you may want to think about preservation.

The cost of embalming, dressing, and extra cosmetology work could run anywhere from $500 to $1,200.

Of course, preservation is not a requirement, and you can decide not to use it if you don’t think it suits you and your family’s needs.


Many cemeteries require a casket for burial, and for many having a coffin for their loved one can serve as a form of comfort.

Unfortunately, the importance of a casket to a funeral reflects in its price. The cost of a coffin can run upwards of $10,000. While there are cheaper options available, those can still cost a minimum of $2,000.


Visitation gives the family the option to allow anyone to come to pay their respects while keeping the ceremony private.

But, a visitation requires a space large enough to accommodate the crowd. Because of this, you’ll have to think about a venue and even transportation.

With the possibility of extra costs, the average viewing usually costs anywhere between $100 and $500.


The ceremony is often thought to be the most significant part of a funeral.

It allows family, friends, and loved ones to come together, share memories and grieve. The ceremony is also the time to pass any religious rights the family would like performed.

Because the ceremony is one of the greatest essential elements of a funeral, it is the second most expensive. An average funeral ceremony can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.

Plot and Vault

The plot is usually one of the first things people take care of when planning for their funeral. For many families, obtaining plots in the same cemetery, or in the same area is a tradition.

But, there is only so much land to go around, and as time passes plots are becoming more expensive.

A plot can cost at least $1,500, but can also cost upwards of $4,500.

On top of that, many cemeteries will require you to also buy a vault, that is a lining that will protect the casket.

A vault can cost upwards of an additional $500.

Grave Marker

Headstones can provide a physical location where loved ones can go to grieve and feel close to the deceased.

It is for this reason that, for many, a grave marker or memorial can be more important than the means of burial.

But, getting a headstone can be costly. A grave marker, depending on the type, can cost anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $30,000.

Alternative Funeral Costs

Once again, a funeral is a private and exceedingly personal affair, meaning that there is no one proper way to do it.

There are dozens of alternative methods available, it all depends on what you feel is right for you and your loved ones.


Some people opt for cremation to save money, others do it for environmental reasons, and others don’t like the idea of a traditional burial.

Cremation is generally cheaper because you don’t have to worry about most of the costs involved with a traditional funeral.

That said, cremation is not free — it can cost anywhere from $500 to upwards of $3,000.

Natural Burial

The general concept of natural burial is almost as old as humanity. Yet, the practice has only recently regained popularity as a part of the natural death movement.

Natural burial involves returning the body to the earth, usually by means of a biodegradable casket. It’s a favorite of those opposed to the idea of cremation, who would still like to lessen their footprint on the environment.

That said, there a still a few costs involved with the cost of a plot, starting around $2,000, and a casket, which could cost between $50 and $420.

How to Plan for Funeral Costs

While no one wants to think about their mortality, planning for your funeral early on can save your family and loved ones a lot of extra stress later on.

Here are a few tips on how to get everything in order.

Know What You Want

It’s a sad fact that once someone is gone, you can’t ask him or her how they’d like to be remembered. And while we’d all like to think that our loved ones would do what’s best, grief can cloud people’s judgment.

By laying out a specific plan ahead of time, no one will have to wonder what you might have wanted.

Shop Around

Like with every other major expense in life, it pays to get a few different estimates from a few different places. This will help ensure you won’t end up spending more than you need to.

Set a Budget

Another option to pay for future funeral costs could be to open a savings account that would be dedicated to these costs. Each month you could put a small amount of money into this account.

Traditional funeral costs these days can run upwards of $9,000, so you want to make sure you figure out your budget early on.

Funeral Insurance Policy

One of the best and most common ways to pay for potential funeral costs is actually with a life insurance policy.

There are life insurance policies that specifically designed for situations as such called final expense life insurance also known as burial or funeral insurance.

These are whole life insurance policies that range from $2,000 up to $50,000 of death benefit protection. They are great for seniors who don’t require a lot of coverage and are just looking for enough coverage to cover burial costs or any small final expenses.

Best of all, they don’t require a medical exam to apply.

In many cases, adult children are able to own as well as pay for the life insurance coverage if need be. Also, in many cases, funeral homes will allow you to pre-pay for funeral cost by assigning your life insurance coverage to the funeral home.

By doing so, the funeral home has an understanding that they will be compensated for the funeral costs from the funds received from the life insurance policy.

Reach out to us for help

You may not feel ready to begin thinking about final arrangements. But, waiting until it’s too late can put a lot of added pressure on your family and loved ones.

As we previously mentioned, one of the best ways to ease some of this pressure is by investing in a life insurance policy. This can help make sure your family and any final expenses are taken care of.

Looking for life insurance and aren’t sure where to start? Let us help.

Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have, or to find a plan that works for you and your family.

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Jeffrey Manola

Jeffrey Manola

Jeffrey Manola is the owner and an experienced life insurance agent at Top Quote Life Insurance. His goal is to provide online consumers with the absolute top quotes for all term life insurance, permanent life insurance, and no medical exam life insurance. Not only does he strive to provide you with the best premium for your life insurance coverage, but he also wants you to be well informed about life insurance coverage options and its importance. Never hesitate to reach out to Jeffrey if you need help. Top Quote Life Insurance is more than just an online quoting agency. We want to help you save money, protect your future, and earn your trust (888) 777-7574.

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