20 November 2018

Paying for your burial or cremation

According to funeral service providers Dignity, the average funeral in the UK cost £4,086 in 20171. If funeral costs keep going up at the same rate they did between 2011 and 2017, the average funeral could cost £5,925 by 20242. So perhaps it’s no wonder that people are beginning to look at how they can pay for their funeral in advance, to give themselves a little peace of mind, and save their loved ones unnecessary worries at what will already be a stressful time.

So, if you’re starting to look into paying for your funeral, questions that occur to you are likely to include ‘How much is cremation?’ and ‘What will burial costs add up to?’

The average cost of cremation

Crematorium fees were usually in the vicinity of £1,000 in 2017, with the UK average cost for a cremation, including Funeral Director's fees, coming in at £3,8721. Costs are likely to be lowest if the cremation takes place in normal hours on a workday, while evening and weekend cremations will often cost more. Cremation prices can vary regionally, too.

Low cost cremation

Some organisations offer what is called direct cremation. This eliminates much of the Funeral Director’s role and any memorial service. The body is simply collected from the mortuary and cremated at the quietest time for the crematorium, with no preparation. Including the cost of doctor’s certification, collection of ashes and other costs, the price of direct cremation is likely to be approximately £1,600 in total3. You can also save a lot of money by dispensing with the services of a Funeral Director, and making all the arrangements yourself. 

Burial costs

Burial is a more expensive option than cremation, with the main cost, in addition to the Funeral Director and the service, being the plot. This is actually made up of two costs – the fee for digging the grave and the Exclusive Right of Burial, which is payable to the owner of the cemetery. There may also be additional fees if the departed is not a resident of the local borough. The UK average cost for a burial, including Funeral Director’s fees, is £4,800, though the costs can vary widely – for example, at the top end, fees for a burial in some London cemeteries will be well into five figures, while fees in Northern Ireland, in general, may be in the hundreds1.

Low cost burial

You can reduce the costs by choosing a wicker or cardboard coffin rather than a traditional one. You might also look into natural burial grounds, which can be a lot cheaper than a cemetery.

Paying for your funeral

If you don’t have, or want to use money from your estate to pay for your funeral, you could consider alternatives such as funeral plans. Or you may wish to consider specialist insurance products like over 50s life insurance, which could pay out a cash sum on your death that loved ones could use to help contribute towards your funeral costs.

Find out more about our Over 50s Fixed Life Insurance Plan here.

  1. Independent research by Matter Communications on behalf of Dignity in 2017. 
  2. Forecast based on average annual compounded growth rate of 5.45% each year between 2011 and 2017 (Matter Communications on behalf of Dignity in 2017).
  3. Money Advice Service, 'How much does a funeral cost?' article.