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How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost?

How Much Does the Average Funeral Cost
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Updated January 29, 2024

Losing a loved one is difficult and painful. If you’re in charge of making funeral arrangements, you need to somehow manage your emotions while dealing with the many steps and various expenses involved. In case you are ever faced with this situation, here’s what to expect when planning a funeral.

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How much is the average funeral cost?

The 2023 General Price List Survey Report released by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) reports that the average cost for a funeral in 2023 was $8,300. If you include a burial vault—which typically is required for burial in a cemetery and frequently purchased through the funeral home—the cost is $9,995, the report revealed.

This cost does not include cemetery fees (e.g., plot cost, monument, or grave marker) or cash-advance items, such as an obituary, flowers, fees for the priest or minister, etc.

While the NFDA doesn’t break down the cost of a funeral by state, it has data to offer the following regional breakdown (based on U.S. Census regions):

  • Pacific: $7,835 (with vault: $8,574).
  • Mountain: $7,390 (with vault: $8,615).
  • West North Central: $8,755 (with vault: $10,633).
  • West South Central: $7,912 (with vault: $9,385).
  • East North Central: $8,280 (with vault: $9,880).
  • East South Central: $7,615 (with vault: $9,210).
  • South Atlantic: $8,023 (with vault: $9,736).
  • Middle Atlantic: $8,573 (with vault: $10,351).
  • New England: $8,985 (with vault: $10,670).

Funeral-insurance provider Choice Mutual offers the following average funeral cost by state, plus the District of Columbia:

StateBurialCremation
Alabama
$7,271
$6,314
Alaska
$7,225
$6,028
Arizona
$6,889
$5,694
Arkansas
$7,334
$6,405
California
$7,225
$6,028
Colorado
$6,888
$5,694
Connecticut
$7,881
$7,069
Delaware
$7,800
$7,070
Florida
$7,800
$7,070
Georgia
$7,800
$7.070
Hawaii
$7,225
$6.20
Idaho
$6.888
$5,694
Illinois
$7,868
$6,953
Indiana
$7,868
$6,953
Iowa
$8,500
$7,560
Kansas
$8,500
$7,560
Kentucky
$7,271
$6,314
Louisiana
$7,334
$6,405
Maine
$7,881
$7,069
Maryland
$7,800
$7,070
Massachusetts
$7,881
$7,069
Michigan
$7,868
$6,953
Minnesota
$8,500
$7,560
Mississippi
$7,271
$6,314
Missouri
$8,500
$7,560
Montana
$6,888
$5,694
Nebraska
$8,500
$7,560
Nevada
$6,888
$5,694
New Hampshire
$7,881
$7,069
New Jersey
$8,093
$7,463
New Mexico
$6,888
$5,694
New York
$8,093
$7,463
North Carolina
$7,800
$7,070
North Dakota
$8,500
$7,560
Ohio
$7,868
$6,953
Oklahoma
$7,334
$6,405
Pennsylvania
$8,093
$7,463
Rhode Island
$7, 881
$7,069
South Carolina
$7,800
$7,070
South Dakota
$8,500
$7,560
Tennessee
$7,272
$6,314
Texas
$7,334
$6,405
Utah
$6,888
$5,694
Vermont
$7,881
$7,069
Virginia
$7,800
$7,070
Washington
$7,225
$6,028
West Virginia
$7,800
$7,070
Wisconsin
$7,868
$6,953
Wyoming
$6,888
$5,964
District of Columbia
$7,861
$7,069

Cost breakdown of funeral services

Here’s a closer look at the various expenses associated with a funeral.

Cremation vs. burial

As noted earlier, the median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial is $8,300. According to the same source (NFDA), the median cost of a funeral with viewing and cremation was $6,280 in 2023.

The following expenses were included in that figure:

  • Non-declinable basic services fee
  • Removal/transfer of remains to the funeral home
  • Embalming
  • Other preparation of the body
  • Use of facilities and staff for viewing at the funeral home
  • Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony at the funeral home
  • Use of service car/van to transport to crematory
  • Basic memorial printed package (e.g., prayer/memorial cards and or service folders)
  • Cremation fee
  • Alternative cremation container
  • Urn

Funeral home

Nationally, the median cost of using the funeral home facilities and staff for viewing is $475, and using the funeral home facilities and staff for a funeral ceremony is $550, according to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association).

Embalming

Nationally, this was $845 in 2023, per the National Funeral Directors Association.

Flowers

Depending on the arrangement, funeral flowers can cost hundreds of dollars, even $500 or more for more ornate purchases.

Wreaths

Wreaths are usually displayed around a casket and typically cost between$100 and $200 each. Also a casket wreath will probably cost between $500-$700 depending on the florist, flowers used, and size of the display, according to Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company.

Cemetery plot

It may come as a surprise that the cemetery costs are separated from funeral home costs. According to Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, the average cost of a burial plot is between $350 and $5,000, but metropolitan areas, such as metro Los Angeles and Chicago, may cost more

In addition to the plot, there could be additional charges associated with opening the ground, placing the casket, and covering the plot. These services usually add several hundred dollars or more, depending on the cemetery, according to the same source. Be sure to ask what maintenance fee may be added.

Headstone/grave marker

Grave markers and headstones have an average cost of $2,000. Headstones can average $500 to $3,000.

Casket

A casket is often a funeral's single biggest expense. Caskets vary widely in style and are generally constructed of metal, wood, fiberboard, fiberglass, or plastic. Although an average casket costs slightly more than $2,000, some mahogany, bronze, or copper caskets sell for as much as $10,000, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

How to prepare for funeral expenses

There are several ways to prepare for your own funeral expenses. You could set up a savings account earmarked for your final expenses. To make it easier for your survivors to access the funds, consider setting up a joint account with the person you appoint to handle your final expenses. When you pass away, they become the sole owner and can withdraw the funds to cover the funeral expenses. If you can afford it, you can prepay your funeral expenses at the funeral home of your choice and buy the plot in advance. You can also take out burial insurance or use proceeds from a life insurance policy for funeral expenses.

Life insurance policy

Many life insurance policies will pay a lump sum to a beneficiary of your choice soon after you die. Your beneficiary can use these funds to pay for funeral and other final expenses. Life insurance payouts with a named beneficiary are exempt from probate.

Final expense insurance

You can also purchase burial insurance, which is a policy intended to pay death-related costs and cover a predetermined amount for a funeral.

What to do if you can’t afford a funeral

If you are the person arranging the funeral and find yourself unable to cover funeral expenses, there are ways to get help.

Other ways to pay for a funeral

If you are having difficulty getting money together for funeral expenses, Trust & Will suggests the following:

  1. Ask family: Consider reaching out to the family for financial assistance. Families pull together during times of loss.
  2. Make a public appeal: Requesting money through online crowdfunding platforms has become a popular (and accepted) way to yield donations.
  3. Opt for a budget-friendly service: Ask others for help and find creative ways to honor your loved one.
  4. Get a loan: As a last resort, a personal loan can help cover your loved one’s final expenses.

Getting help from charitable or government organizations

If your loved one was a military member, you can apply for burial benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These will reimburse eligible surviving spouses for burial and funeral expenses.

Some states offer assistance paying for funerals and burials. Check with your county coroner’s office to find out what you can apply for. You can look for local or national nonprofit or religious organizations for assistance with funeral expenses. Consider the following national organizations:

  • Children’s Burial Assistance.
  • Funeral Consumers Alliance.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs, for Indigenous people.

How to keep funeral costs affordable

There are ways to keep final expenses in check. Here are some ideas to consider.

Opt for a ‘green’ burial

An environment-friendly burial can be less costly. There’s no expensive casket or vault; instead, the body can be placed in a shroud or biodegradable casket. You can also avoid embalming with this process.

Choose an alternative location for the service

You can hold the service at a park, in your religious center, or at another location that holds special meaning.

Provide your own casket

You aren't required to purchase a casket from the funeral home providing the service. Instead, you can buy it from a third party. Under the Federal Trade Commission’s “Funeral Rule,” consumers have a right to buy a casket from outside the funeral home. In turn, funeral homes cannot charge a “handling fee” for accepting outside merchandise.

Bottom line

When a loved one passes away, final expenses must be covered. With the price of an average funeral in the range of $7,000 and $12,000, it’s undoubtedly a major expense. Those costs don’t even include the cemetery, marker, or flowers.

Understanding how funeral costs work can help individuals and their loved ones use savings, burial insurance, and other means to plan ahead.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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