Funeral Costs: 6 Facts You Must Know Before You Buy

As we age, it’s perfectly natural to begin thinking about final arrangements. One important part of those plans should be understanding – and preparing for – funeral costs.

The high cost of funerals often leaves a financial burden behind to surviving loved ones. Below you’ll find six important facts every senior should know about funeral expenses and how these facts can help save your family money.


1. You have specific funeral rights

“The Funeral Rule” was first introduced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 1984 to prevent funeral homes from pressuring people into buying goods and services they didn’t need or want. It was also intended to help protect consumers from being overcharged for the items they did want.

The Funeral Rule gives consumers the right to:

  • Buy only the goods and services they want.
  • Be offered pricing information by phone.
  • Be provided with an itemized statement of all goods and services.
  • See a list of casket prices.
  • Be offered a price list for outer burial containers.
  • Be provided with a written statement prior to making any payments.
  • Select an alternative container for cremation.
  • Provide their own casket or urn.
  • Decline embalming prior to a funeral.

You can read more about the Funeral Rule here.


2. Funeral costs have been rising every year

Funeral costs have been rising steadily since the 1980s. Today, it’s not uncommon for average funeral expenses to cost up to $9,000 or more. Caskets alone can cost up to $10,000 depending on the style and material used.

This high cost doesn’t include other common aspects of planning a funeral such as transportation, preparation of the body, grave liners, flowers, or a headstone.

The following chart shows just how broad the spectrum is and how funeral prices can vary from state to state:


3. Families overspend on funeral expenses by hundreds – even thousands – of dollars

Overspending on funerals is common for several reasons:

  • The emotional impact of losing someone can cloud judgment.
  • There are often pressing time constraints.
  • Many on-the-spot decisions must be made.
  • Most families have no prior experience in funeral planning.
  • Some funeral homes and cemeteries may take advantage of the situation and put profit ahead of saving the family money.


4. Shopping for funeral services can save you thousands of dollars

Most consumers don’t shop around for funeral expenses. When choosing which services to use, it’s important to understand all of your options.

Contact several funeral homes in your area for a range of prices for the services you’re considering. Funeral homes are required to give you general pricing information upon your request.

Some funeral items, such as caskets, can be purchased outside the funeral home. Buying these items from a third party can save hundreds or thousands of dollars.


5. Shipping a body can increase funeral costs by $2,000 – or more

People who retire out-of-state but still desire to be buried “back home” should plan to cover these additional costs. If a person dies overseas while on vacation or business, shipping costs will be even higher.


6. Final expense life insurance can help cover the high cost of funerals and other end-of-life expenses

Life insurance is one of the most efficient and trusted ways to cover the cost of final expenses. Final expense insurance is specifically designed to help cover any end-of-life expenses such as medical bills or burial costs.

Commonly referred to as burial insurance or funeral insurance, final expense insurance is especially popular with seniors because of its focus on protecting surviving loved ones from experiencing a financial burden when they pass.


Next steps

If you would like to know more about how final expense insurance can help cover your funeral costs, consider reading the following article. It has everything you need to know about final expense insurance and how it’s perfect for seniors looking to protect their loved ones from paying for funeral expenses.

Final Expense Insurance: What You Need to Know

(Chart reproduced using funeral and cremation prices from