Lauren Lewthwaite Last Updated On: June 27, 2023

Home / Blog / Life Insurance / A Comprehensive Guide on Average Cost of Funeral Expenses

How Much Does a Funeral Cost ?

how much does an average funeral cost

No one likes thinking about death, and insurance is a close second. But thinking about what your death might mean for your loved ones financially can help you see the importance of tackling life insurance now.

Of course, in an ideal world you will live a long, happy, and healthy life. But even at the end of a fulfilling life, there are loved ones mourning you and the last thing you want them worried about is how to pay for your funeral.

The fact of the matter is that funerals are expensive. In fact, the average funeral costs somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 in the U.S., which is why final expense insurance is often a good idea.

So, what exactly are your options to help cover this cost for your loved ones? Keep reading.

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Common Funeral Expenses

If you’ve ever wondered why funerals are so costly, you’re not alone.

While funerals differ in size, ceremony, and more, they typically all include a combination of multiple expenses:

  • Casket ($3,000 for wood) or urn ($295)
  • Embalming ($775) or cremation ($368)
  • Flowers ($600)
  • Burial
  • Gravestone ($3,500 for raised)
  • Funeral plot ($3,500 for a private cemetery)
  • Funeral service fee ($2,300)
  • Refreshments at reception
  • Printed materials ($183)

And the list goes on. You may also have to factor in paying for a viewing if you choose to have one ($450), the hearse ($325), transfer of remains if needed ($350), any cosmetic services ($275) and more.

Of course, these are just basic prices to help you understand the average costs of funeral expenses. If you opt for more premium services or options, you can expect to pay even more. This is why it’s so important to think ahead and decide what you’d like for yourself, so you can ensure there’s a financial plan to help cover the costs.

The Average Cost of a Funeral

We’ve crunched the numbers on average costs to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay. For a funeral with a viewing and burial, the average cost is $7,848. For a funeral with a cremation, that cost drops down to $6,971.

And of course, where you live plays a big part in the average costs. For example, some of the highest median funeral costs are in Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, and Kansas at $8,500. But some states are significantly lower, including Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, Idaho, and Colorado (at $6,888).

The bottom line is this: even if you want to keep your funeral low key, it’s going to cost thousands of dollars. And that’s a pretty big chunk of change that most people don’t just have laying around—especially if they pass away unexpectedly.

This brings us to life insurance.

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How Final Expense Life Insurance Helps Pay for End-of-Life Expenses

The basics of all insurance policies is pretty simple: you pay your insurer in smaller increments over a long period of time. Then, when it’s time to make a claim, a predetermined lump sum is paid to your beneficiaries.

Final expense insurance is designed to do exactly that, but just cover your end-of-life expenses, like a funeral, burial or cremation, medical costs, and more. A smaller lump sum is paid out versus other types of life insurance policies, because the amount is meant to cover your final expenses and nothing more. This also means that your premiums are lower, thanks to the smaller death benefit.

Your beneficiaries can usually use the amount in any way they see fit to pay for your final expenses, including medical costs, mortgage payments, a celebration of life ceremony, and more.

Different Types of Life Insurance Policies and How They Work

To truly understand final expense insurance and decide if it’s right for you, it’s helpful to know all of your life insurance options. The good news is that with any of the options, your beneficiaries can choose to use some or all of the money for your funeral.

Here’s a breakdown of the four main kinds of life insurance and how they work:

  • Permanent Life Insurance
    • Coverage does not expire, guaranteed death benefit
    • Has an accessible cash value component that accrues over time
    • Offers comprehensive coverage at a higher cost
  • Final Expense Life Insurance
    • Lump sum is paid to beneficiar
    • This money can be used to cover funeral costs as well as other end-of-life expenses
  • Term Life Insurance
    1. Expires after the term is up
    2. Good option for those whose loved ones depend on their income/care, or those who have outstanding debt
    3. Can often be renewed at the end of term, depending on the policy
  • Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
    • No medical underwriting to qualify
    • More expensive, but a good last resort for those who cannot qualify for other plans

Each of these life insurance policies are able to help your loved ones pay for your funeral, which can help give everyone peace of mind. The right choice for you will depend on what you want to pay in terms of premiums and how much you want to leave your loved ones.

The Cost of Funeral Insurance

Final expense insurance is typically lower than term or whole life insurance, because the benefit is usually much smaller (usually anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000). However, the death benefit is guaranteed as long as premiums are paid, which does cause the premiums to rise slightly.

On average, you can expect to pay $50-$100 per month in burial insurance for a $10,000 policy. Of course, the actual rates depend heavily on your age, health, location and more. The younger and healthier you are, the lower the premiums will be.

Just like any type of life insurance, there are always ways to find savings, including:

  • Shop around for coverage
  • Ask for discounts
  • Only choose the policy amount you need

You can ensure you only pay for the coverage you need by deciding how you’d like your funeral and burial/cremation to go ahead of time, as well as by finding out costs for your preferred options. As tough as it is to talk about, be sure to share your plan with your beneficiary so they spend the death benefit accordingly.

Is Final Expense Insurance Right for Me?

You have options when it comes to life insurance coverage. Final expense insurance is a great option, but it might not be the right fit for everyone. You might want to consider final expense insurance in the following situations:

  • You have outstanding debt that you don’t want to leave to your loved ones
  • You can’t afford term or permanent life insurance, but want to leave your loved ones something
  • You don’t have savings to cover your final expenses
  • You don’t want to take a medical exam but can’t afford guaranteed life insurance

One of the benefits of final expense insurance is that the claims typically have a fast payout, so that the funds can be immediately used to cover your end-of-life costs. Plus, your beneficiaries have the freedom to choose where to delegate the funds, from funeral costs to mortgage payments and more.

If funeral insurance isn’t quite right for you, you do have another option to cover your final expenses: a funeral trust. With this option, you set aside money to pay for a funeral and name a trustee, who can withdraw the funds to pay for your funeral. This allows you to designate money for your funeral without paying premiums the rest of your life (although you’ll need to ensure you have enough saved to cover this).

Final Thoughts on Funeral Costs and Final Expense Insurance

It’s never easy to think about the end, but doing so can help give your loved ones the space and time to properly grieve you, rather than figuring out how to pay for your end-of-life expenses.

And since funerals can be quite costly, no matter what you choose, getting a sense of the costs in advance can help you and your loved ones put together a financial plan that makes sense, and that can include final expense insurance. Whether you’re shopping for life insurance for a loved one or for yourself, understanding your options will help you make the best decision for your family.

At ConsumerCoverage, we’re passionate about helping consumers find the best policies at the lowest price. Compare free quotes on final expense insurance, so you can feel the peace of mind that comes with being as prepared as you can be.

Lauren Lewthwaite Lauren Lewthwaite has been freelance writing for almost five years writing content that ranges from health to insurance and everything in between. Lauren is also a trained translator in French and English and is a dog-mom to an adorable Australian Shepherd.

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