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Average cost of a funeral

Nobody likes to think about their funeral arrangements but, if you don’t consider them, you could leave behind a significant cost upon your death. We’ve put together a straightforward guide to help you support your loved ones for the future.

Nobody likes to think about their funeral arrangements but, if you don’t consider them, you could leave behind a significant cost upon your death. We’ve put together a straightforward guide to help you support your loved ones for the future.

Kamran Altaf
From the Life team
3
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Posted 16 JULY 2020

What is the average cost of a funeral today?

According to Sunlife’s Cost of Dying Report 2020, the average cost of a funeral is £4,417**. It’s important to note as well that a burial is, on average, about £1,000 more than a cremation**. Much of the expense comes from the funeral director, who takes care of the basics of a burial or cremation. You should also be aware that funerals can vary significantly in cost based on their location, for example, you could pay twice the average in London. 
 
Funerals aren’t just about farewells, they’re a celebration of life, too. If you’re worried about the costs, you may consider taking out life insurance, which can give your family either a lump sum or monthly payments upon your death. 
 
**SunLife (2020), Cost of Dying Report 

What are the typical expenses for a funeral?

A key factor will be what sort of funeral you decide on having. As mentioned previously, burials are often significantly more expensive than cremations. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of transportation, a ceremony and a burial or cremation plot. Funeral directors provide services that remove the stress of making these arrangements, but they can be expensive.  
 
According to Sunlife’s Cost of Dying Report 2020, a typical burial with a funeral director costs, on average, £4,975**; for a cremation, the average is £3,858**. This includes care and transportation of the deceased as well as a simple ceremony. 
 
While funeral directors can take the stress out of organising a funeral at an already difficult time, there’s nothing to stop you planning the service independently. You’ll need to consider all of the details though, including transport to and from the service location, planning the ceremony itself, as well as the leasing of the burial plot or crematorium fees. 
 
**SunLife (2020), Cost of Dying Report 

Can I get help with paying funeral costs?

Yes, in some cases the Government can help with funeral costs. You may be eligible for a Funeral Expenses Payment, depending on whether you currently receive certain benefits. A funeral payment is a bit like a loan, but it won’t usually cover the cost of the entire funeral.   
 
If there’s money remaining from the deceased’s estate, the Government will usually deduct their contribution for the funeral costs from the available assets. However, you won’t need to pay it back if only personal possessions remain and if a house left is still occupied by a spouse or civil partner. 
 
Local councils can sometimes organise public health funerals. This is possible for those with no family or friends, or if there’s no money in the deceased’s estate to pay for one.

Could life insurance pay for my funeral?

Life insurance is a good way of ensuring that the financial burden of arranging a funeral doesn’t fall on those you leave behind. If you organise your life insurance well in advance it doesn’t have to be expensive either, because the cost tends to go up the older you get. There are two main types of life insurance policy –  term life insurance  and  whole of life  policies. If you’re still not sure then you can read more about funeral cover.

What’s the difference between a funeral plan and life insurance? 

The decision between choosing funeral plans vs life plans depends on what sort of help you’d like to leave behind. 
 
A funeral plan will specifically contribute towards the cost of your own funeral. This can be paid entirely up front, or you can spread the cost over an agreed period. Please be sure to read your policy details carefully, as your plan may not cover certain costs or services. 
 
A life plan, commonly known as ‘whole of life insurance’, is life insurance that’s guaranteed to pay a fixed sum upon your death. This is in comparison to decreasing term cover, which reduces in value over the duration of the policy. The difference between this and a funeral plan is that the money the beneficiary receives from your policy can be used however they wish. Funeral costs are a common use for this money, but it doesn’t have to be used this way.  

Where can I compare life insurance?

It could take just three minutes to get a quote for a life insurance policy*** which meets your needs. Get peace of mind and compare now. 
 
***On average it can take less than three minutes to complete a life quote through Compare the Market based on data in May 2020.

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