If you have just suffered the loss of a loved one, the thought of dealing with funeral costs can be overwhelming. But with the cost of funerals averaging between $6,000 and $7, 000 plus burial expenses, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with typical funeral costs before you enter the funeral home. This article will help explain basic funeral costs so that you can make the best financial choices when going through this difficult time. Below is a list of typical funeral expenses you will encounter.
Funeral Home / Mortuary Expenses
Funeral Homes and Funeral directors charge a fee for managing the funeral or memorial service. Their tasks include staffing and managing visitations, submitting paperwork for permits and death certificates, and housing the body. The specific tasks that funeral homes perform can vary greatly, so don’t be afraid to ask for details about what services are covered in the price. The average price for funeral home services are between $1,000 and $2,000.
Caskets come in a wide range of styles and materials, and can be made of wood, fiberglass, steel, copper, bronze, plastic, as well as biodegradable materials. Caskets are often one of the most expensive funeral items, ranging from $1,500 to $10,000. Keep in mind that regardless of the material of casket, it cannot preserve the body. You can usually select and purchase a casket through the funeral home, although you may have the option of purchasing a casket on your own for less.
Burial Vaults and Grave Liners
Vaults and Liners are used to protect the casket, and may be required by cemeteries. Vaults and liners can range from $750 – $1,000.
Embalming may be an additional cost of about $500. Verify with your funeral director if embalming is necessary, as it is not always required by law.
Transportation costs may include transporting the body from the place of death as well as to funeral services and to the burial site. It may also include transporting the family to and from services. Transportation cost an average of $500.00
Burial Expenses and Grave Markers (Headstones)
Graves sites cost on average between 1,000 and 2,000 with an additional 500.00 to pay for grave digging. Headstones or grave markers are additional, ranging from $500.00 and up, depending on the size.
Flowers can be a significant hidden expense, with arrangements starting at about $100.00. Sometimes, funeral directors will collect money up front for these expenses, but you may purchase them on your own and have them delivered. Typical funeral flower arrangements are sprays, crosses and wreaths. Funeral printing is another expense. Funeral printing can include funeral memorial folders, funeral programs, prayer cards and thank you cards. Sometimes the funeral homes can provide this service (basic programs may be included in the flat fee), but you may have to go to a printer or print designer on your own. Professionally printed funeral programs and prayer cards can cost hundreds of dollars. An inexpensive alternative is to download templates from the Internet and print them out on your home computer.
Even though you are grieving, you should take the time to understand basic funeral costs before you sit down with a funeral directory. Funeral homes are for-profit businesses, and you should treat funeral expenses as you would any other major purchase. If possible, bring a trusted friend or family member with you, to help you use your best judgment, instead of purchasing with emotion. With a little planning, you can plan a tasteful funeral without spending a fortune.