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What Is the Average Funeral Cost?

What Is the Average Funeral Cost?
Susan Guillory
Susan GuilloryUpdated October 13, 2022
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Planning a funeral is an emotional and difficult event. Along with the many arrangements you need to make, you are likely wondering, how much does a funeral cost? A funeral can be expensive: The average funeral cost is more than $7,000. Fortunately, if you don’t have the money to pay for it upfront, there are several options that can help you cover funeral expenses. Here’s what you need to know.

Out-of-Pocket Funeral Costs Without Life Insurance 

A life insurance policy can help cover funeral costs. If your loved one has such a policy, that will help with the expenses related to their death. If they didn't have a life insurance policy, here’s what you can expect to pay for funeral costs:

Burial 

The average funeral cost in 2021 was $7,848, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. This includes:
  • a basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to the funeral home 
  • embalming and other preparation of the body
  • a metal casket
  • use of facilities and staff for viewing and funeral ceremony
  • use of a hearse
  • use of a service car/van
  • a basic memorial print package  
This fee does not include cemetery, monument, or marker costs, or miscellaneous charges, such as for flowers or an obituary.

Cremation

The cost for cremation, including all the services mentioned above, other than a casket and hearse, is $6,970.

Out-of-Pocket Funeral Costs With Life Insurance 

Life insurance can reduce the out-of-pocket costs for a funeral. There are several types of insurance that can help cover part or all of a funeral, whether it’s a burial or cremation. For instance, you’ll pay on average $50 to $100 a month for a burial insurance policy valued at $10,000. The actual amount you pay is determined by when you (or your loved one) sign up for the policy, your gender, and the state of your health.

Average Funeral Costs By State 

The average cost of a funeral differs by region. Here’s the average cost across the country, according to the National Funeral Directors General Price List Study.

Things Included in the Average Funeral Cost

When you’re considering the funeral cost, it’s helpful to know the price of each individual service since you may want some services but not all of them.

What Are Funeral Loans?

Now that you know how much a funeral can cost, the question is: how do you pay for it? If your loved one doesn’t have a life insurance policy or a burial policy to cover the expenses, you may be left struggling at an emotional time to come up with the money you need.Loans called funeral loans can help you pay for funeral expenses. These are personal loans that give you money upfront. You pay it back monthly, with interest, over several months or years.Each lender has different criteria to qualify for a funeral loan. Often, your credit score, income, and debt to income ratio for a personal loan will be considered with your application to determine eligibility and terms. Once you are approved, you can typically get the money you need in a few days or less, depending on the lender.

Ways to Cover Funeral Cost 

Besides using a personal loan for funeral expenses, there are other ways to cover the cost. These include:

Life Insurance 

A life insurance policy can help you cover funeral expenses. Essentially, the person who takes out the policy pre-pays for their funeral as part of their monthly insurance premiums. A life insurance policy can also help your loved ones cover any other debt you might have.Another option is a burial policy. This is insurance designed to cover funeral expenses as well as other debt you might have, such as medical bills. This is something that a person who doesn’t have a life insurance policy might opt to do.

Prepaid funeral plan

You can also opt to buy a prepaid funeral plan with a funeral home. This allows you to make all the arrangements for your funeral, including the type of funeral service you want, the type of casket, and so on. Pre-paid plans range from $10,000 to $25,000 and are typically paid in monthly installments.

Funeral Loan/Personal Loan 

Funeral loans are personal loans that you can use to cover funeral expenses.  You’ll want to determine the personal loan amount you need, and then you can start applying for a loan. There are different types of loans you may qualify for, from quick personal loans that get you the money you need within hours, to personal loans with credit scores under 550 for those who don’t have great credit.

Trust Accounts

If your deceased had a trust, which is an estate-planning tool that documents who gets their property as well as their final wishes, he or she may have set aside money specifically to be used for burial expenses. The trust’s successor trustee (often a relative) will take over after their death and can let you know if funeral costs are covered.

Family Loans 

Another option is to borrow money from a family member. Be sure to create a loan agreement that includes the  amount you borrowed, what, if any, interest you will pay, and how long the repayment period is.

Veteran Benefits 

If you are a veteran, you can be buried at one of 141 national cemeteries, as well as get the following services, at no charge:
  • Opening and closing of the grave
  • Perpetual care
  • A government headstone, marker, or medallion
  • A burial flag
  • A Presidential Memorial Certificate

The Takeaway

Funerals can cost $7,000 or more, which can put a financial strain on many families. The cost can be even higher, depending on where you live. Fortunately, financing options such as funeral loans can help relieve the financial burden and help ease the stress so that you can focus on paying tribute to your loved one.

3 Personal Loan Tips

  1. Personal loan interest rates vary from lender to lender, but generally depend on your credit score. With one online application, Lantern by SoFi makes it easy to find and compare the personal loan interest rates that you qualify for.
  2. If the interest rates you’re being offered seem too high, try lowering the loan amount. Generally, the larger the loan, the greater the risk for lenders, who likely charge a higher interest rate for the increased risk level.
  3. Read lender reviews before taking out a personal loan. You’ll get a sense of how long it can take to receive the funds and how good the customer service is.

Photo credit: iStock/LSOphoto
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.LCPL0822012

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do funerals cost on average?
Is the average cremation cost more than the average burial funeral cost?
Can you use a personal loan to cover the cost of the funeral?

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the president of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and has been published on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. She enjoys writing about business and personal credit, financial strategies, loans, and credit cards. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.
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