Median Cost of Funerals Cremations By State

Funeral and cremation costs vary considerably among states and regions. Below is a breakdown of the median costs of final expenses in different parts of the United States.

Region & StatesMedian Cost of Burial (with viewing and ceremony)Median Cost of Cremation (with viewing and ceremony)
New England Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont$7,881$7,069
Middle Atlantic New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania$8,093$7,463
South Atlantic Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia$7,800$7,070
East South Central Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee$7,271$6,314
West South Central Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas$7,334$6,405
East North Central Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin$7,868$6,953
West North Central Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska$8,500$7,560
Mountain Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming$6,888$5,694
Pacific Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington$7,225$6,028

Calculating the Actual Cost of a Funeral

The funeral provider must give you an itemized statement of the total cost of the funeral goods and services you have selected when you are making the arrangements. If the funeral provider doesn’t know the cost of the cash advance items at the time, he or she is required to give you a written “good faith estimate.” This statement also must disclose any legal cemetery or crematory requirements that you purchase specific funeral goods or services.

The Funeral Rule does not require any specific format for this information. Funeral providers may include it in any document they give you at the end of your discussion about funeral arrangements.

Embalming

Many funeral homes require embalming if you’re planning a viewing or visitation. But embalming generally is not necessary or legally required if the body is buried or cremated shortly after death. Eliminating this service can save you hundreds of dollars. Under the Funeral Rule, a funeral provider:

  • may not provide embalming services without permission.
  • may not falsely state that embalming is required by law.
  • must disclose in writing that embalming is not required by law, except in certain special cases.
  • may not charge a fee for unauthorized embalming unless embalming is required by state law.
  • must disclose in writing that you usually have the right to choose a disposition, like direct cremation or immediate burial, that does not require embalming if you do not want this service.
  • must disclose in writing that some funeral arrangements, such as a funeral with viewing, may make embalming a practical necessity and, if so, a required purchase.

Caskets

For a “traditional” full-service funeral:

A casket often is the single most expensive item you’ll buy if you plan a “traditional” full-service funeral. Caskets vary widely in style and price and are sold primarily for their visual appeal. Typically, they’re constructed of metal, wood, fiberboard, fiberglass or plastic. Although an average casket costs slightly more than $2,000, some mahogany, bronze or copper caskets sell for as much as $10,000.

When you visit a funeral home or showroom to shop for a casket, the Funeral Rule requires the funeral director to show you a list of caskets the company sells, with descriptions and prices, before showing you the caskets. Industry studies show that the average casket shopper buys one of the first three models shown, generally the middle-priced of the three.

So it’s in the seller’s best interest to start out by showing you higher-end models. If you haven’t seen some of the lower-priced models on the price list, ask to see them — but don’t be surprised if they’re not prominently displayed, or not on display at all.

Traditionally, caskets have been sold only by funeral homes. But more and more, showrooms and websites operated by “third-party” dealers are selling caskets. You can buy a casket from one of these dealers and have it shipped directly to the funeral home. The Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to agree to use a casket you bought elsewhere, and doesn’t allow them to charge you a fee for using it.

No matter where or when you’re buying a casket, it’s important to remember that its purpose is to provide a dignified way to move the body before burial or cremation. No casket, regardless of its qualities or cost, will preserve a body forever. Metal caskets frequently are described as “gasketed,” “protective” or “sealer” caskets. These terms mean that the casket has a rubber gasket or some other feature that is designed to delay the penetration of water into the casket and prevent rust. The Funeral Rule forbids claims that these features help preserve the remains indefinitely because they don’t. They just add to the cost of the casket.

Most metal caskets are made from rolled steel of varying gauges — the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Some metal caskets come with a warranty for longevity. Wooden caskets generally are not gasketed and don’t have a warranty for longevity. They can be hardwood like mahogany, walnut, cherry or oak, or softwood like pine. Pine caskets are a less expensive option, but funeral homes rarely display them. Manufacturers of both wooden and metal caskets usually offer warranties for workmanship and materials.

For cremation:

Many families that choose to have their loved ones cremated rent a casket from the funeral home for the visitation and funeral, eliminating the cost of buying a casket. If you opt for visitation and cremation, ask about the rental option. For those who choose a direct cremation without a viewing or other ceremony where the body is present, the funeral provider must offer an inexpensive unfinished wood box or alternative container, a non-metal enclosure — pressboard, cardboard or canvas — that is cremated with the body.

Under the Funeral Rule, funeral directors who offer direct cremations:

  • may not tell you that state or local law requires a casket for direct cremations, because none do;
  • must disclose in writing your right to buy an unfinished wood box or an alternative container for a direct cremation; and
  • must make an unfinished wood box or other alternative container available for direct cremations.

Burial Vaults or Grave Liners

Burial vaults or grave liners, also known as burial containers, are commonly used in “traditional” full-service funerals. The vault or liner is placed in the ground before burial, and the casket is lowered into it at burial. The purpose is to prevent the ground from caving in as the casket deteriorates over time. A grave liner is made of reinforced concrete and will satisfy any cemetery requirement. Grave liners cover only the top and sides of the casket. A burial vault is more substantial and expensive than a grave liner. It surrounds the casket in concrete or another material and may be sold with a warranty of protective strength.

State laws do not require a vault or liner, and funeral providers may not tell you otherwise. However, keep in mind that many cemeteries require some type of outer burial container to prevent the grave from sinking in the future. Neither grave liners nor burial vaults are designed to prevent the eventual decomposition of human remains. It is illegal for funeral providers to claim that a vault will keep water, dirt, or other debris from penetrating into the casket if that’s not true.

Before showing you any outer burial containers, a funeral provider is required to give you a list of prices and descriptions. It may be less expensive to buy an outer burial container from a third-party dealer than from a funeral home or cemetery. Compare prices from several sources before you select a model.

Preservation Processes and Products

As far back as the ancient Egyptians, people have used oils, herbs and special body preparations to help preserve the bodies of their dead. Yet, no process or products have been devised to preserve a body in the grave indefinitely. The Funeral Rule prohibits funeral providers from telling you that it can be done. For example, funeral providers may not claim that either embalming or a particular type of casket will preserve the body of the deceased for an unlimited time.

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How to prepare for funeral expenses

For many, death comes without warning, and while loved ones are mourning, they also must face the question of how to pay for such an enormous unexpected expense. That is why financial planning is so important before you die. There are a number of ways to prepare for funeral expenses.

Life insurance policy

A life insurance policy is an easy way for you to contribute to your funeral expenses while you are still alive. Though it sounds morbid, we all die. A life insurance policy can be a way to help your loved ones after you are gone by prepaying your funeral costs through your monthly premiums.

The benefit of a life insurance policy is that you will pay a monthly premium and your beneficiaries will receive a death benefit at the end. The benefit can help cover any debt you may have and also help to pay funeral expenses so that it can relieve them from the burden. Additionally, most beneficiaries will be able to access the benefit within one or two weeks after the insurance carrier reviews the claim and finds that everything is accurate.

There are different types of life insurance policies to help you plan for end-of-life expenses. Term life insurance provides coverage for a limited time period at a fixed premium rate. Whole life insurance guarantees insurance for your entire life given the fact that premiums are paid to the maturity date. It also offers additional savings components to beneficiaries. If you want lifelong coverage and a diverse portfolio, whole life insurance may be good for you. However, it can be pricey and a big commitment.

Final expense insurance

Final expense insurance can also be used to cover funeral expenses. Beneficiaries can also use the benefits for other costs as well such as medical and legal fees. Elderly individuals may find final expense insurance most attractive to offset the funeral expenses as this type of insurance costs much less than a traditional life insurance policy because you do not need much coverage. However, the benefit amount may not be as high.

Traditional savings account

You can use a traditional savings account for funeral costs. The advantage of a savings account is that the money will be kept safe and generally accessible. However, probate can cause delays, so whoever is paying for the funeral may have to pay for the funeral through another means until the deceased’s assets are evaluated.

Payable-on-death (POD) account

A payable-on-death (POD) account can be a better bet than a traditional savings account. This allows you to set up a special funeral savings account. You appoint the person you want to control the funds after you die, and that person can then access those funds simply by showing a valid death certificate. Funds can be accessed immediately as soon as the beneficiary shows the death certificate, and the account does not need to go through probate.

Military burial benefits

Military members are eligible for special burial benefits, while others may opt for a bank loan or prepaid plan through their chosen funeral home.

You can also look into military benefits such as the death gratuity program. This program up to $100,000, which is tax-free, for those who die on active duty or while service certain statuses on reserve.

There is also a burial allowance benefit for death that is not related to service which is $300 and $2,000 for a service-connected death.

Advanced arrangements

No one knows what will happen to them and death is not something that is foreseeable. However, you can make funeral arrangements in advance to help plan for the future.

A will is one way to prepare. The will can designate how your funeral should be conducted and information about how to pay for funeral services. The will can also designate certain assets that you may leave behind so your assets go to the right people.

Advanced funeral planning can make it easier to plan financially for you and your loved ones. For example, if you have a large number of assets, you can state in your will that you would like to have one of your assets sold by a specific person in your family to pay for your funeral expenses. You can also provide details about what you want your funeral to be like.

Is Cremation Expensive in Florida?

Cremation is an alternative that is growing in popularity everywhere in the United States. Just a decade ago, traditional burials accounted for more than half of all internments. By 2015, that had lowered to 45.2 percent. By 2040, the cremation rate in this country is expected to reach almost 79 percent. One of the reasons is that the cost is much lower. In the state of Florida, as is the case in the rest of the country, cremation tends to be less expensive than traditional burial, which by definition carries embalming, casket, and other costs. Here is a breakdown of the average funeral cost in Florida if you are planning a cremation burial:

  • Cremation: the average fee for cremation in the state of Florida is $3,407.
  • Cremation Urn: the average price of an urn to hold the cremated remains is $275 in Florida. A scattering urn may cost slightly less.
  • Additional Costs. There can be additional costs, like if you want to place the urn in a cremation niche, for example, or utilize a cemetery’s scattering garden. Cremation niches vary in cost, as well. The average range is $750 to $2,800 if purchased in advance. The cost of using a scattering garden varies from cemetery to cemetery and can be as little as $150 or as much as $1,000+.

That brings the average cost of a cremation and services (plus urn) to roughly a total of $5,472 in the state of Florida.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost in Each US State?

While the numbers above are averages of the cost of a funeral in the US, the final price will depend on your location and choices. If you live in an area with a higher cost of living, you’ll likely need to pay a higher fee for funeral expenses. Here are average funeral costs by US state

State

Average funeral expenses

Alabama

$6,933

Alaska

$10,084

Arizona

$7,530

Arkansas

$6,746

California

$11,777

Colorado

$8,198

Connecticut

$9,914

Delaware

$8,392

Florida

$7,600

Georgia

$6,925

Hawaii

$14,975

Idaho

$7,165

Illinois

$7,336

Indiana

$6,987

Iowa

$6,995

Kansas

$6,909

Kentucky

$7,057

Louisiana

$7,290

Maine

$9,122

Maryland

$10,069

Massachusetts

$10,216

Michigan

$6,902

Minnesota

$7,887

Mississippi

$6,684

Missouri

$6,762

Montana

$8,299

Nebraska

$7,049

New Hampshire

$8,516

New Jersey

$9,712

New Mexico

$6,793

Nevada

$8,423

New York 

$10,799

North Carolina

$7,367

North Dakota

$7,670

Ohio

$7,049

Oklahoma

$6,754

Oregon

$10,418

Pennsylvania

$7,895

Rhode Island

$9,269

South Carolina

$7,445

South Dakota

$7,748

Tennessee

$6,886

Texas

$7,103

Utah

$7,639

Vermont

$8,889

Virginia

$7,818

Washington

$8,594

West Virginia

$7,072

Wisconsin

$7,554

Wyoming

$6,933

» MORE: Easy as 1-2-3, make an online will in minutes.

 

Cemetery and burial 
costs

For burials, there is usually a procession to the cemetery for the burial of the body after the service at the funeral home. The associated funeral cost of a typical burial are listed on the general price list, including transportation of the remains, a burial plot, and a casket. These costs can add up quickly:

  • The cost of transportation of the body from the funeral home to the cemetery, whether in a hearse or a limousine, averages $725.
  • Securing a plot of land for burial is another funeral expense regulated by the general price list. On average, a plot costs around $1,000.
  • The casket can be an important element of the funeral in many traditions, but it can also be one of the priciest. Often, funeral homes offer a selection of basic caskets regulated under the general price list, but you can elect to bypass these options and find a more expensive casket. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the average cost of funeral caskets is $2,000.

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Know Your Funeral Rights Before You Begin

As we age, it’s perfectly natural to begin thinking about final arrangements. One important part of making final arrangements is making sure you understand – and have made preparations for – your funeral costs.

Before you begin, it’s important to know you have specific rights when it comes to funerals. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) first introduced the “Funeral Rule” 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 you the right to:

  • Buy only goods and services you 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 your own casket or urn.
  • Decline embalming prior to a funeral.

Other Types of Funerals

Funerals are just as unique as the individuals they celebrate. Depending on your culture, race, religious beliefs, or financial situation, one type of funeral may be more appealing than another.

Low Cost or Low Income Funerals

Many people struggle with the high cost of funerals and can’t always afford what the funeral home will charge. A funeral home’s least expensive option is usually a direct burial. Having a direct burial means the body is not embalmed and there is no visitation. Another option is direct cremation, which is essentially the same as a direct burial, except the body is cremated not buried. Both options are more affordable for families looking for a low cost funeral and usually cost several thousand dollars less.

Horse & Carriage Funeral

A horse drawn funeral isn’t available everywhere, but can provide a unique alternative to a regular hearse and provide families with additional style and elegance. Providers usually offer black or white horses and decorations in the color of your choice. The cost of a horse and carriage is higher and is usually charged per hour.

Military Funeral

Military veterans are entitled to a free burial in a national cemetery and a grave marker if they meet certain requirements. Spouses and dependent children of veterans are also entitled to a plot and marker in a national cemetery. If the person who died was a veteran, either active or retired, the surviving family members are entitled to a range of benefits. Keep in mind there are different guidelines on who is eligible for which benefits.

Military funerals may cost families several thousand dollars less, but it’s important to call your local VA office to get a full list of discounts and benefits. Funeral planning guides for veterans also exist.

Green Funeral

Eco-friendly funerals are on the rise and may save families hundreds – even thousands – of dollars on funeral costs depending on the style chosen. Biodegradable caskets are often much cheaper than traditional caskets. The Green Burial Council offers a list of vendors who have green burial-certified products that can be used for your final arrangements.

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