Funeral Costs

What does a funeral cost? A look at some of the costs involved when planning a funeral.

Funeral costs can vary widely depending upon the type of memorial service desired and other specific arrangements. The list below details many different types of funeral services with some indication of the general costs. Once you have these figures in mind, contact several different funeral providers to discuss their rates for various services that you or your loved one may be interested in.

No matter what final arrangements you choose there will be fees for:

  • Transportation from the death site to the funeral service site
  • A container for the body to be placed in
  • Basic services of the funeral home and staff


In cases of local death, the funeral service often is able to offer transportation packages or to arrange for the transportation of remains to the funeral home. In cases of an out-of-town or out-of-state death, your funeral service can also help by working with another funeral service to make the necessary transportation arrangements. Air transportation of the body is the most common means of transport. In general, when working with an out-of-state funeral service, you can expect this service to:

  • Remove the deceased from the place of death
  • Prepare the deceased for transportation to the departure airport
  • Provide a lightweight, inexpensive carrier for the remains
  • Arange for any required documents and permits
  • Obtain airline space for the remains
  • Notify your local funeral service of the flight information
  • Transport the deceased to the airport for departure

The cost of transportation in both cases varies according to location. This is especially true of out-of-state transportation as the departure and arrival airports may dictate airfare for the remains.

A Container For The Body

The type of container an individual or an individual’s family or friends choose for his or her final remains is usually dependent on the individual’s wishes. A range of containers exists for each type of burial. The fee for each container—as well as for a few other basic services—is, for the most part, not negotiable. Use these estimated prices as a starting point when searching for a container.

  • Less expensive caskets usually range in price from $200–$2,200.
  • More expensive caskets can range in price from $2,995–$65,000.
  • Less expensive cremation urns can range in price from $50–$235.
  • More expensive cremation urns usually range in price from $335–$3,650.
  • Less expensive vaults can range in price from $700–$1,200.
  • More expensive vaults usually range in price from $1,800– $9,890.

Under law, funeral services must show you an entire price list of the containers they carry. If you are not offered this list, don’t hesitate to ask for one. Additionally, unless you know what kind of container you want, it’s wise to start with the least expensive containers and work toward more expensive ones.

Basic Funeral Services

The funeral director and his or her staff usually provide basic funeral services.

  • Basic funeral services can range in price from $1,000–$1,775.
  • Immediate burial prices usually range from $725–$2635.
  • Direct cremation prices can range from $1,000–$2,255.
  • Receiving the remains from another funeral home can range in price from $440–$2,040.
  • Forwarding the remains to another funeral home can range in price from $780–$2,520.

Whereas basic funeral expenses are required by law for the remains, multiple “elective” costs are often added. In general, the final cost for the funeral service reflects the final wishes of the deceased, as well as those of family members and friends. Following are price estimates for some of the additional costs associated with various funeral products and services.

  • Embalming ranges in price from $400–$525.
    • Embalming is not required by law, as many believe. In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission prohibited funeral directors from charging customers an embalming fee unless state or local law requires it or unless the funeral service has obtained prior approval for embalming.
  • “Outer” burial containers include both vaults and liners.
    • Vaults surround the casket entirely and usually range in price from $750–$1,100.
    • Liners often do not surround the casket entirely and can range in price from $285–$525.
    • Many cemeteries do not require that you use an outer container in addition to a casket. If you do not want an outer container, check the cemetery guidelines when making initial arrangements.
  • On-site visitation can range in price from $200–$520.
  • Off-site visitation can ranges in price from $275–$550.
    • Off-site visitation is not commonly offered. If you would like to have this service, it is recommended that you look in advance for a funeral service that provides it.
  • On-site funeral ceremonies can range in price from $350–$850.
  • Off-site funeral ceremonies can range in price from $200–$660.
  • On-site memorial services usually range in price from $100–$670.
  • Off-site memorial services can range in price from $100–$520.
  • Graveside ceremonies usually range in price from $50–$415.
  • Removal of remains can range in price from $125–$300.
  • Funeral coaches can range in price from $135–$250.
  • Limousines usually range in price from $125–$250.
  • Utility vehicles can range in price from $30–$125.

The above figures were taken from a variety of sources, and are intended to be used only as a guide. Funeral costs can and do vary widely from place to place. For specific information about the costs of funeral services in your—or your loved one’s—area, contact a local funeral service provider.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    Data updated July 2009

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