What is the cost of a funeral?

A funeral can be expensive, but Simpwill and its approved partners will help you plan the perfect send-off at a reasonable price.

Lydia Blake avatar

Lydia Blake

07 January 2022

In the United Kingdom, a funeral can cost up to £10,000, depending on the sort of service requested. Traditional burial is the most expensive option, costing on average £5,000, whereas direct cremation is the often the cheapest alternative.

In the UK, what is the average cost of a funeral?

In the U.k., the average funeral costs roughly £4,800, but this varies greatly depending on where you live. You should expect to pay roughly £4,500 in the South West of England, whereas you'll pay closer to £6,000 in London.

This includes the funeral director and minister or celebrant, as well as all of the essentials for a typical cremation or burial. Extra fees for the memorial, the location, catering, flowers, transportation to the funeral home, order forms, and death and funeral notices are not included. These cost an extra £2,300 on average.

When the costs of planning a funeral, a memorial service, and registering for probate are added together, the average cost of dying approaches £10,000. As a result, more people are opting for a pre-paid funeral plan. These plans often allow you to pay for a funeral in monthly instalments, with the expense reimbursed once the funeral arrangements have been finalised.

Are funeral prices increasing?

In the previous ten years, the average funeral cost has more than doubled. As a result, one out of every eight families is now in debt to cover the costs of a loved one's funeral.

Wages in the UK have only increased by 20% during the same time period. Despite public indignation over rising housing, fuel, and utility costs, the average cost of funerals has increased at a far faster rate.

It's not all doom and gloom, though. As funeral costs climb, people are turning to alternate options like direct cremation to construct their own monuments at a fraction of the cost.

The cost of a burial

The cost of a typical burial is approximately £5,000. This usually entails the pickup and care of your loved one, as well as the provision of a plain coffin, a hearse, and the coordination of a brief funeral. However, it excludes an extravagant ceremony, so flowers, venue rental, and catering for the wake, as well as locating and paying for the burial place, would be extra charges.

The cost of a cremation

Funeral directors on the high street charge roughly £4,000 for a typical cremation. This includes the transportation and care of your loved one, as well as a basic coffin, hearse, and service. It also covers the doctor's expenses and any crematorium fees that must be paid.

The cost of a funeral director

A funeral director's charge can account for 50-60% of a funeral's overall cost, or roughly £2,500. However, depending on the style and scale of the funeral you're arranging, this can vary dramatically. If you're planning a large gathering, it'll likely take up a lot of the funeral director's time and thus be more expensive.

What are the other expenditures associated with a funeral?

The average funeral cost of £4,800 just covers the essentials, and there are other expenses to consider when preparing a memorial service.

We've outlined some of the most frequent funeral expenses, as well as their average costs, below:

  • £1,200 for a memorial

  • £245 for venue hire

  • £408 for catering

  • £313 for a limousine

  • £184 for flowers

  • £88 for order of service cards

  • £82 for a death notice in the newspaper

3 tips to help you save on funeral costs

1. Don't feel compelled to choose more expensive solutions.

When planning a typical funeral, you'll be given a variety of choices for the casket, flowers, and transportation. For many people, this can be challenging because it's easy to feel pressed into choosing more expensive solutions. Nobody wants to be the one who chooses the cheapest casket or floral arrangement for their loved one's funeral.

When organising a funeral, it's critical to remember what was significant to your loved one. A funeral, for the most part, is about commemorating someone's life, sharing anecdotes about them, and honouring their accomplishments. These are the types of things we frequently see addressed in our wills' funeral wishes section. People don't want to spend too much money on a formal funeral when a simple one will suffice — they just want everyone to gather together, listen to their favourite music, and have a few drinks.

2. Shop around until you find a reasonable price.

There's always a cheaper alternative for items like flowers and caterers - and remember that cheaper doesn't always mean bad. So, whether you're organising a traditional funeral with a funeral director or an informal memorial ceremony on your own, make sure you shop around for the best price.

3. Plan your own funeral with a direct cremation.

A straightforward cremation without a funeral service is known as direct cremation. Your loved one will be collected and cremated at a crematorium. Their ashes are then placed in a temporary urn and returned to you.

You have the freedom to plan a memorial ceremony that is perfect for you and your family – not a funeral director – by taking care of the cremation right away for a modest, fixed price. To keep funeral costs low, you may rent out the town hall, scatter your loved one's ashes in a park, or simply have a quiet gathering at your home. You have complete control over both the decision and the expense.

What happens if I can't pay for a funeral?

If you don't have enough money to pay for a funeral and receive benefits such as Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, or House Benefit, you can apply for assistance through the government's Funeral Payment Scheme.

Typically, this covers the entire cost of our cremation service, and we're always pleased to collaborate with them to ensure that you get the best service possible. More information about the Funeral Payment Scheme can be found here.

*SunLife's 'Cost of Dying' 2020 report was used to compile this information.

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