Why are funeral costs rising?
There are many reasons for a funeral to cost more and more each year. Key factors include:
- Local authority cuts which leads to a rise in cremation costs and reduced subsidies for burials.
- Wage rises for all parties involved.
- An increase in funeral director fees.
- Rising fuel prices.
- A shortage in space, as well as a rise in cost for burial sites.
- Improvements and investment to cemeteries and crematoriums.
As a result, research shows that one in five families are now unable to meet the full cost of a funeral.**
Average cost of a funeral in the UK
The cost of a funeral varies depending on where you live, the time and day you choose to have the service, and whether you would prefer a cremation or a burial;
Source: The SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2017
Should you choose a burial funeral, you will need to consider the cost of purchasing a plot if you don't already have one as the fee for the plot is not included as part of the standard burial costs. You may also be charged for the scattering or burial of ashes, and these, along with other costs related to the memorial service, can vary significantly depending on your location.
What’s included in the funeral director fees?
A funeral director can help with arranging and conducting a funeral. They will provide a coffin and arrange the preparation and transportation of the body, as well as a funeral procession from the funeral director to the crematorium or burial site, a hearse, and dependent on the plan chosen a limousine for family and mourners.
Disbursement (third-party) costs
The funeral director will normally also manage any third-party costs, also known as disbursement costs, on your behalf. This includes the burial or cremation fees, and the cost of the officiant or clergy member to conduct the funeral service. Should you choose to have a cremation, they will also make arrangements for a medical referee’s certificate.
Officiant/Clergy member fee
Medical certification fees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (only applies for cremation)
Source: SunLife Cost of Dying report 2017
The medical certification fees, two of which are required for a cremation, must each be certified by a different doctor and they will normally cost £82 each. These fees only apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as they were removed in Scotland in May 2015.
Other costs involved in planning a funeral
As well as the funeral director and cremation or burial fees, there are lots of other costs involved in planning the perfect send off. The cost of items such as flowers, venue hire and catering can quickly add up, and if you wanted to have a headstone or plaque created in your memory, this could add almost £1,000 to the cost of your funeral.
Source: SunLife Cost of Dying report 2017
How can I save on funeral costs?
A prepaid Age UK Funeral Plan is not only a good value option, with prices starting from £2,995, but it also means you can pay at today’s prices – helping to save you and your loved ones money in the future.
Plus, as prices continue to rise year on year, an Age UK Funeral Plan is one of the best ways to beat rising funeral costs. It guarantees the cost of funeral services included in your plan, no matter how much funeral costs increase in the future. Find out more about our different plans.
Alternative options may not be as cost effective
There are other ways to save or pay for funeral costs, however they don’t offer the same guarantees as an Age UK Funeral Plan.
Many people think that their hard-earned savings and any interest it may earn will be enough to cover the cost of a funeral. But with interest rates at such low levels, your savings are unlikely to keep pace with the rise in funeral costs.
Purchasing an Age UK Funeral Plan today guarantees to cover the funeral costs outlined in your plan. It also means that your savings can go to the people that matter – your family and loved ones.
Over 50s life insurance
It’s widely believed that over 50s life insurance policies are guaranteed to cover funeral costs. However, the lump sum that is paid out on death may not cover the cost of a funeral in the future. This means that your loved ones could be left to find the additional money required. Many policies also require you to pay monthly instalments until you reach 90 or pass away and if you cancel the policy or stop making payments you may get nothing back. Depending on how long you live, your contributions may even exceed the cash sum payable on death, meaning you could pay in more than you get out.
Neither method will support your family in organising funeral arrangements. An Age UK Funeral Plan lets you take care of the arrangements in advance, reducing the stress and worry for your loved ones.
Find out more why an Age UK Funeral plan is one of the best ways to pay for a funeral.
† 52p based on Basic Plan paying by instalments over 25 years. Plans paid over a period greater than 12 months will incur an administration charge.
* The SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2017
** Richard Dyson, ‘Why the cost of dying is rising so fast’, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/10593420/Why-the-cost-of-dying-is-rising-so-fast.html [accessed 18th April 2016].
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