As cremation becomes the popular alternative to burial for more and more families across the US. The question is being asked more frequently “How much should a cremation cost?”
Whilst deciding whether cremation is for you can be a personal choice about death care alternatives, for many the price of cremation can be a determining factor in their decision.
It is important to realize that prices for cremation can vary considerably. Prices vary depending on the cremation service provider and dependent on your location.
Many major city areas offer more competitive cremation prices, where rural areas, and certain states tend to be more expensive overall.
So, what should you expect to pay for a cremation?
The first thing you need to consider is the type of cremation service you require. If you are opting for a funeral service, followed by cremation, then prices begin in the range of $2,000 – $3,000.
This is significantly cheaper than typical funeral burial prices, which can be upwards of $4,000 (without including cemetery fees).
What is the least expensive cremation service?
A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation service you can opt for. The term ‘direct cremation’ refers to where there is no ceremony or services offered by the funeral home or crematory. The deceased is collected from the place of death, sheltered whilst all required paperwork is completed. In some states a mandatory wait period is in force before the cremation can be performed. The cremation is conducted and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.
As the funeral director offers basic services to facilitate a direct cremation, this can be offered at a base price. Direct cremation ranges from $495 to $1,795, again depending on your locality.
Comparing direct cremation costs by city
Listed below is an example of direct cremation costs in major cities in the United States. This data is extracted from DFS Memorials network of affordable cremation providers and Parting funeral price survey website.
|City||Lowest direct cremation cost||Highest direct cremation cost|
|Fort Myers, FL||$795||$2,200|
|Las Vegas, NV||$495||$2,240|
|Los Angeles, CA||$625||$2,900|
|New Orleans, LA||$1,550||$2,930|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$750||$2,595|
What does a direct cremation price quoted include?
Generally, a price for a direct cremation on a funeral home GPL or website will include:
- Collection of the deceased from place of death (may be an additional fee if residential collection)
- Shelter of the deceased for a specified number of days (additional days may incur additional fees)
- A cremation container
- Services of the funeral director to complete all required paperwork (death cert. permits etc)
- The cremation process
- A temporary cremation urn for returning the remains to the family
What additional fees may I incur on a direct cremation?
Third-party fees are generally additional to a direct cremation price. These are the cost for death certificates and if a fee must be paid for a cremation permit or medical examiner.
Other additional expenses could be:
- Collection from a residential address as opposed to a hospital, morgue or nursing home.
- Barometric charges if the deceased is overweight.
- Selection of a cremation casket
- Selection of a cremation urn
- Arranging a private family viewing prior to cremation
What do I do with the cremated remains once they are returned?
This is another question that families frequently ask. As more families choose direct cremation, they want to do something with the cremation ashes when they are returned to them by the funeral home. Memorial services and Life Celebration Ceremonies are growing in popularity.
The great thing about direct cremation is that aside from being a more affordable cremation option, is that the family can then conduct their own memorial service at a time and place of their choosing.
What about scattering the cremation ashes?
Scattering ashes is now being either requested, or conducted, by families who do not want to inter remains and feel that scattering a loved one’s remains in a special place is a more befitting final resting place.
Several direct cremation providers now offer packages where, for a small additional fee, they will scatter your loved one’s ashes for you.
Cremation Plans: Think ahead and be prepared
The NFDA has put “cremation as the chosen form of disposition for almost 80% of American deaths by 2035”. This means more and more of us WILL be choosing cremation for our final disposition. As the cost of a direct cremation is often less than $1,000, this makes it a simple and affordable solution for many families today.
To better understand your options, it is wise to do some research and be aware of what direct cremation prices are in your city. Those providers that offer pre-need cremation plans often add a premium to their at-need cremation price to allow for inflation etc.
However, you can preplan without the need to prepay a cremation provider by selecting the cremation provider you wish to handle the service, and ensuring certain things are in place. You can pre-sign your own ‘cremation authorization form’ and have this lodged with the provider in advance. You can set aside the required funds in a POD bank account that a beneficiary can gain instant access to in the event of death of the account holder. You can read more about this on US Funerals Online at What is my best and safest option for putting aside money for a funeral?