Check out our guide to cremation costs in San Francisco. Cremation is not only a very popular disposition choice for families in the Bay Area, but it is also a very affordable funeral option today. In some counties in California around the Bay Area, cremation accounts for over 90% of funerals conducted.
California has always been a ‘progressive’ state and it seems Californians’ attitudes towards death rituals adopt a modern, and maybe less traditionalist, approach. Still what you can buy for your dollar in terms of cremation services can vary significantly, so we have put together this brief guide to help families understand cremation costs and services in San Francisco.
How much does a cremation cost in the Bay Area?
This is never a straight-forward question to answer as cremation prices vary so between different funeral homes in the Bay Area. The average cost of a cremation is $7,045 (NFDA 2012), yet the cost for cremation can range from $850 to $6,000, depending upon the type of cremation service and the ancillary products. It is fair to say that even comparing the exact same cremation service can produce a range of varying prices.
Understanding different cremation packages and services
You can customize your cremation service to personally fit your needs, but generally, there are 3 main types of cremation service.
- Direct, or immediate cremation (with no services or ceremony)
- Cremation funeral services (ceremony held prior to cremation)
- Cremation Memorial services (ceremony held after cremation)
It is not always easy comparing cremation services because funeral homes either offer a lengthy itemized general price list (GPL) or package together different services/merchandise. It is important to carefully check exactly what IS included in any cremation package. It is not uncommon to see a cremation service that appears to be at an affordable price, only to discover that it is not an inclusive price. A funeral home can add ‘cash advance’ items to a quoted cremation price, and these will be items that the funeral director has to pay out to a third party. This can include items such as the cremation permit, cremation fee (if the funeral home does not own their own crematory) and death certificates. It is also wise to carefully check whether such things as additional refrigerated storage is included if the cremation cannot proceed within a certain timeframe or additional fees for transportation and collection.
Oversize cremation in the Bay Area
With a growing obesity issue, we are asked about cremations for overweight people more often these days. A standard cremation is generally suitable for a person weighing up to 250 pounds. For a person weighing over 250 pounds, an additional fee may be required, if the crematory is suitable to handle an oversize person.
Modern cremation services & life celebration services
Cremation allows for much greater flexibility in how we approach our death care ritual. If gathering the family together immediately is difficult, a cremation memorial service can be held at a date and time that is convenient. It also means that a ceremony can be held when the family has had a chance to recover from the immediate shock of the bereavement, allowing for time and reflection to plan a befitting ceremony. Today we are moving into an era where the traditional funeral is being replaced by a life celebration – more of an upbeat celebration of a life lived, than a somber mourning event.
Families often choose to have the cremation performed and use the services of a celebrant to lead a memorial service. Some families even opt to arrange their own memorial service – making it totally personalized.
Cremated remains can be shipped anywhere relatively inexpensively, so this also enables more flexibility in funeral services. Mom or Pop passes in a state to which they retired, but can easily and at minimal cost be transported back to their home state for a service and/or interment.
A direct cremation: the lowest cost cremation option
If just a simple, low-cost cremation service is what you require – the no-frills cremation – then a direct cremation is for you. A direct cremation is where the cremation proceeds without any services, viewing etc and then the cremated remains are returned directly to the family. It is also referred to as an immediate cremation, or many funeral homes in San Francisco will refer to it as a basic or simple cremation. You can arrange a complete direct cremation within the Bay Area for $850. This includes the collection of the deceased, storage for the mandatory waiting period, completion of all necessary paperwork, a basic cremation container, the cremation process and returning the cremated remains to the family in a temporary urn.
Direct disposers in San Francisco
California is one of 2 states that licenses direct disposers. A direct disposer is NOT a licensed funeral home but he is licensed to conduct only direct cremations. As they do not have to operate a funeral home, they can operate with a much-reduced overhead, enabling them to offer direct cremations at a reduced price. However, you should note that this reduced price will reflect the level of service offered. A direct disposer will not be able to offer any viewing and may add additional fees for incremental services.
How do I choose a cremation services provider?
It can be confusing deciding which cremation provider to choose. There are around 30 funeral homes in San Francisco, so start with your specific criteria to narrow your selection process. If cost and value are important, then you need to seek out a low-cost cremation provider. Generally, the corporate funeral homes tend to be more expensive, although even some family-owned funeral homes can be as expensive. Shop around some and compare costs and services. Check for reviews and recommendations from family, co-workers or support networks.
DFS Memorials does some of this for you. So we check around, compare cremation prices and reviews, and select only a reputable family-owned funeral home that offers the best value cremation service to work with the network.
Our provider in the Bay Area is an established full-service funeral home, with several locations, who now operate a low-cost cremation arm to meet this need.
Call DFS Memorials NOW on (415) 286-9121
To arrange a Direct Cremation for $850
The deceased had no life insurance: Is there any help with cremation costs?
Any financial assistance available for funerals varies so much by state and county, that you really need to speak with your local county human services or social services to find out what, if any, public aid may be available. They can best advise on what is available and whether or not you would be eligible, depending on your personal circumstances.
There is the $255 Social Security death payment (if you qualify) and veterans do qualify for a free grave plot, grave marker, and flag. If you have concerns about how you can afford a funeral, then a direct cremation is your cheapest option.
Our $850 direct cremation is available throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz & Stanislaus counties.