Understanding funeral costs in Baltimore, MD

Direct cremation cost Baltimore MDThe high cost of dying is becoming a concern for many families today.  Not only can many of us not afford an elaborate and expensive funeral, but more people are deciding that they want something more simple and affordable.

With over 70 funeral homes in Baltimore, it can be a minefield trying to identify exactly what a funeral will cost in Baltimore, and work out your options.  So we have put together this guide to help you understand funeral costs in Baltimore and, more importantly, how to save money arranging a funeral or cremation.

How much does a funeral cost in Baltimore?

This is a question that funeral directors often seem to side-step answering!  Instead they like to regale you with stories of how many generations they have been in business, or how excellent they are at providing ‘special’ ceremonies.  I have no doubt that this is true BUT this still does not always justify their pricing.  If a funeral director cannot simply answer a question about price…it should ring alarm bells!

The average cost of a funeral in Baltimore [a typical traditional burial] is $9,010*.

Cremation Service Baltimore MDSo how can you save money by arranging a cremation?

A cremation is likely to save you at least half the cost of a traditional burial funeral.  You immediately save on some of the largest outlays associated with a funeral.  With cremation there is no need for a casket, embalming, a burial vault, cemetery plot or full-size grave marker.  Eliminating these funeral merchandise items/services can save you a few thousand dollars!  Another way that a cremation can save money is that it is possible to hold a memorial service (with the cremated remains present) without having to go ahead with a funeral ceremony immediately.  This can allow families time to make decisions.  Often this can mean that money-saving options can be more thoroughly explored.  Some families even choose to conduct their own memorial service, which can save on venue and staff costs, plus it also makes a service so much more personalized.

What is the average cost of a cremation in Baltimore?

The first thing to establish is that cremation prices do differ quite considerably between different funeral homes in Baltimore.  For this reason an ‘average’ cremation cost has to be put into the perspective on what kind of cremation services are being assessed.  The average cost of a cremation funeral is $3,942* for a cremation with a ceremony and a mid-range urn.  This is above the national average cost for cremation services.  However, cheaper cremation options are available as outlined below, and you can arrange a cremation in Baltimore for as little as $1,365 complete.

Choosing a Cremation Package

cremation-cedar-rapids-iowaA funeral home must have a general price list (GPL) outlining their service charges but many funeral homes also offer cremation packages, where a price is offered for a complete cremation service.  In comparing costs and services between funeral homes, it is important to ensure you are comparing like-for-like services, especially when it is a quoted cremation package price.  Not all cremation providers quote a fully inclusive price when quoting a cremation package.  There are generally 3 main types of cremation options – a direct cremation (a basic minimal cremation), a cremation with a funeral service, or a cremation with a memorial service.  The difference is that with a direct cremation there is NO service or ceremony conducted by the funeral provider, although you can conduct your own memorial services afterwards.  A cremation with a funeral service is generally where the deceased is present and the cremation is conducted after the service.  A cremation with a memorial service is where the cremation is conducted first and a memorial service held with the cremation urn present.

Arranging a direct cremation in Baltimore

A direct cremation is the least expensive cremation option.  It is sometimes referred to as a simple or basic cremation, or called an immediate cremation.  It means that just a basic disposition service is offered.  The deceased is collected, prepared for cremation, all the necessary documentation completed, the cremation process goes ahead and then the cremated remains are returned to the family (generally in a temporary urn).

The average cost of a direct cremation in Baltimore is $2,327* This reflects the huge range of pricing for a direct cremation in the city, starting from just over a $1,000 and going up to $6,120.

help-with-funeral-cost-MDHow do I choose a cremation provider in Baltimore?

Choosing a cremation provider can depend upon what kind of cremation services you require.  If you are looking for a cremation with a ceremony or interment committal, then you will need a funeral home that offers the facilities for a ceremony and that is in a good location for your family.

If you have decided upon a simple direct cremation at the most affordable price, then you may consider the services of a provider who specifically offers a direct cremation at a low cost.  The locale of the funeral home is not as essential if no services are being held.  And many funeral homes have extended their service area for direct cremation services.

How do cremation providers compare in Baltimore

It is always wise to shop around and compare services and costs.  We do it in any other large purchase we make – so why not when purchasing end of life services?  You will no doubt be surprised by how much the cost of funeral services can vary between funeral homes in Baltimore.

What if the deceased had no life insurance? Is there any help with cremation costs in Baltimore?

An individual passing without any insurance, and family struggling to meet funeral costs, is becoming a more regular occurrence.  Not surprising when we learn that 76% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck [CNN Oct 2013].   Public aid can be a little patchy depending upon where you are but you can consult your local county human services or social services to find out if there is any financial assistance near you.   The state will meet indigent burials for those that become the responsibility of Maryland but there are generally eligibility requirements for any state funding for funeral expenses.

There is also the $255 Social Security lump sum death benefit for those that qualify, and various union, faith and charitable organizations may offer some support to families to assist with covering funeral costs.

DFS Memorials Baltimore serves families in Annapolis, Baltimore, Barnesville, Beltsville, Bethesda, Bowie, Brentwood, Charlott Hall, Clarksville, Clinton, Columbia, Damascus, Ellicott City, Gaithersburg, Gambrills, Hyattsville, La Plata, Laurel, Laytonsville, Owings, Oxon Hill, Rockville, Silver Spring, Suitland and throughout Baltimore, Howard, Anne Arundel and Harford Counties. 

*efuneral Price Index January 2013