How much does a direct cremation cost?

Cremation Memorial ServiceThe price for a direct cremation ranges between $399 and $3,000.  Yes, I know that seems a staggering disparity of price for the same service, but a direct cremation can significantly range in price depending upon whom you employ to deliver a direct cremation.  Where the cremation rate is higher (certainly on the West Coast and Pacific), the competition for the cremation market has driven down the price for direct cremation, and some companies can even operate as Direct Disposers, reducing their overhead to such a minimum that they can reduce their price offering to their customers.  With no expensive funeral home, staff, vehicles and embalming equipment to maintain – operational costs are much lower.

In parts of Nevada, you can purchase a direct cremation for as little as $399 complete.  In most states and metro areas of the U.S. a direct cremation will cost between $700 and $1,000, so still, a very reasonable cost to arrange a complete disposition.  In some areas such as the Southeast and New England, a direct cremation tends to be nearer to the $1,500 price mark.

Visit this article on Cremation Costs in 2019 that has a direct cremation price comparison of a direct cremation in the top 20 U.S. cities.

Are there any hidden extras for a direct cremation package?

If you are purchasing a “complete direct cremation package” then there should generally only be cash disbursements that may be an extra cost.  Cash disbursements that the funeral home will ask you to pay separately for will include such things as the death certificate and cremation permits.  These vary in price by state and county.  A death certificate can be anything between $6 and $30, and a cremation permit can be charged at anything from $10 to $300, so it is important to establish this when you speak to the funeral home about direct cremation.

Average cremation costs 2018Disclosure of direct cremation prices

The funeral industry has long resisted openly disclosing prices.  Some claim it is because “no two funerals are the same”, but it is also generally accepted that this is because the funeral business can be BIG business with large profits. It has been reported by the industry that they can up-sell to 60% of families that request a ‘simple cremation’.  This means that when you approach a funeral home and say that you desire a ‘simple cremation’ they will often aim to encourage you to select incremental products or services to maximize their revenue.

Direct cremation should be listed on the General Price List (GPL)

The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule means that a funeral home MUST disclose prices.  They must have a GPL and provide this to you on request.  A direct cremation is usually listed towards the end of the GPL, almost as the ‘poor cousin’ of funeral services.

Some progressive funeral homes and cremation providers are recognizing the demand, if need, to deliver to customers what they want.  They will openly display cremation prices and offer a simple and transparent direct cremation package.

If you come across a funeral home that is openly disclosing their prices, this will generally mean they understand the demand for affordability and transparency.  If a funeral home does not disclose prices on their website or advertising, and may not openly share a cremation price over the phone, this should probably ring alarm bells and signify that they have to justify their service charges.

Comparing like-for-like in direct cremation servicesArrange a cremation online

It is important to stipulate that what is considered a ‘complete’ direct cremation charge can vary.

You MUST ensure that you compare like-for-like direct cremation packages and prices.    As I mentioned above the price for a direct cremation can vary significantly, so you must check EXACTLY what is included in any direct cremation price.

Some funeral homes quote a direct cremation price which seems fair but they have excluded the crematory fee, especially if they do not have their own crematory and consider the crematory fee as a separate cash disbursement.  It has also been known for funeral homes to exclude the fee for the ‘alternative container’ required for the cremation, and this can be added as an extra for between $50 and $300.  It is quite typical for death certificates and cremation permits to be an additional cash disbursement cost, although funeral homes sometimes include one death certificate in a direct cremation package cost.

Do be aware that economies of scale do not seem to work the same in the funeral industry as they do with most corporate models.  The corporate-owned funeral establishments generally offer the more expensive direct cremations.  Therefore, it is very wise to compare prices for a direct cremation between several cremation service providers before signing a contract.

Understanding Direct Cremation – Part 3 : Comparing direct cremation costs and reviewing cremation providers

Tips on how to arrange a lower cost funeral in 2019

With so many families living paycheck to paycheck, unexpected funeral expenses can be an emergency that can create a financial crisis for a family.  Worried about funeral prices? Here we give you some tips for how to keep funeral costs down.

#1  Consider a direct cremation service

This is the most economical option to arrange a low-cost funeral or disposition.  In most U.S. cities, a direct cremation can be conducted for between $600 to $1,000.  This makes direct cremation the most affordable option to conduct a disposition if you have an unexpected death in the family, and limited funds to make arrangements.  A direct cremation is a cremation with no ceremony or services.  The deceased is cremated, and the cremated remains returned directly to the family.  This alleviates the need to deal with the immediate disposition of remains.  Once family have the ashes returned, they can conduct a memorial service (if desired).

How much does a funeral cost?

[Chart reproduced from Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company ]

#2  Shop around for funeral prices and service providers

Unbeknown to most people who have never had to make funeral arrangements before, funeral prices can vary tremendously, even for the exact same service.  It is always wise to check around a few funeral homes and cremation providers before making a decision.  Funeral homes are bound by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ‘Funeral Rule’ to provide a family with pricing information when requested.  If a funeral home cannot simply tell you a direct cremation price over the phone or by email, then that should be a concern.

#3  Ensure a cremation price quoted is fully-inclusive of all fees

Many funeral and cremation service providers offer cremation packages.  However, not all funeral homes include the same services and items in a package.  It is important to check that the cremation price quoted does not have any ‘hidden’ extra fees.  For example, some direct cremation packages include the cremation container, and others add this as an additional cost.  A basic cremation container can range from $25 to $150.  Third-party fees are fees the funeral director must pay out.  For example, county fees for death certificates and cremation permits.  So, these will generally be extra charges, however some direct cremation package prices will include these.

#4  Try and establish if there are any death benefits that the deceased may qualify for

Although there is very little financial support to assist families with burial expenses, there are a few benefits that can help towards funeral expenses for some families.  If the deceased was a military veteran there are certain benefits, the most significant being a free cemetery plot.

Social security has a lump-sum $255 death benefit payment for those that qualify.  Some unions and employers sometimes offer a death benefit payment to long-serving employees.

#5  Enlist a friend or colleague to help with funeral price negotiations

It can help to ensure you have a more ‘objective’ person to assist you with negotiations with the funeral service provider.  After a loss, it is hard to remain impassionate about decisions being made about the deceased and their death care. Having someone support you, and assist you through the decision-making or price-obtaining process, can help to ensure decisions are appropriately made.  Especially, ensuring budget constraints are met.

#6  Consider a discount online direct cremation package

The Internet has provided a great tool for us to find and check information.  With this tool today, you can obtain cremation price quotes online, and even make funeral arrangements online.  If you are prepared to make all the arrangements online and submit the required forms, you will not need to visit the funeral home.  This can be another cost-saving factor.  Several cremation providers will offer a discounted ‘online only’ direct cremation price.

If you require a low-cost direct cremation service, contact your nearest DFS Memorials provider. Click here to FIND A DFS MEMORIALS PROVIDER