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What does cremation cost in each state?

The average cost of cremation, encompassing both a service and viewing, is $6,970. Nonetheless, if you skip memorial services and opt for immediate cremation (direct cremation), the average expense decreases significantly to around $2,183. In contrast, a conventional burial typically costs $9,420, underscoring the growing popularity of cremations due to their cost-effectiveness.


What is the cost of cremation

Exploring end-of-life arrangements and their associated expenses is a crucial aspect of planning for the future. One significant consideration for many individuals and families is the cost of cremation. Cremation costs can vary significantly depending on where you reside, with each state having its own factors influencing pricing. This comprehensive guide will delve into the expenses associated with cremation in each state, shedding light on regional differences and helping you make informed decisions about this important aspect of end-of-life planning.

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Exploring the Average Cremation Cost

According to the annual report from the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cremation cost, inclusive of a viewing and memorial service, is estimated at $6,970. In sharp contrast, the median cost for a traditional burial or funeral is approximately $9,420.

Breaking Down Direct Cremation Costs

Direct cremation, often referred to as “simple cremation,” “basic cremation,” or “immediate cremation,” is the most economical option for cremation services. On average, the cost of direct cremation amounts to $2,183. This straightforward approach entails the immediate cremation of the deceased’s body and its placement in an alternative container, without any viewing or funeral service.

In this process, your loved ones do not have the opportunity to view the body or conduct a traditional funeral ceremony before the cremation takes place. The affordability of direct cremation arises from the fact that you are primarily covering the cremation fees, without the additional expenses associated with a burial plot, embalming, casket, headstone, refrigeration, funeral facility charges, or other service-related costs.

Funeralocity provides a breakdown of direct cremation costs, illustrating both high and low price points in addition to the average cost, as shown in the table below:

Understanding Cremation Funeral Expenses

Are you curious about the costs of a funeral service followed by cremation? The specifics can vary depending on the cremation package you choose. Below, we provide an overview of what is typically included in a cremation funeral:

  • Nondeclinable Basic Services Fee ($2,300): This fee covers the funeral home’s essential services, including labor and equipment.
  • Removal/Transfer of Remains to the Funeral Home ($350): This fee covers transferring the deceased’s body to the mortuary.
  • Embalming ($775): Embalming is required for open-casket services or when the body needs to be transported across state lines.
  • Various Cosmetic Preparations ($275): This fee includes the cost of makeup application, clothing, hairdressing, and general body preparation.
  • Facility Usage for Viewing ($450): This fee covers using the funeral home’s facilities for viewing.
  • Funeral Home Staff for Service ($515): This charge is applicable if you opt for the assistance of funeral home staff during the funeral ceremony.
  • Service Car/Van ($150): This vehicle can transport family members or the body as an alternative to a hearse.
  • Printed Memorial Package ($183): Funeral homes often create pamphlets and prayer cards to honor the deceased and outline the service details.
  • *Cremation Fee (if a third party is used) ($368)**: This fee is typically incurred when a third-party crematory handles the cremation.
  • Cremation Casket ($1,310): These caskets differ from those used for burial and are generally more cost-effective.
  • Urn ($295): The cost of urns varies based on size and material quality.
    Note: Costs may vary based on location and specific funeral service providers.

Cost of cremation vs burial

The cost of cremation versus burial is critical when planning end-of-life arrangements. As depicted in the accompanying bar graph, which illustrates a comparative analysis of these expenses, it’s evident that cremation generally tends to be a more cost-effective option.

Average cost of funeralsCremation costs, on average, are significantly lower than burial expenses, making it an attractive choice for many individuals and families. This financial aspect, along with the flexibility and environmental considerations associated with cremation, has contributed to its increasing popularity in recent years.

Understanding the financial implications of these choices is essential for anyone making important decisions about their or their loved one’s final arrangements.

Strategies for Lowering Cremation Costs

While cremation funerals are more affordable than traditional burials, the expenses can still add up depending on your preferences. Fortunately, there are practical steps you can take to save money on these costs. Keep in mind that the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule provides specific rights when you’re in the process of exploring cremation options.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Request and Review a General Price List (GPL): Funeral homes and crematories must provide a GPL that outlines the costs of all their products, services, and additional charges. This transparency helps you make informed decisions.
  2. Compare Prices from Multiple Providers: Contact at least five funeral homes or crematories to gather price estimates. Shopping around allows you to identify competitive offers.
  3. Keep Your Budget Confidential: Avoid disclosing your budget to providers upfront. This prevents them from tailoring a cremation package to match your budget, ensuring you receive a fair assessment of options.
  4. Consider Purchasing the Urn Elsewhere: You can purchase a cremation container from a third-party source, and funeral homes are legally obligated to accept it. Online retailers like Amazon or Costco often offer more affordable urns.
  5. Rent a Casket for Viewing: If you plan to have a viewing or wake, consider renting a casket instead of buying one. Funeral homes typically offer rental caskets, which can save you a significant amount compared to the cost of purchasing a casket, which can range from $2,000 to $10,000 on average.

By familiarizing yourself with your rights under The Funeral Rule, you can make informed choices and leverage them to secure the most favorable price for the cremation service you desire.

Exploring Options for Cremated Ashes and Associated Costs

Once the cremation process concludes, one must decide the fate of the ashes. While many individuals opt to purchase an urn and keep the ashes at home, a vast array of lesser-known alternatives are worth considering. Here’s a glimpse into some of these options, along with their associated costs:

  1. Keep the Cremains at Home ($70-$2,250): The most common choice involves storing the cremated remains in an urn, often displayed on a mantle or another location within the home.
  2. Keepsake Urns ($25-$60): These miniature urns are designed to hold a portion of the ashes, allowing family members to retain a meaningful keepsake.
  3. Scatter the Ashes ($100-$1,000): Some individuals prefer to have their ashes scattered as their final resting place. Local laws often dictate the regulations for this practice.
  4. Scattering Gardens ($100-$1,000): Certain cemeteries offer dedicated gardens to spread the cremated remains.
  5. Scatter in Water ($100-$1,000): Termed a “burial at sea” or “water burial,” this option involves dissolving a biodegradable urn or directly releasing the ashes into the Water, subject to state and local laws.
  6. Burial ($350-$3,000): While less common, some choose to bury the cremains, which may entail additional fees for an urn vault if working with a cemetery that requires one.
  7. Columbarium or Mausoleum ($1,000-$60,000): These structures provide niches or storage for urns, with mausoleums varying in size and extravagance.
  8. Cremation Jewelry ($1,250-$13,200): A portion of the ashes can be incorporated into jewelry such as rings or pendants.
  9. Vinyl Record ($2,250): The ashes can be pressed into a custom vinyl record that plays chosen music.
  10. Tattoo ($200-$500): Tattoo artists can add a small amount of ashes to the ink, applying the tattoo as usual.
  11. Painting ($100-$1,000): Artists may mix ashes into their paint to create a unique memorial artwork.
  12. Space ($5,000-$12,500): Some opt to have their ashes launched into space.
  13. Coral Reef ($4,500-$7,500): Companies create artificial reef formations using a portion of the ashes, fostering the growth of an oceanic reef system over time.
  14. Fireworks Display ($400-$5,000): A portion of the ashes can be incorporated into a fireworks display.
  15. Memorial Tree ($6,700-$25,000): Companies like Better Place Foresters use ashes to nurture a tree of your choice, marking the site with a permanent memorial.

The possibilities are diverse and extend even to unique options like dropping your ashes from a plane. Explore these alternatives to find a meaningful and fitting way to commemorate the departed.

Options for Covering Cremation Expenses

Preplanning your funeral is a thoughtful gesture that relieves loved ones from making difficult decisions during emotionally challenging times. Considering how to finance the funeral is equally crucial, as relying solely on Social Security or Medicaid is often insufficient. Here are practical approaches to cover cremation costs:

  1. Cremation Insurance: A cremation insurance policy, typically a small whole-life plan, is designed to cover cremation expenses. These policies last a lifetime with fixed monthly premiums. After your passing, tax-free funds from the policy go to your beneficiaries, who have full discretion on how to use the money. Remember that a death certificate is necessary for your beneficiaries to collect the funds.
  2. Pre-paid Funeral Plan: This entails making direct arrangements with a local funeral home. After designing your funeral, the home calculates the net cost, which can be paid in full or through monthly installments over several years. Upon your passing, the funeral home carries out your specified wishes. Preplanning differs from final expense insurance, where individuals, not the funeral home, are named beneficiaries.
  3. Savings Account: If you are a disciplined saver, earmark a savings account for your final expenses. Ensure that this money remains untouched, reserved specifically for cremation costs. Consider naming someone else on the account to avoid probate delays.
  4. Payable on Demand (POD) Account: A POD account is a bank account with designated beneficiaries who automatically receive the funds upon your passing. Ensure your beneficiaries know this account for a seamless claim process.
  5. Existing Life Insurance: Existing life insurance policies can be used to cover cremation expenses. Verify that your policy won’t expire before your passing. Permanent or specialized burial life insurance policies are ideal for this purpose.
  6. Lump Sum Payment: If you can afford it, consider paying cremation costs upfront in a single payment, locking in today’s rates and providing peace of mind to your family.
  7. Liquidate Assets After Death: As a last resort, your family can sell your real property and assets after your passing. However, this option may be less desirable due to potential delays in the probate process and selling assets.

Selecting the right method to finance cremation expenses ensures your final wishes are fulfilled without placing undue financial burden on your loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cheapest way to be cremated?

The cheapest way to be cremated typically involves choosing a direct cremation option without additional services or ceremonies. Direct cremation involves cremating the deceased's body without a viewing, funeral service, or embalming.

How much does the most basic cremation cost?

The cost of the most basic cremation can vary significantly depending on your location and the funeral service provider you choose. However, as of my last knowledge update in September 2021, direct cremation, the most basic form of cremation, typically ranges from $800 to $2,500 in the United States. Prices may have changed since then and can also differ based on local market conditions and the specific services included.

What is the average cost for cremation in Colorado?

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the cost of cremation in Colorado, I recommend contacting local funeral homes or crematories in your desired area. They can provide detailed pricing information, including any additional fees or options that may apply. Prices may have changed since my last update, so obtaining current quotes for your specific circumstances is essential.

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About Coach B.

After starting his financial career with Phoenix Home Life Insurance Company back in 1992, Scott decided he wanted to provide people with an easier and more enjoyable way to buy life insurance. That was the start of Coach B. Life Insurance, whose mission is to be transparent, honest, and helpful to customers — without ever bugging or pushing them.

In the years since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the process of shopping for insurance. His goal is to make sure that everyone who comes to Coach B. — whether they end up buying a policy or not — has the best possible experience.

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