If you are exploring burial options for a loved one, you already know that the costs associated with funeral services continue to rise. But one way you can save money on burial costs is through cremation.
You may have some apprehensions about cremation, and that’s understandable. But the truth is that casket prices surged 230% since 1986, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In this article, we’re going to explore ways to save with a low-cost cremation and other things you need to know before you spend any money.
Cremation Services: 5 Things to Know
Because funeral planning can be an emotional task, we here at Clark.com want you to go into the process with as clear and informed a mind as you can.
If you’re thinking about low cost cremation as a viable burial option, here are five things to know:
1. How Much Do Low-Cost Cremation Services Cost?
When it comes to a traditional funeral service, the added-on affairs such as viewings, visitations and wakes can drive costs up to anywhere from $6,000 to $26,000, according to U.S. Funerals Online.
In contrast, cremation — disposing of a person’s remains by burning them into ashes —is a relatively affordable option.
Average cremation costs start at around $600-$700, according to Cremation Resource.
The reason is because you skip many of the costly features of a traditional funeral, like transporting the body from the funeral home or chapel to the cemetery and embalming, cosmetology and hairdressing, you save quite a bit of money.
2. What Is Direct Cremation?
Direct cremation services are those in which the deceased is cremated immediately after death and there is no funeral service beforehand.
Direct cremation is considered the most affordable funeral service in the industry. Prices can approach around $1,100, but can be half that depending on the region and what specific services are included.
Here are some of the things you save on when choosing the option of direct cremation
- Burial vault
- Cemetery plot
- Grave marker
After a direct cremation, it is common for many families to do a modest and dignified memorial service at a later date.
3. How to Find Cremation Providers Near You
To find cremation providers and funeral homes with crematoriums in your area, go to:
Once you locate a provider, call them and ask if they are certified.
The National Funeral Directors Association and the Cremation Association of North America both offer crematory certification courses to member funeral homes to ensure that safe and regulated cremations are taking place.
4. How Much Should You Pay for an Urn?
Urn prices vary widely based on design and more, but if you let your funeral service pick one out, you can expect to pay more.
5. How to Get a Free Cremation
If the deceased’s body is being donated to science, cremation can be free. There are several organizations around the country and resources available online to facilitate this, potentially saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
These programs typically can send ashes of the deceased back in a matter of weeks. Check with your state for local programs, as well.
When it comes to the business of death, comparison shopping is still the best way to ensure you’re getting the best price. It’s a good idea to call around to different funeral homes in your area to inquire about the prices for direct cremation.
Here are three things you want to pay special attention to when shopping for a cremation provider:
- Ask for a price list: You’d think this would be voluntarily given to you, but in many cases, you’re going to have to ask for it. Funeral homes are resistant to disclosing prices because they like to view each funeral as a unique case. The Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule mandates that funeral homes must tell you their prices over the phone, if you ask.
- Know what you’re getting: Find out exactly what is included in certain packages vs. what is being advertised. Ask for an itemized list so you can clearly see differences.
- Watch for gotcha fees: Like any other industry, some hidden fees may be laden in your agreement. Many funeral homes may bill you separately for things like a death certificate and cremation permits, since these are third-party services. Others may try to up-sell certain amenities to you based on creature comforts they think every funeral should have.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s common to have a memorial service for the deceased. But few funeral directors are going to provide use of their funeral homes for free.
In order to save money or protect your privacy it may make sense to have a memorial service at your place of worship or at the home of a relative.