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Drop Dead Costs

A graveyard with many various headstones stretches out in the foreground, beneath a hazy sunlit sky beside the sea.
A small avatar of a white male with black hair wearing a green shirt with a black tie.
By Bradley Wootton
Marketing Trainee

It is absolutely astounding how much a funeral costs these days.

People all over the UK are grieving over their deceased loved ones, whilst having to fork out substantial money for funeral arrangements. The cost of a basic funeral has increased for the 14th consecutive year, now standing at a staggering £4,078; a 4.7% increase in the last year alone.

Are funeral homes taking advantage of vulnerable mourners, or is the additional cost justified?

This is what James Dunn, co-founder of Beyond Life had to say:

“Death means big business, with half a million Brits dying every year, but a disinclination to shop around is resulting in mourners, who are often vulnerable, paying over the odds.”

The only costs that have dropped in recent years are those relating to the send off, which provide’s a minor relief for those footing the bill. It is still worrying for a lot of the public when working to a budget, yet trying to give their loved one the burial they deserve.

The cost of funerals in the past decade has risen over 70% which is staggering compared to the marginal inflation seen in other areas/services over the same period. Even compared to other large increases in costs, Funerals really do seem excessively priced:

  • Funeral Costs > 71%
  • Annual Electricity > 42%
  • Weekly Wages > 20%
  • Housing > 20%
  • Petrol > 20%
  • Bread > 16%

Across the UK, the cost of burials and funerals does undoubtedly vary. This is largely due to the value of the land, and the increased living costs of affluent areas. The average cost of a funeral in the UK is £4,078 however London will see you paying closer to £6,000 whereas Northern Ireland will see this reduced to around £3,000.

The cost of a funeral in London has increased by 45% in the last year alone.

Cremation or Burial?

The question of burial or cremation is often a tough decision when our loved one has not expressed their wishes in advance. There is naturally a large price difference between the two that also needs to be considered. Below we take a closer look at the options.

Burial is the traditional method of funeral, and has remained the most common format for how we say goodbye to our loved ones. In burial, a casket containing the deceased is lowered into a prepared burial plot, which is then adorned with a headstone and often decorative and sentimental gifts and trinkets.

Many people find closure in witnessing the coffin being lowered into the burial plot. There is also great comfort in knowing you are able to visit, and that there will remain a physical aspect of loved ones to return to.

Although burials are the most commonly accepted funeral arrangement, the costs associated are quite extensive. The funeral arrangements for a burial will include the casket, memorial, plot of land, hearse and headstone. The combined total of these services can easily spiral out of control.

Cremation is the process of reducing the body to ashes and bone fragments so that they may be stored in a decorative urn, or scattered at a chosen location. It is often a loved ones desire to be scattered at their favourite place.

Due to the burning of fossil fuels. there is of course an environmental impact to cremations. These impacts are typically lower where an eco-friendly cremation is chosen, and can be largely mitigated using modern filtration systems. Bio-cremation’s now also exist in the USA where the body is reduced to “white ash” using water, pressure and lye; it is expected that these will become legal and more common in the UK in coming years.

A cremation is typically cheaper than a burial as it avoids the costs associated with a burial plot. The average UK cost for a cremation is around £3,300.

Losing a loved one is always difficult, leaving us broken and in mourning. Most people never consider their funeral options, or the preferences of their loved ones until it is too late. It is always advisable to speak openly about these arrangements in advance, and if possible keep some money aside to help cover the costs when the unthinkable does occur.

Life Insurance can often assist with funeral costs as part of their “over 50’s” packages which can drastically reduce the chances of paying over the odds when mourning the loss of a loved one. Connect do not currently offer Life Insurance.

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