In This Issue

Why do funerals cost so much?Why do funerals cost so much?

May 8, 2012

Let’s face it—nobody is ever truly prepared to lose a loved one. Although the experience is emotionally exhausting, it doesn’t have to be financially so. Knowing the costs associated with a funeral and how to prepare for them can keep your family worry-free when the time comes.

Funeral costs

Your funeral is one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make. In fact, extras like flowers, obituary notices and thank you cards can take the price of a traditional funeral from roughly $6,000 to well over $10,000. Why so much? Good question. Consider these sometimes overlooked expenses that add to the bill.


Should your loved one die locally, the funeral director will often transport your loved one to the funeral home. If the death happens out of state, however, there will be additional expenses like a flight or limo. If you need to move your loved one from one funeral home to another, you’re looking at additional expenses:

  • Receiving your loved one from another funeral home can range in price from $440-$2,040.
  • Forwarding your loved one to another funeral home can range in price from $780-$2,520.


Embalming ranges in price from $400 to $525. Keep in mind, though, that embalming is not required by law. In 1984, the Federal Trade Commission prohibited funeral directors from charging customers an embalming fee unless state or local law requires it or unless the funeral service has obtained prior approval for embalming. Your funeral director can provide more information.


A range of containers exists for each type of burial. In most cases, the fee for each container is not negotiable. Caskets can range in price from $200 to $65,000, while cremation urns can range from $50 to $3,650. Vaults also vary, ranging from $700 to $9,890.


The funeral home staff usually provides basic funeral services, which range from $1,000-$1,775. If you decide on burial, expenses range from $725 to $2,635. Cremation, surprisingly, is just as expensive, ranging from $1,000 to $2,255.

Cemetery costs

Surprisingly, cemetery costs involve more than you’d expect. Headstones start around $500 and run upwards of $4,000. Also, if your loved one did not already have a cemetery plot, you will need to purchase one. Prices of cemetery plots depend on location and customization, and range from a few hundred dollars to over a few thousand. Cemetery costs also include someone to open the burial ground and vault used to reinforce the grave site, which can run between $600 and $1,000, respectively.

* Erie Family Life products are not available in all states.

Put Your Worries Aside

One smart way to put your family’s worries to rest is to prepare for your funeral as part of your life insurance. Permanent life insurance can cover those final expenses you may leave behind (and it requires just a small investment over time to eliminate big debt later on). Talk with your ERIE Agent about getting life insurance coverage that’s right for you (or enhancing your current life insurance policy) through Erie Family Life.* It’s more affordable than you might think.

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