How Much Does Cremation Cost?
Choosing a final resting state for you or your loved one can be an emotional, challenging process. As you consider your options, it’s often helpful to get a complete understanding of the costs involved with each alternative, so you can make the best choice for your family. We’ve already looked at the costs associated with funerals; in this post, we’ll look at cremation.
People choose to be cremated for a wide range of reasons. Religious or personal beliefs, tradition, location, a desire to remain close to loved ones, practical considerations, and expense can all play a role in the decision. Whatever the reason, cremation is rising in popularity as an alternative to traditional burial. 42% of deceased people in the United States chose cremation in 2011, double the rate of just fifteen years earlier.
How much does cremation cost?
As with most services, the cost of cremation depends on where you live. Prices are typically higher in urban areas, and vary tremendously depending on which services and add-ons you choose. The average cost of a cremation and basic memorial service through a funeral home is $2,000-$4,000. If you go directly through a crematory, that drops to $1,500-$3,000. The average burial and funeral, by contrast, runs around $6,500, or $7,700 with a burial vault. Many burials and funerals today reach over $10,000.
Services that may increase the cost of a cremation include:
- Extras provided by the funeral home, such as hearses, visitations, or viewings
- A rental casket for a visitation or viewing
- Fees for transportation and storage
- Participating in the cremation via a witnessing service
For a direct cremation, without any add-ons, embalming, or a memorial service, costs can be as low as $500-$1000. In this scenario, families can still host a service at home or place of worship with the remains, the service is just not provided through the funeral home.
How much do cremation urns cost?
Once the cremation is complete, families must choose how to honor their loved one’s remains. This typically begins with purchasing an urn. Urns range from less than $100 to over $1,000. Choosing an urn is obviously a very personal choice, and may depend on how it is intended to be used. Options for cremation remains include:
- Storing an urn in a private residence
- Interring the urn in a burial plot, vault, or columbarium
- Burying the remains outside a formal burial location, such as in a garden or forest
- Scattering the ashes
Each of these alternatives comes with varying associated expenses. Interment in a formal burial space typically costs around $1000, plus the cost of the urn. If you choose to bury the remains somewhere else, or scatter them, you may choose to use the simple cardboard box provided by the crematory. In that case, your only additional expenses would be any incidentals, such as hiring a boat to scatter the ashes at sea.
Cremation is a less expensive alternative to traditional burials that is growing in acceptance in the United States and around the world. Better understanding the costs involved, and knowing how to choose the right cremation provider, can help you decide if it’s the right choice for you or your loved one.