Making financial decisions when grieving is hard for anyone. Unfortunately, that gives many companies in the funeral industry the chance to overcharge and trust their customers won’t be thinking critically about the prices they’re quoted in the moment. Just because you’re going through a lot doesn’t mean you should have to pay more. When the time comes that you’re faced with purchasing burial services, here’s how to make sure your get the best price.
If possible, buy in advance.
One of the best things you can do to avoid making a costly decision while in the throes of grief is to make that decision well before a person passes. You can buy burial plots, pick out your coffin, and plan an entire funeral in advance if you so choose. And doing so will save your family a lot of effort and money. When you plan in advance, you have the time and energy to shop around and get different quotes from different places, and you’ll protect yourself from rising costs.
You should be aware though that there are some risks to pre-paying for burial services. If the mortuary goes out of business or something you purchased goes out of stock, you could lose out on your investment. Ask upfront how the company plans to handle issues like this if they arise to ensure that your family will be able to get your money’s worth.
Know what to expect.
A lot of people don’t realize just how much there is to pay for with a funeral and burial until they’re first faced with the charges. Funeral homes generally require or offer a large number of services and fees, including:
- The cost to transport the body
- The cost of embalming
- The cost of the funeral service
- The cost of using the funeral home’s facilities for a viewing
- Preparation of body for a viewing
- Graveside services
- Grave liner or burial vault
- Use of a hearse
- The casket
- The burial – the labor and supplies
- Cost of various funeral incidentals, such as flowers, hiring an organist, printing obituary notices, etc.
Most of these costs are optional, but funeral homes don’t always say that upfront. Funeral directors are required by law to provide an itemized price list of their different products and services so you can understand exactly what you’re paying for.
Before making any decisions or payments, ask about which fees are required, which items and services are optional, and what the benefits of going forward with some of the optional costs are so you can make an informed decision.
Even though it’s hard to want to put the work in during a difficult time, asking for price lists or quotes from multiple funeral homes enables you to figure out what’s normal in your area and avoid being stuck with charges beyond what’s typical.
If contacting multiple companies independently just sounds like too much, FuneralDescisions.com allows you to provide some basic information on what you need and receive pricing information from a number of funeral homes and cemeteries in your area that are a fit. It’s an option that offers convenience and puts comparison shopping within reach for those who don’t have the emotional energy to contact area funeral homes separately.
Know your options.
You don’t have to have the kind of funeral and burial your parents did just because it’s what you know. Green burials are an option that are better for the environment and usually cost quite a bit less than traditional burials because you save on embalming. Cremation is another option that’s much more affordable than burial and is growing in popularity as a result.
Don’t feel like you’re stuck with doing what’s normal. You can approach the funeral and burial in the way that feels most meaningful for you and your family and potentially save some money in the process.
You don’t have to say yes to everything,
Whether you go with a traditional burial, a cremation, or a green burial, you’re likely to get offered services you don’t necessarily need. You can choose to buy a casket or urn from somewhere other than the funeral home you use. You can do your own service in the place of your choosing rather than having to go through the funeral home or cemetery. And direct burial and direct cremation are both options that can save you money if you don’t feel any need to have the body on view during your memorial service.
You don’t have to go along with everything the funeral home offers; most of it is optional. Talk with your loved ones to figure out what you really want to do instead of signing up for everything they put in front of you.