Alarming data from insurance provider, Golden Charter, shows that the cost of a funeral in the UK has increased by over 100% in the last 12 years.
Whilst funerals in 2004 cost an average of £1,900, customers today are paying around £3,600 too £4,000 on average.
Giving our loved ones a suitable farewell comes at a significant cost. There is almost a sentiment of the more you love the person, the more you have to spend and that it is an expense that you cannot hold back on.
The breakdown of funeral costs is heavily weighted around the fees for official funeral directors who cost around £2,500 per funeral. Although their role can be handled by a relative, many prefer to use a regulated funeral director to oversee vital aspects including the transportation of the deceased, embalming, venue hire, ceremony arrangement and completion of documents and the death certificate.
Additional funeral costs that start to add up include the memorial headstone (around £900), burial plot (starting from £870), venue hire (around £400), flowers (£150) and obituary in the newspaper (£70).
The danger of rising funerals costs means that the average ceremony could rise to as much as £7,000 by 2026 and £12,000 by 2036 – making them simply affordable for the majority of Britain.
Remedies to reduce cost
The implications of a death can be a huge burden on a family and their relatives, but the additional financial pressure can add to the stress in a difficult time. Several remedies have emerged to help overcome the rising costs.
Last year, the BBC reported a noticeable ‘shift’ in the number of cremations compared to burials, where the average cost is around £1,000 less than a standard funeral. Recent polls show that now 58% of people are choosing cremation over a traditional burial.
The term ‘memory giving’ has also emerged which involves the use of crowdfunding to help families pay for a funeral. Using websites like Just Giving and GoFundMe, relatives are able to set up an online giving profile page where friends and family can donate towards the funeral costs, leaving messages and sharing pictures on the page.
More recently, there has been a growth in the role of prepaid funeral plans, also known as funeral or burial insurance. This is an insurance policy used to pay for a funeral and can be purchased for your or on behalf of a loved one. The main advantage is that the cost of the funeral is fixed to today’s prices at around £3,600 and will remain the same even if you pass away in 20, 30 or 40 years. Funeral plans typically cost around £3,000 and can be paid in one lump sum or in monthly instalments of around £25 per month.
There has also been a rise in alternative funerals including carrying the coffin on boat or motorbike and holding the service out of a traditional church environment to save money. Other options have included the use of homemade wreathes using artificial flowers, catering in-house and service booklets printed off the home computer to save on costs.