How Much Does A Cremation Cost? [Actual Prices] | GetSure (2022)

  • Updated: May 13, 2022

Rikin Shah| Licensed Life & Health Insurance Agent

  • Fact-Checked (see Editorial Guidelines)

If you’re wondering how much the average cremation costs, you’re not alone. While cremation used to be a mystery to Americans, its popularity in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past couple of decades. While only 32% of Americans were cremated in 2005, the cremation rate increased to 56% in 2020. Currently, 42 states have cremation rates over 50%.

Not only is cremation an environmentally friendly process, but it is also significantly more affordable than a traditional funeral and burial. (Average funeral costs now exceed $11,000!)

This article will explore the different types of cremation services, cremation prices, and what you need to know before making your final decision.

What Is Cremation?

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While many people think of cremation as an Eastern practice, cremation has become increasingly popular in the United States over the past two decades. At this point, you can arrange a cremation service at the majority of funeral homes in the U.S.

The Cremation Process

Cremation is the process of reducing a body to ashes using high temperatures and flame.

The modern cremation process takes around two hours, depending on the size and composition of the body. The cremated remains are primarily bone fragments, which are then pulverized into ash.

Incinerators must maintain temperatures between 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to ensure complete burning. After the cremation is complete, any metal such as dental work or prosthetics will be removed from the skeletal remains and will not be included with the ashes.

The Popularity of Cremation

Cremation has increased dramatically in popularity over the past two decades. According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA):

In just 15 years, the national cremation rate in the U.S. has increased from 32% (2005) to 56% (2020).

This trend is not expected to slow down. The NFDA projects that, by 2030 and 2040, 69% and 78% of Americans will be cremated, respectively.

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Cremation Popularity Has Gone Global

Cremation has been the prevailing practice in Eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, for centuries. Therefore, it is not surprising to see high cremation rates in countries like Japan, Hong Kong, South Kora, Singapore, Thailand, and India.

But cremation has not been the norm in Abrahamic religious traditions. So what explains the high cremation rates in Western countries? According to the Cremation Society of Great Britain:

Cremation rates in Western urban centers often exceed 70% due to high population density and decreasing burial space.

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Types of Cremation

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There are three basic types of cremation:

  • Direct cremation
  • Direct cremation with a committal service
  • Indirect cremation(cremation with a funeral ceremony and viewing)

Of total 2020 U.S. cremations, 38% were direct cremations, 35% were direct cremations with a short cremation service, and the remaining 27% were cremations with a traditional funeral service and viewing.

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Direct Cremation

Direct cremation, also known as basic cremation (or simple cremation), is the simplest and least expensive option.

Direct cremation does not include embalming, a method used to preserve the body from decomposition. Therefore, direct cremation occurs only with a coffin over the body.

Direct cremation costs significantly less than other methods because it bypasses the funeral home altogether.

In other words, direct cremation typically involves transporting the deceased directly to a crematory (cremation provider). Note that nearly all funeral homes can arrange transportation from the place of death to the crematory, if needed.

Direct Cremation With Commital Service

A “direct cremation with committal service” combines the convenience of immediate cremation with the comfort of a memorial service.

A committal service is not required for cremation, but many families find a memorial service essential to the grieving process. This service can be held in a funeral home or at the place of death, and it provides time for family members to say goodbye to their loved one.

Indirect Cremation

Direct cremations must be performed within 72 hours of death.

If the family needs longer than 72 hours to make final arrangements, the body must be preserved (embalmed). Indirect cremations delay the cremation process (from several days to multiple weeks) by embalming and placing the body in a refrigerated unit.

This allows family members to plan memorial services, viewings, and visitations before the body is cremated.

Why Choose Cremation

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People choose cremation for many reasons, including convenience and the associated environmental benefits. However, the biggest reason is the dramatically lower cost of a cremation.

Reason #1: Affordability

According to the NFDA’s 2021 survey of funeral homes, the national median cost of adult funeral services (including burial) now exceeds $11,000. This figure includes roughly $2,000 for the cost of the burial plot. On the other hand:

Direct cremation can cost as little as $1,500 (10% of the cost of a traditional funeral).

While families often prefer the traditional American funeral service followed by burial, unless the deceased or their family has $10,000+ in cash to spare, this option is usually too expensive.

Reason #2: Convenience

Cremated remains are much easier and less expensive to transport than a full body.

This provides families with more options for their loved one’s final resting place. That is, they can choose to scatter the deceased’s ashes wherever they choose, and they can even choose to store these ashes in an urn.

This is especially helpful in today’s age when families regularly make big geographic moves to pursue job opportunities. With cremation, families can move across the country, and at the same time, easily move their loved one’s final resting place with them.

Reason #3: Environmental Benefits

Besides being a cost-effective option for many families, cremations also have several environmental benefits. First of all, it is considered an eco-friendly form of final disposition.

When you choose to cremate your deceased loved one, there are no toxic chemicals or hazardous materials left over. Cemeteries are very resource-heavy to maintain, and they increase methane production in the soil, another form of pollution that cremation eliminates.

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55% of funeral bills go on a credit card (source). $10,000 on a credit card = $308.33 per month

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Average Cremation Costs in the U.S.

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According to 2021 survey data from the NFDA:

The average cost of direct cremation was $2,598 when using a cremation casket and only $1,438 when using an alternative container.

The table below shows a breakdown of this average cremation cost into its component expenses. For a direct cremation, these expenses include:

  • Transfer of the remains
  • Preparation of the body
  • Cremation casket (or alternative container)
  • Cremation fee
  • Urn (for the cremated remains)

The cost of the cremation container is the largest of these expenses, by far. Therefore, we have shown two prices for direct cremation: one in which a cremation casket is used ($1,310) and one in which an alternative container is used ($150). Choosing the latter would save you $1,160 alone, allowing for a very low cost cremation.

Table: Breakdown of Direct Cremation Costs

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If you want to have a service, the NFDA reports that the average cost of a cremation with a traditional funeral ceremony and viewing was $6,971 in 2021.

Cremation Expense Details

See below for more qualitative detail on the expenses that make up the total cost of cremation.

Cremation Caskets

A cremation casket is a box that contains your loved one’s body during the actual cremation. Cremation caskets are usually constructed of wood, although some people opt to use composite or cardboard materials.

Families who choose to have a traditional funeral service before the cremation often rent a traditional casket for the viewing and then exchange this for a cremation casket for the actual cremation.

Cremation Urns

A cremation urn is a vessel that holds your loved one’s ashes after the cremation process.

Urns vary considerably in size and style and are typically constructed from wood, marble, or metal. Some people choose to store their loved one’s ashes in multiple urns instead of one large vessel.

Additional Expenses

Finally, while not an additional expense item, location has a major role in influencing total cremation costs. Funeral homes often have different rates for urban areas and rural areas, depending on the demand for their services and the cost of labor, among other factors.

The Funeral Rule

When shopping at a funeral home, the funeral director should give you a “general price list” (GPL) immediately. In fact, funeral homes are required by law to provide consumers with a GPL before discussing any products or services.

This document will list cremation packages and basic memorial packages that aggregate the individual products and services typically purchased for cremations.

Cremation FAQs

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According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average price of direct cremation was $2,598 in 2021. This assumes that you use a casket when cremating the body. If you use an alternative container, the price falls to $1,438. The average price of a cremation with a traditional funeral service and viewing was $6,970 in 2021, according to the NFDA survey.

The cheapest way to be cremated is direct cremation, also known as immediate or basic cremation. If you use an alternative cremation container, direct cremation costs as little as $1,438.

Direct cremation does not include embalming, which is necessary to disinfect and preserve the body. Without embalming, direct cremation can only occur with a coffin over the body.

There is no definitive answer to this question since there are a lot of variables that come into play, such as the type of cremation furnace being used, how efficiently it’s operated, what kind of fuel is being burned, and so on. That said, most experts agree that cremations are not as environmentally friendly as burials, and they produce harmful emissions like carbon dioxide and mercury.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different people may have different interpretations of the Bible. However, here is an excerpt from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that addresses cremation: “The Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body. The Church strongly prefers burial over cremation, unless there is a compelling reason for cremation.”

Yes, cremation is allowed in Judaism. In fact, it’s considered a more humane way to dispose of a body than traditional burial. The ashes of a cremated person can be buried or scattered in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

Cremation jewelry allows you to keep a small amount of cremated ashes within a piece of jewelry. It can come in many shapes and sizes, including rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Many people choose cremation jewelry as a way to keep their loved ones close to them even after they’re gone. Others find it to be a comforting reminder that their loved ones are always with them.

Yes, you can prepay for cremation. In fact, many people choose to do this so that their loved ones don’t have to worry about the expense of cremation after they’ve passed away. When you prepay for cremation, you usually work with a funeral home to make all the arrangements. You’ll likely be asked to put down a deposit, and then you’ll make monthly or annual payments until the balance is paid off. This allows you to budget for cremation in advance and eliminates any potential stress or burden on your loved ones after you’ve passed away.

There is no one answer to this question since different faiths have different perspectives on cremation. In general, however, cremation is not considered to be inherently prohibited by any faith, though there may be specific circumstances in which it is not allowed. For example, the Catholic Church forbids cremation unless there is no other option available due to illness or accident.

Yes, cremation records are a matter of public record in most cases. This is because cremation is considered to be a form of final disposition, and thus the records fall under the umbrella of state disclosure laws. In most cases, the person’s name, date of death, and place of cremation are all included in the public record. However, there may be some restrictions on who can access these records (i.e., family members only).

Conclusion

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Choosing cremation over a traditional funeral service is a very personal choice. Every family should make this decision thoughtfully and take into account their religion, personal preferences, and available finances.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email us at [emailprotected] We’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.

Warm Regards,
The GetSure Team

  1. National Funeral Directors Association.

    (July 2021).

    2021 NFDA Cremation & Burial Report.

    (Video) How Much Does Cremation Cost - Vilonia Funeral Home
  2. Best Cremation Care.

    (n.d.).

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Rikin Shah

Rikin is the Founder & Head of Content at GetSure. He is a licensed life, accident & health insurance agent in all 50 states (plus D.C.), with over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. He holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Columbia University and an MBA from The Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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FAQs

How Much Does A Cremation Cost? [Actual Prices] | GetSure? ›

The average cremation cost is between $4,000 and $7,000 depending on the type of cremation. Direct cremation costs between $2,000 and $5,000. Funeral costs are rising and more people are turning to cremation instead of burials to save money.

How much is the simplest cremation? ›

A simple cremation service is likely to cost between $1,500 and $3,000, so this can present a significant saving to families struggling with the full cost of funeral services.

How much does it cost to be cremated in the state of New Jersey? ›

According to the New Jersey Funeral Director Association, a cremation and memorial service costs around $4,500 and a direct cremation averages at $3,000. New Jersey cremation rate is 41-50%, according to 2020 CANA Annual Report.

What is the cheapest funeral or cremation? ›

A cremation usually costs less than a burial. As is arranging the funeral yourself, instead of using a funeral director.

What does Bible say about cremation? ›

The Bible neither favors nor forbids the process of cremation. Nevertheless, many Christians believe that their bodies would be ineligible for resurrection if they are cremated. This argument, though, is refuted by others on the basis of the fact that the body still decomposes over time after burial.

How long does it take to cremate a body? ›

The process usually takes 90 minutes to two hours, during which a large part of the body (especially the organs and other soft tissue) are vaporised and oxidised by the intense heat. Contrary to popular belief, what remains of the body (the cremated remains) are not ashes in the usual sense.

Which part of the body does not burn during cremation? ›

People are often surprised by how much cremated remains they get back after a body has been cremated. All bones are left they do not evaporate. The bones are then reduced in size to a granular consistency.

What is direct cremation? ›

Direct burial or cremation is when the deceased is taken straight to the crematorium or cemetery without a funeral ceremony.

How much does a cremation cost near me? ›

The average cremation cost in California falls anywhere from $1,300 to $2,300 depending on provider and services offered. The cost of arranging a full funeral and burial service in California is often much steeper, with a range anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more.

How much does NJ Medicaid pay for funeral expenses? ›

Medicaid Funeral Assistance

New Jersey will pay up to $2,246 in funeral costs and $524 in burial costs or crematory expenses for a deceased welfare recipient who is two year of age or older. Families are permitted to supplement these amounts up to $1,570. Information on eligibility here.

Is cremation a sin? ›

A: In the Bible, cremation is not labeled a sinful practice. Frankly, the topic is not dealt with at all in terms of the detailed lists of instructions for living and dying set forth by almighty God in the Old and New testaments. The short answer to your question appears to be no, cremation is not a sin.

Who qualifies for funeral grant? ›

You might be able to get a Funeral Expenses Payment if you are: the partner of the deceased. the parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy. the parent or person responsible for a deceased child who was under 16 (or under 20 and in approved education or training)

What is the cheapest way to bury a loved one? ›

Direct cremation is the least expensive way to bury your loves one. It is done respectfully, and gives your and your family time to find the most personal and affordable burial option.

Can you go to heaven if you are cremated? ›

No matter what a person's preference is, from the Christian perspective, cremation does not prevent one from going to Heaven. So there's no need to worry, if God can create life from dust, surely he can restore life from ashes.

What religions dont cremate? ›

Several religions prohibit cremation and have various rules that don't allow a follower of the faith to be cremated.
  • Islam. Islam strictly prohibits its followers from cremating the remains of a Muslim. ...
  • Mormons. ...
  • Presbyterian/Eastern Orthodox Church. ...
  • Orthodox Jews.
Jun 5, 2020

What does God say about keeping ashes? ›

In the Bible, there are no passages that prohibit or encourage cremation and scattering of ashes. However, many Christian sects believe a burial funeral aligns with best end-of-life practices. As a result, some Christian clerics may discourage cremation or prohibit it entirely.

Are you cremated with clothes on? ›

In most cases, people are cremated in either a sheet or the clothing they are wearing upon arrival to the crematory. However, most Direct Cremation providers give you and your family the option to fully dress your loved one prior to Direct Cremation.

Why do they cover the legs in a casket? ›

They cover the legs in a casket because the deceased is not wearing shoes in many cases due to the difficulty of putting them on stiff feet. Also, funeral directors may recommend it to save money, for religious reasons, in the event of trauma, for easier transportation, or with tall bodies.

How long can you keep ashes in an urn? ›

In an urn. Cremains can last for a very long time in an urn, as long as the urn has a strong seal. It's actually not uncommon for archaeologists to find cremated remains from people who lived over a thousand years ago.

Why do they break the skull during cremation? ›

Burning of the Body During Hindu Cremation

The fire is left to burn itself out. In that time the body is transformed to ashes, and it is hoped the skull explodes to release the soul to heaven.

What is removed from a body before cremation? ›

How is a body cremated? Before the cremation can take place, any metal parts attached to the coffin, like handles, are removed. The cremator is heated to a temperature between 800-1000 degrees. The coffin is then inserted into a cremation chamber – with the deceased placed feet-first.

Can you touch a body at a funeral? ›

If you have an adult with you at the funeral home, it is ok to touch a dead body, and you will not get in trouble. You are naturally curious, and sometimes when you see and touch a dead body it helps you answer your questions. Remember to be gentle and have an adult help you.

What is a funeral without a body called? ›

Unlike a traditional funeral, which occurs inside a week or two of the beloved's passing, a memorial service is held without a casket or a body present and can be held weeks or even months afterward.

What is a funeral called when no one attends? ›

An unattended (or direct) cremation is a simple cremation without a funeral. There are usually no mourners in attendance, and it is different to a traditional funeral as there is no funeral service or ceremony.

Can I be cremated without a coffin? ›

While some families may still choose a casket as the cremation container, you absolutely do not have to. If you do not wish to purchase a casket, the crematory will offer you an alternative container.

How do you prepare a body for cremation? ›

How is the body prepared for cremation? Usually, the body is bathed, cleaned, and dressed before identification. There is no embalming unless you have a public viewing or you request it. Next, the technician removes jewelry or other items that you would like to keep.

How do I save for funeral expenses? ›

Smart Ways to Cover the Costs of a Funeral
  1. Payable-on-death (POD) account. This is a type of bank account that allows you to put aside funds for your funeral and name someone who can get access to the money when you die. ...
  2. Savings account. ...
  3. Veterans benefits. ...
  4. Borrowing. ...
  5. Low-cost options. ...
  6. Prepay at funeral home.
Oct 22, 2021

What are urns made of? ›

Ceramic and porcelain – Ceramic is the most widely used material for cremation urns. Memorials made out of ceramic are usually unique, artful and attractive, fitting perfectly any interior. The clean smooth surface of the ceramic makes it the preferred choice for many.

What does Social Security pay for funeral expenses? ›

Generally, you and your spouse can set aside up to $1,500 each to pay for burial expenses. In most cases, this money will not count as a resource for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

What is the average cost of a funeral in NJ? ›

The average funeral cost in the state of New Jersey is $7,552, and that's not including the casket. When you factor that in, the average cost can easily top $10,000.
...
Average Funeral Costs in New Jersey.
Service TypeAverage CostPrice Range
Full Burial Service$10,550$6,367 - $11,657
3 more rows

Does Medicare cover funeral expenses in NJ? ›

Medicare will not cover funeral or burial expenses. Your beneficiaries could use money from a Medicare Medical Savings Account or Social Security survivors benefits in some circumstances to help pay for a funeral.

Is it OK to keep an urn at home? ›

Question: Can I keep an urn with ashes in my home? Answer: Yes, of course! It's perfectly legal to keep the ashes at home with you.

What does the Bible say about the body after death? ›

Ecclesiastes 12:7 says tells us what happens when a person dies. It says, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.” In other words, when a person dies, his or her spirit goes back to God, the body returns to dust and the soul of that person no longer exist.

What does God say about death? ›

"But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself." "I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live." "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death."

Who pays for a funeral if there is no money? ›

If someone dies without enough money to pay for a funeral and no one to take responsibility for it, the local authority must bury or cremate them. It's called a 'public health funeral' and includes a coffin and a funeral director to transport them to the crematorium or cemetery.

Does the next of kin have to pay for a funeral? ›

A next of kin is only legally responsible to cover or source funeral costs if they are named as the executor of the will, or if they enter into a signed contract with a funeral director to make funeral arrangements. There are several ways to source funds or pay for a funeral.

What is the death grant? ›

If you're a pensioner and your pension has been in payment for less than five years, a discretionary death grant is payable that is equal to five times your annual pension less any pension received prior to your death. This is known as a "supplementary death grant".

What happens if you have no money for a funeral? ›

If you simply cannot afford a funeral, the local authorities will step in to arrange the funeral, however as this is considered a last resort, it is worth considering who is responsible for funeral costs and reviewing any financial support which may be available to you.

What does a buried body look like after 1 year? ›

If you were able to view a body after one year of burial, you may see as little as the skeleton laid to rest in the soil or as much as the body still recognizable with all the clothes intact.

What is the cheapest option after death? ›

A funeral home's least expensive option is a direct burial, in which the body is buried soon after death, with no embalming or visitation.

What does a simple cremation consist of? ›

A simple cremation includes care of the deceased, transport to the crematorium and celebrant led service. Hearse, limousines and pallbearers are excluded to keep costs low. Some companies use simple cremation and direct cremation synonymously – we do not.

What happens at a simple cremation? ›

It's a cremation with no funeral service or ceremony beforehand. After death, the deceased goes straight to the crematorium to be cremated, usually in a very simple, plain coffin. After the cremation, the ashes are returned to the loved ones, to be kept or scattered according to the wishes of the deceased.

What is a simplicity funeral? ›

Simplicity Cremations has launched a unique new low cost attended funeral service. The new service will provide people with all the practical and essential elements of a cremation, without the obligation to pay for traditional ceremonial elements they might not want.

What is a pure cremation funeral? ›

We call it Pure Cremation. It all means the same thing. A direct cremation involves no funeral service. There is no viewing of the deceased or farewell ceremony conducted. Usually, there are no mourners present, although you can be present for the committal if you wish.

How do you cremate someone with no money? ›

If you simply can't come up with the money to pay for cremation or burial costs, you can sign a release form with your county coroner's office that says you can't afford to bury the family member. If you sign the release, the county and state will pitch in to either bury or cremate the body.

Can I be cremated without a coffin? ›

While some families may still choose a casket as the cremation container, you absolutely do not have to. If you do not wish to purchase a casket, the crematory will offer you an alternative container.

How is a body prepared for cremation? ›

How is the body prepared for cremation? Usually, the body is bathed, cleaned, and dressed before identification. There is no embalming unless you have a public viewing or you request it. Next, the technician removes jewelry or other items that you would like to keep.

Videos

1. Cremation Cost Breakdown for Ontarians
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2. Burial, Cremation & Final Expenses: How Much Do They Really Cost?
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3. The process of a cremation and a crematorium WARNING!!! GRAPHIC
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5. Tips On How To Save Thousands On Funeral Costs When Choosing A Funeral Home
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