Funeral Expenses: What are the Costs?

funeral costs, funeral expenses

Funerals can be incredibly expensive. If you don’t have any type of life insurance, costs can add up and create a financial burden during an already difficult time. Here’s a list of funeral costs and their average prices.

Cash advances

Cash advances are for goods and services purchased by the funeral home from third-party vendors on your behalf. This can be anything from flowers and officiating clergy to pallbearers and hearse service. There are many hidden costs to funerals, and these items can rack up fast.

Cost: prices vary based on items, services, and what funeral home you use, but cash advances can cost several thousand dollars.


Embalming is required by funeral homes if you plan a viewing, visitation, or wake. It’s generally not necessary for cremation.

Cost: $500-$1,300


If you choose to have a traditional burial for your loved one, you’ll need a casket. This can be one of the most expensive items in funeral expenses. Most funeral homes sell caskets directly, but be warned: they will often show you three of their more expensive options first knowing you’ll probably choose the second option.

You also have the option of buying a less expensive casket from a third-party dealer and having it shipped to the funeral home for use. Cheaper does not always mean inferior, so it’s important to shop around when it comes to caskets.

Cost: the average casket costs $2,000, but materials like mahogany, bronze, or copper can run as high as $10,000.

Burial vaults or grave liners

These concrete or metal structures are meant to encase the casket to prevent the ground from caving in as the casket deteriorates over time.

Cost: between $700 and $1,000 but can run as high as $13,000


These grave identifiers can memorialize your loved one forever, but they can also be one of the more expensive funeral costs.

Cost: flat gravestones can cost between $1,500 and $2,000, but upright gravestones can run as high as $10,000


If you decide to forego the traditional embalming and burial, cremation can be a much cheaper option.

Cost: average $1,100

Death certificate

Although this is a minor cost in comparison with other items, you’ll still have to pay for each copy of the death certificate.

Cost: $10-$15


The price of an obituary varies by newspaper, but most will charge by the line, the word, or if an image is used.

Cost: $200-$500

Without any type of life insurance, a funeral can easily cost $10,000 or more. If you don’t have that kind of cash lying around, you may want to consider a final expense policy to help pay for the costs of a funeral and burial. Search here to find a final expense policy that’s right for you and your loved ones.