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What is the Cost of Cremation vs Burial

There are several reasons why people choose cremation over a traditional burial. The cost of cremation vs burial is one reason. People, often rightly, assume that cremation costs less than a burial.

It is possible that a cremation can cost about one-third the price of a traditional burial, which often feels more reasonable for many people financially. Depending on what your wishes are with a burial service, costs can range from $5,000 to more than $10,000. Cremation costs today range between $1,300 to more than $3,000, depending on the type of service.

In order to understand the cost of cremation versus burial, it is important to know the different types of cremation service options and the costs associated with each. It is  good to understand the wide variety of end-of-life services available. Then, you can choose the ones that make the most sense for you and your loved one.

Cremation service options

Traditional cremation services generally feature more in-depth options than direct cremation services. Direct cremation is simply a disposition of human remains by cremation without any of the traditional funeral services, such as a viewing or a memorial ceremony.

Since traditional cremation includes similar services as a traditional burial, it often requires more staff and equipment than the simpler direct cremation services. Some of the services you may consider include:

Embalming

Embalming is not generally needed for cremation, but it is required when a family chooses a public service prior to cremation with an open casket present. Embalming services generally include washing, disinfecting, dressing, casketing and a variety of other body preparation tasks. Fees for body preparation may begin under $500, while standard embalming fees or embalming after an autopsy can cost more than $1,000.

Staff services

The price of crematorium or funeral home staff services vary based on the specific services chosen, but services often include: family consultation, authorization documentation, certificates, permits, and appropriate overhead costs. The costs of these services vary, as they may or may not be included in the pricing for specific  packages. Be sure to research or ask your provider what is included and what is an additional cost.

Urns, vaults, fiberboard option and caskets

Cremation urns range in cost from under $100 to more than $2,000, depending on the material and customization. You may also purchase a vault to surround the urn, though it is not required unless you are  burying the urn in a cemetery. Fiberboard is a lower cost option than a casket or vault, ranging from $150 to $800. While caskets are not required for cremation, if your family chooses to hold a public service with the body present, you will need one. Prices for caskets vary based on a variety of options. A more economical option may be to rent a casket for the viewing.

Other services and staffing

If you plan a church or house of worship service along with a cremation, this may require additional staffing to coordinate and direct the service, transportation, flowers, obituary placement and other options. If you decide to follow a more traditional burial service with the cremation, the pricing will start to mirror that of a traditional funeral. However, the costs still may be slightly lower, especially if your provider offers value package pricing options.

Weekend and holiday considerations

Many providers offer the option of holding a viewing, service or gathering on a weekend day or on a holiday. There will often be an additional charge for services during these times.

Options for gatherings and ceremonies

Pricing varies based on whether you choose to hold an immediate-family-only gathering or have a more traditional ceremony. Additional potential costs to consider include any fees for function rooms, catering and other costs associated with holding a gathering with friends and family members before, after or during a service.

Monuments and memorials

If you choose to include a special cremation memorial or monument at your loved one’s graveside, there are often additional costs associated with these services and merchandise. Granite monuments and bronze memorials typically start at about $200.

Transporting and/or scattering cremated remains

If a loved one dies out of town, out of state or overseas, there may be an additional cost to ship the cremated remains to the site where they will be buried. Costs depend on whether the remains are being shipped domestically or internationally. Scattering of cremated remains by a third party is an option, and prices depend on the organization and where the remains are being scattered. You can ask your provider for options and recommendations.

You may now find the cost of cremation vs burial is not as simple as originally envisioned. While cremation often is a lower-cost alternative to traditional burial and funeral services, this may not always be the case. Your provider will give you a list of available services and pricing, so you can make the best choice for your wishes and your budget.

This blog post answers the questions:

  • What are the costs associated with cremation services?
  • What is the cost of cremation vs burial?

What are the costs associated with cremation services?

Some of the costs include, but are not limited to: embalming, staff services, urns, vaults, casket rental, flowers, transportation, event services and weekend and holiday considerations.

What is the cost of cremation vs burial?

It is possible that a cremation can cost about one-third the price of a traditional burial, which often feels more reasonable for many people financially. Depending on what your wishes are with a burial service, costs can range from $5,000 to more than $10,000. Cremation costs today range between $1,300 to more than $3,000, depending on the type of service.
In order to understand the cost of cremation versus burial, it is important to know the different types of cremation service options and the costs associated with each. It is good to understand the wide variety of end-of-life services available. Then, you can choose the ones that make the most sense for you and your loved one.

Find out how much cremation costs.

Guide to Cremation Costs

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