Direct cremation

Funeral Costs: How Much Does an Average Direct Cremation Cost?

The average cost of a direct cremation through a funeral home is between $1,600 and $3,000.  Costs can run as high as $5,500 if you purchase a casket to be used in the cremation.

The average cost of a direct cremation through a crematory is between $1,000 and $2,200.  Again, costs can be significantly more if you cremate the body in an expensive casket.

There are two basic ways to arrange for direct cremation: through a funeral home or directly through a crematory.  A crematory is a business that only performs cremation services.

Generally speaking, most funeral homes do not perform cremations themselves.  Instead, they contract out their cremation services to a crematory and include the crematory's fees as part of the funeral home's bill.  Many times the funeral home will add a separate handling fee to the crematory's charges.

This means it's usually less expensive to arrange direct cremation through the crematory.  Doing so allows you to eliminate any extra fees from the funeral home.

What is Direct Cremation?

Direct cremation is a disposition method where the body is taken directly from the place of death to the crematory and then returned to the family, without any ceremony or visitation. Aside from scientific donation, this is often the most affordable disposition option.

There are three main reasons people choose cremation over body burial:

    • it's less expensive
    • it saves land
    • it provides increased mobility (i.e. it is easy to transport / relocate cremains)

A point of clarification before we get started: cremation replicates the same process that a buried body eventually undergoes.  Over time, a buried body decomposes and ends up as ashes - just like what happens through cremation.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Cremation?

Direct Cremation Advantages

Direct cremation offers an affordable alternative to traditional body burial.

While direct cremation can significantly reduce funeral home costs, you can reap additional financial benefits from the cemetery and headstone dealer.  If you choose not to bury the cremated remains - and many people do not - you can eliminate many items that make the traditional funeral so expensive.

Here is a list of costs you can eliminate by choosing direct cremation:
    • expensive casket
    • embalming
    • funeral home staff and facilities charge
    • cosmetic and hair dressing charges
    • funeral chapel or church fees
    • viewing or visitation charges
    • transportation fees (hearse, flower car, utility vehicle, etc.)
    • burial plot or mausoleum crypt
    • vault or grave liner
    • grave opening and closing costs
    • headstone or grave marker

Cremation Costs: Everything You Wanted To Know About Cremations

How much does a cremation cost?

Depending on where you live, direct cremations through a funeral home can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. If you choose to proceed with cremation through a crematory, the cost will between $1,000 and $2,200.

If you choose to have a viewing, casket, or a funeral service, the cost will be substantially higher.

Sometimes funeral homes will hire a third-party crematory to cremate the body. This could cost you about $2,000 to $4,000 (and that can be an unpleasant surprise if you weren’t aware of it). As a result, call your funeral service provider and check if it’s included in the quoted price.

Burial vs Cremation Costs Infographic

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Cremated Remains: 7 Insanely Cool Things You Can Do With Them

Cremated remains, which are commonly mistaken as "ashes," are often the only physical remains of a person after their cremation.  People are all too familiar with the idea of a porcelain urn  sitting on the mantle above the fireplace, but some might want to celebrate the life of "Grandma" differently.

Since every life is unique, why does every ending have to be the same?  The following companies may seem odd, but they all help to shape the view of death and mourning. Lives should be celebrated, and anything that helps do that should be taken seriously. So here are 7 of the most creative things you can do with cremated remains.

Choosing Lower-Priced Funeral Options

Choosing certain types of funeral or cremation arrangements can eliminate many unnecessary funeral costs.  Choosing wisely will prevent you from being charged for lots of “extras” no one told you about.

Since most families do not plan funerals very often, they usually don't realize what's included (or excluded) in the decisions they make.  All too often a family simply agrees to the funeral director's recommendations - only to end up surprised when their final bill is 30% higher than expected.

Even though many of the goods and services offered by a funeral home are priced on an individual basis, certain selections you make will automatically trigger additional costs.  Unfortunately, most families don't find out about these additional costs until after the service is over and they get the funeral director's bill.

What is a Cremation with Services?

This article explains cremation with services.  Families choosing cremation have two options: direct cremation or cremation with services.

Cremation with services often includes elements similar to what you would find in a traditional funeral; however, instead of a casketed body serving as the focal point of ceremonies, the cremated remains are the centerpiece of a memorial service.

With cremation the body is exposed to high heat and reduced to the consistency of sand.  In the case of cremation with services, the cremation itself could occur after a traditional funeral has been held or the body could be cremated first and the cremains used as the focal point during a memorial service.

A memorial service is any type of service that commemorates the life of the deceased while an urn containing the cremains (i.e. ashes) is in the room.  A funeral service is any type of service that commemorates the life of the deceased while the casketed body is in the room.

Depending on the timing of cremation, the body may need to be embalmed.  If the body is cremated before any type of formal ceremony is held, embalming is usually not necessary.  If cremation takes place after the body is viewed, embalming is usually required.

Understanding Funeral Home Services

Many people want to know what services are offered by a funeral home.  Funeral homes, cemeteries, and memorial dealers all play an important role in caring for a deceased family member.  However, funeral homes normally handle the actual funeral or memorial service.

Different funeral home services

But not all funeral services are like.  In fact, funeral homes offer a range of services designed to accommodate different wishes and budgets.

Here are the most common types of services offered at most funeral homes:

    •  traditional funeral service
    • immediate burial
    • direct cremation
    • cremation with services
    • donation
    • memorial service
    • graveside service
    • private service