Dying’s expensive. Average cost of a funeral now £3,693
For the 11th year in a row, the average cost of a funeral in the UK rose and now stands at £3,693. That puts the combined average cost of a burial and cremation funeral, almost 3% up on last year and a staggering 88% up on a decade ago. If things carry on like this, by 2020 the average cost of a funeral could have risen to as much as £4,620.
How the cost of dying adds up
SunLife’s 9th latest Cost of Dying report revealed that whilst funeral costs are up, the total cost of dying – made up of the elements shown below – is down by £300 mainly due to a fall in the cost of administering an estate.
Steep rise in the amount spent on the send off
Our research into funeral costs also revealed a sharp rise in the amount we’re spending on the extra elements that make the funeral, a proper send off, things like flowers, the wake and a memorial. This figure now stands at £2,000 - up almost 10% on 2014.
What stands out particularly is the cost of a memorial - £862 on average – 12% up on last year and this makes up over 40% of the total amount spent on extras. Perhaps as funerals become more personal, more unusual and elaborate ways to remember the person, are being chosen, which adds to the cost, but it’s hard to say for certain. On the flipside, as food prices have fallen, so has the average spent on catering, down 5% on last year at £354.
The cost of a funeral differs across the country
Funeral costs can vary significantly from region to region. Unsurprisingly, London retains the title as the most expensive place to die, with the average cost of a funeral totalling £5,068. A staggering £1,375 over the national average and even 34% more than the south west, where funeral costs are the second highest.
At the other end of the scale is Northern Ireland, where the average cost of a funeral is £3,203 almost £500 less than the national average and over 55% cheaper than the capital.
Slight rise in people planning to help with funeral costs
The good news is 59% are making financial plans now to help pay for their own funeral when the time comes – up slightly on last year. Of these, over 80% had made provisions to cover the whole funeral cost, over a quarter of whom had bought a prepaid funeral plan.
For the people left behind, whose loved ones hadn’t made arrangements to help pay funeral costs, finding the money sometimes proved tough. 1 in 6 had difficulty meeting funeral costs with around half of them having to borrow money to pay the funeral bill.
Talking about our funeral plans
Believe it or not, only 1% of us know exactly what a loved one would want their funeral arrangements to be. 1 in 6 of us have not made any funeral plans because we’re uncomfortable talking about death. Not talking about our funeral wishes means the people we leave behind may never know if the funeral arrangements they made were the right ones. That’s why we’ve created the Perfect Send-Off planner, to make it easier to document your funeral wishes ready for when the time comes.
SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.