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How much does a funeral cost in the UK today?

Posted on 12 September 2017

Average funeral costs in the UK rise again to £4,078

According to our latest research the average cost of dying is now £8,905 – a 1.2% rise in a year and a rise of more than 50% since we first started tracking the cost of dying ten years ago.

Cost of dying increase

The average cost of a basic funeral now stands at £4,078, up nearly 5% since the 2016 Cost of Dying survey. However, while funeral costs are rising, the amount being spent on the ‘send-off’ has actually dropped for the second year in a row from £2,000, in 2015, to £1,976 in 2016 to £1,928 today. Could this suggest people have to spend less on the send-off because of the ever-rising funeral costs?

The total cost of dying is made up of the cost of a basic funeral, the send-off (flowers, venue hire, catering, limos, memorial etc.) and hiring a professional to administer the estate.

How cost of dying adds up

How the cost of dying adds up

Funeral costs make up the largest slice

Funeral costs are the largest slice of the overall cost of dying. The cost of a funeral is made up of the fees for the cremation or burial, the funeral director, the doctor and the person conducting the funeral. On average a burial funeral costs over £1000 more than a cremation funeral.

Average cost of a funeral in the UK

 Average cost
Basic funeral £4,078
Average cost of a burial £4,561
Average cost of a cremation £3,596

How much does a funeral cost in your area?

Average cost of a basic funeral by region

How much does a funeral cost in your region

The average cost of a funeral can vary dramatically depending on where we live. Calculate how much a funeral costs in your region

  • Londoners are once again forking out the most, with the average cost of a funeral working out at £5,951
  • The South East and East of England is the next most expensive region at £4,656
  • The South East and East of England also saw the biggest percentage increase in the average cost of a funeral, with costs up nearly 14% on 2016
  • Northern Ireland now has the lowest average cost of a funeral at £2,982, almost 27% below the national average
  • The North East has seen the smallest rise in funeral costs compared to 2016, at 4.7%

The cost of a burial varies most across regions

So why are average funeral costs so different across the country? According to our research, regional differences are heavily influenced by the average cost of having a burial funeral. The gulf in burial funeral costs between regions is almost £4,500 at its most extreme – costing an average £7,311 in London and £2,985 in Northern Ireland; with the UK average now standing at £4,561.

Regional burial costs

Regional cremation prices

The average price for a cremation is £3,596, much less than a burial. There’s also a less dramatic variation in cremation costs across the country, ranging from £4,591 in London to £3,049 in Wales.

Regional cremation costs

Direct cremations

Significantly cheaper than both a burial and traditional cremation is a direct cremation. A direct cremation is where the body is cremated immediately after death, without a funeral service. The average cost of a typical direct cremation in the UK is £1,835, almost half the cost of a standard cremation. There is a growing trend for direct cremations, which is thought is to be down to them being the more affordable option, which the deceased had asked for.

Average funeral costs - past, present and future

Since our first report in 2004, funeral costs in the UK have risen a staggering 112%. If they continue to rise at the same rate, by 2021 we’ll be forking out an average of £4,773 to cover the cost of a funeral.

Making funeral plans

With funeral costs as they are, making some financial plans to help pay your funeral costs can be a great help to those left behind, when the time comes. Whatever you do, it’s important to discuss your funeral plans, to make sure people know what to do when the time comes. To make this difficult task a little easier, use our Perfect Send-Off planner to record your funeral wishes ready for when they’re needed.

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, life insurance, equity release, pet insurance, home insurance, car insurance, ISAs and Will writing services.

Here's the information that you need to know about who we are and the other companies that we work with in order to provide our products and services.

Who are SunLife? 

Phoenix Life Limited trades as SunLife and is the provider of the Guaranteed Over 50 Plan, SunLife Insurance and the life insurance policy payment option for Funeral Plans. Phoenix Life Limited’s registered office is at 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 1016269). Phoenix Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 110418). As part of SunLife’s commitment to quality service and security, telephone calls may be recorded.

SunLife Limited distributes financial products and services and is a company limited by shares, registered office: 1 Wythall Green Way, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (registered in England, no. 05460862). SunLife Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and is entered on the Financial Services Register (registration no. 769427).

You can contact us by post at SunLife, PO Box 1395, Peterborough, PE2 2TR or by phone on 0800 008 6060.

If you choose to add Funeral Benefit Option to your Guaranteed Over 50 Plan the funeral services are arranged and provided by Dignity Funerals Limited. Dignity Funerals Limited is a company registered in England and Wales No. 00041598. VAT registered No. 486 6081 14. 4 King Edwards Court, King Edwards Square, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP. Telephone No. 0121 354 1557. Fax No. 0121 355 808. Part of Dignity plc. A British Company. Dignity is not authorised or regulated for this activity by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority but is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

The funeral services are arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd. Golden Charter Ltd are not required to be authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority in relation to funeral plans but are registered providers with the Funeral Planning Authority.

If you choose to pay for your funeral in one go, with a single payment, you will have a contract with Golden Charter. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

If you choose to pay for your funeral with a life insurance policy, the policy will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife. The funeral services will be arranged by a funeral director selected by Golden Charter Ltd.

Who provides My Smarter (ISA)?

My Smarter (ISA) is provided by Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register, registration No. 188832. Member of The Investment Association. Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ.

Who provides the Will writing services?

Hugh James is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA Number:303202).

The information contained on this website is based on Hugh James' understanding of the law of intestacy in England and Wales only as at April 2014. The law in Scotland and Northern Ireland is significantly different. This is for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

Who provides Family Life Insurance?

SunLife Family Life Insurance is provided by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details can be found on the Financial Services register (registration number 110002). Registered Office: Scottish Friendly House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow G2 4HJ. 

Who provides SunLife Pet Insurance

SunLife Pet Insurance is arranged and administered by BDML Connect Limited. BDML Connect Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (No. 309140). Registered in England and Wales Number 02785540. Registered Office: 45 Westerham Road, Bessels Green, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN13 2QB.

Who provides SunLife Home Insurance

SunLife Home Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.

Who provides SunLife Car Insurance

SunLife Car Insurance is arranged and administered by BISL Limited and underwritten by a panel of insurers. BISL Limited are an intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England no. 03231094. Registered office Pegasus House, Bakewell Road, Orton Southgate, Peterborough PE2 6YS.