- Funeral costs have risen 4.7% in a year and more than doubled in past 15
- A direct cremation costs less than half the price of a funeral
- Cost of direct cremations have fallen 6.7% to £1,712 on average
The national average of a basic funeral has risen for the 15th year in a row and now costs £4,271 according to SunLife’s 2018 Cost of Dying research report, released today (September 10, 2018).
However, the cost of a direct cremation - where the body is taken away, cremated and the ashes returned to the family without a funeral service – are actually falling.
According to the Cost of Dying Report, the cost of a direct cremation – which is already the cheapest option - has bucked the trend and fallen 6.7% in the past year to an average of £1,712. This is £2,032 less than a standard cremation and £2,559 less than the average funeral.
|Region||Average Direct Cremation Cost 2017||Average Direct Cremation Cost 2018||Average Cremation Cost 2018||Average funeral cost 2018 (average of crems and burials)|
|South East & East of England||£2,194||£1,598||£3,840||£4,469|
|East and West Midlands||£1,536||£1,872||£3,625||£4,179|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||£1,518||£1,341||£4,079||£4,459|
|South West England||£1,976||£1,823||£4,365||£4,685|
|North West England||£1,454||£1,558||£3,564||£3,945||North East England||£1,627||£1,703||£3,798||£4,171||Northern Ireland||£2,065||£1,953||£3,222||£3,231||National average||£1,835||£1,712||£3,744||£4,271|
Direct cremations – a lack of awareness
However, despite being considerably cheaper, currently just 2% of cremations are direct cremations, but this could well be down to a lack of awareness rather than a lack of willing, as most of us don’t want a fuss.
In fact, 98% say they don’t want a lavish funeral, while 31% want our funerals to be as cheap as possible.
SunLife’s CEO Dean Lamble, says if direct cremations were more widely known, they would likely become much more popular:
Almost half (47%) of those who had recently organised a cremation had not heard of a direct cremation,” he says. “However, once they knew what it was, 19% said they would have considered it for the deceased and 44% said they would consider a direct cremation for their own funeral,
This suggests that the number of direct cremations is still relatively low because of a lack of awareness not a lack of willing.
Tattoos, jewellery, and fireworks – a celebration of life
SunLife’s Cost of Dying report shows that while we all have quite strong ideas about what type of funeral we would like to have, very few of us communicate these ideas to loved ones – 18% didn’t know any of the funeral preferences - just 1% knew all the wishes of the deceased.
The benefit of speaking to loved ones about what you want is that you can make certain aspects of the day really personal. Highly personalised funerals appear to be on the rise, with more and more people making special requests for their own funerals:
And with the average direct cremation costing significantly less than the average funeral cost, this can leave more money to organise a more personal celebration of the deceased’s life, providing the freedom do something more ‘unusual’ with the ashes.
Some examples from this year include:
- Turning ashes into glass
- Burying ashes on a football pitch
- Putting the ashes into fireworks
- Using ashes in tattoo ink for a tattoo
- Requesting everyone wear pink and drink prosecco at the wake
- Requesting everyone to be dressed as clowns
- Cow themed wake with a cow cake
SunLife’s research shows that most of us don’t want those we leave behind worrying about spending loads on our funeral. A funeral doesn’t need to cost thousands. A family might choose to have a direct cremation and a simple get together afterwards for their loved one. It is important that we talk about what we want with our loved ones to make sure everyone gets the perfect send-off.
Read the full Cost of Dying 2018 report
SunLife’s free funeral calculator can help you work out how much you might need to put aside for your own funeral, while SunLife’s Perfect Send Off tool is an easy way to record your funeral wishes for free.
For more information about this release, or for a full copy of the Cost of Dying Report and further breakdowns of the data, contact Kim Latham Kim.Latham@sunlife.co.uk 07496 310169 or Rachel Mason firstname.lastname@example.org 07759 147131