You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

How much does a funeral cost in the UK today?

Posted on 25 July 2019

SunLife’s Cost of Dying Report shows that the average cost of a UK funeral in 2018 was £4,271.

It also shows that the total cost of dying in 2018 was £9,204. (This includes the funeral, plus extras like the send-off and professional fees). That’s an all-time high.

In fact, since we started our yearly Cost of Dying Report in 2004, prices have been steadily increasing. And these costs look set to keep going up.

Read on for more about UK funeral prices, how they could affect you, and how you can plan ahead to help cover these costs.

How much does a burial, cremation and direct cremation cost?

Funeral TypeAverage cost (2018)
Burial £4,798
Cremation £3,744
Direct cremation £1,712

A burial is still the most expensive send-off, and direct cremation is still the most affordable option. (The cost of a direct cremation is actually down from 2017, when it would have set you back £1,835.)

What's the average cost of a funeral where I live?

Area in the UKAverage funeral cost (2018)
London £5,880
South West £4,685
South East & West £4,469
Yorkshire & The Humber £4,459
East & West Midlands £4,179
North East £4,171
Scotland £4,085
North West £3,945

As you can see, where you live can make a big difference in the cost of a funeral.

The main reason behind the difference in price is down to the average cost of burials. In 2018, it cost an average of £7,538 to be buried in London, while the cost is lowest in Northern Ireland at £3,240.

The price of cremations also went up in 8 out of 10 regions in 2018, with the South West overtaking London as the most expensive area at £4,365.

Why are funeral prices so high?

The cost of a funeral is usually made up of:

Basic funeral costsAverage cost
Funeral director's fees £2,595
Doctor's fees £164
Clergy or officiate fees £159
Cremation fees £832
Burial fees £2,174

And on top of this, there’s the cost of the send-off:

Additional funeral costsAverage cost
Memorial £824
Catering £362
Limo hire £264
Venue hire £210
Flowers £171
Order sheets/service cards £82
Funeral notice £76
Death notice £73
Total additional costs: £2,061

Along with professional fees, which add another £2,872 on average, these prices make up the total cost of dying: £9,204. This means that the average cost of a basic funeral went up by 4.7% in 2018.

How have funeral costs changed over the years?

Since we started our research in 2004, funeral costs have risen dramatically. If they continue to rise in the same way, the average cost of dying could reach over £10,000 in just three years’ time. So it helps to be prepared.

£6,698

2008

£7,098

2009

£6,812

2010

£7,248

2011

£7,114

2012

£7,622

2013

£8,427

2014

£8,126

2015

£8,802

2016

£8,905

2017

£9,204

2018

£9,394

2019

£9,656

2020

£9,918

2021

£10,179

2022

£10,441

2023

How can I get help with funeral costs?

With funeral prices being so high, the cost can come as a huge shock to loved ones.

In 2018, only 62% of people had put money aside for their funeral. And not even two thirds of these people had put enough aside to cover the whole funeral. So over a third of families had to make up the shortfall.

If you’re thinking about covering your own funeral costs, you could look into taking out over 50 life insurance or a funeral plan.

If you find yourself organising a funeral and don’t know how you’ll pay for it, there are ways you can get help:

  • Speak to the deceased's local council about a Public Health Funeral
  • Ask your funeral director for advice, and check if they accept any government/charity benefits that could help you
  • See our list of charities that may be able to offer advice and support
  • Check if you’re eligible for Funeral Expenses Payment (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or Funeral Support Payment (Scotland)
  • Speak to your bank or building society to see if they could settle the funeral bill from the deceased’s bank account
  • Get in touch with Citizens Advice to check the benefits you could be entitles to

Read our help with funeral costs article for more guidance.

How do I plan my funeral?

Planning your funeral doesn’t have to be stressful, for you or your family. Here are a few things that can really help take the pressure off:

And if you need help planning someone else’s funeral, here's some useful links to guides and organisations which can provide support and guidance.

Help with planning a funeral:

If you're using a funeral director, they will be able to help with most aspects of planning the funeral. But to help you get started, you can follow our step-by-step guide to funeral planning.

Choosing a funeral director:

Choose a funeral director who is a member of the organisations below. All members have pledged to and must abide by the highest set by the associations. You can search for members on their websites:

Or choose from this list of recommended funeral directors, which is updated regularly based on families feedback and experiences.

Arranging a funeral yourself:

You might choose to arrange the funeral without a funeral director. If you do, here are some organisations and links that could help.

Source: Cost of Dying report 2018

SunLife offers a range of straightforward and affordable products including over 50s life insurance, funeral plans, equity release, 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). 

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, Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Who provides the Funeral Plans?

Dignity Funerals Ltd arranges and provides the funeral services, registered office: 4 King Edwards Court, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B73 6AP (registered in England and Wales, No. 00041598). Dignity Funerals is not authorised or regulated for this activity by either the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority. Dignity Funerals Ltd is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

The life insurance policy that pays for your funeral will be provided by Phoenix Life Limited, trading as SunLife.

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 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.