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How we calculate funeral costs

Last updated 26th January by the SunLife Content Team
2 min read

Every year, SunLife commissions research into funeral costs with Critical Research, a leading market research company. This takes place between May and July and is published in our Cost of Dying Report the following January.

Working out average funeral costs

The average funeral costs used in our funeral cost calculator are based on two parts. First, the cost of a ‘basic’ funeral with a cremation or burial. And secondly, the cost of any extras chosen by you.

The average basic funeral cost is based on quotes from 100 funeral directors. We ask for these quotes to include:

  1. Funeral Director Services:
    1. Collection of the deceased from a 20/25 mile radius
    2. Care and dressing of the deceased
    3. Making arrangements – booking the crematorium, burial site and doctor, and dealing with all essential paperwork
    4. Use of the chapel of rest for viewing the deceased during working hours
    5. Transport of the deceased and family to and from the funeral site. Includes a hearse and one limousine, one director and four pall bearers
    6. A mid-range, oak veneer coffin
  2. Clergy or celebrant fees
  3. Doctors fees for certification (not required for a burial)
  4. Cost of the cremation or burial

The calculator gives an indication of funeral costs in your area, but actual costs will vary.

We get the average cost of extras chosen by you from a survey of 1,500 people who have recently organised a funeral. As these are optional extras, not every funeral organiser spent money on each thing. So some of these average costs are based on a small sample size, and could be less accurate than others.

Extra Cost What does this mean?
Funeral Flowers Floral tributes at the funeral service
Death Notice Notice placed in a newspaper to inform family and friends that someone has passed away
Funeral Notice Notice placed in a newspaper to inform family and friends when the funeral will take place
Additional Limousine A limousine is calculated in the basic funeral costs above, some people require more than one
Order Sheets An order of service for the funeral (often kept as a keepsake)
Memorial This can be a headstone, naming a bench after a loved one to internment of ashes
Catering for wake/funeral Food/drink for the reception following the service
Venue Hire A hall or similar to hold the funeral reception/wake

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