Is Cremation More or Less Expensive Than a Burial?

Rick Fraser
Submitted by UrnAdmin on Tue, 11/15/2016 - 16:11

There is quite a lot of variation in the costs associated with handling a person’s final remains. Many of those expenses depend on the choices they make when they plan for a funeral or memorial, as well as decisions made by the family after the fact. However, it is undeniably true that cremation is less expensive than a traditional burial, largely on account of the options available in the maintenance or disposal of cremated remains.

What Do Services Cost?

With a traditional burial, there are a number of fees the family must pay for the handling of the body and the burial itself. The National Funeral Directors Association estimates that a funeral with a viewing and burial included has median costs around $7,200. The estimate involves a casket, embalming, use of facilities for a viewing or funeral ceremony, a hearse and other services. It does not include the expense for a burial plot, vault or headstone. These purchases may increase the final sum by several thousand dollars, especially if the person had not prepaid for any of it.

How is Cremation Less Expensive?

There are some common fees between cremation and burial, but there are also a few significant differences. If you choose to have a viewing prior to the cremation, you must pay for embalming and preparation of the body, rent a casket and pay the funeral home or other venue for access to services. However, if you opt for direct cremation, where the body is cremated prior to any family services like a funeral or memorial, you may not need to pay for embalming or casket rental. Even custom-made urns cost much less than the average $2,400 for a metal casket. You could have a lovely memorial service at a funeral home after a direct cremation and ultimately spend as much as $4,000-$5,000 less than a burial, once all fees are paid.

Nobody wants to think about money while they plan for the final rest of a loved one. However, if you have a tight budget, you must maintain it. Cremation is an excellent choice that offers the ultimate respect to the person who has passed, without leaving a significant financial burden on their loved ones.