How much does a funeral typically cost?
The cost of a funeral will depend on factors such as whether you are being buried or cremated, the type of ceremony you have chosen and whether there are any special cultural or religious requirements. As a general rule of thumb:
- A basic cremation. A basic cremation costs around $1,200.
- A basic cremation with incidentals. The cost of the service, celebrant, urn and other incidentals bringing that closer to around $4,000.
- Elaborate funerals. At the other end of the spectrum, an elaborate funeral can cost $15,000 or more.
How do I calculate the exact cost of my funeral?
Itemise your funeral costs
Knowing the cost of your funeral can help you choose the appropriate benefit amount in your funeral insurance or the amount you'll need to save. To do this, you will need to decide on the kind of funeral you want and itemise the various costs involved.
These costs are estimates based on NSW State Library's 2011 study of funeral costs.
|Basic funeral costs||$ (AUD)|
|Service fee||from $2000|
|Removal of body||$300|
|Advertising (death and funeral notice in newspapers and obituaries)||$285|
|Extra cars (rough cost per car)||$330|
|Coffin/casket||Up to $10,000+|
|Cemetery or grave fees (This includes opening and can include the plaque)||From $3500+|
|Re-opening fee||From $1800|
|Certificates for cremation||$185|
|Cremation fees (This includes the use of a chapel)||$950|
|Disposal of ashes||$ (AUD)|
|Wall, niche, urn, rose garden||from $1200|
Not all funerals are the same. We live in a highly multicultural society and funerals catering for a variety of cultures and religions are now commonplace in Australia. These can include:
- Catholic services
- Anglican services
- Buddhist services
- Eastern Orthodox
- Hindu services
- Jewish services
- Muslim services
- Other traditional services
All of which have different requirements that can add to the cost of a funeral. An example is a traditional Chinese funeral which can take place over several consecutive days, adding significantly to the overall cost.
Funeral insurance will cover the cost of most funerals, providing a lump sum pay out of up to $30,000. Depending on the type of funeral you want, you may not require as much as this. In those cases you would choose a lower benefit amount equivalent to your estimated funeral costs (bearing in mind that prices will increase over time due to inflation).
The cost of your funeral insurance premiums will be determined by a number of factors including the amount of cover you opt for, your age, your gender, your smoking status and where you live. As a rough guide, the average premium in Australia is approximately:
|Age range||Cost estimates per annum|
|50 - 55 year olds||$200 - $300|
|60 - 65 year olds||$500 - $600|
|80 - 85 year olds||$1000 - $1,200|
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at funeral insurance in recent years is the fact that some people have ended up paying far more in premiums over the years than their actual funeral cost. This is quite possible, particularly with stepped premiums, which increase as you get older.
How do I make sure this never happens?
The insurance industry has responded to this by introducing a variety of measures designed to make funeral insurance more relevant and affordable. Many insurers now offer:
- Capped premiums. Once the amount you’ve paid in premiums equals the sum insured, your cover continues without the need to pay any further premiums.
- Pay-out guarantee. When you make a claim, you’ll receive the sum insured or the amount you’ve paid in premiums, whichever is greater.
- Value promise. Your premiums will never increase over time and may actually decrease, due to loyalty discounts every few years.
Dale Maroney from Walter Carter Funerals speaks about the importance of funeral planning.