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Funeral costs in Australia

Average funeral costs vary across the country. Here's how much you can expect to pay for that final farewell.

Planning a funeral can be tough. But whether you're preparing your own service or arranging one for a relative, knowing the costs involved is an important first step.

This guide will walk you through the typical costs associated with a funeral in Australia and will offer advice on where you might be able to get some financial help.

How much does a funeral cost in Australia?

According to the government's Moneysmart website, private funerals typically cost somewhere in the region of up to $15,000 for an elaborate burial and $4,000 for a basic cremation.

If you can't afford to pay a funeral and the deceased person doesn't have enough money in their estate, the government will pay for a very basic funeral, which you'll still be able to attend.

Remember, the amount of money you spend on a person's funeral is in no way related to how much you love them or how much you'll miss them. Whether you spend $20,000 on a service or the state arranges the funeral, your loved one will still get a respectful send-off.

What costs are involved with a funeral?

Common costs associated with funerals include:

Funeral ExpenseStarting Price
Funeral director fee$3,000
Transfer of deceased to funeral home$300
Storage of deceased at funeral home$150
Preparation of deceased$200-$600
Embalming$600-$1,400
Coffins$800-$8,000
Death certificate$66
Cremation certificate$110
Cremation permit$110
Burial services (graveside service)$2,000
Cremation service (at crematorium)$600
Cremation service with chapel service$1,200
Celebrant$300
Family car$400
Flowers$200
Newspaper notice$200

*These prices are based on estimates given by funeral directors from across Australia and may vary due to a number of factors. We have tried to show the general starting price for these services based on our research.

How can I save on funeral costs?

First things first: there is nothing wrong with a cheap funeral. It's important to remember that the cost of a service has no relationship with how much a person was loved or will be missed. In fact, heaps of Aussies don't want an expensive send-off.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce costs while still having a respectful send-off.

  • Avoid peak times. Weekend services can be more expensive than funerals held on a weekday.
  • Choose a cremation. Burials are more expensive than cremations.
  • Reduce extras. Keep flowers, funeral cars and newspaper notices to a minimum.
  • Compare providers. Get quotes from various funeral providers and ask for price lists.

Should I get funeral insurance?

Lots of Aussies, particularly seniors, take out funeral insurance so their families can focus on arranging a fitting farewell, rather than worrying about the cost of a service.

You pay a monthly fee and in exchange, your family receives a lump sum when you die, to cover the cost of your funeral. It typically suits people who struggle to save independently or can't find an affordable life insurance policy.

Remember, if you have a funeral insurance policy for a long time, you might end up spending more on premiums than you would have on a funeral. Thankfully, lots of insurers have a value promise, which means they'll pay out the same amount you put in or more, as long as you have your policy for at least 12 months.

Name Product Maximum cover Maximum entry age Average claims acceptance rate Average claim time Sum Insured Expiry age
Suncorp Funeral Insurance
$15,000
80
99.70%
0.6 months
$3,298 million
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Get a 5% discount when you add another adult to the same policy + get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
Real Funeral Cover
$15,000
79
99.30%
0.8 months
$1,926 million
100th birthday
Get back 10% of premiums you've paid after your 12-month policy anniversary – as part of The Real Reward programme.
Apia Funeral Insurance
$15,000
80
99.70%
0.6 months
$3,366 million
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Take out a new Apia Funeral Insurance policy and get $100 eGift card after your first 4 months of cover. T&Cs apply. Ends June 30, 2024.
Seniors Funeral Insurance
$15,000
79
99.30%
0.8 months
$1,926 million
100th birthday
Get up to $15,000 in funeral cover, including an extra 25% bonus cover when you turn 85.
Insuranceline Funeral Insurance
$15,000
80
99.70%
0.6 months
$3,366 million
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Protect your family with an Insuranceline policy and you can go into the draw for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card. New Customers only, T&Cs apply. Competition entries close on 31 July 2024.
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How can I pay for a funeral?

If you want to be able to cover the cost of your own funeral, there are lots of ways to do it:

  • Prepay. Most funeral directors let you prepay and even arrange your own funeral. However, if the company goes bust, you might not be able to get your money back.
  • Savings. Put some money away every month with the aim of building a lump sum that your family can use for funeral costs.
  • Superannuation. Your family may be able to use any money that's left in your super to pay for your funeral. However, it can take a while to access, so they might have to pay upfront first.
  • Funeral bonds. An investment through a friendly society or life insurer. Funds are exempt from the pension income test but the funeral director may keep anything your family doesn't spend.

What happens if you can't afford a funeral?

If you or your family can't afford a funeral, don't worry, you won't have to go into debt just to pay for a respectful service. Usually, the state will pay for a basic cremation and funeral. Your loved ones will still be able to attend and collect the ashes.

Can I get financial help to pay for a funeral?

Maybe. There are lots of different ways Australians can access financial help in order to pay for a funeral – some might apply to your situation, while others won't:

  • Local health district. You can apply to your local health district for help if you're responsible for a funeral but are in financial hardship. However, any assistance will be provided after the funeral has taken place.
  • Government benefits. You may be able to claim a bereavement payment if you and your partner receive a government allowance and your partner dies or if you receive a carer's allowance for an adult who dies. This isn't specifically designed for funeral costs, but it can help.
  • Department of Veteran Affairs. If the deceased is a veteran, you may be able to get help with funeral expenses from the Australian Government Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA).
  • Registered clubs. Some associations, including the Rotary Club and the Returned and Services League (RSL), may pay a small funeral benefit to help with the cost of a member's funeral. Trade unions may also pay a benefit.
  • Low interest loans. There are a range of low-interest loans available on the market and even a no interest loan scheme (NILS), which is managed by a community organisation. Avoid costly payday lenders if you can.

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