The Cost of a Funeral in Australia

cost-of-a-funeralHow much does a funeral typically cost?

A 2017 study by finder.com.au found the average funeral cost in Australia to be $7,075*. The actual 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 burial. A basic burial can cost around $4,500.
  • A basic cremation. A basic cremation costs around $3,600.
  • Elaborate funerals. At the other end of the spectrum, an elaborate funeral can cost up to $15,000 or more.

But how much will MY funeral cost?

Find out how to get an exact calculation

Location, location: Costs will vary depending on the city

Where you have your funeral will likely influence the cost of your funeral. We looked at the average cost of funeral in each state and found that Perth was the most expensive Australian city, with the average ceremony costing $7,764.

RankCityAverage funeral cost*
1Perth$7,764
2Sydney$7,621
3Melbourne$7,586
4Brisbane$7,259
5Adelaide$6,657
6Hobart$6,508
7Canberra$6,131

Total average

$7,075
RankCityAverage burial cost
1Sydney$8,225
2Perth$8,082
3Melbourne$7,961
4Brisbane$7,611
5Adelaide$6,992
6Hobart$6,752
7Canberra$6,399
Total average$7,432
RankCityAverage cremation cost
1Perth$7,607
2Melbourne$7,402
3Sydney$7,324
4Brisbane$7,086
5Adelaide$6,492
6Hobart$6,389
7Canberra$6,000
Total average$6,900

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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.

Basic funeral costs$ (AUD)
Service feefrom $2000
Removal of body$300
Preservation$210
Clergy fees$275
Organist$275
Advertising (death and funeral notice in newspapers and obituaries)$285
Extra cars (rough cost per car)$330
Flowers$100
Chapel fee$180
Burial$ (AUD)
Coffin/casketUp to $10,000+
Cemetery or grave fees (This includes opening and can include the plaque)From $3500+
Re-opening feeFrom $1800
Cremation$ (AUD)
Certificates for cremation$185
Cremation fees (This includes the use of a chapel)$950
Disposal of ashes$ (AUD)
Wall, niche, urn, rose gardenfrom $1200

These costs are estimates based on NSW State Library's 2011 study of funeral costs.

What's next?

Get quotes for funeral insurance or Continue reading our expense guide

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The amount you would like your family to receive to cover your funeral expenses. If you are not sure what costs that are involved in a typical funeral arrangement, it is advised to speak to an insurance consultant.
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Product details Maximum cover Maximum Entry Age Cooling-off
(days)
Real Guaranteed Funeral Insurance Flexi Plus
Real Guaranteed Funeral Insurance Flexi Plus
Receive up to $15,000 in funeral cover. Premiums reduce by 5% every 5 years you hold your Policy. $15,000 79 30 Get quoteMore info
Funeral Insurance
Funeral Insurance
Receive up to $15,000 in funeral cover to assist with your funeral bill and other unexpected expenses. $15,000 70 30 Get quoteMore info

How are Australians covering the cost of a funeral?

A destitute funeral is not how most of us would like to be remembered and yet some Australians are still neglecting to make plans to cover their funeral expenses. A finder.com.au survey found that 60% of Australians don't have a plan in place.

Financial plans to cover funeral?Proportion (%)
No60%
Has life insurance in place14%
Other means10%
Currently paying off a prepaid funeral plan4%
Already paid for it with a pre-paid funeral plan4%
Has funeral insurance in place8%

Results based on a June survey of 2,000 respondents.

So what options do I have?

You can use the following methods to easily cover your funeral expenses:

  • Saving for a funeral. One way is to open a high-interest savings account and contribute a small amount on a regular basis. If you tell a close friend or loved one about the account, the money for your funeral will be there when needed.
  • Pre-paid funeral plan. You can arrange this with your local funeral director and you will need to pay a little each month until your funeral is covered. This will also allow you to make your preferred arrangements, so you’ll have the funeral you want when you die.
  • Funeral bond. You can also buy a funeral bond from a funeral director and make regular repayments. The money is invested and grows over time and you can’t use it for anything other than your funeral expenses.
  • Funeral insurance. This involves taking out a policy and paying regular premiums to maintain your cover. While some policies could cost you more than the cost of a funeral over time, if you look for an insurer who offers capped premiums and a pay-out guarantee, you will only pay the amount you want. Capped premiums mean that once you reach your chosen benefit amount, cover continues without the need for further payments. A pay-out guarantee ensures your dependants receive either the total premiums paid or the original sum insured, whichever is higher.

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What happens if you can’t pay for your funeral?

A funeral can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $15,000 plus, and if you die unexpectedly without some means of paying for your own funeral, your dependants or relatives will be left with the cost. Your family will need to pay this money upfront, so even if you have a death benefit in your super, it could take some time for it to be released, leaving your loved ones with an immediate bill of thousands of dollars.

What happens if your relatives can’t afford to pay for it either?

If your dependants or relatives are unable to find the money to pay for your funeral, the government will consider you a destitute person (a person with no money or assets) and will appoint a contracted funeral director to arrange your cremation or burial. The only exception is if you die in a hospital, in which case the hospital is responsible for the cost of your funeral or cremation.

The government-appointed funeral contractor is responsible for providing a casket and a hearse and arranging for the burial and a minister to attend. If you are buried, it will be in a common grave, with no identification other than a number. If you are cremated, your ashes will be placed in an urn and stored if not claimed.

Financial help if someone just passed away

If someone near to you passes away suddenly and you need help with paying for their funeral, there are several options available to you.

Why is it important to prepare for my funeral?

Dale Maroney from Walter Carter Funerals speaks about the importance of funeral planning.

Tips to reduce the cost of your funeral

You can reduce the cost of your funeral by following few of these key tips:
  • Avoid peak times. Weekends can incur additional costs.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of flowers are not needed. Small arrangements can also do the trick.
  • Only include necessary information in the death notices. Death notices may be charged based on the number of words
  • Get quotes from various funeral providers. This can be from funeral directors or cemeteries.
  • Consider a 'wake'. This can help save money in comparison to a caterer.
  • Get your quote itemised. Breakdown each expense so you know exactly what's being paid for.
  • Prepaid discount. Speak to your funeral director to see if they offer a discount for settling your account early.

Special types of funeral and costs

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.

Is funeral insurance enough cover the cost my funeral?

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).

How much will I pay for funeral insurance?

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 rangeCost estimates per annum
50 - 55 year olds$200 - $300
60 - 65 year olds$500 - $600
80 - 85 year olds$1000 - $1,200

Learn more about funeral insurance premiums

Will funeral insurance cost more than my funeral?

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.

You can read more about the cost of funeral insurance here.

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.

Compare a funeral insurance with an advisor and cover your funeral expenses


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