The Cost of a Funeral in Australia

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 feefrom $2000
Removal of body$300
Clergy fees$275
Advertising (death and funeral notice in newspapers and obituaries)$285
Extra cars (rough cost per car)$330
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

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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.

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.

Why is it important to prepare for my funeral?

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

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

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