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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Cremation

Cremation Cost


How Much Does Cremation Cost?

 
average costCremation: $500-$4,000high costComplete Funeral Package: $2,000-$9,000+
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Cremation uses intense heat (around 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) to reduce a dead body to ashes. Cremated remains are sterile and pose no health hazard. They can be placed in a niche in a cemetery or church, buried, scattered or kept at home in a memorial urn.

Typical costs:

  • Having a funeral home, mortuary or crematory handle a simple direct cremation with no visitation, funeral or other service can cost $500-$4,000 but averages $1,000-$2,500. A direct cremation package usually includes transportation, brief storage of the body, document processing (permits, death certificate), a container (usually cardboard) for the body prior to and during cremation, and a basic container (cardboard or plastic) for the ashes. For example, CremationOptions.com[1] offers a basic cremation package without viewing or ceremony for $700-$1,300 (not including document processing or permit fees), and Nosek-McCreery Funeral Cremation & Green Services[2] in Ohio offers direct cremation packages starting around $2,100, including documents and permits.
  • Embalming is not required with cremation unless the body will be on display, or if there will be a long delay between death and cremation. If embalming is done, it can cost $200-$700 or more. See How Much Does Embalming Cost.
  • The body must be in a container when it is cremated. A simple unlined and unfinished container or casket starts around $20-$250; cardboard or softwood caskets covered with fabric cost $200-$1,000; and a hardwood casket can be $1,200-$8,000. See How Much Does a Casket or Coffin Cost.
  • Total costs for a traditional complete funeral package (casket, embalming, visitation/viewing, funeral service, hearse and urn) with cremation (rather than burial of the body) can be $2,000-$6,000. That increases to $6,000-$9,000 or more for a larger ceremony or with the choice of a more expensive casket, additional flowers or other options. Strike Funeral Homes[3] in Minnesota estimates that cremation with a ceremony costs $2,190-$4,785, not including a casket (which start at $775).
  • Total costs also depend on the disposition of the ashes after cremation. See How Much Do Cremation Urns Cost and How Much Does Spreading Ashes Cost. A niche in a mausoleum can be $350-$2,500 or more. Fees for placing the urn in the niche, keeping records, etc. can add $150-$750, depending on whether it's in a public or private cemetery. Burying cremation ashes can cost $800-$2,500 or more for the burial plot. See How Much Does a Cemetery Plot or Gravesite Cost.
  • Total costs average $1,000-$2,500 for cremation with no ceremony; $3,000-$5,000 for cremation, a memorial service and informal scattering of the ashes; or $6,500-$16,500 or more for a full traditional funeral including visitation with an open casket, followed by cremation, a fancy urn and placement in a mausoleum or urn burial site.
Related articles: Spreading Ashes, Cremation Urns, Burials at Sea, Funeral Service, Funeral

What should be included:
  • During cremation, the body is placed into a casket or container, which is then put in a cremation chamber where it is exposed to direct heat and flame for two to four hours. The resulting ashes and bone fragments are run through a processor, creating an even, powder-like texture that is usually between light grey and white in color. The final ashes (sometimes referred to as "cremains") usually weigh from three to nine pounds. The National Funeral Directors Association answers FAQs about the cremation process[4] .
Additional costs:
  • In some areas a county medical examiner must approve all cremations; this can cost $25-$100.
  • Heart pacemakers or other medical devices must be removed before cremation because they can explode under extreme heat. Fees can be $50-$125 for removing and disposing of a pacemaker.
  • There may be charges for outside services, such as a published newspaper obituary (optional, and the cost varies from free to several hundred dollars, depending on length and the publication), copies of the death certificate ($6-$15 per copy) or flowers. See How Much Do Funeral Flowers Cost.
  • Low-cost cremation packages may include only the services of the funeral home but not the actual cremation fee, which can add another $100-$500.
Discounts:
  • Search the Funeral Consumers Alliance for a nonprofit funeral or memorial society[5] , which may have negotiated a discounted cremation package with a local crematory.
  • Most veterans of US military service and their qualified dependents are entitled to free burial in a Veterans Administration cemetery (space permitting); this includes cremated ashes. Details about eligibility are available from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Families who care for the body themselves, provide their own casket/container and deal directly with a crematory can expect to pay $100-$500 for just the cremation process, with prices dependent on local rates and whether the deceased was an adult or an infant. This price range typically includes a basic container (cardboard or plastic) for the ashes, but generally does not include related costs such as transportation of the body to the crematory, obtaining required paperwork or the final disposition of the ashes.
Shopping for cremation:
  • Caring.com explains the typical steps to arrange for a cremation[6] . Get several estimates, and be clear exactly what is and isn't included.
  • Most funeral homes do not provide on-site cremations and instead contract with a crematory. When arranging for a cremation, ask where the cremations are done, the average time between receiving the body and cremation, and how the cremated remains are returned if an urn is not provided. Cremation.com[7] lists funeral homes and mortuaries that provide cremation services. Or search for local funeral homes with the National Funeral Directors Association or the Selected Independent Funeral Homes[8] , or at TheFuneralSite.com.
  • Cremation societies are for-profit companies that charge a membership fee and promise low-cost cremations to their members. The Funeral Consumers Alliance notes some specific complaints about some for-profit cremation societies[9] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.cremationoptions.com/Simple_Cremation_without_Memorial_Ceremony.asp
  2.  www.nosek-mccreeryfuneral.com/Funeral_Price_List_38022.html
  3.  www.strikefuneral.com/cremation-cost-examples/
  4.  nfda.org/index.php/planning-a-funeral/cremation/160
  5.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
  6.  www.caring.com/articles/how-to-arrange-a-cremation
  7.  www.cremation.com/index.php
  8.  www.selectedfuneralhomes.org/
  9.  www.funerals.org/newsandblogsmenu/blogdailydirge/89-all-about-neptune
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