Search thousands of topics on CostHelper.com

BROWSE ALL TOPICS >> appliances babies & children  cars  consumer electronics health & personal care home & garden personal finance  pets  schools small business weddings
CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Funerals > Embalming

Embalming Cost


How Much Does Embalming Cost?

 
 average costMedium: $200-$700 
post E-mail post Post  

Embalming is a chemical process used to slow the decomposition of a dead human body. It is usually optional, particularly if the body is not going to be on public display and if the burial or cremation will be done within a week of the death. Even when embalmed, a body will eventually decompose.

Typical costs:

  • Embalming is done by funeral homes or mortuaries and can cost $200-$700, depending on local rates and the size and condition of the body. Embalming a body that has been autopsied or has extensive injuries often costs more than embalming an uninjured and intact body.
  • Typically the embalming fee does not cover the related tasks of washing, dressing, cosmetically preparing the body and placing it in the casket. These charges can add another $95-$400 or more, depending on the local rates and the amount of cosmetic restoration needed, bringing the total cost to $295-$1,100.
  • For example, Magnolia Funeral Home[1] in Louisiana charges $325-$525 for embalming and $125 for other body preparation work, or $325-$650 total; Mueller-Bies Funeral Home in Minnesota lists $490 for embalming and $185 for other preparation, or $490-$675 total; and Ocean Grove Memorial Home[2] in New Jersey shows an average sample price of $945 for embalming and all other preparation.
Related articles: Casket, Funeral Service, Gravesites, Funeral

What should be included:
  • When a body is embalmed, it is drained of blood and gases, and chemicals are used to temporarily slow decomposition. (The other option is to refrigerate the body until it is buried or cremated.) The American Society of Embalmers provides a brief overview of the embalming process[3] .
  • Embalming became more common in the United States during the Civil War, when the war dead were embalmed before being shipped long distances. The National Museum of Funeral History provides a history of modern embalming[4] .
  • State laws differ, but generally embalming is only legally required when: the body will be transported from one state or country to another by airplane or train; if there is more than a specific length of time (usually a week, but it varies by state) between the death and the burial or cremation of the body; or if death was caused by a communicable disease and embalming is likely to slow the spread of that disease (a rare situation). Under federal law, known as the Funeral Rule[5] , embalming can't be done without prior written permission from the person responsible for making the final arrangements for the body. The Federal Trade Commission provides an overview of the Funeral Rule[6] .
  • It's possible to have a private family viewing without embalming (the body will be kept refrigerated) but many funeral homes require embalming if there is any sort of public viewing. A combination of embalming and cosmetic enhancements can make a dead body more attractive and life-like for public viewing as part of a visitation or wake, or for an open casket funeral. Some funeral industry experts argue that viewing the body[7] after it has been embalmed and cosmetically prepared has a beneficial effect on mourners, giving them comfort and closure. However, the nonprofit Funeral Consumer Alliance[8] argues that embalming uses harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment, and in many cases is an unnecessary expense.
  • Embalming is either strongly discouraged or prohibited in some Jewish, Muslim and Baha'i faiths, according to the nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance[9] .
Shopping for embalming:
  • A local nonprofit funeral or memorial society[10] can help determine if embalming is necessary, and will provide information about all aspects of the process of arranging for the final disposition of a body.
  • Each funeral home is required to give anyone inquiring about costs with a general price list (GPL) as specified by federal law. The nonprofit Funeral Consumers Alliance explains how to read a funeral home price list[11] , including possible pitfalls.
  • Funeral homes and mortuaries generally offer the same services at similar prices. The difference is that funeral homes do not offer cremation on site and in most places mortuaries can offer on-site cremation. Search for local companies with the National Funeral Directors Association or the Selected Independent Funeral Homes[12] , or at TheFuneralSite.com.
  • Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau[13] .
post E-mail post Post  
CostHelper News


7 Ways to Stretch Your Reduced Food Budget
End of the year budgets are tight for everyone, especially in this economy.It's especially hard for the millions of Americans who depend on government programs like food stamps to help make ends meet. || Posted November 11 2013


7 Lesser-Known Discounts for the 50+ Crowd
As they age, members of the Baby Boomer generation don't like to admit that they're senior citizens, but they love getting discounts. It's kind of a quandary, because some of the best deals available are reduced prices for older folks. || Posted October 21 2013

‣ All CostHelper Blog Posts


What People Are Paying - Recent Comments


 

Comment On Your Experience With Embalming
 
Subject:  *
Amount Spent:  *
Funeral Home/Mortuary:   
Comments: 
Purchased:  Year: 
City:  * State:  *
 
Information about you:
Email:  * Email addresses are not displayed.
Name:  This is the name we'll display with your post.
me on this computer
*=required field.
 



External Resources:
  1.  www.magnoliafuneralhome.com/2010_GPL.pdf
  2.  www.ogmhognj.com/PrInfABurialW.htm
  3.  www.amsocembalmers.org/docs/embalming-process.pdf
  4.  www.angelfire.com/rebellion2/acwundertaker/history1.html
  5.  www.ftc.gov/bcp/rulemaking/funeral/index.shtm
  6.  www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0070-shopping-funeral-services
  7.  www.amsocembalmers.org/docs/viewing.pdf
  8.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/funeral-arrangements/48-what-you-should-kno...
  9.  www.funerals.org/faq/48-what-you-should-know-about-embalming
  10.  www.funerals.org/affiliates-directory
  11.  www.funerals.org/frequently-asked-questions/funeral-arrangements/28-arrangements/47-how...
  12.  www.selectedfuneralhomes.org/
  13.  www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/
More Personal Finance Topics
Check Out All Costs for Personal Finance How Much Does Closing a Home Cost? How Much Does a Traffic Ticket Attorney Cost? How Much Do Funeral Flowers Cost?

Search Thousands of Topics on CostHelper.com

 
Today's Featured Cost Articles

About CostHelper
CostHelper is based in Silicon Valley and provides consumers with unbiased price information about thousands of goods and services. Our writers are experienced journalists who adhere to our strict editorial ethics policy.

CostHelper Community
Sinus Infections - Steroid shot and sent home
Paid: 2753.00
I woke up having breathing problems. I went to nearby non-hospital THH office. Nurse took blood pressure and temperature. Dr came in the room and spent less than 10 minutes and stated I had sinus infection... [more]
-Bill Moore
Emergency Room Visit Cost
Mold Testing Pacific Palisades, CA
Paid: 800.00
It cost us 800. We were pleased with Knight Environmental consulting who we hired. They were very thorough. Friendly and respectful of our home.They checked everywhere in our 7000ft home and tested the air... [more]
-AMY SCHWARTZ
Mold Inspection Cost
extraction
Paid: 739.00
Had 3 extractions yesterday. The cost was 304.00 each extraction but with some kind of insurance plan you could get 30% off. The plan was 75.00 annually and came at a huge savings on the work as my final cost with the plan was 814... [more]
-Dental mess
Tooth Extraction Cost
McHenry MD - Suburban Propane
Paid: 3300.00
Just got my bill and in 5 weeks we supposedly used 356 gals. Hard to do when you are not there the entire time and you turned the thermostat to 60. They charged $.35 more per gallon then from 5 weeks ago. $3.42 per gallon... [more]
-Check your bill with Suburban
Propane Tank Cost
Laceration from stick
Paid: 25.00
Slipped and fell on a stick while running around on a hill, and recieved 2 lacerations on my right leg, one about an inch long and one about 2 inches long. Called my insurance asap (Kaiser) and they directed me to one of their Urgent Cares... [more]
-
Stitches Cost
Urinalysis was asked of me
Paid: 3920.00
This was supposed to cost $250. Total!$3,675. for a urinalysis. Not mentioned anywhere on ANY search was this required to get a card... [more]
-Nellie28
Medical Marijuana Card Cost