by David Knight | Updated:

cost of cremation

Why discuss how much it costs for cremation on an insurance site?  Well, the two really do go hand in hand given the fact that cremation is one of two burial choices we have here in the US.  When people are looking into end of life planning, there are detailed questions that come up with regard to whatever choice we make.  So how much does cremation cost?  In the most general terms, it can cost anywhere from as little as $500 to as much as $8,000 for cremation.  It all depends on a number of factors mostly based on family wishes which we’ll look into.  For a full discussion about cremation, see our cremation guide.

How much does the cheapest cremation cost?

cremation urn

The least expensive cremation that can be performed is what’s called a direct cremation with a crematory.  This is where the crematory itself handles the body from time and place of death until the cremated remains are returned to the family.

Direct cremation with a crematory

Cost: $600 to $1,200 depending on your State and local requirements.

This option is popular not only for the price but also for the peace of mind for family members not being under pressure to quickly plan a dignified ceremony and burial for the deceased.  Once the cremated remains are returned to the family, planning can then begin for a more meaningful memorial service, make a decision on what to do with the remains, etc.  Some of the services included are:

o             Transportation of the deceased from the place of death to the crematory

o             Funeral director services

o             Refrigeration (if necessary) before cremation

o             Simple cremation container (usually made of wood or hard cardboard) An expensive casket is not necessary.  A simple shroud may be all that’s needed which is provided.

o             The cremation process

o             A temporary container to return the cremains to the family

o             Forms, authorizations, permits are filed and handled

o             Embalming is not required (available if necessary)

How much does cremation cost if I go through a funeral home?

cremation cost choices

Burial costs get a little higher when you involve a funeral home here but it may be well worth it.

Direct Cremation Handled by A Funeral Home

Cost: $1,700 to $3,700

This option contains all the services mentioned above as well as adds a step with the funeral home handling and coordinating the body disposition with the crematory.  Sometimes the funeral home has their own crematory and that will make the process quicker for the family.  There are fees added for the funeral home services and that may be money well spent if family members aren’t quite up to handling details of an unexpected death.

How much does cremation cost if I want to add a memorial service?

cremation memorial service

This is typically what most families do that have loved ones wanting to be cremated.  You can have a cremation with a memorial service afterward or an option like a cremation funeral.  Both options can give family members a chance for closure and pay their final respects.

Cremation Memorial Service

Cost: $2,200 to $4,300

When this option is chosen, the cremation is coordinated and conducted through the funeral home and a memorial service is held with the urn present.  This type of service usually costs less than a cremation funeral (see next) since there are no preparations to be made with the body (embalming, makeup, etc.)

Cremation Funeral

Cost: $3,100 to $5,600

A cremation funeral is similar to a traditional funeral in many ways.  There is a casket (usually rented) present and the body of the deceased is in the casket.  The body can be made up and presented for viewing or the family can opt for a closed casket service and save that cost.  The traditional funeral takes place and the body is then cremated after the service.

Water cremation

For the environmentally conscious, a little-known cremation technique is available through water cremation.  This has limited availability nationwide but is a viable alternative when some are concerned about the carbon footprint of traditional cremation using extreme heat.  If environmental effects are a concern, keep in mind that strong chemicals are used in this process which may be just as harmful.  Read what’s available and make your best decision.

How Much Does A Cremation Urn Cost?

cremation urn cost

Cremation urn choices are plenty!  You can get inexpensive options from as well as  The most expensive urn I found was made of bronze and can be found at for $450.  Most of the choices I reviewed were very nice, beautifully designed, ample size for most any amount of cremated remains and in a range of $75 to $150.  Of course, the nicer you want to get the more money it cost and it just all depends on your wishes.  If you’re planning to scatter the cremated remains, why spend a lot of money on an urn?

How Much Does It Cost to Scatter Cremated Remains?

aerial cremains release

In most cases, it cost nothing.  Many loved ones want their ashes scattered at a favorite site – maybe their own back yard, a favorite park, a nature trail, their summer lake, a mountain, or wherever that special place is that was a cherished destination in life.  In these instances, the only cost involved might be in what it takes to get a family member there.   If scattering ashes at sea or through a memorial flight, the cost may be from $250 and up depending on the destination, mode of distribution, and any permits that might be needed.

How Can I Pay for My Cremation?

insured check

This is the place where Final Expense Resource can help.  All the options discussed above should be confirmed with your local sources but how to pay for it all is where we can offer some attractive options.  Since you’ve decided on cremation, that’s the least expensive burial option carrying the smallest price tag.  What all our clients have done is purchase a cremation insurance policy with a small face amount so that when their death occurs, the plan is paid in full.  Since the face amount of the policy is small, the monthly payments for your whole life policy can be relatively low as well – all depending on your age and health profile.

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