Funeral costs increase by 3.4%, study suggests

The average cost of funerals has risen by 3.4% to £4,417, SunLife’s 2020 report suggests.

The ‘Cost of Dying report’ said this week (4-10 January) will see 31% more deaths registered in average for the year, resulting in a death every 44 seconds. 

The latest report, released today (6 January), reveals that the average basic funeral now costs £4,417– a rise of 3.4% on last year, 23% over the past five, and a rise of 130% since SunLife started tracking funeral costs in 2004. 

The report also stated that ONS sees 27.4% more deaths registered in January compared with the rest of the year.

It also revealed that 70% of people surveyed, think funeral costs are the responsibility of the deceased, however, according to ‘The Cost of Dying’, just 37% of people put aside sufficient funds to cover their funeral while 36% left nothing, resulting in over £155million or 62% of January’s total bill will have to be paid by loved ones. 

One in eight (12%) revealed paying for a loved ones funeral caused financial concerns, for example, 22% of people were forced to borrow money from friends and family, 10% had to take out a loan, 25% put it on a credit card and 15% of people surveyed had to sell belongings to cover the cost.

Commenting on the results, Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “SunLife’s research shows that most of us think the deceased should pay for their own funeral, yet many of us don’t put aside enough money behind to cover the entire cost.

“In addition, the bereaved sometimes feel they need to spend a lot on the funeral, when actually that may not have been the deceased’s wishes. There are ways to cut the cost of a funeral – for instance, by having a direct cremation and a simple get together afterwards.”

He added: “Whatever type of funeral you want, Atkinson points out that it’s important to talk to loved ones about it, but most of us don’t; according to SunLife’s Cost of Dying report, less than half (42%) of those organising a funeral knew the deceased’s preference for a burial or cremation and just 38% knew if they wanted a religious or non-religious service.”

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