- The average cost of a funeral is $9,000.1
- Americans had $16 billion in funeral costs in 2017.1
- The emotional toll of losing a loved one often impairs financial judgment, leading to emotional overspending.
Talking about and planning for a funeral is never an easy conversation for any family members to have. With so many emotions to account for, including fear, uncertainty, grief, and sadness, it’s a challenging time for all involved. But as difficult as it may be, dealing with death is a part of life, and there are very real costs associated with it.
Knowing this, your clients work, save, and invest all their lives to make sure they can have a comfortable retirement and enjoy the final phase of life — and so they can have the peace of mind that their families will be financially secure after they’re gone. It’s only natural to want to leave a legacy, and part of that includes not passing on any unexpected financial burdens to their spouse or children.
In 2017 alone, Americans had around $16 billion in funeral costs. 1 With the proper life insurance solutions in place, you can help your clients make sure their end-of-life expenses like medical bills and funeral costs are covered. By obtaining the most appropriate insurance policies, you can give your clients the confidence to know their loved ones could have:
- Access to tools to create wills, healthcare directives, and other customized legal documents
- Help from on-call advisors to deal with the logistics of funeral homes and cemeteries and everything else involved in funeral planning
The most important thing you can do for your clients is to ensure they have a solid plan in place should they, or one of their family members, pass away. One of the best ways to crystalize that plan is to look at the numbers associated with funeral expenses along with some of the options for mitigating those costs. It doesn’t take long to see how a lot of little expenses can quickly overwhelm most “rainy day” funds.
Funeral Costs: The Numbers
In 2019, the average family spent $9,000 on a funeral. Add in things like a catered reception or music, and the cost quickly jumps into five figures. 1
Metal caskets cost on average $2,400, compared to wooden caskets which can range from $200-$1,000.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, here are some typical funeral costs to plan for and what your clients can expect to pay: 2
- Casket price: $2,000 to 5,000
- Embalming: $500 to $1,000
- Preparing the body, such as hairstyle and makeup: $250
- Headstone or grave marker: $2,000 to $5,000 if upright; $1,000 if flat
- Flowers: $500 to $700
- Transporting remains to the funeral home: $325
- Facilities and staff to manage a viewing: $425
- Facilities and staff to manage a funeral ceremony: $500
The sheer number of expenses coupled with the escalating cost of each service can feel overwhelming — especially to a grieving family. Making your clients aware of the numerous costs within the context of a plan can help them avoid the common pitfall of emotional overspending for any funeral product or service.
Options for Mitigating Costs
With so many expenses to consider, you’ll want to share all available cost-saving options with your clients to help them stay financially sound.
Social Security can provide a one-time payment of $255 to your client’s spouse or child. While that might not do much to defray funeral expenses, it could be useful for something like an obituary, which typically costs around $200.1
Burial insurance is strictly purchased to cover the cost of a funeral and the rates are based on typical demographics. In 2019, a 65-year-old woman in good health could get a $40 a month policy that would have a $10,000 death benefit. A 65-year-old man in good health would pay $55 for the same policy. The price goes up about 30%-40% every five years that they’re in the plan, up to the age of 80.1
For families not wanting to incur the costs of a traditional funeral — or that can’t afford one — cremation is another more affordable option. With no funeral service, having someone cremated can cost as little as $450 and as much as $3,000.2
Concern over burial costs and related final expenses remains the second-highest priority among life insurance topics, second only to income replacement.3 With life insurance, your clients can use those death benefits in whatever way they need — to help protect their standard of living, help fund their children’s education, reduce debt, or any other use in the event of the death of the insured.
With the right insurance solution in place, your clients can be confident that their family is financially prepared should the need arise.
Things to Consider:
- Educate your clients on the importance of having a workable plan in place to cover an unexpected loss in the family.
- Encourage comparison shopping for funeral products and services to ensure your clients maximize their financial resources.
- Recommend Transamerica’s Financial Foundation IUL as a flexible option with optional riders to help clients meet their life insurance needs.
1 “Burial Funds & Programs That Help with Funeral Costs,” Debt.org, accessed June 2020
2 “Funeral Costs to Plan For,” money.usnews.com, April 2019
3 “LIMRA 2019 Barometer Report,” limra.com, accessed June 2020
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as, medical, insurance, securities, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please have your clients consult with their personal independent professional for answers to their specific questions.