The cost of having a funeral in the UK is higher than ever before. In the last two decades, the cost of a basic funeral has been rising at a rapid rate, and a growing number of families in the UK are struggling to pay for funeral services. The average cost of a cremation is significantly lower compared to burial. This is the reason why cremation is more popular now, accounting for over 80% of funerals in the UK. The total funeral cost is comprised of the funeral director fees, the cost of cremation or burial and other associated services. In this article, we will look at how cremation funerals are conducted in the UK, the top cremation providers and many more. Table of Contents Avalon - Best UK Funeral Plan Our Rating Cremation options available with and without funeral service Coverage starts after one year of payments No restrictions on date and time of service Sign Up Now What is a Cremation Funeral in the UK? Since cremation is more flexible and affordable than the traditional burial option, its popularity has risen significantly over the last few years. Cremation is the method of preserving the ashes of a body instead of the traditional burial in a coffin or casket. Today’s crematoriums feature industrial furnaces that reduce the body into basic chemical compounds, also known as cremains. The cremains pose no health risk and can be kept in an urn, interred at a cemetery or scattered in a memorable place. The whole cremation process takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete, though it may take longer to collect the cremains. According to the regulations set by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), only one body should be cremated at a time where an effective labelling system should be used for identification throughout the process. Before the body is put in the cremation chamber, all the jewelry is taken off, and any medical devices such as prosthetics, pacemakers and silicone implants are removed. The cremation chamber temperature is increased to approximately 760o C to 980o C, and after a couple of hours, the organics matter will be consumed by the heat. The bones fragments are processed into fine particulates that look like ash and collected in a temporary container or urn. Compared to traditional burial funeral, cremation is significantly less expensive. This may be the reason why there has been a steady increase in the number of cremations in the UK, accounting for over 80% of all funerals. Apart from the price, there are other factors that may be influencing the growing popularity of cremations. First, there is an argument that cremations are environmentally friendly because they don’t include embalming, coffin materials and land use. Second, cremations offer the flexibility to choose the final resting place. For example, the ashes can be scattered in a specific place that was special to the deceased. Top UK Cremation Providers in 2020 1. Avalon - Best for Funeral Plan Versatility Avalon has been in the industry for more than 25 years, working with local and independent funeral directors across the UK. It is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA), which ensures it abides by the code of practice and set rules required by the government. Recently, Avalon introduced the Avalon Promise that ensures that the funeral expenses will be covered even if you pass away before completing the monthly installments. The only caveat is that you need to have paid for at least 12 months. Below are the main funeral plans offered by Avalon. Cremation Only Plan – This is also known as the direct cremation plan and does not include a service or a facility for family and friends to attend. It is the cheapest plan at £1,895 or £17.16. Cremation with a Service Plan – It features simple family-led service at the local crematorium and costs £2,645 or £25.6 per month. Standard Plan – This covers the transportation of the body anywhere within the UK, a simple coffin, hearse and a funeral service. It cost £3,645 or £35.06 monthly and offers you the choice between cremation and burial funeral. The funeral director fee is also included. Plus Plan – This comes with funeral director services, transportation, quality veneered coffin, the chapel of rest, hearse and one limousine. It cost £3,995 or £38.52 monthly and you can choose between burial or cremation funeral. Premium Plan – This includes all the elements in the Plus Plan together with a quality veneered coffin a hearse and two limousines. It costs £4,245 or monthly installments of £40.99. Additionally, all Avalon funeral plans offer £1,000 contribution to third-party costs. Our Rating Numerous pricing levels to fit different requirements Regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority Payments can be made as a whole or in monthly installments Only contributes £1,000 for third-party costs Visit Avalon Now 2. Dignity – Most Affordable Funeral Plans With a large number of funeral directors, Dignity is known as one of the biggest and most established UK funeral plan providers. It is regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority and all of its clients’ funds are held in an independent trust fund. Although it is the largest single operator of crematoriums across the UK, its services can be carried out at any crematorium close to you. Below are the funeral plans that you can choose from when you sign on Dignity. Limited Plan – This is the most affordable plan that starts at £2,895 if you pay the lump sum amount upfront. It features a cremation funeral service with all the necessary elements including a £1,200 contribution for third-party costs. However, it comes with certain limitations. For instance, you will be assigned a small number of funeral directors and restrictions on the day and time of the funeral service. Amber Plan – This plan costs £3,295 and does not have the limitations imposed on the Limited plan. It comes with a cremation funeral option, transportation of the body, a wood effect coffin, funeral directors services and care of the body prior to cremation. Pearl Plan – This starts at £3,650 and includes all the features included in the Amber plan as well as a quality wood effect coffin, a hearse and one limousine. Also, it offers complimentary thank you cards and allows the family to make viewing appointments. Diamond Plan – This is the most expensive plan that starts at £3,895. It features everything on the Pearl plan plus two limousines and a high quality veneer coffin. Registered and regulated by the FPA Guarantees cremation and officiator fee High allowance of £1,200 towards third-party costs Does not cover certain services such as certificate fee or embalming Visit Dignity Now 3. Co-op - Best Tailor-Made Funeral Plans Co-op is a reputable funeral service provider with over 1,000 funeral homes across the UK. Every Co-op funeral plan guarantees the transportation of the body up to 50 miles from the place of death to the nearest Co-op funeral home where the body will be prepared. Also, the doctor’s fee for the certification, a coffin and all the costs associated with cremation are included in all of Coop’s funerals plans. Co-op funeral plans you can choose from are the following: Simple Plan – This is the most affordable plan starting at £3,295. It comes with funeral director services, the chapel of rest, a simple coffin and hearse. The only limitation is that you cannot determine the time and date of the cremation funeral service. Bronze Plan – This is slightly more expensive than the Simple Plan at £3,595 and does not have any restrictions. This plan also features funeral director services, the chapel of rest, embalming, a wood effect coffin, hearse and the opportunity to choose day and time and even the procession route. Silver Plan – This plan includes everything offered on the Bronze Plan, two limousines and the coffin is upgraded to rosewood or cherry wood. Also, the family can visit the chapel of rest at any time. Gold Plan – This features everything on the Silver Plan plus two limousines, the ability to choose the procession route and a light oak wood veneer coffin. However, it is a bit expensive at £4,199. Note that if you choose to pay the plan in installments, you will incur an installment fee on each payment. This can significantly increase the overall cost even if the monthly installments are lower. For instance, if the Simple Plan cost is spread over a 25-year period, you will end up paying £6,255 as opposed to the original cost of £3,295. Our Rating A choice between cremation and burial funeral service Operates over 1,000 funeral homes across the UK All the plans cover third-party costs The basic plan limits visitation on weekends and holidays. visit Co-op now 4. Perfect Choice - Offers £1,200 Contribution to Third-Party Costs Perfect Choice is a subsidiary of Ecclesiastical, one of the biggest financial services companies in the UK. It offers four levels of prepaid funeral plans that are tailored to suit your requirements. This company is a member of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) and regulated by the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). Below are the available funeral plans on Perfect Choice. Basic Plan – It costs £2,535 and includes the funeral director services, a hearse and simple coffin. However, it does not account for third-party costs such as cremation which might still leave a substantial amount to be paid once you or your loved one dies. Simple Plan – It costs £3,605 and includes the funeral director services, a simple coffin and hearse. Unlike the Basic Plan, it comes with a £1,200 contribution to cover cremation fees. Traditional Plan – At £3,915, it features everything in the Simple Plan together with a high quality veneered coffin, the chapel of rest, one limousine and £1,200 contribution to third-party costs such as cremation. Regulated by the FPA and a member of NAFD 30-day money-back guarantee Offers £1,200 contribution to third-party costs Contribution style plans visit Perfect Choice now 5. Golden Leaves – Most Flexible Funeral Plans Golden Leaves has made a name for itself in the funeral industry in the UK by offering the widest choice of prepaid funeral plans. Although it offers numerous funeral plans to cater to different needs, understanding what is offered at each plan can be confusing. The funeral plans offered by Golden Leaves are listed below. Copper Plan – It is also known as the direct cremation plan and costs £1644 to include the cremation process without a service. Bronze Plan – It costs £2,394 and covers the funeral director’s fee with no allowance for cremation. Zinc Plan– It is available at £2,859 to cover for the funeral director’s fee with limitations to choose the time and day of cremation. Silver Plan – It costs £3,364 to cover for the funeral director fees, a basic coffin, hearse and cremation fees. Gold Plan – It costs £3,719 to cover everything on the Silver plan plus an upgraded coffin and one limousine. Platinum plan – It costs £3,969 to include everything featured on the Gold plan together with a high-quality coffin and two limousines. Wide range of plans Regulated by the FPA Rebate feature on fixed monthly payment Some plans do not include cremation fees visit Golden Leaves now Cremation Costs The overall cremation cost will depend on whether you will seek the services of a funeral director or you will arrange the funeral yourself. Although funeral directors ease the burden of planning a cremation funeral, their fee increases the overall funeral costs. At the moment, the average cost of cremation in the UK is around £3,250, which includes the funeral directors fee, crematorium’s fee, the minister/celebrant fee and associated paperwork. If the deceased did not live in the district or borough in which the crematorium operates, there could be an additional fee. In some cases, the cost will also include transportation of the body, embalming, a funeral procession, pallbearers, hearse and even a limousine depending on the funeral plan level. Some plans also include a coffin and the opportunity of family and close friends to view the body. When assessing the overall cremation cost, it is worth bearing in mind elements such as flowers, memorial, catering, rented limousine and rented venue. The addition of these elements can inflate the overall cost by almost £2,000 or more. How to Reduce the Cremation Cost? Consider a Direct Cremation Plan. A direct cremation is a simple way to conduct a cremation funeral, and it is the fastest-growing choice for most UK families because it is more affordable. Depending on the region you live, the cost of a direct cremation plan can either be in the hundreds or thousands of pounds. However, these types of plans come with some limitations such as no viewing of the body, no service, no embalming and the process is conducted at odd hours such as evenings or weekends. Use Private Cars. It is considered traditional to have hearses and limousines leading the procession to the funeral service. However, this is not a necessity, and you can reduce the overall cost by cutting down on transportation costs. Depending on where the memorial or service is held, you can ask family and friends to use their cars instead of hiring limousines. Hold the Wake in your Home. There are certain ways you can cut the cost if you are considering to hold a memorial service or wake after the funeral. There is no right or wrong memorial service or wake, and you can hold it within your means. For example, you can hold a wake in your home rather than hiring a large venue. Try Crowdfunding. Instead of one family member bearing the whole financial responsibilities, friends and family can contribute to cover the expenses. This is also a good way of bringing together those who knew the deceased. Donating something, no matter how small or big, often gives a sense of greater involvement. Nowadays, there are numerous online crowdfunding platforms that allow friends and families to not only contribute but also share photos, videos and stories. Skip Embalming. Preservation through embalming is a traditional practice that is optional and not a necessity. It is mainly done to slow down the natural decaying process for a more life-like appearance for public viewing. If viewing the body is not essential for you, you can arrange for the cremation immediately after death, which is a great way to cut costs. Alternatively, you can choose refrigeration, which is also a bit cheaper. Cremation vs. Burial Costs The major difference between a cremation funeral and a burial funeral is the cost. While the average cremation cost is around £3,500, the average burial cost is £5,000. The cremation cost is even lower when you choose the direct cremation plan, which can be as low as £1,000. However, one thing that can inflate the cremation cost is what you decide to do with the ashes. Although burying the ashes in a cemetery is preferred by many, it can cost up to £400 or more while scattering them is free. Flexibility Compared to burial funeral, cremation is more flexible, allowing you to choose whether to hold a service at the crematorium or later. Also, there are options when it comes to what to do with the cremated ashes. You can bury them at a cost or choose free alternatives such as scattering them in one of the favourite spots of the deceased. In addition, the ashes can be shared among family members and friends. Pros and Cons of Cremation Funeral Pros: More cost-effective Environmental friendly Simpler and quicker process A wide array of memorial options Ashes can be memorialized further Cons: The process requires the use of fossil fuel Implanted devices can result in dangerous explosions Conclusion Cremation funeral is increasingly becoming a preferred method because it is cheaper than burial funeral. Since there are numerous cremation funeral providers, it can be challenging to choose the right funeral plan for your needs. Make sure to check out our list of recommended cremation providers in the UK to narrow down your list. Avalon - Best UK Funeral Plan Our Rating Cremation options available with and without funeral service Coverage starts after one year of payments No restrictions on date and time of service Sign Up Now FAQs What can I do with the cremated ashes? In most cases, cremains are scattered or buried in the grave or garden of remembrance. Note that you have to seek permission from relevant authorities and obey local rules to scatter the ashes elsewhere. How is a cremation arranged? There are several arrangements that have to be made following the death of a person. It is the responsibility of the nearest surviving relative to contact a funeral director to help with some of the tasks. A reliable funeral director should make all the necessary arrangements such as collecting the body and obtaining medical certificates before cremation can be done. What happens at the crematorium on a funeral day? Normally, mourners are expected to arrive early and gather in the crematorium waiting room. The funeral director, accompanied by the principal mourners, arrives with the hearse. The crematorium chapel attendant will receive the coffin, confirm the body and transfer the coffin from the hearse to the trolley to be conveyed to the chapel. After the casket is placed on the catafalque, the funeral directors will direct other mourners to their seats. What are the service arrangements at a crematorium? It is possible to hold a religious service at the crematorium within the allowed time. Alternatively, the service can be held at a separate venue, followed by a brief ceremony at the crematorium. You can arrange for a particular minister or celebrant to conduct the service or ask the funeral director to secure a suitable officiator.