New research has revealed the overall cost of dying is nearing an all-time high following a significant rise during 2022.
The average cost now sits at £9,200, 3.8% higher than the cost of £8,864 seen in 2021.
Curiously, the average cost of a funeral has fallen for the second consecutive year – down 2.5% to £3,953 – a trend SunLife, conductors of the research, say they have “never witnessed before in almost two decades of research”, adding that it is “surprising to see” amidst rampant inflation.
What’s more, this represents only the second-ever fall since the research began in 2004. However, during this 18-year period, there’s been a striking 116% rise in funeral costs.
The total cost of dying is, however, pushed up by professional fees and the send-off. Hiring a professional to administer the estate has increased a significant 10.9% since the 2022 report, reaching an average £2,578. And the amount spent on the send-off – that’s optional extras, such as flowers, catering, and limousines – adds a further £2,669, up 7.4%.
As for the cost of different kinds of funerals, burials – which make up a quarter of all services – remain the most expensive type of funeral at £4,794 (-2.7%). Cremations, the most popular type (57%), are moderately cheaper at £3,673 (-2.4%).
But it’s direct cremations (cremations with a service) that are the most affordable. 18% of funerals are now direct cremations, and their average price has fallen by 8.2% from last year, to £1,511.
Why has the cost of a funeral fallen?
“The continued fall in funeral costs may, in part, be down to certain trends from the days of lockdown remaining popular, even after the pandemic,” said Mark Screeton, SunLife CEO:
“Direct cremations, for instance, are a cheaper alternative, and became necessary during COVID-19, et we’ve seen their levels relatively unchanged since.”
Another reason, said Mark, may be that the Competition and Markets Authority recently ordered funeral directors to display prices on both their premises and website – a new requirement. He added SunLife learned directly from some providers that this was a consideration in cutting prices.
The full report will be available on SunLife’s website on 16th January 2023.