Buying a Funeral: Know Your Rights

Finding Affordable Funeral Options

Funerals can be costly, with the average full-service funeral pricing over $7,000 in recent years.

However, consumers can reduce expenses by:

  • Comparing prices from a range of funeral homes and cemeteries. Significant cost differences exist.

  • Asking about lower-cost packages or creating a customized plan with only needed elements. Avoid unnecessary add-ons.

  • Considering a direct cremation or immediate burial to skip viewing expenses.

  • Exploring funeral assistance programs if eligible based on income level.

  • Checking for final expense life insurance policies with funeral expense benefits.

  • Using an online price comparison tool to easily identify lower-cost funeral providers.

  • Looking into donation for medical research to avoid burial costs.

With some research and planning, families can find dignified services that better fit their budget. Be an informed consumer when arranging final arrangements.

Understanding Your Rights Under the Funeral Rule

The Funeral Rule is a federal regulation designed to protect consumers during the funeral planning process. It requires funeral homes to:

  • Provide printed price lists upfront before discussing arrangements. This allows you to review costs.

  • Give price quotes over the phone if asked. You can compare quotes.

  • Allow individuals to purchase specific goods/services separately. You don't have to buy pre-packaged deals.

  • Disclose that you can decline any unwanted items or services. You choose what you want item-by-item.

The Rule aims to give consumers more transparent pricing information. Arranging a funeral is often an emotional and unfamiliar experience. Hidden fees take advantage of grieving families.

With clear price lists and disclosures, you can make informed decisions on only the products and services you need. Understanding the Funeral Rule empowers you to control costs during a vulnerable time.

Why the Funeral Rule Protects Consumers

The FTC's Funeral Rule exists because the normal market forces and transparency found in other purchases are lacking when arranging funeral services.

Most consumers know very little about the funeral industry and overpay as a result. For instance, many wrongly believe embalming is legally required to hold a viewing when in fact it is not. Most are unaware federal law allows you to decline packaged deals and instead buy only the specific items you want.

With the average funeral costing over $7,000, these services represent a major expense. But frank discussions about funeral costs are taboo in our culture. Very few families proactively shop around, unaware that prices for identical services often vary by thousands depending on the home.

In their grief, American families frequently leave funeral planning overwhelmed by unexpected costs.

The Funeral Rule mandates upfront price lists and disclosures so consumers can make informed decisions and control expenses for themselves and their loved ones.

A Casket Is Needed For Cremation

A not well known fact is that, a casket is used even when a body is cremated. However, cremation caskets are simpler and cheaper than burial caskets.

Cremation caskets contain no metal parts and are made of cardboard or basic wood to be easily destroyed in the cremation chamber. They cost approximately $200-$600.

If you want an open casket viewing before cremation, funeral homes allow casket rentals. These are ornate caskets reused by the home and lined with a protective sheet for sanitation. Rental casket fees range from $400-$600 on average.

So while a container is required, families choosing cremation avoid the high cost of buying a permanent burial casket. The cremation casket or rental insert serves its purpose with a much lower price tag.

More About Final Expenses: