Funeral costs at an all-time high according to research

A basic funeral in the UK costs £3,785 on average, meaning funeral costs are at all-time high according to the 2019 Royal London National Funeral Cost Index.

Funeral Costs in the UK

Average cost of a funeral in the UK

The UK’s largest mutual life insurance and pensions company, Royal London has just revealed its annual National Funeral Cost Index for 2019, with the report finding:

  • a basic funeral costs an average of £3,785
  • funeral debt in the UK has risen by 14% with people now borrowing £1,990 on average
  • funeral debt in the UK totals £147m
  • Kensal Green in London is the most expensive location for a burial, costing more than £13,000

According to the research, a basic funeral in the UK costs £3,785 on average. Not only is this an increase of £28 from last year, it also means that funeral costs are at an all-time high.

Debt caused by funeral costs

This raise in funeral costs has also led some families to take on costly debt. So much so, funeral debt in the UK now totals £147 million.

The report found that 12 per cent of bereaved families (around 74,000) struggled to cover the cost of a funeral in the last twelve months and this has led them to take on an average debt of £1,990.

Of those who struggled, one in four (27 per cent) said they went into debt from credit cards, loans or overdrafts, while one in five (20 per cent) borrowed money from a family member or a friend, and nearly one in eight (12 per cent) had to opt for a cheaper funeral than planned due to a lack of funds.

A third (34 per cent) of people said funeral costs were more than they expected. But despite this, a quarter (25 per cent) of people in the study said they went ‘above and beyond their loved one’s funeral wishes’, with 11 per cent of these saying they spent £1,000 more than they had discussed with the deceased.

Funeral costs in the UK by location

Unsurprisingly, London remains the most expensive region for a funeral, with ceremonies costing £4,939 on average. Kensal Green in London is the most expensive location to have a funeral in any part of the UK, with the average funeral costing £8,150. According to the research, a burial in Kensal Green also costs more than £13,000.

Northern Ireland is the least expensive region in the UK to have a funeral, with Belfast the least expensive location. The average cost of a funeral in Belfast is £2,943, with a burial costing £3,042 – that’s a difference of more than £10,000 when compared to the most expensive location for a burial.

National Funeral Cost Index 2019

On the findings of the research, Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry, said:

“As bereaved families continue to take on thousands of pounds of debt to pay for their loved ones’ funerals, support from the state remains woefully inadequate.

“The Government have tinkered around the edges and made some improvements to the Funeral Expenses Payment benefit, but the fact remains that the fund does not cover the full cost of a simple funeral.

“The value of the fund is seriously lacking with no serious action being taken to increase it and help support the bereaved who are being crippled with funeral debt.”

See also

What to do after someone dies: a checklist​

Place a Deceased Estates notice

Bereaved families to receive faster funeral payments

Recent study finds that only 10% of Brits have planned for death

Find out more

2019 Royal London National Funeral Cost Index

Funeral Expenses Payment

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