Funeral Costs Report 2021

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At British Seniors, we understand the importance of being prepared when it comes to funerals. We want to offer helpful information on funeral planning so that you can make the right choices for you and your loved ones - whether it's our award-winning customer service team answering your questions, sharing helpful articles on our website or putting together insightful reports. 

Being informed when it comes to funeral planning can save us a lot of stress at an already difficult time. Not only can preparation help ease stress around funeral planning, it can also save money. With the average UK funeral costing around £5,631 according to our Funeral Report 2021, a funeral could easily leave your loved ones out of pocket.  

What’s the purpose of the British Seniors Funeral Report 2021? 

Our Funeral Report is there to help you gain a better understanding of funeral planning and the various costs associated with a funeral. In July 2021, we surveyed 1,549 UK adults who have helped to plan a funeral from 2016–21. This helped us see what factors contributed to funeral spending. We found that people paid an average of £5,631 for a funeral from 2016-2021. But depending on the choices you make, the cost can reach £7,500 or more as prices are rising over time. 

When saying goodbye to a loved one, we want to make it a special send-off. Choosing to add extras for a personal touch could mean adding thousands of pounds onto the final funeral bill. There are several expenses that can easily build up, affecting the overall cost of a funeral including flowers, paying for the venue and catering for instance. Knowing what’s what when it comes to funeral planning can allow you to make smarter decisions. 

We also separately surveyed 2,000 UK adults from a nationally representative demographic (that is, respondents that had not necessarily planned a funeral in the past five years). This helped us find out more about the impact Covid-19 had on funeral planning. 

Funeral planning in the wake of Covid-19 

Covid-19 had a devastating effect on families worldwide. Millions of people around the world faced tragedy as a result of the pandemic. In our report, we look at the effect Covid-19 had on funerals in the UK. 38% of respondents who helped plan a funeral from March 2020 onward said that their loved one had passed away from coronavirus.  

Many were left unable to give their loved one the funeral they deserved which only added to the pain and distress. Of those who planned funerals during the pandemic, most (63%) say Covid-19 had a major impact. Meanwhile, many respondents (56%) believe restrictions made funerals more difficult to organise than usual.  

Covid-19 even influenced the choices people made when it came to paying for a funeral. When a loved one passed away from coronavirus, people often covered any costs necessary to give them a better send-off. Covid-19 also resulted in far more unexpected deaths, meaning people had less money set aside. 

The importance of planning ahead 

When we’re grieving, we can be emotionally vulnerable. We may not be in the right state of mind to make important financial decisions, but often, that’s what happens when we lose someone close; decisions are made under high-pressure circumstances. Even choosing between burial and cremation could significantly impact the cost. For instance, our report found that the average cost of a burial over the last 5 years could easily reach £5,600 while the average cost of a cremation could reach as much as £4,930. These costs can potentially increase based on the choices you make when arranging a funeral.

What’s more, the funeral itself is only part of the expense. The reception, added extras and professional fees could add thousands to your funeral bill.  

It’s no wonder our survey showed that not everyone can cover the cost of a loved one's funeral. In fact, less than half (43%) say they could “definitely” afford the associated costs if they suffered a bereavement now. Nearly one in six (16%) say they couldn’t afford it. To pay for a funeral, six in ten (60%) had to rely on their savings. But one-third of people had to resort to borrowing. While some turned to people they knew or put the cost on a credit card, 7% took out a payday loan. 

£1,963 was the average contribution made from loved ones toward the cost of a funeral. This burden often falls on younger people with 69% aged 18-24 having to contribute. 32% of those we surveyed said they have nothing put away for their funeral. When we look at some of the reasons why people covered some of an entire funeral bill, it’s easy to see why you may want to leave something behind. 

How to help protect my loved ones from funeral costs 

If you believe your loved ones will struggle to cover costs or you want to help ease the burden for your own peace of mind, there are some positive steps you can take. 

The first step is being informed. Consider what sort of send-off you would like, do your research, find a funeral director if you wish. Next, chat with your family and make them aware of your wishes. Our Funeral Report 2021 has a section dedicated to planning your own funeral. We offer advice on how to have this difficult conversation with your family.  

You can then consider the best way to go about leaving something behind for your loved ones. British Seniors offer a range of options to suit you and your budget. The important thing is acknowledging the need for preparation. You can then decide what’s best for you and your loved ones when it comes to your own funeral. We share lots of helpful funeral guides if you would like to find out more about your options. 

For a detailed look at our findings, you can download the full British Seniors Funeral Report 2021. When you're fully aware of the facts, it’s easier to be prepared meaning you can make sure that you’re leaving behind a legacy to be proud of.