Many Americans Can’t Cover Funeral Expenses

A new survey finds many Americans don’t have money set aside to cover the cost of a funeral.

By Dorothy Hinchcliff

In 2019, the national median cost of a funeral — including a casket, viewing and burial — was $9,135, and that does not take into account the cemetery, headstone or other charges, says the National Funeral Directors Association.

To reduce those costs, more Americans are choosing cremation. The national median cost of cremation in 2019 was $5,150, not including an urn, which typical runs about $250, the NFDA adds.

In its recent survey, Choice Mutual found 40% of respondents over the age of 54 have less than $1,000 set aside for funeral and burial costs.

The survey also found that 23% of respondents are leaving it to their families to figure out how funeral expenses will be covered. About 3% of respondents plan to raise the costs through crowdfunding, the report added.

To cover burial and funeral costs, other survey respondents said they plan to rely on life insurance/final expense policy (43%), personal funds set aside (14%), an inheritance they leave (9%) or a prepaid funeral plan (8%).

Choice Mutual, an independent insurance agency that specializes in final-expense life insurance, questioned 1,500 on end-of-life topics for the survey.


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