Why It’s Tough to Get a Good Price on Cremation

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The cost of cremation services may vary by more than $9,000. Find out why it can be difficult to nail down a good price.

The national average cost of a basic cremation — with no additional services — is $2,057.

However, from one city to another — and even from one funeral home to another — the cost can vary from less than $1,000 to more than $9,000, according to a recent analysis by Parting.com.

As the website sums it up:

“Same service, drastically different price.”

Parting.com aims to bring transparency to the funeral industry by helping you compare funeral homes, including their prices.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule requires funeral homes to give you certain financial information under certain circumstances, such as price information if you request it by phone or a price list if you visit a funeral home.

However, the rule does not require funeral homes to publish such information on their websites. Parting.com notes:

Tough access to comparison shopping seems to affect pricing.

For its cremation cost comparison, Parting.com examined price ranges for direct cremation in the 40 largest U.S. cities.

Direct cremation entails only cremating remains and returning the ashes to the family, according to Parting.com. Aside from scientific donation, it’s often the most affordable option.

Costs for a cremation memorial, on the other hand, include cremation and a memorial service.

Parting.com describes the cremation process itself as “relatively straightforward” with no more than “minor differences,” depending on the funeral home. Yet the website found that in New York, the most expensive parlor offers direct cremation services at a price 18 times higher than that of the lowest-priced parlor.

New York ranked No. 1 in price disparity because costs ranged from $550 to $10,125 — a gap of $9,575.

The cities with the widest ranges are:

  1. New York: $9,575
  2. Washington, D.C.: $6,895
  3. Houston: $6,120
  4. Dallas: $5,440
  5. Indianapolis: $5,170
  6. Chicago: $3,700
  7. Charlotte, North Carolina: $3,495
  8. Virginia Beach, Virginia: $3,430
  9. Pittsburgh: $3,200
  10. Baltimore: $3,190

To learn more about why cremation is growing in popularity, check out “7 Reasons Cremation Is Becoming America’s Favorite Last Act.”

For help keeping funeral costs manageable, check out “15 Ways to Have a Memorable Funeral on the Cheap.”

How do you feel about the wide price range for basic cremations? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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