SunLife's Cost of Dying Report 2020

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The cost of a traditional funeral continues to rise

Hot off the press this week is the release of the latest SunLife Cost of Dying report.

This report has been tracking funeral costs for 16 years and the latest report reveals that:

The average basic funeral now costs £4,417– a rise of 3.4% on last year, 23% over the past five, and a rise of 130% since their tracking began in 2004.

Who pays for a funeral?

Most people – around 70% - think funeral costs are the responsibility of the deceased. Yet, according to the report just 37% of people put aside sufficient funds to cover their funeral and 36% of people leave no money to pay for their funeral.

Unfortunately, this can cause financial issues for some families. Around 12% of people do not have readily available funds to pay for a funeral at time of need which results in the following actions taken:

  • 22% were forced to borrow money from friends and family
  • 10% had to take out a loan
  • 25% put it on a credit card
  • 15% had to sell belongings to cover the cost.

Direct cremation costs much less…

direct cremation is an affordable alternative to a traditional funeral that separates the committal and the ceremony. The body is cremated without any service at the crematorium, and usually without mourner’s present. Choosing this low cost funeral option lets you decide how you want to remember your loved one.

And, while standard funeral costs have been rising by an average of 5.7% for the past 15 years, the cost of direct cremations have remained consistent.

Indeed, at Pure Cremation our costs have not risen in more than two years.

Despite the fact that they are considerably lower cost than standard cremations and growing in popularity it is estimated that just 4% of funerals are direct cremations. However, this is probably because most people still don’t know what they are.

SunLife’s Cost of Dying report found that 44% of people who had recently organised a funeral were not aware of direct cremations, but once they knew what they were, 19% said they would have considered it for the deceased and 42% said they would consider one for their own funeral.

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “SunLife’s research shows that most of us think the deceased should pay for their own funeral, yet many of us don’t put aside enough money behind to cover the entire cost.

“In addition, the bereaved sometimes feel they need to spend a lot on the funeral, when actually that may not have been the deceased’s wishes. There are ways to cut the cost of a funeral – for instance, by having a direct cremation and a simple get together afterwards.”

Of course, at Pure Cremation the only specialist nationwide provider of direct cremation in the UK we know the most important thing with any planning for a funeral is to talk to your loved ones about it.

As the SunLife’s Cost of Dying report highlights less than half - 42% - of those organising a funeral knew the deceased’s preference for a burial or cremation and just 38% knew if they wanted a religious or non-religious service.

For more information about direct cremation, click here.

To read the full Cost of Dying report, visit