Since graduating from the University of WA with a B.A. in English Literature, Shawn has been professionally writing in the spheres of entertainment, insurance, business, marketing, and politics. His work has been published on SUPERJUMP, FanFare, Den of Geek, and Amplihigher. He is passionate about using his writing skills and insurance knowledge to educate the general population on everyday iss...

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Written by Shawn Laib
Insurance and Finance Writer Shawn Laib

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Facts You Should Know
  • After comparing the cost of cremation vs. burial, you can see that cremation costs less than burial
  • Benefits of burial include acceptability and a guaranteed plot
  • Cremation benefits include inexpensive cost, simpler planning, and more expansive memorial options


Death in the family is inevitable and sometimes unexpected. When there is a death in the family, the survivors or beneficiaries typically have to choose whether cremation or burial.

If the deceased prepared well and left clear wishes, the family’s decision is easy. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and family members can find themselves disputing the funeral details during an already difficult time.

In the past, burial was considered the only option, driving burial costs through the roof even with burial insurance as funeral expenses increased. However, more and more people switched from burial options to cremation.

Suppose you are currently deciding on a loved one’s funeral options. You are likely wondering how much a burial costs compared to the cost of cremation. You may be surprised at how low the average cost of a funeral can be.

There are many options, and each has its pros and cons. Deciding on one can be a challenge. Keep reading to learn more about the cost of cremation vs. burial, including the pros and cons of each.

Before learning more about the cost of cremation vs. burial, enter your ZIP code to get free burial and final expense insurance quotes from companies near you today.

What is the cost of cremation vs. burial?

It is no secret that burial arrangements are expensive. The high cost of such arrangements only adds to the stress of an already difficult situation.

If you are currently deciding on end-of-life arrangements or may have to decide on them in the future, it is helpful to know the cost difference between cremation and burial.

As stated above, burial is notoriously expensive. Often, the minimum price of burial is between $7,000 and $12,000. This price range includes burial with a viewing, transport, service fees, embalming, a casket, and other preparations.

On the other hand, a cremation generally costs about one-third of the price of burial with a casket. It ranges between $4,000 and $7,000, not including features like markers, monuments, flowers, and more.

The price ranges for cremation and burial are averages and typically fluctuate depending on the funeral home and crematorium. If you are figuring out the details of cremation vs. burial, you can expect the prices to be similar to the averages above.

In total, the average funeral costs usually cost around $12,000 or $13,000 after all the arrangements are made.

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What are the pros and cons of cremation?

Knowing the pros and cons of cremation and burial is as important as knowing the costs. There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to both cremation and burial options.

Some of the advantages of cremation include:

  • Simpler planning
  • Lower cost
  • More expansive memorial options
  • Flexibility
  • Portability

There are not as many logistics or arrangements required with cremation as there are with burial. Without as many arrangements to make, cremation is typically a low-stress option for families making decisions for their loved ones.

Cremation also offers more expansive memorial options. Families of the deceased may choose to bury the ashes, put them in an urn, split them up, plant a tree of remembrance, or choose a unique resting place.

If you choose cremation, there is a more flexible timeline for a memorial service than with a standard burial. Rather than rushing a service due to the perishability of the remains, you can wait for an extended period to have the memorial service. Many people find this option appealing, as it creates more time for distant family to travel if needed.

Although there aren’t as many cons to cremation as pros, there may be enough to change a person’s decision.

Some of the cons of cremation include:

  • May lead to familial disagreements
  • Cremations may be unavailable

Difficult and stressful situations, like funeral planning, often bring out strong emotions and opinions in family members. When it comes to cremations specifically, family members may strongly disagree about this option. Whether they disagree for religious purposes or have differing opinions on splitting the ashes, cremation could be a point of contention.

In some cases, cremation may not be available. For example, depending on where you live, your local funeral home may not be equipped to perform a cremation, leaving you to do research or travel farther than you intend. In this situation, cremation may cause more stress than peace of mind.

Maybe you are new to the process of making funeral plans and are currently wondering: what is cremation? Cremation is an alternative to burial and involves a body’s final disposition through burning. Many people choose cremation because it is not as expensive as burial.

What are the pros and cons of burial?

Similar to cremation, there are a few pros and cons to burial that you should consider before you choose it over cremation. You may find that burial suits your family’s needs better, even though it costs a bit more.

Some of the advantages to burial include:

  • More widely accepted
  • A physical place to pay respects

Whether for religious reasons or other personal beliefs, people are more likely to agree over burial than cremation. Also, you will not have to go beyond your local funeral home to find burial arrangements, as almost all funeral homes perform burial services.

Unlike cremation, you are guaranteed a physical plot with burial at which you can pay your respects. Paying respects as time passes is an important part of life for some family members, and burial includes a plot at the funeral home.

The cons for burial are often significant determining factors in deciding between burial and cremation.

Some of the cons to burial include:

  • Higher expense
  • Restrictive cemetery rules

We have already covered that burial is significantly more expensive than cremation because of the additional arrangements.

Another con worth mentioning is the restrictive rules that cemeteries may have. For example, some cemeteries are particular about visiting hours, flowers, and the type of monument you can have, and some even prohibit the use of cameras on the property.

Restrictive rules often deter people from choosing burial because it inhibits them from mourning in the ways they need or want to.

As with any end-of-life arrangements or any investment, make sure to research all of your options before deciding. You may find that one option works better than another or that it may be worth paying more for burial.

Cost of Cremation vs. Burial: the Bottom Line

If you are in the position to choose a loved one’s funeral arrangements, you should know the cost of cremation vs. burial and the pros and cons of each.

How much is cremation compared to burial? Burial is significantly more expensive than cremation, costing as much as $7,000 to $12,000 at a minimum.

How much does it cost to cremate someone? The average cost of cremation is only $4,000 to $7,000, which leads people to choose cremation over burial a lot of the time.

Benefits of cremation include affordability, simplicity, more expansive memorial options, and more, whereas burial benefits include wider acceptance and a plot for paying respects. Disadvantages of cremation involve potential unavailability and familial disagreements, while high funeral costs and possible restrictive cemetery rules are some of the disadvantages of burial.

Even if your loved one has final expense and burial insurance, funeral costs may still be higher than you prefer. The cost of cremation vs. burial varies depending on where you live and which funeral home you choose.

Just as it is good to research cremation and burial options, it is equally essential to explore your local funeral homes to ensure they have the options and services you need. If you are going to pay thousands of dollars for funeral arrangements, you should get your time and money’s worth.

If you need final expense and burial insurance or a different life insurance plan, your best bet is to compare a few other life insurance companies and policies. Comparing multiple companies helps narrow down your life insurance options to only the best for you and your family.

As a starting point, check out our AIG American General Life Insurance Review for more specific information about the company, including policies, customer reviews, and more.

If you are interested in a life insurance policy after learning more about the cost of cremation vs. burial, enter your ZIP code into our free online tool for instant life insurance rates in your area.