How to Shop for a Simple Cremation

All funeral homes are required to list a price for a simple cremation package, called a "Direct Cremation." This would be without any services such as a viewing or funeral at the funeral home. You can plan a memorial service at another time and location without inviting the funeral director. So if you are planning a no-frills cremation, it won’t matter if it is an out-of-town funeral home that comes to pick up the body.

There can be a HUGE difference between funeral homes on the cost of a direct cremation. Therefore, it pays to shop around. All funeral homes are required to give prices over the telephone. Using the Yellow Pages, consider calling all funeral homes in a 30-mile radius.

First, ask for the price of "a direct cremation with a minimum alternative container." (That means with a cardboard casket or other non-fancy box.) Once you have that price, ask, "Does that include the crematory fee?" If the funeral home doesn’t own the crematory, the crematory fee may be extra. Then ask if there are any additional charges such as for permits.

Cremation prices will vary considerably from one region to the next, especially if there is open price-competition. In some areas, a cremation may be as low as $700. Even if you don’t find a price that low, you should be able to find something less than $1,000 by shopping around.
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