Bereaved families who struggle with funeral costs are taking on £1,990-worth of debt on average to cover the costs, a report has found.
Across the UK, the estimated total amount of funeral debt in 2018 was £147 million, a 12% increase from the previous year, the Royal London National Funeral Cost Index said.
Around 74,000 bereaved families in the UK struggled with funeral costs last year, the research suggests.
The report, published in partnership with The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), surveyed more than 2,000 people across the UK who have organised a funeral in the past five years – as well as over 1,000 people who were asked about their funeral spending.
Of those who had struggled with funeral costs, 27% went into debt using credit cards, loans or overdrafts.
A fifth (20%) borrowed money from family or friends, and one in eight (12%) chose a cheaper funeral.
A third (34%) of people said the funeral cost more than they expected. Despite this, a quarter (25%) went above and beyond their loved one’s funeral wishes, with 11% of them saying they spent £1,000 more than they had discussed with the deceased.
A basic funeral in the UK costs £3,785 typically, marking an annual increase of £28 and a record high for the annual report, which is now in its sixth year having started in 2014.
A simple funeral includes the collection and care of the deceased, a basic coffin, a hearse, and a simple service at a crematorium.
London remains the most expensive region with a funeral costing £4,939 on average, whilst Northern Ireland is the least expensive, with the average cost of a funeral at £2,943.
The report also found a £10,000 difference between the most and least expensive locations for a burial in the UK.
In Kensal Green in London, the average cost is over £13,000, while in Belfast it is £3,042.
Royal London’s funeral cost expert, Louise Eaton-Terry, said there should be more state support to help “the bereaved who are being crippled with funeral debt”.
Yourfuneralchoice.com provided data on funeral costs at 299 locations across the UK to help make the findings.
Here are the average funeral costs across the UK, according to Royal London’s research, with burial costs followed by cremation costs and average costs:
– London, £6,685, £3,193, £4,939
– West Midlands, £4,801, £3,262, £4,032
– East of England, £4,254, £3,322, £3,788
– Yorkshire and the Humber, £4,271, £3,284, £3,777
– North West England, £4,088, £3,253, £3,671
– South East England, £4,031, £3,306, £3,669
– North East England, £4,086, £3,233, £3,659
– Wales, £3,994, £3,179, £3,586
– South West England, £3,852, £3,321, £3,586
– Scotland, £3,993, £3,081, £3,537
– East Midlands, £3,751, £3,273, £3,512
– Northern Ireland, £3,042, £2,844, £2,943