5 On Your Side

Funeral website helps people compare prices and save money

Posted March 24, 2021 6:00 a.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2021 6:29 a.m. EDT

The pandemic not only increased the demand for funeral services, it also limited the number of those who could safely attend.

Some families opted for virtual funeral services online, while others decided to take care of immediate arrangements and delay the "celebration of life" for later when all people have been vaccinated.

"I think it puts proper ceremony and remembrance that we want to feel for someone into perspective," said Ed Michael Reggie, CEO of funeralocity.com.

Reggie says, before arranging a funeral, people should consider costs. Funerals are typically the fifth most expensive item in a person’s life, according to Reggie. It is also one of the few expenses in which most people don’t shop for the best deal.

A recent annual survey found 83% of families called only one funeral home to make arrangements. "That’s why over 90% of funeral homes don’t put their prices online," said Reggie.

The FTC requires funeral homes to provide price lists if anyone calls or appears in person with the request.

Funeralocity puts that information online. It shows the average price of a traditional burial in the U.S. is $7,700, while cremation costs average $2,500. In the Raleigh-Durham area, a traditional burial ranges from $1,350 to $8,390, and the cost of cremation can be as low as $800 or as high $3,890.

Reggie said 55% of people now choose cremation instead of burial. "And the direct cremation is merely a cremation with an urn presented to the family," said Reggie.

He says people typically don’t choose the cheapest car or cheapest pair of shoes. The same goes for funerals. "They are looking for the value, and this gives an opportunity for funeral homes to put their value proposition in front of people," said Reggie.

To help people shop around, the Funeralocity site provides locations of other funeral homes in your vicinity.

Reggie says, if possible, it is always better for individuals to plan ahead and pay for their own funeral. They'll have more time to find the best values for their money, and it also puts their family’s focus on the event rather than costs.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.