SunLife: Funeral costs rise by 5.5% in a year

Funeral costs rising at 10 times the rate of inflation

SunLife’s annual Cost of Dying research shows that the cost of dying is the fastest-rising of any fixed cost in the UK. Rising faster than people’s rent, food, utilities, insurance and clothing.

The overall cost of dying – which includes death-related costs, such as probate, headstones and flowers, in addition to the basic cost of a funeral – has risen by 8.3% to £8,802.

funerals fastest rising cost in UKFunerals make up 44% of the cost of dying and have soared by 5.5% in a single year. That’s more than ten times the increase in the cost of living.

An average UK funeral costs £3,897, more than double the rate when SunLife first started tracking funeral prices in 2004.

Had funeral costs risen in line with the cost of living, they would be £2,540; £1,357 less than the today’s figure.

London remains the most expensive place to die. Funerals in London cost on average £5,529. That’s 42% more than the national average of £3,897.

Funeral costs are higher than people expect

40% of people organising a funeral said that it cost more than they expected. 38% of these said it cost a lot more.

One in twelve people had to cut back or change some of the ‘send-off’ costs they had planned for their loved one.

Graham Jones, director at SunLife, said:

“The ‘send-off’ is the only part of the overall cost that is discretionary and has been around £2,000 for the past 10 years, which means as a percentage of the entire cost of dying, it has been slowly dropping for a decade.

This suggests that families are being forced to cut back on the extras due to the rising fixed costs.”

He added:

We all know that death will eventually come to us all, and therefore, we will all need to pay for a funeral, yet it is something that, as a nation, we are uncomfortable talking about or planning for.

“Unfortunately, this reluctance to talk death is not only causing financial issues, but emotional ones too. Our report shows that just 1% of those organising a funeral knew the preferences of the deceased, which means at a difficult time, many of us our forced to make decisions about a loved one’s funeral not knowing if it is what they would have wanted.

“95% of those organising a funeral said it was easier when they knew the preferences of the deceased, yet almost a third of those people still haven’t done anything about their own end of life plans, so it is vital that we change our attitude towards death.

Talking about it won’t make it happen, but if we don’t, we will end up putting a huge financial and emotional burden on those left behind.

If you’d like to find out more about planning for a funeral, you can get expert advice using our free online service. 


I’d like free funeral planning advice.