Choosing your final resting place can be a difficult decision. Many of us assume we'll be buried by our family members but haven't given much thought to what that actually means.
In order to be buried, you or your loved ones need to purchase a funeral plot (also called a burial plot or a grave). There are a lot of considerations to take into account. Do you want to be buried in your kids' hometown? Where you currently live? With your partner or another family member? Where you grew up? Do you want to have your body buried, or would you prefer to be cremated first and then buried?
Each answer comes with even more questions - and different costs. And while no one likes to think about death, it's important to make informed decisions early on so that your loved ones can carry out your final wishes without being put in a difficult financial position.
What is a Burial Plot?
Burial plots or grave plots are where the deceased is laid to rest. The headstone and grave often become a lasting memorial for family members to visit and pay their respects for years to come.
There are several options to choose from when buying a burial plot, including single burial plots, family burial plots, double-depth plots, urn plots, and companion funeral plots. You even have the option of buying a burial vault.
The cost of burial can vary greatly depending on the type of burial plot you choose, as well as the location of your final resting place.
What Does the Price of a Burial Plot Include?
Before we dig into what each burial plot costs, it's important to consider what you're paying for when you buy a burial plot. Buying a burial plot usually includes the following:
Interment rights, i.e., the actual grave space in the cemetery or mausoleum.
Opening and closing of the grave, including the use of a casket-lowering device, digging and filling the grave, securing permits, and other requirements.
Grave liner, which is the fabric or material that protects the earth around the casket.
These may not be the only fees your loved ones will need to cover. Some states require the payment of an endowment or perpetual care fee, which is 5-15% of the burial plot price, and ensures that your grave is maintained. The fee doesn't usually cover headstone maintenance or installation but will cover paperwork, lawn maintenance, and trash disposal around the grave. You may also need to pay an additional fee for the graveside service and for a temporary grave marker.
Burial plots are far more expensive in larger cities because of the cost of real estate (land). A burial plot in South Carolina might cost around $1,100, whereas a plot in New York City will be well over $4,000 or more.
Average Cost of a Burial Plot by Type
The type of burial plot you choose is going to have a big impact on the cost. Let's take a look at what each burial plot costs per type:
Single Burial Plot
This burial plot is designed for an individual. A single plot can cost anywhere between $200-$2000 in public cemeteries and up to $5,000 in private cemeteries.
Companion Burial Plot
A companion burial plot allows you to be buried alongside a family member or spouse. You can opt for side-by-side burial plots (where two plots are located next to each other) or a double-depth plot where there is room to bury two caskets on top of one another. It's also possible to bury cremated remains of loved ones together in a single plot. Pricing usually varies, and most cemeteries will offer discounted pricing if several plots are purchased together.
Cremation Burial Plot
Burying cremated remains may cost around $350 - $2,500, depending on the location and whether or not you are being interred in a public or private cemetery.
Prepaid Burial Plot
Prepaid burial plots are plots that are bought by an individual and then resold. The cost of a pre-owned burial plot depends on the seller and what they are willing to sell for.
Green Burial Plot
A green burial plot is a gravesite in a cemetery that is dedicated to environmentally friendly burial practices. The average cost of a green burial plot is around $1,000 to $4,000. It includes interment, a grave marker, and perpetual care of the site. The body isn't embalmed and is buried in a biodegradable casket.
Average Burial Plot Cost by Location
According to the Cremation Institute, here are examples of what you can expect to pay based on your state:
South Carolina ($1100)
West Virginia ($1245)
North Carolina ($1291)
Bear in mind that the national average is just an indication. The plot size, location of the cemetery, and whether or not the cemetery is public or private will also have an impact. Prices for mausoleum crypts, columbariums, and decorations and structures will also vary. If you are interested in any of those options, it's best to speak directly to a cemetery representative for a quote.
Generally speaking, a public cemetery burial plot will cost around $525-$2,500 for a regular burial plot, whereas a smaller burial plot for cremated remains will cost around $350-$500.
In a private cemetery, you can pay anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 for a space. In some major urban areas, a single burial plot can cost as much as $25,000. A double-depth plot can cost nearly double that amount. Burying cremated remains will also be pricier and cost around $1,000 to $2,500.
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Additional Costs to Budget For
Unfortunately, the cost of the burial or cemetery plot is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to funeral costs. Other costs you need to plan for include:
Headstones or Grave Markers
The cost of a grave marker or headstone will vary depending on the design and material used, but in general, expect to pay around $1,000 for a flat marker and up to $2,000-$5,000 for an upright headstone.
Installation of the Headstone
The cost can vary depending on how difficult the headstone is to place, but it can cost around $100-$325.
Burials come with administration costs, including the cost of grass replacement, legal records, and in some cases, internment fees that aren't included in the initial burial plot cost. Fees can cost anywhere from $350 to $1,000 in a public cemetery and as high as $3,000 in a private cemetery. You will also need a burial permit.
Body Preparation Costs
There are several costs associated with preparing a body for burial. If you plan on having a viewing, you may pay up to $800 for embalming costs. Body beautification (e.g., dressing, hair, grooming) will add an additional $300-$600 to the bill. Individuals who want to donate organs or other parts of their body will also need to cover the fee of around $400.
Cremation costs may include the cost of the actual cremation (an average of $700-$1,800 for a basic cremation depending on the location) plus the cremation urn ($50-$250).
Caskets and Burial Fees
An immediate burial for religious purposes can cost around $2,500 (including the cost of the casket). Purchasing a casket can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000. Renting a casket for viewing can cost around $1,000 on its own.
Funeral Home Fees
Your funeral home will likely have several fees of its own to cover, which will include the cost of planning the funeral, securing permits, preparing death notices, picking up and storing the body, and so forth. They may also charge room fakes for the wake and funeral, a fee for the hearse, fees for the funeral program design and printing, and fees for renting special vehicles for family members.
The funeral or memorial service will come with its own cost, including the rental of a church or town hall, or restaurant. Some churches will host free funeral services for active members, but there may still be custodial fees or the cost of an officiant to consider.
There are several miscellaneous costs you need to account for as well, including the cost of an organist, flowers, and legal fees.
How to Cover The Cost of a Burial
Burial plots are expensive - and you don't want your loved ones to be placed under financial pressure when you're gone.
The good news is that you can cover the cost of your funeral and burial plot by taking out final expense insurance. Final expense insurance will help to ensure that your loved ones do not have to shoulder the financial burden of your funeral and burial expenses and guarantee that your final wishes are taken care of.
It's a more affordable option than traditional life insurance, especially for older adults with health problems, and available to virtually anyone.
Your final expense insurance policy can cover the cost of the funeral home, the burial plot, the casket or urn, and the cost of your headstone.
If you are concerned about the cost of your funeral and burial expenses, get in touch with the experts at Final Expense Direct. We work with hundreds of reputable final expense insurers that truly care about their policyholders and their families. Let us help you find a policy that suits your needs so that you and your family can enjoy complete peace of mind.
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