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How much does a funeral cost in California?

The typical funeral costs $7,290 in California, but this can vary significantly depending on the services chosen.

The typical funeral can run into the thousands of dollars. When you add together basic service fees, transportation, casket, embalming, viewing and burial — most funerals with burial cost between $7,000 and $12,000 nationally, with a median cost of around $7,640. But there are several options to cover the costs.

Average funeral costs with burial in California

According to the NFDA, the average cost of a funeral with a burial in California is $7,290. California requires the added cost of embalming or refrigeration if the burial or cremation is not within 24 hours.

ExpenseCost
Basic services fee (non-declinable)$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Embalming (may be required)$750
Preparation of body$255
Use of facilities & staff for viewing$425
Use of facilities & staff for ceremony$500
Casket (wood)$2,995
Transportation (hearse)$340
Service car or van$150
Printing of materials$175
Vault$1,295
These costs are based on national averages found in a study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) in 2019 which showed an average price increase in funerals of 6.4% over the previous five years. Remember that these are average numbers and may vary depending on which funeral home you work with.

Average funeral costs with cremation in California

An average funeral with cremation and services in California is $4,808. An urn averages an extra $288. While $5,096 is a considerable amount of money, a cremation with a service will always cost less than a traditional funeral with burial.

If you don’t wish to have a service, there’s the option of direct cremation. With direct cremation, the body is taken directly from the hospital or home to the crematory. If you call around, you can typically find direct cremation options for under $1,000.

ExpenseCost
Basic services fee (non-declinable)$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Embalming (may be required)$750
Preparation of body$255
Use of facilities & staff for viewing$425
Use of facilities & staff for ceremony$500
Service car or van$150
Printing of materials$175
Cremation fee$350
Urn$295
Vault$1,295
These costs are based on national averages found in a study conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) in 2019 which showed an average price increase in funerals of 6.4% over the previous five years. Remember that these are average numbers and may vary depending on which funeral home you work with.

Other funeral costs

Please note that the average funeral costs listed above do not include the following items:

  • Headstone or grave marker. As they are made-to-order items, grave markers can cost anywhere between $199 for simple headstones to over $10,000 for monuments and statues.
  • Burial plot. Burial plots are not included in the cost of a funeral and can range between $1,000 to $4,000 or more depending on the city and if it’s a private or public cemetery.
  • Flowers. Memorial floral wreaths or casket decorations are also extra, with costs varying by the type of flowers chosen.

How to pay for a funeral in California

Deciding on your funeral payment options in advance can make paying for a funeral easier and less stressful for your relatives. The easiest way to make sure your expenses are covered is to buy a life insurance policy to cover funeral and burial costs.

Options for paying for your own funeral:

  • Life insurance. A life insurance policy can be used to cover funeral costs, although payment may not be received for up to 60 days. Relatives may have to pay for funeral costs upfront and be reimbursed later.
  • Burial (final expense) insurance. Burial insurance is used to cover funeral expenses and funds are usually paid out immediately after death. Burial insurance in California does not require a medical exam.
  • Payable on death (POD) account. A POD account is used in estate planning to hold funds that are paid to beneficiaries when you pass away. A POD keeps money out of probate court.
  • Pre-need funeral plan. This is prepayment to a funeral home which covers the cost of a funeral. Be aware that you may not be able to switch funeral homes and if the business goes under, you could lose your money.

Options for paying for a loved one’s funeral:

  • The deceased’s estate. Proceeds from the deceased’s estate can be used to pay for a funeral, although you may have to wait for funds to be dispersed.
  • Funeral loans. You can take out a funeral loan to pay for a funeral, but interest rates are high with this type of loan.
  • Out of pocket. This is the costliest option. If you must use your own cash or credit to pay for a funeral, consider reaching out to family members for assistance.

Does California have funeral assistance programs?

The state of California doesn’t have any state assistance programs. Instead, each county has its own version of assistance, but most have income limits. Additionally, eight chapters of the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) are spread out across California, which may give members access to lower-cost services.

Other funeral assistance programs include:

  • Veterans Affairs. Veteran families may receive up to a $2,000 burial allowance, if paying for funeral costs when these costs are not covered by any other organization.
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. This foundation offers interest-free loans to dependents of former Navy and Marine personnel.
  • Army Community Service. If you’re active duty Army, you may be able to receive an interest-free loan to help pay for funeral costs.
  • FEMA. Eligible applicants may receive up to $9,000 for a COVID-19 related funeral for which they are responsible and that occurred in a covered area.
  • Bay Area Funeral Consumers Association (BA-FCA). While not offering direct financial assistance, BA-FCA can help you find the best prices for simple funeral arrangements.
  • Catholic Charities. This charity’s location in San Bernardino provides $500 in assistance to families who can’t afford burial costs. Its Ontario location provides referrals.
  • Help Hope Live. If your loved one was the recipient of an organ transplant, you may qualify for burial assistance.
  • High Desert Phoenix Foundation. Families who lost a loved one in an accident, as a victim of crime or to suicide may be able to receive food, flower arrangement or burial assistance.
  • The Unforgettables Foundation. If you’ve lost a child and don’t have the means to cover the full cost of a funeral, this foundation can help.

Compare burial insurance policies in California

See how burial insurers stack up. Tap the Compare box to see up to four companies side by side.

Name Product Guaranteed Acceptance Issue Ages Minimum Coverage Maximum Coverage
Policygenius - Life Insurance
No
18 - 85
$50,000
$10,000,000
Compare 12+ top insurers side-by-side to get the best possible deal, and shop return of premium policies online.
Sproutt Burial Insurance
No
18 - 75
$50,000
$10,000,000
Haven Life
No
20 - 64
$100,000
$3,000,000
Fill out a quick online application and get approval in minutes with up to $3 million in coverage.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Funeral costs in California are less than the national average, but can still run into the thousands of dollars. However, options such as burial and life insurance and other forms of assistance are available — making it easier to plan for the future and prevent your loved ones from carrying the financial burden after you’ve passed.

Learn more about life insurance to find out if it’s the best option for you and your family.

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