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How much does a funeral cost in New York?

A funeral costs an average of $7,849 in New Yoek, but options exist to help cover this cost.

Funerals are costly, when you up a funeral director’s basic service fees, along with transportation, casket, embalming, viewing and burial — a traditional funeral can cost anywhere between $7,000 and $12,000 or more, though the national average cost is $7,640. Funeral costs in New York sit above the national average at $7,849. But, there are several ways you can cover this cost by planning ahead.

Average cost of a funeral in New York

In New York, the average cost of a funeral with services and burial is $7,849 which sits above the national average. Here’s a breakdown of the different costs that make up a typical burial funeral in New York.

Average cost of a funeral with burial in New York

ExpenseCost
Basic services fee (non-declinable)$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Embalming (not required in NY)$750
Preparation of body$255
Use of facilities & staff for viewing$425
Use of facilities & staff for ceremony$500
Casket (wood)$2,800
Transportation (hearse)$340
Service car or van$150
Printing of materials$175
Vault$1,495
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 New York

An average funeral with cremation and services in New York is $5,364. An urn will cost an extra $295, on average. While paying $5,659 for a cremation and urn is a substantial amount of money, it’s still significantly less than a traditional funeral with burial.

If you wish to reduce costs further, there’s the option of direct cremation. With direct cremation, there’s no service performed. Instead, the body is taken directly from the hospital or home to the crematory. If you take the time to research, you can typically find direct cremation services for under $1,000.

Average cost of a funeral with cremation in New York

ExpenseCost
Basic services fee (non-declinable)$2,195
Transfer of remains to funeral home$350
Embalming (not required in NY)$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$1,595
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:

  • Headstones and grave markers. Since these are made-to-order items, grave markers can range anywhere between $199 for simple headstones to over $10,000 for monuments and statues depending on their style and complexity.
  • Funeral plots. While it seems odd that this is not included in the cost of the funeral, you’ll also need to account for the price of the burial plot. This can range anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 or more depending on what city it’s located in and if its a private or public cemetery.
  • Flowers. If you want to have memorial floral wreaths or casket decorations at the funeral, the cost will vary based on the type of flowers you want.
  • Burial vaults and grave liners. Some cemeteries require a vault or grave liner to prevent the grave from sinking as the ground settles over time.
  • Funeral director. In New York State, only licensed and registered funeral directors can make arrangements for a deceased person’s body. The minimum they can help with is filing the death certificate, moving the body and coordinating with cemetery representatives.
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How to pay for a funeral in New York

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the costs of a funeral in New York, remember that you have options. To fund the ceremony, consider:

  • Out of pocket. You can pay for the services with cash, credit or debit card. Considering the medium annual household income for the state in 2019 was $72,108, it could end up being a month’s wages or more. So some funeral homes will let you set up a payment plan to help break up the strain.
  • Pre-need funeral insurance. Create a savings account with a chosen funeral home listed as a trustee or benefit owner. New York law says you have the right to see a general price list, a pre-need itemization statement and a pre-need agreement from the funeral home.
  • Life insurance. Some life insurance policies cover the cost of funerals and other end-of-life expenses. Check with your provider to see if this applies to your policy.
  • Burial insurance. Burial insurance is usually cheaper than life insurance, and most policies don’t require a medical exam. You can compare the benefits of Burial insurance to see if this option is the right one for your needs.
  • Social Security. If the deceased individual was receiving Social Security at the time of death and left behind a spouse or a child under the age of 18, Social Security may pay up to $225 to help fund funeral costs.
  • Car insurance. If a New Yorker dies from injuries they sustain in a car accident, their New York State car insurance policy provides a $2000 death benefit paid to their estate.
  • Religious organizations. If you’re a member of a church or other place of worship, it may offer financial assistance for last rites.
  • Veteran’s Administration. If you paid for a veteran’s funeral, you could get reimbursed up to $300 for a non-service-related death, and $2,000 for a service-related death. In addition, the New York State VA office will give a supplemental amount of $6,000 for funerals of individuals who died in combat.
  • Inquire about low-cost options. Certain funeral homes might offer discounted or free services for low-income individuals. Consider asking your health provider for references if needed.
  • The deceased’s estate. According to section 1811 of New York state law, if the deceased person had assets in the estate, the money must first go toward covering funeral costs — before debts or taxes.
  • Funeral loans. If you’re backed into a corner, a funeral loan could provide immediate cash, plus allow you to pay it back over time.

Who is responsible for paying for a funeral in New York?

If you’re the one making the funeral arrangements, check Public Health Law 4201. It allows people to designate a representative during their lifetime to manage their funeral affairs. If the deceased does not elect an agent, the law lists a hierarchy of people responsible for dealing with funeral arrangements.

  1. Spouse
  2. Domestic partner
  3. Any adult children
  4. Either parent
  5. Any adult siblings
  6. A court-appointed guardian
  7. The fiduciary of the estate

Does New York have funeral assistance programs?

The state of New York doesn’t provide financial assistance for funerals or burials. But you can often get aid through your county or city of residence. This aid is usually capped at $1250.

Certain local funeral homes might offer low-cost or free cremation to people who need it. Get in touch with your city government to learn about options.

Funeral assistance in New York City

Low-income residents of NYC can apply for up to $900 in assistance to help fund a funeral that costs no more than $1,700. You’ll need to complete the application and bring it, plus required documentation, to the Burial Claims Unit in Brooklyn.

Other avenues of assistance may include:

  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul for the Archdiocese of New York. Families who live in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island can seek assistance from this Catholic organization. Call for help at 212-755-8615.
  • National Philoptochos Society. Aid especially for members of the Greek community. Check in at 212-744-4390.
  • The Hebrew Free Burial Association. Assistance is available for Jewish individuals. Call 212-239-1662 to inquire.
  • The Jewish Heritage for the Blind. It offers free burial plots for people with vision impairments across the United States.
  • Edhi International Foundation. People in the Muslim community can call 718-639-5120 to learn about financial assistance for last rites.
  • The Actor’s Fund of America. End-of-life funds might be available for people who have worked in the entertainment industry. Call 212-221-7300 to learn more.
  • Hart Island. NYC holds public burials on Hart Island, where people who are unidentified when they die or whose families cannot afford a burial are laid to rest. Call the Office of Burial Services at 929-221-6860 for more information.
  • Crime victims board. The New York State Crime Victims Board will pay up to $6,000 to help offset funeral expenses for individuals who died as a victim of a crime. New York’s Help for Crime Victims resource can lend more information about whether or not you may have access to these funds.

COVID-19 victims can seek funeral assistance

Emergency relief funds remain in place to help people if a loved one dies from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program

If an individual dies from COVID-19, NYC offers funeral and burial help through the COVID-19 Immigrant Burial Assistance Program. This program is available to anyone regardless of their immigration or citizenship status and covers funeral costs up to $9000. Individuals need to prove a COVID-19 related financial hardship, NYC residency and that the death was related to COVID-19 to receive assistance.

FEMA Burial Services Program

FEMA has a countrywide COVID-19 relief fund to assist families of individuals who die from the disease, as well. New York State residents may qualify to receive funds from FEMA up to $9000 for funeral and burial costs if a loved one dies from COVID-19.

Compare burial insurance policies in New York

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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Alternative funerals can save you money

If the costs of a traditional funeral and burial or cremation are still too much, consider alternatives to costly ceremonies.

  • Direct burial or cremation. A direct burial or cremation is when the body is interred or cremated soon after death without ceremony. No embalming is necessary because the remains are handled quickly.
  • Green burial. Green burials are becoming more popular with eco-friendly and budget-friendly crowds. Green burials are simple burials where bodies are interred wrapped in cloth or cardboard, often in natural settings with trees or other natural elements as markers.
  • Home burial. Home burials are legal in New York State, although a funeral director still needs to handle some arrangements. Home burials can be as simple as you’d like and help you avoid costs.
  • Rent a casket. Some funeral homes let you rent a fancy casket for the viewing, then will lay the body to rest in a simpler casket. Burying an expensive casket may not make financial sense when you can rent one for viewing only.

Bottom line

If you don’t plan on paying out of pocket for a funeral in New York, you could reach out to local resources to inquire about aid. If you’re pondering your own end-of-life costs, funeral insurance and/or life insurance can help set a plan in motion.

If you’re working on your own arrangements, you may want to look further into life insurance to learn whether it’s a good funding option.

Sources

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