How much is a funeral in California, and why are they so expensive? California funerals might cost less than $11,800 on average, but that depends on the package you choose.
To lower your California funeral costs, you might want to go with a simple burial or cremation. Funeral homes often have several packages that account for affordability.
Read on to know more about California’s funeral costs. If you would like some suggestions about lowering a loved one’s end-of-life expenses (or your own), we have some ideas for you to consider.
How much does a funeral cost in California compared to other states?
After someone dies, you may have several options for removing the body. Ambulances, coroner’s offices, hospices, medical examiner’s offices, or funeral homes may remove a body from a place of death. These services often carry administrative fees.
For example, Contra Costa County charges $267 for body removal ($367 for private autopsies). Calaveras County charges $100 for out-of-county residents. However, many other California counties will not charge residents for body removal.
Body identification may be the next step, and it is often free with county coroners and medical examiners. If you work with a funeral home, identification and the body’s initial removal incur fees. These fees can be less than $200 in some cases, but they can surpass $2,000.
Next, let’s look at simple burial and cremation costs in California. We will also see how these expenses compare to complete funeral bills.
Simple Burial Costs in California
Below is a sampling of low-end burial costs for California:
- Embalming may cost as little as $500.
- Refrigeration can cost $500 for a specific period, plus charges for each extra day.
- Caskets can cost less than $1,000 with some suppliers or funeral homes.
- Labor costs and facility usage can be as low as $350.
- Funeral homes might charge less than $600 for a hearse.
- You may pay at least $500 if the funeral home transports mourners from a chapel to a graveyard.
Now, here is a sample of companies across greater California that offer overall rates for simple burials:
|Company||Location||Simple Burial Costs|
|California Cremation & Burial Chapel||4880 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, California 92115||$1,652|
|Cedar Hill Mortuary||1722 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90041||$750-$1,250|
|Harrison-Ross Mortuaries||4601 South Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90043||$2,560-$3,285|
|Morgan-Jones Funeral Home, Inc.||4200 Broadway, Sacramento, California 95817||$1,900-$2,475|
|Preston & Simons Mortuary||3358 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, California 92501||$1,900|
|Sacramento Memorial Lawn||6100 Stockton, Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95824||$4,120-$13,715|
|San Jacinto Valley Mortuary||250 S. State St., San Jacinto, California 92583||$1,395-$1,990|
|San Bernardino Mission Chapel||1798 N. D Street, San Bernardino, California, 92405||$1,000|
|Thomas Miller Mortuary and Crematory||1118 E. Sixth Street, Corona, California 92879||$3,045-$13,045|
Simple burials are the least expensive if you purchase a casket from a third party.
Simple Cremation Costs in California
How much does it cost to cremate someone in the state? Direct cremations are generally the least expensive. Depending on the company you choose, you may pay as little as $500. However, funeral homes charge extra depending on the weight of the deceased person.
Some cremations include caskets, and as with burial prices, you can add $10,000 to the total costs of a simple cremation by using a casket through the funeral home. Also, funeral homes may charge you at least $60 for sending an urn to a specific location.
Here is a sampling of cremation prices from the same companies listed above, plus two companies strictly dedicated to cremation services:
|Company||Location||Simple Cremation||Cremation With Viewing or Memorial Service|
|All California Cremation||66272 Desert Hot Springs, California 92240||$795||$1,295-$1,370|
|California Cremation & Burial||4880 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, California 92115||$1,071||$2,630|
|Cedar Hill Mortuary||1722 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90041||$750-$1,295||$1,445-$1,990|
|Harrison-Ross Mortuary (View Park)||4601 South Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90043||$2,785||$3,150-$4,575|
|Morgan-Jones Funeral Home, Inc.||4200 Broadway, Sacramento, California 95817||$1,176.50||$3,275|
|Preston & Simons Mortuary||3358 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, California 92501||$929.74||$2,500|
|Sacramento Memorial Lawn||6100 Stockton, Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95824||$1,440-$13,715||$4,512-6,036|
|San Jacinto Valley Mortuary||250 S. State St., San Jacinto, California 92583||$1,015-$1,030||$1,540|
|San Bernardino Mission Chapel||1798 N. D Street, San Bernardino, California, 92405||$750||$2,970|
|Thomas Miller Mortuary and Crematory||1118 E. Sixth Street, Corona, California 92879||$2020-$12,020||$4,730-$5,030|
Some businesses have multiple cremation packages besides a traditional funeral ceremony.
Other Funeral Costs in California
A complete funeral increases your burial or cremation service fees. Also, you will pay for other preparations for the body (like cosmetics). Extra funeral services can include vaults and paraphernalia.
Your family can choose to see a deceased loved one’s coffin lowered into the ground, but that can expect to add much more than $1,000 to your funeral costs in California.
Let’s look at most of the same companies once again to see how much their complete funeral services cost:
|Company||Location||Complete Funeral Service With Burial||Full Cremation Funeral Costs|
|All California Cremation||66272 Desert Hot Springs, California 92240||Not offered||$1,545|
|California Cremation & Burial Chapel||San Diego, National City||$5,563||$4,367|
|Cedar Hill Mortuary||1722 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90041||$4,250||$2,550|
|Harrison-Ross Mortuaries||4601 South Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90043||$6,770-$13,702||$7,215|
|Morgan-Jones Funeral Home, Inc.||4200 Broadway, Sacramento, California 95817||$3,095||$5,335|
|Preston & Simons Mortuary||3358 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, California 92501||$3,000||$3,587.10-$4,087.10|
|Sacramento Memorial Lawn||6100 Stockton, Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95824||$8,053-$9,078||$7,013|
|San Jacinto Valley Mortuary||250 S. State St., San Jacinto, California 92583||$3,085||$2,730|
|Thomas Miller Mortuary and Crematory||1118 E. Sixth Street, Corona, California 92879||$5,403-$6,420||$5,625-$6,475|
Read on to see how California funeral costs stand against national averages.
How the Average Funeral Cost in California Compares to the National Average
How much does a funeral cost nationwide? In late 2021, the National Funeral Directors Association produced its five-year general price list study on funerals in the United States. Here are some of the 2021 results:
|Funeral Expense||Average 2021 Cost|
|Basic services fee||$2,300|
|Transfer of remains to a funeral home||$$350|
|Other preparations for the body||$275|
|Facility use/staff labor for viewing the body||$450|
|Facility use/staff labor for funeral ceremony||$515|
|Service car or van||$150|
|Printed materials for a basic memorial package||$183|
|Metal burial casket||$2,500|
|Median funeral cost (with viewing and burial)||$7,848|
|Total funeral costs with vault||$9,420|
The median price of a funeral in the United States is about $7,848, and the total cost for a vault is $9,420. According to the same study, these are the national figures for crematory costs:
- Third-party cremation services cost $368 on average.
- The average cremation casket was $1,310.
- Urns averaged $295 each.
When adding these costs to the above non-burial services, the median price of a funeral with cremation viewing (nationwide) was $6,970. In the Pacific area (where California is), median burial and cremation costs were $7,225 and $6,028, respectively.
Ways to Lower Your Funeral Costs in California
Is it possible to have a low-cost funeral in California? Yes, but you must be creative and proactive to make sure you can pay your final respects to the recently departed.
Besides having a simple burial or cremation with a funeral service, you could choose to donate your body to science, bury a veteran at a national cemetery, or your family can decide to have a home funeral. Additionally, you can reduce your financial burden if you or a loved one has a life insurance policy.
Donating Your Body to Science
If you donate your body to science, the facility that studies your body cremates it and sends the ashes to your family after two years. The entire process has minimal administrative costs.
Burying a Veteran
If your loved one was a veteran, bury them at a national cemetery, and their local Veterans’ Affairs office will cover all the burial costs. However, your family must pay any mortuary or cremation costs.
Home burial is legal in California, but the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau outlines these steps for undertaking that responsibility:
- File a Certificate of Death with the correct local registrar of births and deaths.
- Contact the local registrar of births and deaths to get a Permit for Disposition.
- Obtain a casket or other suitable container for the body.
- Make burial or cremation arrangements with a cemetery or crematory.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, embalming is not a legal requirement, and funeral homes must notify their customers. However, California encourages refrigeration within 24 hours after an authorized person declines to embalm.
Life Insurance Policy
Who needs life insurance? Spouses and homeowners are prime candidates for life insurance policies. Upon the death of the policyholder, the life insurance policy can help pay for funeral costs, among other benefits.
We know that the death of a loved one can be hard enough without thinking about the overall costs. But we hope that this newfound knowledge of California funeral costs alternatives can make things a little bit easier for you when the time comes.