When a loved one dies, few people want to think about economizing on a funeral. Adding to the stress, many funeral homes make it hard to comparison shop. They’re not required to post their prices online, and many don’t.
Funerals can cost thousands of dollars, and usually time is of the essence. The problem is you often have to call or go to a funeral home to get a price sheet. Consumer Reports recommends getting quotes from as many as five funeral homes and setting a firm budget. Don’t be pushed into spending more.
One thing you may not know is that you don’t have to buy the full package that a funeral home may pitch. You have the right to pay just for the products and services you want. For instance, you don’t have to buy the casket at the funeral home. Retailers like Costco sell them and will deliver.
Also, embalming is generally not needed if the burial or cremation takes place within a certain time. Dropping the viewing service can save money as well.
The Federal Trade Commission has a handy checklist for funeral services and products. Once you’ve decided on a funeral home, you’re entitled by law to get an itemized statement so you know exactly what you will pay in the end. And it’s not out of line to negotiate with a funeral home. It’s worth trying, especially if you are on a fixed or low income.
Rules for funeral homes could change. A proposal before the FTC would require that all funeral homes publish their prices online.