The death care or “funeral” industry is changing. Cremations, less expensive than burials, are rising, and some people choose to have a less elaborate but more personalized funeral, while others opt for no funeral.
Despite those trends, the industry is projected to grow through 2017, according to research firm IbisWorld. As the population ages and the U.S. death rate continues to increase, the industry’s revenues are expected to increase from $13.4 billion in 2012 to $14.1 billion in 2017.
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The Funeral Rule
The Funeral Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, requires funeral directors to give you an itemized price list in person, and if you ask, over the phone.
The Funeral Rule says:
You have the right to choose the funeral goods and services you want (with some exceptions).
Funeral providers are allowed to charge a basic services fee that customers cannot decline to pay.
The funeral provider may not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket you bought elsewhere.
A funeral providre that offers cremations must make alternative containers available.
The FTC advises shoping around in advance. Compare prices from at least two funeral homes. Remember you can supply your own casket or urn.
Resist pressure to buy goods and services you don’t really want or need.
Avoid emotional overspending. The fanciest casket or most elaborate funeral is not necessary.
Plan Ahead. It allows you to comparison shop without time constraints, creates an opportunity for family discussion, and lifts some of the burden from your family.
The Florida Division of Funeral, Cemetery and Consumer Services can assist consumers with questions or complaints. You can contact the division at 850-413-3039, or Toll Free in Florida at 800-323-2627.
To file a complaint online, go to myfloridacfo.com/FuneralCemetery.
The average cost of a funeral in 2012 was $7,045, not including a burial vault, cemetery or crematory charges, flowers or obituaries. Including a vault, the average was $8,343.
Over the last decade, the average cost has increased 35 percent.
Cremations are climbing at the rate almost 2 percent a year.
In 2012, 175,849 people died in Florida, and 61 percent were cremated. In 2007, 53 percent were cremated.
In the U.S. in 2012, 43 percent of people were cremated.
The U.S. death rate stood at eight per 1,000 population in 2011, and rose to 8.3 in 2012. By 2035 it is projected at 9.3.
Sources: Cremation Association of North America, National Funeral Directors Association