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07 Dec 2021

No one wants to think about paying for a funeral. Losing a loved one is already an incredibly tough experience to endure, without having to consider the cost of flowers. However, thinking ahead can help to prevent unpleasant surprises down the road. In this article, we share five unexpected costs that people commonly come across when planning funerals.

5 unexpected funeral costs

1. Funeral flowers and casket sprays

While flowers may seem like a given, they’re an expense that often takes people by surprise when planning a funeral. Basic floral arrangements can cost as little as $75, but for a casket spray, you’re likely looking at a few hundred dollars on the cheaper side of the scale. Casket sprays and funeral wreaths can easily cost up to $500 if you’re looking for a larger, more elaborate arrangement and even more if you want additional flowers for the wake. A good way to cut costs is to forego the casket spray and opt for a more simple arrangement.

2. Headstones or memorial plaques

Typically made of granite and marble, these memorials don’t come cheap. In fact, the average price of a headstone in New Zealand can range from $2,000 to $4,000 depending on the size, colour and style. There may also be extra fees for inscription, installation, and any additional features which are required.

3. Catering for the wake

Food is often an instrumental part of a wayke, used to comfort loved ones in a time of need. But we don’t always think about who has to pay for it. Whether you simply have tea and biscuits, or a full lunch buffet, this will come at a cost. If there is a proficient cook in the family, providing your own food can be a big help in cutting down these costs. Alternatively, you could offer a light morning tea for all funeral attendees and then host a more intimate gathering with further food for close family and friends only.

4. Burial plot or cremation fee

If you’ve never thought about where you or your loved ones might be buried, you’re not alone. But it is something to consider and there are costs associated. According to the Auckland Council, the cost of a burial plot ranges from $2,349 to $6,613. This estimate is for a plot that ‘allows for two body burials and up to eight sets of ashes’.

If there is a preference for cremation, a council crematorium in New Zealand charges $589 for an adult cremation. However, additional fees may be required for processing any associated paperwork.

5. Digging fees

Some people might be surprised to find that there is a separate fee for digging the burial plot. This ranges from $1,108 to $1,860 and is generally required to be paid at the time of the burial.

Additional funeral expenses

These are just a few examples of the expenses which can come as a surprise. However, there are several more costs to consider. These can include:

  • The urn or coffin

  • Transportation fees, such as for a hearse

  • Embalming if this option is chosen

  • Funeral director fees

  • The celebrant’s fees

  • Printing costs for portraits of the deceased

  • Printing costs for service programmes

  • Musician’s fee

  • Celebrant’s fee

  • The death certificate

  • Memorial books

  • Venue fees

How much does the total average funeral cost in New Zealand?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the individual expenses, what does the total cost look like? In New Zealand, the average funeral can cost between $8,000 and $11,000. For most people, this is a significant amount of money that often hasn’t been planned for and needs to be paid immediately. However, there are ways to lessen the financial burden on your loved ones in the event of your death. 

Here are three of our top tips for minimising this burden:

  • Start saving money for your funeral
    Think about putting money away now to help cover the cost of your funeral in the event of your death. Just be sure that you have a will in place to help your loved ones gain access to this easily.

  • Create a funeral plan
    Planning out the details of your funeral in advance can help to alleviate the stress on your family, reducing the volume of decisions they have to make during a time of need.

  • Consider applying for funeral cover
    Cigna’s award-winning Funeral Cover is an easy and affordable option, offering fast payouts on claims (usually within 48 hours!) and guaranteed acceptance for all New Zealanders between the ages of 50 and 80.

Looking for more information?

Thinking about what would happen in the event of your death is never easy, but it is important. For further information about our Funeral Cover options, please see our full policy details. If you’d like to speak to someone in our Customer Service Team about insurance options for you, simply contact us on 0800 900 047 or get an instant quote online today.