With the cost advantage over a standard funeral and burial, cremation has become increasingly popular over the last 10–15 years.
Statistics from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) show cremations in the US in 2015 was 48.6 percent. Projections for 2020 are expected to climb to 57.3 percent.
Possible reasons for the increase in cremation are due to several factors:
- Cremation usually costs less than traditional burials. However, it still allows traditional services if requested by the family and loved ones.
- Personalization – it gives more choices with the ceremony and in keeping the remains.
- Reduced connection with religious organizations. Statistics show that localities with the highest cremation rates have the lowest level of religious affiliation.
Is cremation the right decision for you? Continue reading to better understand all of the facts about cremation.
Cremation Definition and History
Dictionary.com shows the definition as-
Cremate: to reduce (dead body) to ashes by fire, especially as a funeral rite
Encyclopedia Britannica: the Greeks utilized cremation on open fires as early as 1000 BCE.
What is the cost of cremation?
The National Funeral Directors Association estimates the average cost of a funeral with cremation at about $6,000.
Cremation cost can span from about $1,200 to as much as $9,000 or more based the on your service preferences and where you are located.
For example, one option is a “hybrid” service of renting a casket for a viewing/service and then cremating the body afterward. This can increase your costs significantly.
What happens during the process?
Prior to cremation, jewelry and other materials are removed and given to the family. Medical devices (such as a heart pacemaker) are also removed.
The body is positioned in a combustible container or casket (some localities do not require this) before entering the furnace chamber. If a container is not used they may wrap the body in a type of shroud as an alternative.
During this process, the body (cremations are performed individually) is placed in a retort or furnace chamber. It is then exposed to temperatures as high as 1,900 degrees. The heat will mineralize the bones into fragments. These fragments are then gathered in a tray to cool. Once cooled, they are ground to a form similar to sand and commonly called “cremains” or “ashes”.
This usually takes 1-3 hours depending on the size of the body. The remains are then deposited in a container or urn and returned to your family.
Alkaline hydrolysis is another process. This method uses water, alkaline chemicals, much lower heat (200-300° Fahrenheit) along with pressure and agitation. This procedure reduces the body to bone fragments and an inert liquid called effluent.
Something to keep in mind though, it is not legal or available in every state. As of this post it is not available in the state of Virginia, however it is legal in North Carolina.
Direct cremation: when your remains are transported to a crematorium or funeral home without a viewing or wake. Generally, a family will schedule a memorial service on another day for family and friends. Because this approach eliminates the need for a funeral service, it’s often the cheapest option.
What are the benefits?
Along with cost, there are many other benefits, such as:
- More efficient process; completed in a shorter amount of time
- Cremated remains are easily moved
- Storage of the remains
- Scattering ashes in an area or body of water
- Using the remains for a special jewelry locket
- Planting the remains in a garden or tree plot
- Converting the remains into a man-made gem for jewelry
Even though cremations are less expensive than a typical funeral, they can still create a financial hardship for your family if they are not prepared.
If cremation is something you are considering, figuring out how to pay for it is a crucial decision. A final expense insurance policy is a popular choice if you don’t have the money saved up.
If you have questions or concerns about cremation or a small policy to cover the expenses of cremation, reach out to us, we are here to help.