A consumer group that periodically surveys funeral, burial and cremation costs in the Kansas City area found the average cost for a “standard funeral” in 2016 to be $5,814.
The Funeral Consumer Alliance of Greater Kansas City, a volunteer group, reviewed prices by 95 providers in the metro area and discovered a wide variation depending on the kind of services offered.
The group defined a standard funeral as one that covers transporting the body, embalming, body preparation, visitation, funeral service, hearse, limousine, graveside service and death certificates. It excludes cemetery costs.
Separately, the average cost of direct cremation, which includes transferring the body, cremation, death certificates and return of the ashes, was pegged at $1,817.
The average cost of an immediate burial, which includes transporting the body, death certificates and the lowest-priced casket offered, was found to be $3,854.
“The lowest prices are found among the area’s 60-plus locally owned funeral providers, while those owned by two Houston-based chains charge significantly more,” wrote Steve Nicely, an alliance board member in the group’s newsletter, which contains a detailed chart summarizing individual providers’ prices.
The alliance takes no position on the variation of charges.
“We think consumers should be free to choose,” Nicely said. “Our purpose…is to provide the information with which to make informed choices.”
National consumer groups have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to revise rules governing funeral homes to require price disclosure online via their websites. Current rules require funeral homes to disclose pricing only face-to-face or on the telephone.
The group’s newsletter noted that Kansas City area consumers have an option to shop for caskets at Direct Casket Outlet, which has a storefront operation on Independence Square. Consumers also can order caskets through Costco and Wal-Mart.
The Kansas City group’s newsletter also noted that the historic Highland Cemetery in Prairie Village has begun accepting natural burials.
Consumer advice and information is available from the Kansas City alliance by sending email to email@example.com, calling 816-561-6322, visiting its website at funeralskc.org or addressing a letter to the alliance at P.O. Box 7021, Kansas City, MO 64113.