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Funeral Cost: Planning Ahead to Soften the Blow

Funerals, and the associated funeral cost, shouldn’t hold any unexpected surprises when burying a loved one. It can be overwhelming when, just as you are suffering from grief, the bills start piling up.

Equally, if you were to die, the last thing you would want is to saddle your loved ones with debt.

And, of course, no discussion about funeral finances would be complete without recognising the additional costs that one may have to incur due to COVID-19. The pandemic has had a severe impact on funeral cost, with some parlours hiking their prices by 25%. That’s a heavy blow to loved ones who may have no financial plan in place.

Costs associated with funerals in South Africa can differ widely, with an estimate of between R10,000 to R100,000, depending on how lavish the funeral is.

Research has shown that South Africa is the fourth most expensive country in which to pass away. Here follows a guide that breaks down the potential costs that one may incur while preparing for a funeral.

Funeral Cost You Should Consider

Firstly, you should always do your research and compare options to best choose the appropriate funeral plan, or funeral service, that matches your budget. At the same time, ensuring you can bid your loved ones farewell in a dignified manner.

Coffin or cremation? This is entirely based on a family's preference. Cremations can be less costly than burial. The average cremation cost in South Africa is between R7,000 and R15,000. Coffins, on the other hand, range from R800 to R50,000, or even more. It’s important to note that this is merely a guide, and one should always weigh your options before making any hasty decisions.

Gravesite: Depending on the municipal costs associated with the cemetery/location you choose to bury a loved one, costs can range from R1,000 to R6,000 or more.

Tombstone: Depending on how much you are willing to spend, the cost of a tombstone can vary widely, with prices from R3,000 up to R100,000 or more.

Transport: Do you need to offer transportation to and from the venue for distant loved ones or local mourners? Depending on your particular situation, it can be difficult to estimate a fixed price. You can, however, cut costs by requesting guests to carpool or where applicable, ensure that a live stream service is available, therefore limiting the number of attendees.

Funeral parlour costs: Costs range from R5,000 to R10,000.

Catering: The cost of food can also vary widely, depending on the number of attendees. Prices can range from as little as R30 per person, and up to R5,000 for an entire catering budget.

Flowers: Floral arrangements are generally included in a funeral package, but should you desire something unique, the costs will surely add up.

Venue hire: Considers various factors, including the number of people who will be attending, to how upmarket the venue is. To give you an example, tent hire can set one back between R500 to R5,000.

The funeral cost can be excessive. This is why it’s important to have a funeral policy that can alleviate the burden.

AVBOB’s general manager, Pieter van der Westhuizen tells us that the average cost of an AVBOB funeral is R12,500, though this excludes grave or cremation fees. AVBOB has also been mindful of the extra costs associated with COVID and has since the beginning of the pandemic limited its funeral cost increases in line with inflation.

AVBOB has also taken additional measures, including offering free PPE, and expanding its facilities by acquiring 12 containers that have been set up as mortuaries, and these are located throughout South Africa.

AVBOB broadcasts funerals via live streaming, if and when desired as COVID regulations have previously limited funerals to only 50 attendees.

Van der Westhuizen adds that, while people cut the funeral cost aligned with catering and tents due to smaller gatherings, the money saved has been diverted to more expensive caskets or coffins. And, of course, mourners still observe cultural rituals, like the slaughter of a cow to mark the occasion.

Having a funeral policy in place to meet the funeral cost is essential, especially if you need to spread the financial commitment over time, and not face an unaffordable bill.

Contact AVBOB today, and we will assist you with different funeral cover options to meet your particular needs.

AVBOB. We’re here for you.

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