£89 million funeral bill in January due to lack of provision

18th January 2017

January is the month of the most registered deaths and the highest funeral bills of the year according to latest figures released by SunLIfe. The month always sees more registered deaths than any other time of the year, with 47,336 in the first four weeks of 2016; 17% more than the rest of the year. And with the cost of a funeral now standing at £5,873, that is a combined cost of £278,004,328.

Due to the fact that half of us either make no provision or insufficient to cover the full cost, on average, friends and family have to cover 32% of these funeral costs. This is an average of £1,879, and a total cost this month of £88,944,344 .

For one in seven, this cost causes real problems. Of the 13% who said finding the money to pay for a funeral caused them ‘notable financial concerns’, one in five had to borrow money from a friend or relative, one in ten had to get a loan, and a quarter had to use a credit card to pay for the funeral.  One in ten were forced to sell belongings to cover the cost. SunLife’s findings include:

  • There were more than 13,000 deaths in the first week of 2016; 29% more than the average weekly death rate for the rest of the year
  • The average funeral now costs £5,873
  • The cost of funerals this January expected hit £278m
  • Half of us either make NO financial provision for our funerals or insufficient to cover full cost3
  • Friends and family left to pay almost £1.9k each – which could total  £89 million this month4

Graham Jones, Commercial Director at SunLife said: “Funerals are one of the fastest rising fixed costs in the UK and in the past year alone have risen 5.5% which is more than double the rate of pensions, inflation and earnings growth. While most people are making at least some provision, almost half of us leaving either nothing or not enough leaving family and friends with a funeral bill of almost £2k on average.  It can cause loved ones a great deal of added stress at a difficult time if no provisions are in place so it’s important to consider making some plans.”