This extensive guide is written to help you choose a funeral home. You can choose a funeral home both before or after a death occurs. This guide will help you plan and research the right funeral home for you or your loved one’s celebration of life.
People often select a funeral home because it’s close to home, has served their family in the past, or is recommended by someone they trust. But limiting your options to just one funeral home often results in you paying more than necessary for the funeral. It also narrows your choice of goods and services.
Looking for a funeral home doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you do it before the need for a funeral arises. Planning ahead can help you make thoughtful and informed decisions about the funeral arrangements.
We have prepared this essential guide to help you find and choose a professional, knowledgeable, and caring funeral home that best meets your needs. By learning how to choose wisely, you could save thousands of dollars, and get the satisfaction from the services you receive.
HOW TO CHOOSE A FUNERAL HOME
1. UNDERSTAND YOUR NEED
You should know what type of funeral service you want before you call the funeral home. If you call without any idea, funeral homes will often try and sell you an expensive funeral package, which includes many extra services. These services include embalming, casket, dressing the body, and funeral viewing services.
Many families may want these extra services, but some don’t require them, and they will be satisfied with a direct burial or direct cremation without embalming. By knowing what funeral services and goods you need, you can ask the funeral homes for it, and you will not have to pay for unnecessary items.
Choose the Type of Funeral Arrangement
- You may want to donate your body to a medical school or research facility. Your survivors will incur no charge if you choose this option. The medical school will pay for your cremation.
- Direct cremation and direct burial have no need for embalming or viewing. This option is less expensive.
- You can also opt for green or natural burial where you will be put in a shroud or cardboard box. This option is also affordable and ecologically friendly.
- You could also consider a funeral service at home instead of paying for the funeral home facility and staff.
- You can also choose to have a traditional burial with embalming, viewing, flowers, and an elaborate funeral service.
Write down the type of funeral arrangement you want in advance so that your family will know your funeral preferences. Your funeral choices will be the most significant factor that will help you in determining the most reasonably-priced funeral home that will fulfill your final wishes.
2. WEIGH YOUR PRIORITIES
List your priorities. Here are some guide questions to ask yourself in order to set your priorities.
- Do you prefer a funeral home that is close to your home, place of worship, or cemetery?
- How important is the proximity of the funeral home to your home?
- Are you satisfied with the funeral home you used in the past?
- Do you have a particular religious or cultural requirement?
- Do you want to have a viewing or funeral?
- Do you need a large funeral facility with ample parking?
- Will you need high-tech video screens?
- Do you want a simple funeral?
- Is simplicity or extravagance your priority?
3. CONSULT YOUR FAMILY AND DECIDE ON A BUDGET
You and your family need to discuss your budget and decide on the affordable amount that you are willing to spend without hardship. You need to know your budget before you start shopping for a funeral.
Shopping for a funeral should be like making any other expensive purchase – you need to know that you can afford it before making a purchase. Don’t make the mistake of accepting the funeral home’s price then struggling to find the money.
Ask your family about their preferences. If you are planning for a loved one, did she leave any written instructions about her final wishes?
Ask your family if your loved one had already prepaid her funeral years ago. Look for any documents or burial plans that will help in the decision-making process before you choose a funeral home.
4. HOW TO FIND A FUNERAL HOME
Once you’ve determined the qualities that you look for in a funeral home, you can begin to use these criteria to find potential funeral homes. There are several ways to find a reputable funeral home in your area:
- Ask for recommendations – ask friends and family members if they know of a funeral home that they can recommend. Ask about their funeral home experiences.
- Search online – look for funeral homes in your area online. You can also search for local funeral homes for online directories. Check for customer reviews on sites like Yelp or Angie’s list before making a decision.
- Call professional Funeral Associations – Ask the funeral association for a list of their active members in your area. Funeral associations require their members to adhere to a strict code of conduct.
THE FUNERAL RULE
The Federal Trade Commission enforces a Funeral Rule to make it possible for you to choose the goods and services you need and pay only for those you select.
The Funeral Rule gives you the right to:
- Buy only the funeral arrangements you want
- Get price information over the telephone
- Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home
- See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets
- See a written outer burial container price list
- Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay
- Get an explanation in the written statement from the funeral home that describes any legal cemetery or crematory requirement
- Use an alternative container instead of a casket for cremation
- Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere
- Make funeral arrangements without embalming
5. GET A LIST AND COMPARE PRICES
Once you know what services you need, you can ask the funeral home for the list of prices. You can also check with your local Funeral Association to see if they have a survey of prices in your local area. If you can’t find a price survey, look online for funeral home listings.
The funeral home is required to give you the price of their funeral goods and services. Check the range of cost for the funeral goods and services you need. Make a cost comparison before picking out the most affordable funeral home.
Typical services and goods associated with a traditional full-service funeral:
- Pickup of the body
- Embalming and other preparation
- Funeral directors and staff fees
- Funeral home facility use
- Burial vault
- Graveside service, including staff and equipment
- Other vehicles
6. CALL AROUND
Most people overpay for funeral because they do not shop multiple funeral homes. Do not settle for the geographically closest one to your home without comparing prices.
Check the Red Book Funeral Directory or National Funeral Directors Association for the funeral homes nearest to your area and get their contact information.
If you’re conducting price comparison, save yourself time and travel by calling the funeral home directly. Call five to seven funeral homes and get their prices for your needed goods and funeral services. Compare the prices before choosing a funeral home. Comparing prices can save you thousands of dollars for the same funeral services.
7. VISIT FUNERAL HOMES FACILITY
After calling funeral homes and comparing prices, make an appointment to visit funeral homes to check their facilities. Bring a list of questions and a friend who is less emotionally invested in the funeral than you. Meet the funeral director and tour each facility carefully. Assess the facilities and staff.
You may want to see their urn collection and caskets. Check the cleanliness and appearance of the funeral home. Assess if the staff are helpful. Ask if they respect your religious and cultural beliefs. Check to see if they utilize modern technology. Select a funeral home you feel completely comfortable with the funeral director and the facilities.
Discuss your specific funeral arrangement choices with the funeral director and ask for an itemized quote. The quote should include the goods and services you need and the price of each item and the total cost. Take a copy of the quote home to review more carefully. Compare quotes and discuss them with your family.
8. NARROW DOWN YOUR SELECTION
After comparing prices, narrow down your list of potential funeral homes. Below are some guide questions to consider.
GUIDE QUESTIONS IN CHOOSING THE RIGHT FUNERAL HOME
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you an independent funeral home?
- Do you belong to any associations or organizations?
- Are your services handled in-house or outsourced to vendors?
- Do you own a crematory?
- What kinds of funeral packages do you offer?
- Do you have separate pricing for urns, caskets, and other funeral goods?
- Will you respect my personal beliefs?
- Can I customize the funeral service?
- What are my payment options?
- Are you familiar with burial insurance? Will you work with my insurance company?
- Are you on call 24/7?
9. KNOW YOUR PAYMENT OPTIONS
Ask the funeral directors about the payment options. Find out if they are familiar with burial insurance or final expense insurance. Will they work with your insurance company even if the burial insurance was not purchased from the funeral home? The funeral home should be able to work with your insurance company.
Find out if, in case of financial need, they can arrange accommodations for the most affordable services possible. They should also outline to you what happens the moment they get a death notification.
10. MAKE A DECISION
Thoroughly evaluate all the information from different funeral homes and compare prices for each good and service you require. Assess the facility and staff before choosing the one you like best. You can then call the funeral home to begin the arrangements.
Begin by filling out the funeral home’s pre-need planning form and give all the details. Pay a deposit if the funeral home requires it. But, never sign a contract which you and your family can’t afford to pay.
If you are prearranging your funeral, be sure to tell your loved ones about your decisions. Put your specific instructions and funeral home choice. Give copies of your instructions to your family, do not put your written plans in your safe deposit box – they may not read it until too late.
QUALITIES OF A GOOD FUNERAL HOME
Here’s a list of qualities a good funeral home should possess. Consider these qualities when choosing a funeral home.
1. Possess a good reputation
When looking for a funeral home, select the one that possesses a good reputation. Read online reviews, ask for people’s stories about their personal experience with the funeral home.
2. Offers a good location, services, and facility
Choose a funeral home at a convenient location, near your home, or the cemetery. A convenient location will be helpful for the funeral preparations. Check the funeral home facility, will it be able to hold the number of guests you expect? Make sure that the funeral home offers the services you need. Do they offer embalming, cremation, or transportation services? Make sure the funeral home can accomplish your wishes.
3. Transparent on Cost and product description
Funeral homes are required to follow the Funeral Rule by The Federal Trade Commission. They must provide you with a general price list of their products and services.
4. Accommodates religious and cultural beliefs
A good funeral home will help you honor your cultural and religious beliefs.
5. Employs compassionate staff
Funeral staff must know how to treat grieving families with kindness and professionalism. Excellent customer service gives the funeral home a good reputation.
6. Willing to provide a personalized experience
The funeral home will create a personalized service that is unique to your needs and values. The best funeral is the one that is personalized.
7. Uses Up-to-date technology
Look for a funeral home that uses up-to-date technology to create memorial videos, online funeral planning services, and webcasting services.
8. Excellent customer service
Funeral homes with caring and compassionate staff can give excellent customer service. The company is committed to the families they serve. Check for good online reviews.
9. Offers grief support
Check if the funeral home provides after-sales services like grief counseling, in-home visits, and phone calls.
10. Provides education and community programs
A good funeral home involves the community during and after the funeral. They also provide education programs about estate planning and funeral preplanning.
HOW CAN FUNERAL FUNDS HELP ME?
Trying to pay for a funeral, burial, or cremation needn’t be a frustrating process; working with an independent agency like Funeral Funds will make the process easier and quicker.
We will work with you every step of the way to find the plan that fits your financial requirements and budget. You don’t have to waste your precious time anymore searching for multiple insurance companies because we will do the dirty work for you.
We will shop your case to different insurance carriers and get you the best price.
We work with many A+ rated insurance carriers that specialized in covering high-risk clients like you. We will search all those companies to get the best rate. We will match you up with the best burial insurance company that gives the best rate.
We will assist you in securing the coverage you need at a rate you can afford. So, if you are looking for pre-paid funeral insurance, or pre-paid burial insurance, or pre-paid life insurance.
Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at 888) 862-9456 and we can give you an accurate quote.