Putting funeral costs under the microscope across Australia.
Sydney is the most expensive city to die in and burial plots account for some of the most expensive real estate in Australia, according to research.
Yet 60 per cent of Australians currently have no plans to prepay their funeral and Australians were recently warned that some funeral insurance companies were ‘guilt-tripping’ consumers into spending on premiums that delivered questionable payouts.
The average cost of a funeral in Australia is $7449, according to data, with a ceremony in Sydney topping the list at $8357 – a 10 per cent increase on costs in the previous year. Perth was second on $7584 and Brisbane third on $7505.
The cheapest city to die in was Hobart, where the average funeral cost $6832. Melbourne and Darwin were excluded due to a lack of data.
On top of the funeral cost for those wishing to have a burial comes the need to buy a plot. With current projections suggesting that several cities will run out of space in 20 to 30 years, a few square metres in a cemetery don’t come cheap.
A two-square metre grave in Melbourne General Cemetery costs $14,585, Domain reports, while a resting place in Sydney’s Rookwood, the largest cemetery in the southern hemisphere, can cost anywhere from $8000 to $40,000.
Two problems are leading to the shortfall, according to University of NSW researcher Kate Ryan.
Graves in Adelaide and Perth are rented for 25, 50 or 99 years, she told Domain, while those in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are permanent.
The Financial Ombudsman Service says it receives hundreds of complaints every year relating to funeral insurers.
Insurance expert Allan Manning says funeral insurance is an unnecessary investment.
“It’s of little or no value,” he told the New Daily.
“It’s the poorer, less educated, most vulnerable Australians who are most affected – and they’re the ones who can least afford it.”
Professor Manning said funeral insurance companies advertised primarily during the day when retirees were watching daytime TV.
“They’re being bombarded and made to feel guilty – that you’re a horrible person if you don’t buy it,” he said.
A report by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in 2015 found that more than 750,000 Australians had funeral insurance cover.
Are you concerned about funeral costs? Do you have insurance? Have you prepaid for a funeral?