Cremation is quickly becoming the most popular method of final disposition. One of the reasons for the change in preference for many families comes down to cost. Cremation is far less expensive than traditional burial, even when cremation is combined with a traditional funeral in some cases.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Average Cost of Cremation in Illinois
- Popular Crematories in Illinois
- Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Illinois
Thanks to the growing popularity of cremation, more crematories are opening up with a focus on offering families a dignified, compassionate, and affordable way to honor their loved ones. While cremation is certainly less expensive, there can still be significant costs involved in cremation and funeral preparations.
It’s always a good idea to have a clear expectation of budgeting needs so you can plan ahead or stick to a budget when the time comes. Below are the average prices you can expect to encounter if you’re looking for cremation services.
Average Cost of Cremation in Illinois
The cost of cremation can vary widely depending on the type of cremation package you choose. The lowest prices begin at around $700 and can go as high as $3,500 or more. This all depends on several factors such as whether you purchase on an at-need basis, choose a prepaid cremation, decide on a funeral or memorial service, or choose cremation only with no services.
There are three cremation service types available in Illinois including a traditional cremation package, direct cremation, and aqua cremation. Here are the average prices for all three types.
Note: There is a 24-hour waiting prior before cremation can occur. The below prices may not reflect costs related to storage for the initial 24 hours or subsequent days.
One of the benefits of cremation is that you can choose to hold a memorial or funeral service before or after the cremation. Many families deciding between cremation or burial choose a combination of the two by choosing a cremation with a funeral service. This is known as “traditional cremation.”
In traditional cremation, the funeral home provides you with all the services they would as if your loved one were given a funeral before burial. Only, after the funeral service, your relative will be cremated instead.
If you choose a memorial service, the person is often cremated and the ashes are present during the memorial afterward.
Cremation with a funeral viewing service is the more expensive of the two options. The increased price reflects requires items including embalming and makeup, body preparation, a rental casket, a chapel or funeral home service, and the services of a funeral director in addition to crematory fees and transportation costs.
Memorial services, on the other hand, save some expense because it eliminates much of the above requirements except the funeral home space and services of the funeral director and staff.
In Illinois, cremation with a funeral service will cost around $4,500 while cremation without a memorial service is around $3,500.
Direct cremation is a cremation package that includes transportation of a person’s remains from the hospital or nursing home directly to the crematory. The body is cremated and their ashes are provided to the family. No memorial services or funeral accompanies direct cremation.
Many crematories are starting to offer packages that offer the opportunity to witness the cremation or provide the family with time to say a last goodbye prior to cremation. Naturally, these add-ons will increase the price and sometimes significantly. It’s also good to keep in mind that direct cremation prices typically don’t include storage if any is needed.
Direct cremation package prices range from just $600–$1,500 for direct cremation only to $2,200 for a witness cremation and $2,700 for cremation with a final goodbye.
Aqua cremation, also known as aquamation, alkaline hydrolysis, water-based cremation, or “green” cremation, is a flameless cremation service provided in Illinois. This service is quickly gaining popularity as a more eco-friendly cremation option since there is no burning involved.
The aqua cremation process involves placing a body in a solution of water and alkali and gently rocking them back and forth. The process mimics and speeds up natural decomposition.
Because this is a fairly new service, prices are higher than direct cremation and can even be as much as traditional cremation. Aqua cremation packages include direct cremation, cremation with a memorial service, and cremation with a funeral and viewing service.
The cost for direct aqua cremation is around $2,000, cremation with a memorial service is around $3,000, and cremation with a viewing service is around $5,500.
Popular Crematories in Illinois
If you’re planning ahead or you need a crematory right away, here are several of the best throughout Illinois.
Metro East Mortuary (Western Illinois)
Metro East Mortuary is known for providing elegant services at affordable prices. Their direct cremation service starts at $695. They service the areas around St. Louis, Missouri, and western Illinois.
Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center (Eastern Illinois)
Sunset Funeral Home has been providing eastern Illinois families with cremation services since 1970. They offer direct cremation, witness cremation, and traditional cremation packages with viewings and funeral services.
Deiters Funeral Home and Crematory (Central Illinois)
Deiters Funeral Home has provided central Illinois with cremation services since 2008 and they’re known for their compassion, professionalism, and quality services. They offer several cremation services including graveside funeral inurnment services, direct cremation, and scattering services.
UC Davis-Callahan Funeral Home and Aqua Cremation Center (Southwest Chicago Metro)
UC Davis-Callahan Funeral home is one of two funeral homes offering on-site aqua cremation. Their package options include direct aqua cremation, aqua cremation with a memorial service, and aqua creation with a visitation service. They do not offer flame-based cremation.
Caring Cremations (Chicago)
Caring Cremations offers both flame-based and water-based cremation. Flame-based cremation packages include direct cremation, cremation with a memorial service, and cremation with a visitation service. Aqua cremation is offered as a direct cremation service. All arrangements can be made online. If you need aqua cremation with a visitation or memorial service, contact Caring Cremations directly before you select services online.
Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Illinois
Though cremation is typically cheaper than burial services, the cost can still come as quite a shock if unprepared. Thankfully, there are a number of charities that help with funeral costs to help ease the burden.
Illinois Department of Human Services
Illinois Funeral and Burial Benefits program helps pay for funeral and burial expenses, including cremation, as long as personal monetary resources are less than what the DHS will provide for a funeral or cremation.
To qualify for DHS, the deceased had to have been a recipient of the following:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Cash
- Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD) Cash
- All Kids Assist
- Parent/All Kids Assist
- All Kids Moms & Babies
- Family Assist
- AABD Medical
- General Assistance Foster Care/Adoption Care
Qualification is also provided if the person would have qualified for the following prior to their death:
- All Kids Assist
- Parent/All Kids Assist
- All Kids Moms & Babies
- Family Assist
- AABD Medical
DHS will pay up to $686 toward cremation expenses.
If your loved one received Social Security payments when they passed away, you can apply to the Social Security Administration for a stipend to help with cremation expenses. Currently, the maximum amount of assistance is $255.
You can ask the funeral director working with you to file with the Social Security Administration for you or you can start the process by calling 1-800-722-1213.
VA assistance may be available to help with funeral-related expenses for deceased loved ones who were members of the U.S. military. If you are a dependent of an honorably discharged service member, you can apply for these benefits.
The amount of monetary assistance you receive depends on a few factors. If your loved one died in a service-related incident, you can receive up to $2,000.
If your loved one was in the care of a VA hospital when they died of a non-service-related incident, you can receive up to $807 for funeral expenses.
If your loved one was not in the care of a VA hospital when they died of a non-service-related incident, you can receive up to $300 for funeral expenses.
FEMA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, provides individuals and families with monetary assistance for damages that resulted from national or state disasters. These events include state-of-emergency declared areas affected by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tornados, and pandemics.
If your loved one passed away as a result of a declared state or national emergency, you can apply to FEMA for monetary assistance for their cremation services.
Science Care is the nationwide leader in whole body donation. They started in 2000 and since have provided thousands of families with a no-cost alternative to cremation and burial.
Whole-body donation provides the unique opportunity to leave a legacy by assisting the medical and science community after death. When the medical or scientific research center has completed their research, the remains are cremated for free and the ashes are returned to the designated family member.
While this option may not appeal to everyone, this is an excellent way to receive a free cremation in Illinois.
Providing an Affordable and Dignified Service
Cremation is the choice of many families that want to provide an end-of-life service for their family member while remaining on a budget. The key to getting the best service for the best price is planning ahead, shopping around, and comparing prices. By doing that and applying for monetary assistance where applicable, you can give your loved ones the service they deserve.
If you're an Illinois resident and ready to start preparing your own end-of-life planning documents, Cake has Advance Care Planning forms you can download. To help ease your planning, we have all the documents you need in one place.