How Much Does Cremation Cost in Tennessee?

Updated

Since 1950, cremation has steadily grown in popularity as the preferred method of final disposition over traditional burial. One reason for this is the relatively lower expense of cremation over burial. 

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Though cremation might not be as inexpensive as you imagine, it still has the potential to save you and your family a lot when it comes to final disposition planning. So, how much does cremation cost? What are the factors that can increase or decrease the overall cost you should plan on? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

Average Cost of Cremation in Tennessee

One of the factors that go into helping families decide on cremation or burial as the method of final disposition is cost. While every family wants to provide a dignified end-of-life option for their loved one, expenses factor heavily into what options they can provide. 

The cost of cremation depends on several factors including the type of cremation chosen, accompanying services, and whether the package is purchased on an at-need basis or whether it’s a prepaid cremation.

In Tennessee, there are two types of cremation packages available: traditional cremation and direct cremation. A third option, aqua cremation, is not yet available in the state but can be accessed from two states nearby.

Between all three options, prices range from around $900 to as high as $6,000. Here’s the average cost breakdown between all three cremation options.

Traditional cremation

Traditional cremation is a popular package because it allows families to celebrate the life of their loved one by holding a funeral service with visitation, similar to the service that accompanies burials.

There are two types of traditional cremation packages available. You can choose cremation with a memorial service or cremation with a viewing funeral service. A memorial service can be held before or after cremation occurs and you can elect to have your loved one’s ashes present. Cremation with a viewing service mimics a traditional burial funeral service with an open casket viewing and funeral home chapel or church service before cremation.

Of the two options, a full viewing funeral service with cremation is the most expensive and can cost as much as a small burial and funeral service. The reason for the increase in expenses is due to necessary factors such as embalming, dressing, and makeup for the viewing, in addition to a rental casket and transportation of the body for services.

If you’re planning on a traditional cremation with a viewing funeral service, expect to budget anywhere from $3,000–$4,000. This price typically includes:

  • Basic services of funeral director and staff
  • Transfer of remains to funeral home/crematory
  • Crematory fee
  • Embalming
  • Dressing and body preparation
  • Cremation permit
  • Visitation 
  • Funeral service at funeral home chapel or church
  • Rental casket

If you want to choose cremation with a memorial service, expect to plan on spending around $1,700-$2,000. This price typically includes:

  • Basic services of funeral director and staff
  • Transfer of remains to funeral home/crematory
  • Crematory fee
  • Use of facilities for memorial service
  • Cremation permit
  • Temporary urn

Direct cremation

Direct cremation occurs when your loved one’s remains are transferred from the hospital or nursing home where they died directly to the crematory. They are then cremated and the cremains are returned to the designated family member.

Funeral homes have also started adding packages to direct cremation to make it more personal. Depending on the funeral home, you can choose from:

  • Simple direct cremation: The option where your loved one is taken directly to the crematory, photo ID’d, and cremated.
  • Witness cremation: An option where you and your family can witness the cremation from the time they are placed into the cremation chamber to several hours into the process, or until the process concludes.
  • Final goodbye cremation: The package that provides your family time to briefly say one more goodbye to your loved one before cremation takes place.

Of these options, a simple direct cremation is the least expensive, witness cremation is typically next, and a final goodbye cremation is the most expensive.

Plan on around $1,000 for a simple direct cremation, $1,400 for a witness cremation, and $1,500 for a final goodbye cremation.

These prices include:

  • Limited or basic services of funeral director and staff
  • Transfer of remains to funeral home/crematory
  • Crematory fee
  • Cremation permit
  • A temporary urn or permanent urn allowance

Aqua cremation

Aqua cremation is a newer cremation option not yet available in every state. It’s called by several names including water cremation, aquamation, and hydro cremation. This option is a flameless cremation process that uses water and an alkali solution to mimic natural decomposition. There are no flames and no burning, so the process is more eco-friendly than traditional flame-based cremation.

Though this service is not yet available in Tennessee, two nearby states do offer it. If you want to choose this option and you live in eastern Tennessee, you can cross the border to North Carolina. If you’re in western Tennessee, Missouri is the state you’ll need to travel to in order to find a funeral home that provides aqua cremation.

Average prices for aqua cremation are slightly higher than flame-based cremation because of how new it is. You’d also need to factor in expenses required to transport your loved one across state lines if you choose this option. 

A direct aqua cremation in Missouri or North Carolina is around $2,500.

Popular Crematories in Tennessee

Whether you need a crematory for an immediate need or you’re planning ahead, here are several of the most popular options in Tennessee. 

Tennessee Cremation Care (North Central)

Tennessee Cremation Care specializes in providing affordable simple direct cremation services. A complete simple cremation costs $850 through the cremation center, making it one of the most affordable options in the state for a simple direct cremation.

» MORE: Honor a loved one with an online memorial. Create one for free with Cake.

Cremation Options Inc (East)

Cremation Options focuses on providing families with multiple options for cremation services. They offer direct cremation, cremation with memorial services, a full funeral service with cremation, and cremation with a graveside service for inurnment.

Cremation Society of Tennessee (Central)

The society is a family-owned and operated facility that has provided cremation services for over 80 years. They offer simple direct cremation, cremation with a memorial, and cremation with a viewing funeral service.

Henderson County Cremation Services (West)

These cremation services are run by a husband and wife who focus on providing dignified and affordable services. They offer direct cremation, cremation with a memorial service, and inurnment services.

Advantage Funeral and Cremation Services (South)

This Dignity Memorial Member has been part of the community for years and provides a wide variety of options that can be combined with cremation services. Direct cremation is available, in addition to memorial and funeral services, inurnment, scattering, and celebration of life services.

Charities, Nonprofits or Government Programs That Help With Cremation Costs in Tennessee

Though cremation may be more affordable than traditional burial, it’s still an expense that many families find hard to deal with when it suddenly arises. Here are several charities that help with funeral costs and cremation expenses.

» MORE: Need help with funeral costs? Create a free online memorial to gather donations.

Local county assistance funds

The state doesn’t have a funeral assistance fund for low-income families, but many individual counties do. Find out what your county offers by visiting your county clerk’s office or county courthouse and asking about funeral assistance funds.

Social Security Administration

In order to gain any assistance from the Social Security office, your loved one needed to be receiving Social Security payments at the time of their death. If they were, you can receive up to $255 toward funeral or cremation expenses.

An application for funds can be submitted by the funeral director, or you can contact Social Security directly by calling 1-800-722-1213.

FEMA

FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is responsible for providing monetary relief and assistance as a direct result of a nationwide or state-declared state of emergency. These emergencies include floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and pandemics.

If your loved one died due to a state- or nationally-declared emergency, then you can apply to FEMA for funeral funding assistance. Applications for assistance are submitted directly to FMEA on their website.

Veterans Affairs

Loved ones who were members of the armed forces may be eligible for a funeral fund stipend. This applies to all active duty or retired veterans who were in an honorable standing at the time of their death. 

Funeral fund assistance is broken down into three categories, as follows.

If your loved one died in a service-related incident, you can receive up to $2,000 for funeral expenses.

If your loved one did not die in a service-related incident, and they were under the care of a VA hospital at the time of their death, you can receive up to $807 for funeral expenses and $807 for a burial plot.

If your loved one didn’t die in a service-related incident, and they were not under the care of a VA hospital when they died, you can receive up to $300 allowance for funeral expenses and $807 for a plot.

Whole body donation

There are several whole-body donation options in Tennessee. When your loved one chooses whole body donation, your body is received for medical and scientific study. Once the study is finished, most medical schools and organizations will cremate your loved one and return their cremains to the designated relative, free-of-cost.

Honoring Your Loved One

No matter which method of disposition you choose, you can honor your loved one’s memory. With cremation, you have several options to choose from to celebrate their life while still staying within a budget. You don’t have to break the bank in order to provide your relative with a fitting and memorable final disposition.

If you're a Tennessee 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.

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