Virginia Beach

Whether you are researching with an interest to make a cremation plan for yourself, or need to arrange a funeral or cremation service for a loved one who has passed in Virginia Beach, this funeral and cremation planning guide aims to answer some of the key questions you will have if faced with the task of making funeral arrangements. The following FAQs about cremation costs and funeral prices in the Virginia Beach area, as well as state funeral laws, and other funeral/cremation considerations, have been put together to help you know where to start when arranging a funeral or cremation.

Direct Cremation Service $1,650 Call (757) 304-6533

What is the average cost of a funeral in Virginia Beach?

The cost of a funeral or cremation can vary depending upon where you live in Virginia. Typically, the more rural you are, and the less competitive the death care industry is in your area, the costs will be higher. The National Funeral Directors Association surveyed the average cost of a funeral at $7,848 (2021) but this does NOT include any cemetery costs. This average can vary depending on the incremental products and services you may select such as caskets, burial plots, cremation urn, funeral flowers, and obituary notices. Adding in cemetery fees is likely to make your total cost for a traditional burial close to $10,000.

What is the average cost of cremation in Virginia Beach?

As the cremation trend continues to sweep across the United States, more people are seriously considering the option of a cremation service for a loved one’s final disposition.  A significant influencing factor in this decision is simply cost.

The average cost of a cremation in Virginia Beach is decidedly less than the cost of a burial.  A cremation can cost as little as $1,650 for a basic, direct cremation, although the average cost of a cremation with a service is likely to run to over $3,000.

The cost of a cremation in Virginia Beach is higher than many other metro areas in the U.S. where the cremation rate is much higher, and therefore the cremation industry has become more competitive.  The cremation rate in Virginia is around 46%, but as with all states, this is increasing year-on-year.  The national cremation rate in the United States is now at 56.1%.

Service Corporation International (SCI) trading as ‘Dignity Memorial’ has 15 funeral locations in the Hampton Roads area, and recently acquired the Cremation Society of Virginia.  As SCI also operates a branch of National Cremation Society in Virginia Beach, this gives them quite a presence as far as cremation is concerned.

Compare cremation costs & ensure you know who you are dealing with

It is important to check and compare the basic cost of cremation before you make any decisions.  The cost of a cremation will vary considerably between different cremation providers in Virginia Beach.

It would be wise to establish exactly what kind of company you are dealing with.  Some funeral homes can appear to be independent family-owned businesses but are in fact either owned by or affiliated with, a corporate funeral chain.

Some funeral businesses are using the Internet to market themselves under different guises.  It is always recommended to check they have a local address and clearly identify who they are.

Direct Cremation Service $1,650 Call (757) 304-6533

Price comparison research and funeral home reviews

We conducted some cremation price comparisons in the Virginia Beach area and there are a number of providers offering cremations at a more affordable cost.  Basic, direct cremation packages are available for just $1,650 complete. Do be sure to check EXACTLY what is included in the price you are quoted.  Sometimes a basic price may be quoted but then further fees added that increase the overall cost.

A basic direct cremation package will usually include:

  • Arrangement meeting
  • Collection of the deceased from the place of death
  • Storage of deceased prior to cremation
  • Crematory fee
  • Basic cremation container
  • Temporary container for cremated remains
  • Medical examiners fee
  • One copy of the death certificate

It is possible to cut costs by making all arrangements online, but many families prefer to conduct an arrangement meeting at the funeral home, or at their own home.

Reviewing funeral homes and cremation providers has not generally been common practice.  But as we all become more conscientious consumers using online tools to assist us to share our experiences, there is a growing number of online reviews of funeral businesses.

Use your judgment and integrity, as online reviews are subject to being constructed, just as any online reviewing tools are.  In the funeral and cremation business word-of-mouth recommendations are usually a significant way that people gauge the service levels of a funeral home.  It is always useful to ask around friends, colleagues, and associates to benchmark what experiences they have had.

Being educated and informed about the various cremation options open to you, how the law governs cremation in Virginia, and what costs to expect for cremation means that you can remain in control throughout the arrangement process.

Understanding cremation laws in Virginia – What you need to know to arrange a cremation

The Virginia Board of Funeral Directors & Embalmers is responsible for the licensing of funeral homes and crematories in Virginia. They govern the practice of cremation of human remains. Before a cremation can go ahead there are certain requirements to be met.  A Cremation Authorization Form must be signed by the legal next of kin. Once the cremation has been correctly authorized, the funeral director can obtain the cremation permit.

In many states, there is a mandatory legal waiting period of 24 hours before the actual cremation can take place, but no such rule is in place in Virginia. That being said it generally takes 24-48 hours to get all the legal paperwork in order and the permit to cremate authorized. No casket is legally required for cremation but a rigid combustible container must be used. This is generally referred to as the “cremation container” and is a reinforced cardboard box.

What do you do if your loved one died away from Virginia Beach?

If your loved one died overseas, you will need a funeral professional versant in international funeral shipping, able to conduct the necessary services abroad, arrange the consulate paperwork, and shipping whilst liaising with your funeral home. Visit our section on ‘Funeral Shipping’ to read in more detail if you require international funeral shipping services.

If your loved one has passed away in another part of Virginia, or another state in the U.S., then a Mortuary Transport company can be called upon to collect the body to return it to your local funeral home. Your local funeral director should be able to coordinate this for you.

Funeral Transport can be a significant additional cost to your funeral expenses, so do check this carefully before committing to any services. The simplest and most cost-effective, approach when someone has died away from home is often to arrange a direct cremation at the place of death and have the cremated remains shipped back for a memorial service.

How do I obtain a certified copy of a death certificate in Virginia?

The funeral home will usually obtain the necessary death certificates for you as part of their services.  They can only charge you the actual fee, which is $12 in Virginia. In Virginia, a death certificate must be filed within 3 days of the death and before the body is buried, cremated, or shipped (Virginia Code § 32.1-263). You will need certified copies to formally register the death of the deceased with government institutions, banks, and insurance companies, etc. If you require additional copies the funeral director can order these when arranging for the death certificate or you can obtain certified copies at a later date. 

Copies can be obtained from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) either by mail, in person, by phone, or electronically. You will need to provide ID to obtain death certificate copies.

Who can I contact if a have a complaint or grievance with a funeral home in Virginia Beach?

It is a rarity that a funeral home fails in their service standards, but it does happen. If you do have a grievance, it is recommended you attempt to resolve this directly with the funeral home in the first instance. If you cannot do this, then you can contact the Virginia Funeral Directors Association who will assist you. You can also contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance, which is an independent consumer organization that protects consumers’ rights in funeral purchases.

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Resources:

DFS Memorials – affordable funeral & cremations in Virginia Beach
VIRGINIA – Funeral planning guide