Expert Interview Series: Tyler Yamasaki of Parting About Funeral Services and How Much Life Insurance is Needed to Cover Them

Tyler Yamasaki is a founder of Parting, the number one resource that makes it simple for grieving families to compare and connect with the right funeral options. We asked Tyler about the costs associated with burials. We learned that having life insurance helps pay for these services tremendously, but costs can still get out of hand.  Here are some tips for choosing the right funeral service provider without spending an exorbitant amount of money.

What’s the main service that Parting provides to consumers?

Parting allows families to find and compare funeral homes based on price and quality. We’ve simplified a horrible 4-5 day offline process into a 10-minute online search you can do in the comfort of your own home.

As someone who has been through this process yourself, can emotions get the better of you when you’re shopping for funeral homes and lead to bad purchasing decisions?

Because of the highly emotional and difficult nature of planning a funeral, it doesn’t feel right to negotiate prices for these services. We feel the amount we spend on the funeral is related to how much we loved the person who passed. Also, people usually do not have the time or energy to spend 4-5 days shopping and visiting a bunch of different funeral homes, so they end up contracting with the first one they visit. Having a good idea of pricing ahead of time can easily save you thousands.

Other than cost, what are some factors that people should consider when looking for a funeral/burial service provider?

When choosing a funeral home, cost should never be the only factor. The funeral home and staff ultimately provide valuable services, and how well they can perform those services should be a big factor in the decision. Families should always try to read and compare reviews from past customers to make sure the funeral home has successfully helped other families in the past.

Is it always more economical (or prudent) to purchase a bundled “package” of products/services from a funeral service provider as opposed to buying products/services a la carte?

The simple answer is no. It is not always more economical to purchase a bundled package even if it seems like you are getting more value. These packages can include things you don’t necessarily need, such as extra merchandise, bigger flower packages, or a nicer casket. It’s true that sometimes the items in a package, when priced individually, may add up to more than the package price; but families have to be careful that there aren’t things added that they don’t need. This isn’t to say packages can’t be valuable, but you definitely need to see what’s included before choosing one.

If someone asked you, “I’m thinking about cremation for my loved one, but wouldn’t that preclude a conventional funeral service?” how would you respond?

No, a traditional funeral service that is held without the body present is considered a memorial service. Usually, in place of a casket, a picture along with a decorative urn containing the cremated remains will sit in the front of the chapel, and the service would be held pretty much the same way as a conventional funeral service .

If someone is looking to minimize funeral costs, are there any ways to save money by eliminating or lowering the costs of certain “add-on” services/products?

Yes! If someone is looking to minimize funeral costs, a graveside service can be less expensive than holding a conventional funeral or memorial service. Because a graveside service is held only at the cemetery, you are not renting a chapel at a funeral home or religious place of worship for the funeral service. Also, unless required by law, not having the body embalmed can often save a lot as well. And although people will have preferences, caskets can range from $1,000 to $10,000+, so choosing the most cost-appropriate casket can easily save a lot of money.

When people try to compute potential burial expenses in determining how much life insurance coverage to purchase, are there any costs that they tend to forget about or underestimate?

People often overlook the service charges required for the funeral. Often, the basic service charge alone can average $2,000, which doesn’t even include the ceremony itself or getting the body ready for the service. Since a funeral isn’t something someone has to arrange (hopefully) more than a few times in their life, most people don’t know much about the associated costs and can often be blindsided by the high price tag, even when there aren’t any hidden costs.

Do you think funeral/burial expenses will continue to rise in the future?

The prices for services have been rising; however, the amount being spent per funeral is declining. Rising cremation rates have led to people spending less on their funerals. A standard direct cremation can cost as little as $600, whereas a traditional burial with a cemetery property (plot) can easily exceed $10,000.

I do not believe prices are stabilizing because of competition or transparency, as there really hasn’t been anything publicly available to compare prices so easily until we released all the prices. We have seen some funeral directors lower their prices after we released them because they realized they were so much more expensive than their competition; so maybe this is a trend we will see throughout the industry.

Don’t subject your loved ones to financial problems if you happen to die prematurely. Get a life insurance quote today!

The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.

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