More people would prefer to spend eternity in a less costly burial urn than a more expensive cemetery grave, according to a survey by TermLife2Go, a digital life and disability insurance agency headquartered in San Diego.

In September 2019, TermLife2Go, an independent insurance agency, contracted Pollfish to conduct a survey of 500 participants and found that only 37% of them wanted a traditional burial, while 43% of respondents said they would like to be cremated after they pass on. Cremation was the method preferred over all others, including donation of one’s body to science.

When it comes to planning for one’s own burial, TermLife2Go found that the two biggest factors influencing a person’s decision are cost and personal beliefs, with men more likely to consider the former and women more likely to rely on the latter.

While some religions require their adherents to have a traditional burial, only 22% of the study’s participants said their burial choice was faith-based, while half (51%) based their choice on personal beliefs.

The older the respondent, the more likely he or she would prefer to be cremated. Since a death in the family can be a huge, unexpected expense, cutting that cost in half can ease the burden on loved ones, TermLife2Go said. 

For example, a cremation costs between $3,000 and $6,000, while a traditional burial – the preference of many respondents under age 35 – has a price tag of $6,000 to $10,000. However, few study participants who said they wanted a traditional burial are prepared for the unexpected, TermLife2Go found; only 18% said they currently have a plot where they want to be buried.

Among those who chose cremation, 46% said they wanted their ashes kept with family, as opposed to 21% who wanted them spread at sea or other locations.

Alex Enabnit, a licensed life insurance agent with TermLife2Go, said that no matter what their age, everyone should plan ahead for the expenses incurred at the end of their life, just as they should for those incurred while living.

"Get a plan in place and create a will—it’s not as hard as it sounds,” Enabnit said via email. “If you have a life insurance policy that you intend to be used toward the costs of your funeral preparations, you don’t need to list it in the will. Just make sure your beneficiary knows about it and has a copy of your policy."