National Cremation Society Review 2020: The Right Choice For You?

As part of our commitment to offering transparency to our readers, we review some of the leading cremation providers in the US.

And the National Cremation Society, founded in 1970, is one of the oldest providers of cremation services.

But do they stack up to the competition in 2020? How much can you expect to pay?

Find out everything you need to know in this full review.

About the Company

The National Cremation Society was founded back in 1970. Since that time, they have assisted about 160,000 grieving families.

Their years of experience have given the National Cremation Society an edge over the competition in their understanding of the unique needs facing the bereaved in a time of loss.

They work with families in immediate need, as well as with individuals who are pre-planning to ease the burden on their loved ones.

National Cremation Society Locations

The National Cremation Society has locations all over the U.S., and some in Canada too.

So no matter where you live, chances are you can find a location near you.

Some of these locations include:

  • California

  • Florida

  • Michigan

  • New York

  • Texas

  • Arizona

  • Connecticut

  • Illinois

  • Nevada

  • Oregon

You will find locations in most major cities, including Denver, Atlanta, Virginia Beach and Chicago.

Cremation Services

There are a number of services in conjunction with cremation. In determining your costs, it’s important to consider what is important to you.

Do you want a traditional funeral with a viewing, or a casual memorial service? These decisions will in large part determine how much you should plan to pay for cremation.

Here are some of the services you can expect to pay for, with costs.

Basic Services of the Director

Most funeral homes charge a basic fee to use their services, typically ranging from $1500-$3500.

In some cases, these fees can be as much as $7000.

This cost covers the services of staff for things like:

  • Permits

  • Obtaining copies of the death certificate

  • Any other paperwork

Sometimes this fee includes transportation of the body and the services of funeral home staff.

Transportation of the body

There is a fee for transporting the remains from the place of death to the nearest facility.

You may also have to pay this fee again when transporting the body from the facility to the nearest crematorium.

Direct Cremation

This is the least expensive option for end-of-life services, cutting out all funeral and embalming costs.

You also eliminate the cost of a casket by using a simple container instead.

Unless you choose to bury the cremains, you can also eliminate the cost of opening and digging a grave and purchasing a headstone or marker.

Prices may not include additional prices for using the crematorium.

Visitations and Viewings

Some families want to have a traditional visitation or viewing, where they can view the body before the cremation.

This can give family members a sense of closure.

Funeral Ceremony

You may decide to have a traditional funeral ceremony. This can take place in a church or funeral home.

It may include eulogies, prayers, scripture readings and songs.  If you do go this route, you can expect to pay for use of the facility as well as the services of clergy and/or a funeral director.

Embalming

This is the chemical process of slowing down decomposition of the body. You may choose embalming if you plan to have a viewing or visitation.

However, it is not required. In addition, it is probably not necessary if you are opting for direct cremation or immediate burial.

Additional costs such as cleaning and dressing the body may sometimes cost extra.

The cost of embalming can sometimes come as a shock because most people assume it is included in the price. It’s important to examine price lists closely to find out what is included and what isn’t.

Keep in mind that a body that has been injured or extensively autopsied may cost more to embalm.

Cremation Casket

Caskets designed for cremation can cost significantly less than traditional caskets used for burial.

The cost for a cremation casket can be as low as $500-$600, but in some cases may cost as much as $1500.

Limousine and Hearse Hire

After a funeral, a funeral coach or hearse can be used to transport remains from the place of the funeral to the cemetery or crematorium.

You may also hire the services of a family car/limousine for transporting family members to or from funeral services.

However, these services are not required and may not be necessary.

Burial Services

The cost of cremation is significantly less than the cost of a traditional burial.

That’s because burial involves the purchase of a cemetery plot, as well as the cost of digging. In addition, you have to purchase a casket, grave liner and a burial marker.

In general, these costs don’t apply to you if you choose cremation. However, in some cases ashes may also be buried in a cemetery, which incurs these burial costs.

Urns and Jewelry

Cremation urns and jewelry are a beautiful way to keep your loved one close to you forever.

The National Cremation Society offers a nice selection of both urns and jewelry.

You can check out their online catalog to select exactly the right urn or keepsake which fits your loved one’s personality.

In some cases, you can even have your urn and jewelry engraved for added personalization.

Costs

National Cremation Society’s price list has broken down some of their costs for these services.

Keep in mind that the prices listed may vary based on location.

Director’s Services

This is a minimum flat fee that everyone must pay in order to utilize the National Cremation Society’s services.

The fee covers permits, secure storage of the remains, getting copies of the death certificate, filing paperwork and overhead costs associated with using the facility.

It also pays for making arrangements with third parties such as cemeteries and crematoriums.

The National Cremation Society charges $800 for this non-declinable fee.

Viewing and Visitation

If you wish to have a traditional viewing/visitation, the National Cremation Society does offer this service with either a flat or hourly fee, depending on your location.

This fee is $350.

Funeral Service Location Facilities

The National Cremation Society offers its facilities and staff for traditional funeral ceremonies.

Like a viewing, this service costs $350. Depending on location, this may be a flat or an hourly fee.

Memorial Service Facilities

As a low-cost alternative to a traditional funeral service, you may decide to hold a memorial service after cremation.

The service can be held in the presence of an urn containing your loved one’s ashes.

It may be conducted by a clergy member, or it can simply be an informal gathering of family and friends.

Memorial services often tend to be more upbeat than traditional funerals, focusing on celebrating the life of your loved one.

The National Cremation Service charges $350 to use its facilities for a memorial service.

Embalming

If you plan to have a viewing or visitation, embalming may be necessary. But it is rarely required by law.

The National Cremation Society does offer embalming for a fee of $494.

This is well within average costs of $200-$800.

Direct Cremation

The National Cremation Society charges $1852 for direct cremation.

This includes transportation of the remains to the crematory, basic services of the funeral home director, and filing and completion of any necessary paperwork.

In some locations, crematorium fees are also included in this price, but not all. So make sure that you verify an accurate price ahead of time.

Direct Burial

This is the ultimate no-frills burial service. It includes no embalming, no formal visitation/viewing or funeral.

It simply covers the cost of filing necessary paperwork and placing your loved one’s body in a grave or mausoleum.

A casket must be purchased separately.

The National Cremation Society charges $1943 for direct burial.

Urn

There’s a great variety of urns available, in many styles and many different price points.

Most funeral homes offer to sell cremation urns. But you may reduce the cost and find more variety by shopping for cremation urns online.

Forget everything you thought you knew about cremation urns. You’ll be amazed at how many different kinds exist.

You can choose a traditional vase-shaped urn or a wooden box, simple or ornately carved, to go with any home decor.

If you want to commemorate a beloved couple, you can opt for a companion urn. And special small urns are available just for babies.

The cost of an urn ranges from $50 to $100, but can be more or less depending on what you choose.

Customer Reviews

Good customer service is always important, but never more so than when you are going through a time of loss.

So it’s helpful to know that almost all reviewers had very positive things to say about customer service at the National Cremation Society.

“Respectful & Supportive”

There is something very sacred about being trusted with caring for people as they transition from life to death and loss.

Based on reviews, it seems that National Cremation Society staff take this sacred task very seriously. They are respectful, supportive and kind, greatly simplifying the complex work of saying goodbye to a loved one.

However, there have been a few complaints of aggressive marketing tactics, such as unwanted phone calls and mailings. Some have also stated that they found products to be over-priced and of a cheap quality.

Other Cremation Providers

With demand increasing, there are many choices for a cremation provider. If you decide that the National Cremation Society is not for you, here are some other options.

Neptune Society

Similar to the National Cremation Society, the Neptune Society has been around since the 1970s. They have a total of 45 locations nationwide.

And they offer comparable services, such as direct cremation and the use of their facility for funeral or memorial services, as well as transportation and embalming.

In addition, the Neptune Society offers some unique and personal options for scattering your loved one’s ashes.

They even have their own garden for scattering at their facility in Evergreen, CA.

If you’ve ever wanted to have a memorial service and scattering at sea, the Neptune Society can arrange that for you.

Smart Cremation

This company gets rave reviews for compassion, reliability and affordability.

Families that have used them in the past give them a 4.8 star rating.

They are also quick, completing contracted services with promptness and efficiency.

If you are planning ahead, they offer a “Smart Plan,” in which all services can be carried through without leaving an undue burden on your loved ones.

Another bonus: they offer special plans just for veterans.

Getting a Quote

It’s hard to predict how much cremation services will cost. There are so many different options, and a lot will depend on your individual circumstance.

A customer service representative can guide you through these options and help you find what works best for your budget and your needs.

By using the links on their website, you can find out more information about pre-planning or what to do if you have just lost a loved one.

Simply fill out the online form with your contact information and they will contact you to discuss your options.

Should You Choose National Cremation?

These days, there are plenty of choices available to you if you want cremation services. So you can be picky about which cremation provider you decide to use.

National Cremation Society has many benefits; convenient locations, compassionate staff and a simple process top the list.

There are some other providers out there who may provide comparable services for a lower cost. But sometimes, peace of mind is worth a lot, especially when going through a loss or preparing for one.

Overall, the National Cremation Society has a solid reputation. After being in business for such a long time, this really shows something about the quality of their work.

After carefully evaluating the options, National Cremation Society may turn out to be the best choice for you.

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