The right headstone can be a substantial expense.
During a time of loss, you might be overwhelmed with emotion. That’s a hard time to focus on making sound financial decisions.
We hope this guide will help remove the stress from choosing the best headstone for your loved one.
What Is a Headstone?
A headstone is a marker placed over a grave. It is also called a grave tombstone, grave marker, or monument.
There are several types of headstone to choose from. The four main types are:
- Flat Markers
- Slant Markers
- Bevel Markers
- Upright Markers
How Much Does a Headstone Cost?
Headstones range in price from $134 to $4,500 or more depending on the type and other factors. Some even reach as much as $10,000 because of the complexity of design and other features.
Some factors that determine the price of a grave marker include:
Most headstones are made of granite, bronze or a combination of both. Options for design, embellishments, and engravings are similar across both materials, but bronze tombstones are more expensive because of raw material cost.
To simplify the process and allow for affordable options, headstone manufacturers offer a variety of standard designs. If you select one of these choices, you will only have to give the name and dates of your loved one for engraving.
Custom choices will increase the cost. And there are many ways to customize a headstone. You will have options to add pictures and illustrations such as flowers, emblems, flags, religious symbols, and even portraits. With custom options, there are countless ways to design a unique marker to honor the memory of your loved one.
The larger the headstone, the higher the price. Tombstones are available in individual or companion (double) sizes. And each of these two categories also has a variety of sizes available.
Cemeteries usually allow a range of sizes for headstones depending on the dimension of your burial plot. However, you should check with the cemetery’s requirements about their allowed sizes and thickness before buying.
The color of the grave marker also influences the price. Gray headstones are usually the cheapest, while those in black and other rare colors tend to be the priciest.
Buying headstones from the cemetery is one option, but you may save a substantial amount by purchasing online directly from the manufacturer or other retailer.
Price of Headstones By Type
All prices mentioned will vary depending on the size, color, material, and design of the headstone.
Flat markers, obvious from the name itself, are headstones that are set flat and flush to the ground. They are the cheapest type of headstone because of simple design. A basic flat marker is 3 to 4 inches thick, shaped in a rectangle, and has a polished surface.
These are also called grass markers, flush markers, and flat tombstones. See our article on grave markers for more information.
The general price range for a flat marker is $134 to $999 for individual sizes. For double (companion) sizes, the price range will be $699 to $1485.
Bevel markers are also called pillow markers or bevel tombstones.
They also lay flat but the back is higher than the front. The slanted angle gives them a raised appearance and makes the marker appear upright. The top surface is polished while the edges left natural stone face.
Individual-sized bevel markers cost between $649 and $1,275. For companion sizes you can expect a range from $849 to $1,300.
Slant markers are headstones that stand upright with its front face sloping from back to front. This type of headstone also features a polished face and rock pitched edges. They are usually installed on a base made of concrete or granite.
A slant marker for single burial costs between $899 and $1,689. For companion sizes, the range will be $1,199 to $1,899.
Upright markers are the traditional and classic type of headstone. It is usually a two-piece set with the upright block called the “die” and the base supporting it called a “tablet”.
Some headstone dealers feature upright markers that are cut in creative shapes such as hearts, teardrops, and roses which cost more depending on the level of detail involved.
This type of headstone is the most expensive. Upright markers in individual sizes range from $1,349 to $2,295. Companion sizes start at $1,549 and go to $3,095.
Headstone Markers for Veterans
The Veterans Administration (VA) will furnish a government headstone or marker for the unmarked grave of any deceased eligible veteran in any cemetery around the world, regardless of their date of death. They do this at no cost to the family.
To receive a headstone, marker, or medallion, you must submit a VA Form 40-1330, Claim for Standard Government Headstone or Marker or VA Form 40-1330M, Claim for Government Medallion to the VA along with proof of military service, to request a Government-provided headstone or marker.
Be prepared for extra expenses you might encounter when purchasing a headstone.
The shipping fees will vary depending on the distance, as well as the weight and size of the grave marker. However, there are retailers whose price includes shipping. Make sure to read the product details when you are comparing your options.
Cemeteries may charge installation fees for the headstone. This fee can range from $50 to $500 depending on your grave marker and the location of the cemetery.
Any cemetery will allow you to buy from the supplier of your choice, but you must be familiar with the cemetery requirements.
Cemeteries have guidelines regarding size, material, and design of headstones. These regulations vary depending on the cemetery, so make sure to check with their rules first before buying a headstone from an outside retailer.
If you fail to follow the rules of the cemetery, they might refuse installation of your purchased headstone.
The price of a headstone ranges from $134 to $4,500. It varies widely depending on size, material, design, and color. Headstones that are complex and have extensive designs can reach as much as $10,000.
The least expensive type of headstone is a flat marker because of its simple design. When it comes to the pricing of headstones, the cheapest ones will be those that are smallest and with little to no design.
You can buy from a third-party retailer or even online companies. In most cases, you can save money by buying from outside vendors.
No. Although you are free to purchase a headstone from an outside vendor, you must still adhere to the rules and regulations of the cemetery regarding required size, design, and material. If you fail to do so, they might refuse your headstone at the time of installation. Restrictions vary depending on the cemetery so make sure to ask them first before buying.
Installation fees for headstones can cost between $50 to $500 or more. It is important to note that professionals will handle the installation for you.
A few cemeteries might allow this, but it is not recommended. It is best to let professionals handle the installation of the headstone.
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