The cost of a burial has risen 61% since the year 2000, a survey of 100 funeral directors has suggested.
A burial can cost as much as £6,140
A shortage of cemetery plots and more expensive coffins have helped add £1,250 the cost of the average burial, the survey said.
Burials now cost an average of £3,307 compared with £2,048 in 2000.
The 2006 Survey of Funeral Costs, commissioned by insurers American Life, found the cost of cremations had also soared by 61% to an average of £1,954.
Relatives and friends should check exactly what is provided in funeral "packages" before they book, said survey co-ordinator Paul Dwyer.
"It is a purchase most people make under distressed circumstances and so they are less concerned about comparing prices as they might well be in the normal run of life," he said.
"We are encouraging people to question funeral directors to get a more accurate indication of what the finalised bill will be, which at the moment is often not the case."
The lack of burial plots has led to a rising prices in some urban areas. Researchers received a quote for £6,140 for a burial in London's Southgate compared with £1,797 for the cheapest plot in Manchester.
The most expensive cremation quote was for £3,200 in Luton, while the cheapest was for £1,371 in Ipswich.
The costs included a basic coffin, chapel of rest, hearse and pall bearers, and the funeral directors' fees.
Seven out of ten funeral directors surveyed did not show the cost of a grave in their burial quotes, while one in three did not routinely mention the cost of cremation.
A coffin could cost from £300 for a basic model to £2,850.