How to Buy a Casket

How to Buy a Casket Article Picture

You will need to know how to buy a casket if you decide to go for a traditional burial service as buying a casket is an important part of making any funeral arrangements. A casket is one of the most important purchases you can make regarding the funeral.

Before purchasing a casket, do some research on various types of caskets and the costs associated with it. People who don’t plan in advance are usually thrust into deciding on purchasing a casket during an extremely emotional time, resulting in overspending.

Following some basic procedures will make the casket selection process easy and ensure that the casket you must buy will suit your needs without burdening your budget. Doing your homework will ensure that you get a beautiful casket that fits your budget and honors your loved one.

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WHAT IS A CASKET?

A casket is a four-sided, rectangular, hinged-lidded box burial vessel. Unlike a coffin, a casket doesn’t have the negative connotation associated with a coffin. The rectangular shape casket was found to be more comforting to mourners than the human-shaped container coffin. You can buy caskets from funeral homes, showrooms, and online casket retailers. The price of the caskets can range from $700-$20,000.


DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CASKET AND COFFIN

The casket and coffin are terms that are often used interchangeably; generally, the word casket is more common in America and coffin in the U.K.

  • COFFIN – originated in the 16th century. It is typically connected with a burial vessel made of wood and shaped like a box with 6 or 8 sides, which is wide at the shoulders and tapering at the head and feet.
  • CASKET – are used in the mid-19th century. It pertains to a rectangular box with four sides and two lids and hinges for the purpose of viewing.


DIFFERENT TYPES OF CASKETS

Caskets are available in different materials such as:

Wooden Caskets – these caskets are made of hardwood, such as oak, mahogany, walnut, maple, cherry, poplar, pecan, and pine. These wooden caskets are often hand-sculpted and polished to shine or satin finish, to make it more appealing.

Casket pricing depends on solid wood furniture. Hardwood like mahogany, cherry, and walnut are at the high end and at higher prices. Mid-range materials include oak, maple, and birch. Poplar, willow, and pine are at the low end.

The less expensive alternatives to solid hardwood include:

Veneered – Wooden fiberboard painted with a wood veneer

Laminate – Hardwood laminated plywood

Cloth-covered – plywood or fiberboard

Metal caskets

Caskets made of metal are long-lasting compared with wooden caskets. Copper, bronze, or stainless steel the primary materials. The price of copper and bronze constructed caskets is according to their weight per square foot.  The price of a casket made from stainless steel varies according to its thickness or gauge.

Bronze and copper – these materials are more durable. They are rust-resistant compared with steel. Over time, they will oxidize and break down, but they will last longer than steel; however, they are more expensive than steel. The price of these metals is according to their weight per square foot. So, a 32-ounce copper casket is more expensive than a copper casket with a 24-ounce weight.

Standard steel – caskets made from standard steel are cheaper than bronze and copper caskets. They come in various gauges or thicknesses, typically 16, 18, and 20 gauge. 18-gauge steel is thinner than 16 gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel.

Stainless steel – is more durable than standard steel but a little more expensive. It is also available in the same gauge as the standard steel.

Fiberglass Caskets

You can also buy fiberglass caskets. Fiberglass is an extremely light material. It is typically used to bury infants and children. Some people thought that caskets made from fiberglass are inferior in quality, but it is a misconception. This material is also particularly durable and comes in different finishes like faux marble and faux wood.

Eco-friendly Caskets

There is also an environmentally-friendly option for those who want to go green. There are wicker caskets made from willow, bamboo, or seagrass. You can also go for a cardboard casket, which is easy to personalize with digitally printed designs. Some burial shrouds are also made of cotton, linen, silk, or wool to choose from.

If you want to be environmentally friendly but desire a traditional wooden casket, you can choose a casket made from sustainable wood.

Cremation Caskets

If you want to have a cremation. You can choose a cremation casket made of wood that may be used in cremation after the service. Cremation caskets are usually made of highly combustible, rigid, leak-proof materials like unfinished wood, fiberboard, cardboard, or composition materials.

Cremation caskets are like traditional caskets, but they must be fully combustible with no non-combusting material to be safe for the operator.

Rental Caskets

If you want a ceremonial casket during the funeral, most funeral homes offer a rental casket for the service. Rental caskets are designed with the cremation casket inserted into it. The cremation casket fits inside the ceremonial rental casket for the service.

After the funeral service, the cremation casket is removed for cremation. It is a cheaper alternative than buying a burial casket.

Do-it-yourself (DIY) Caskets

If you want to construct your burial casket, you can opt for a DIY casket. You don’t need to be a skilled craftsman to build your casket, and there are different DIY kits on the market today.

Constructing your casket can save you a lot from the cost of buying a ready-made one. You can make it personal by decorating your casket, in the manner you like. You can typically see DIY caskets for in-home burials.

Oversize Caskets

The width of a regular casket is 24 – 27 inches and 84 inches long. As obesity becomes an epidemic in America, the need for oversized caskets increases. If your loved one is larger than the average, you must look for an “oversized” casket. 31 inches is the standard size for oversized caskets, but there are different widths to accommodate your needs.

Oversized caskets are wider than the standard, measuring 28 and 31 inches wide. One oversized casket manufacturer is Goliath Casket. They specialize in manufacturing oversized casket. They make customized coffins up to 51 inches wide.

With an increased demand for larger caskets, you can find many oversize caskets in the market now.

Caskets for Jewish Funeral

Burial containers for the Jewish faith must be simple and natural as possible, with no metal in it. Basic pine caskets are specifically designed to comply with their faith requirements. The casket is made of wood with no ornate fittings or fancy handles. Most of the time, the handles are removed before the burial. So that the deceased can be buried in a simple box as possible.


CHOOSING CASKET FEATURES

Casket Lids

There are two basic casket lid types 1. full couch and 2. half couch. There are two lids of the same lengths on a half-couch. Most of the time, only the upper lid is opened for viewing. The top cover is open to show the face up to the waist. It’s the most used style of lids. The full couch uses only one lid to show the whole body of the deceased.

Casket Lining

There are different choices for casket interiors. The commonly used materials are satin, crepe, and velvet. Linen and velour are also available for casket lining. Velvet fabric is the most costly material, while crepe is the cheapest.

Casket Interior

You can choose different fabrics for the casket interior. You can select tufted, ruffled, or tailored in different colors. Specialty interiors are also available in the market.

If you desire, you can personalize the interior to reflect the deceased personality; however, the more customization you make, the more expensive it gets.

Other Casket Features

Corner casket details are available in different shapes, like contoured sides, rounded corners, or squares. Some casket models allow you to personalize casket corners to put on the edges of the casket. Those casket corners can reflect the deceased’s personality, and you can put a symbol of his hobbies on these corners.

Special Casket Features

You can put a memory drawer or a compartment hidden in the casket’s lid. You can use this small drawer to put little personal items to accompany your loved one. Anything you left in the memory drawer will be buried with the remains.

Other Custom Features

There are different embroidered head panels, cap panels, or casket lid insets, and additional customization available to make the casket unique. Be mindful of your budget when choosing customization since it will increase costs.

Select the interior design, but make sure they will last longer. Fabrics are better than anything painted or glued that will disintegrate within a year. When choosing the exterior of the casket, choose the color and material that you think would best suit the deceased.


WHERE CAN YOU BUY A CASKET?

When buying a casket, you can generally choose from: a funeral home, online provider, and casket retailer. Each one has pros and cons, but the best for your loved one will be based on your budget and preferences.

1. Funeral home – it is most convenient to buy from the funeral home, which will be handling your funeral arrangements. When purchasing from a funeral home, the FTC Funeral Rule protects you. This law commands the funeral home to provide you with an itemized price list before showing you its inventory.

2. Online providers – buying a casket has been easier through online providers. Popular stores like Walmart and Costco are now selling caskets online. In recent years there are many online casket providers to choose from. Many people prefer buying from online providers because it is cheaper than buying from funeral homes.

3. Casket retailers – there are many casket retailers with a showroom in your area where you can buy caskets. These casket showrooms are similar to a funeral home. Only they are retailing caskets. Most of these companies offer caskets at a lower price than funeral homes.


HOW TO BUY A CASKET

Buying a casket can be easy if you follow these steps:

Step 1: Know what type of casket you want

The first step in buying a casket is deciding what kind of casket you want. Check if the deceased left instructions on what type of casket they want; this information will guide you when shopping for a casket.

Think of the personality and tastes of the deceased to help you narrow down your choices. If you are buying a casket for yourself, think about how you want to be memorialized.

Step 2: Consider your budget

Once you know what you want, your second step is to decide how much to allocate for the casket expense. Regardless of where you will purchase the casket, it’s always a good idea to set a budget. It will help you select the casket that falls within your price range.

Different types of caskets vary in price depending on the quality, craftsmanship, and hardware. Caskets can cost from $500 to a few thousand dollars. The best way to avoid overspending is to stick to your budget.

Step 3: Look for Contact Information

When purchasing a casket, searching online to know the nearest funeral homes and casket providers is best. Get the address and contact information of different providers. Stay away from casket manufacturers that do not include their addresses.

Step 4: Visit Funeral home or Retail Showroom

If you want to see the different types of caskets, visit at least five retail showrooms or ask your funeral director to show their caskets. The funeral director must show you a general price list before showing you the actual casket. It will help you stick to the selection within your budget.

Take a friend or family member with you when you visit the funeral home or retail showroom. Having someone with you will make requesting access to more information easier. Your companion may also give a different view and will help you weigh the pros and cons of casket models and features.

Step 5: Gather necessary information

Talk with the casket provider to find out if there are any special instructions you need to provide when you make the purchase. The funeral home should provide a price list before showing you any inventory. Ask if you will be required to shoulder the delivery fee and make sure there are no hidden costs.

Under the funeral rule, the funeral home should not charge you a fee to accept a casket from an outside vendor. Check with the BBB, Better Business Bureau to see if the funeral home or casket provider has any complaints lodged against them. Also, search for company reviews to give you a better idea of their customer service.

If you are buying a casket online, research the online casket company. Ask if the type of casket you want is available on the site. Ask if they ship to your state for free and if they have hidden costs. Can the company deliver overnight or even same day if needed?

Step 6: Compare prices

After gathering information and visiting showrooms, compare prices from different vendors. Consider the price, quality, and workmanship when choosing a casket. Don’t forget to stick to your budget so you will avoid overspending.

Step 7: Purchasing the casket

Remember that you don’t have to buy a casket from the funeral home. You can also choose to buy a casket from independent retailers and online vendors. Don’t rush through the process of purchasing the casket. Get all the information, explore all the available options, and ask the funeral director or customer service if you have any questions.

Funeral homes are required by law to accept caskets from outside providers without charging you an extra fee. Be mindful of the delivery charges when buying from online or casket retailers. Check the delivery areas and timeframe. Make sure to follow all the steps above to make purchasing the casket easier.


HOW CAN FUNERAL FUNDS HELP ME?

Trying to find a policy if you need to buy a casket needn’t be a frustrating process; working with an independent agency like Funeral Funds will make the process easier and quicker.

If you have a health history or pre-existing medical conditions, let us help you; we will work with you side by side to find a plan that fits your needs.

We will work with you every step of the way to find the plan that fits your financial requirements and budget. You don’t have to waste your precious time anymore searching for multiple insurance companies because we will do the dirty work for you.

We will shop your case to different insurance carriers and get you the best price.

We work with many A+ rated insurance carriers that specialize in covering high-risk clients like you.  We will search all those companies to get the best rate. We will match you up with the best burial insurance company that gives the best rate.

We will assist you in securing the coverage you need at a rate you can afford. So, if you are looking for pre-paid funeral insurance, or pre-paid burial insurance, or pre-paid life insurance.

Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at 888) 862-9456 and we can give you an accurate quote.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS & ANSWERS ON BUYING A CASKET

Why do we use coffins to bury?

We use coffins to bury the dead to prevent the decomposition process. Sealing the body in an airtight coffin helps preserve the body longer.


Are caskets locked before burial?

Caskets are generally locked before burial. This process is performed to protect the body for a long time. Locking or sealing the caskets keeps the elements from getting inside the coffin faster, causing decomposition.


Why are arms crossed in casket?

Arms are typically crossed on a traditional funeral. Crossing the arms goes back to the Chaldean time in the 10th century BC. The X symbolized the sky god.


Can I buy my own casket?

Yes, you can buy your own casket before you die. There is no law in all 50 states that prevent you from buying your own casket before death.


Where do you buy a casket?

The easiest way to buy a casket is to buy from a funeral home. But you can also buy a casket from other casket provides. You can even buy from big retailers like Walmart or Costco. You can even buy online.


Do people buy caskets online?

Yes, you can buy caskets online. If you like buying large items online, it would be very easy to buy caskets from online casket providers.


Can I be buried without a coffin?

Yes, you can be buried without a coffin if you wish to. Most green burials encourage people to forego the coffin for environmental reasons. You can be buried with an organic shroud if you opt for a greener burial.


Can a person be buried without being embalmed?

Yes, you can be buried without being embalmed. You can be buried with embalming through a direct or immediate burial. Your body will be placed in a shroud or casket and buried within a few days.


Is there a difference between casket and coffin?

Yes, the biggest difference between a casket and a coffin is the shape. A casket has four sides, while a coffin has six sides instead of four. The casket has a lid with hinges, while a coffin has a removable lid. Coffins also have a wider top with a tapered bottom.


Do funeral homes reuse caskets?

Some funeral homes offer caskets for rent or reusable caskets. Reusable caskets are cheaper. They simply remove the interior every time they reuse the casket; some use a wooden box that can be removed after the funeral service or before cremation.


How much should you pay for a casket?

A casket is the most expensive item you can buy for a traditional funeral. The cost of a casket varies by material, style, and design. An average casket can cost between $2,000 and $5,000.


How much is a vault for a casket?

The vault protects the casket from decomposing faster. The average cost of a vault is $1,800. State law does not require Vaults, but some cemeteries require a vault.


How long does a casket last in the ground?

The natural body decomposition without embalming and casket normally takes 8 to 12 years. Adding a casket prolongs the decomposition process.


What is the average cost of a coffin?

The average cost of a coffin goes between $2,000 and $5,000. The cost of the coffin or casket can be cheaper or more expensive depending on the materials, style, and design.


How much does a basic casket cost?

A basic pine casket can cost between $500 and $2,000.


What is the cheapest casket available?

The cheapest casket you can buy is a cardboard casket. A cardboard casket can cost from $200 and up. It is the most affordable option you can use for a traditional funeral. A cardboard casket is a biodegradable and environmentally option.


How much does a pine box casket cost?

A pine wooden casket can cost around $500 and up. Prices go up depending on the casket finish. A pine casket can be an inexpensive option compared to other hardwood caskets.


How much is a wooden casket?

The price of a wooden casket varies by the type of wood used in the casket. The average wood casket can range from $500 to $3,5000. The pine casket is the cheapest, while caskets made from walnut, oak, and mahogany can be more expensive.


How much is a nice casket?

Depending on the materials, a nice casket can cost between $2,000 and $5,000.


What is the most expensive casket?

The most expensive casket in modern times is Zsa Zsa Gabor’s casket which cost $40,000.


Are caskets more expensive than coffins?

Coffins are generally cheaper than caskets because they use fewer materials than a casket. Caskets are more expensive because it uses finer materials and has extra features and trimmings.


Do I need a vault for a casket?

A vault is used to line the grave to prevent the ground from sinking in. Most cemeteries require a vault for caskets. However, Federal law does not require the use of a vault in burial.


Do you wear shoes in a casket?

No, you don’t have to wear shoes in a casket. Your family can decide whether they want you to wear shoes in the casket but it is not required.


How long does it take for a body to decompose in a metal casket?

It takes 50 to 80 years for your body to decompose in a metal casket. Sealing the metal casket prevents the elements from getting into the casket and prolongs the decomposition process.


How much did Michael Jackson’s casket cost?

Michael Jackson’s casket costs $25,000. His burial garments cost $35,000, and the most expensive cost goes to security which cost $175,089.


How much does a 14k gold casket cost?

A 14k gold plated casket by Batesville Casket Company costs between $24,000 to $40,000. The prices can go higher depending on the casket manufacturer.


How do morticians put a body in a casket?

Placing a body in a casket depends on the equipment available in the funeral home. Some funeral homes use machines to lift the body and place them in caskets. Other funeral homes simply utilize trained staff to life the body and place it in the casket.


Is there a weight limit on caskets?

Standard steel caskets weigh between 180 to 220 pounds and can load up to a maximum of 500 pounds.


Can you bury an urn in a casket?

A casket is not necessary to bury an urn. An urn can be buried 3-feet deep or some cemeteries require a vault for an urn.


Which is better metal or wood casket?

The metal casket is more durable than a wood casket. It also preserves the body longer than wood. But if you are more concerned about the price, a wooden casket is much cheaper than a metal casket.


Why do caskets face east?

Caskets are typically placed facing east. This practice can be traced to the early Christian burials. Burials facing east represent meeting the new day or meeting Christ in his second coming. The Christians believe that Christ will come from the east when he returns.


Why are caskets lined with lead?

Caskets are lined with lead to seal out any air and moisture that will hasten the decomposition process. Sealing the casket with lead preserves the body longer.


Does water get in caskets?

Caskets are designed with seals. So, water cannot get in the caskets in case of hurricanes or flash floods.


Why are caskets so expensive?

The casket can get expensive due to the materials used. The more expensive the materials, the more expensive the casket can get. For example, pine is cheaper than hardwoods. A metal casket can be more expensive than a wood casket.


What size casket do I need?

The standard casket is 24’’ in width by 79’’ in length. It can fit people who are 5’10 and weigh 180 pounds. If you weigh more than 200 pounds, you need a bigger casket.


Can a husband and wife be buried in the same casket?

No, they need a separate casket, but they can be buried together in the same cemetery plot. The casket can be placed on top of the other and buried in the same cemetery plot. They can share the same burial marker with both of their names.


Why are coffins carried feet first?

Coffins are carried feet first to help keep them balanced during the ceremony.


How much did Elvis’s funeral cost?

Elvis Presley’s funeral cost $25,000 in 1977.


Is it illegal to sell a used casket?

No, it is not illegal to sell a used coffin. No law prevents a person from selling a pre-owned coffin. The person selling a used casket must inform the buyer that it is already used, and the buyer must acknowledge it before signing the paperwork.

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