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 integral part of making funeral arrangements. Caskets are one of the most significant purchases you can make and it often the single largest purchase you’ll make related to a funeral.
Before buying 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 buying a casket when they are extremely emotional, resulting in overspending.
Following some basic steps will make the casket selection and purchase process go smoothly and ensure that the casket you’ll buy will suit your needs without unnecessary burden on your wallet. Doing your homework will make sure that you will get a beautiful casket that fits your budget and honors your loved one.
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 terms casket and coffin are often used interchangeably; generally, the term casket is more common in the U.S. and coffin in the U.K.
- COFFIN – originated in the 16th century. It is commonly associated with a wooden burial vessel shaped like a box with six or eight sides, which is wide at the shoulders and tapering in the head and feet.
- CASKET – came into use in the mid-19th century. It refers to a four-sided rectangular box with a split lid and hinges for viewing purposes.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CASKETS
Caskets are available in different materials such as:
Wooden Caskets – 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 a high gloss or satin finish, to add to the visual appeal.
Casket pricing is like solid wood furniture. Hardwood like mahogany, cherry, and walnut are at the high end and higher price. 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 are more durable than wooden caskets. It can be made of bronze, copper, or stainless steel. The price of copper and bronze constructed caskets is according to their weight per square foot. The cost of stainless-steel caskets varies according to their thickness or gauge.
Bronze and copper – are the most durable. They are rust-resistant compared with steel. Over time, they will oxidize and break down, but it will last longer than steel; however, they are more expensive than steel. These metals are measured by weight per square foot. So, a 48-ounce copper casket is more costly than a 32-ounce model.
Standard steel – are less expensive than bronze and copper casket. They come in different gauges or thickness, usually 16, 18, and 20 gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker the steel, therefore, 16-gauge steel is thicker than 20 gauge.
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 are also available in the market. Fiberglass is an extremely light material. It is commonly used for infant and children burials. Some thought that fiberglass caskets are of inferior quality, but it is a misconception. This material is also exceptionally strong, and they come in different finishes, including faux marble and faux wood.
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. There are also some burial shrouds 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.
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 it must be fully combustible with no non-combusting material to be safe for the operator.
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 consider constructing your burial casket, you can opt for a DIY casket. You don’t have to be a skilled craftsman to build your casket, and there are simple DIY kits available today.
Constructing your casket can save you on the cost of purchasing a ready-made one. You can make it personal by decorating your casket however you choose. DIY caskets are common with home burials.
The width of a standard casket measures 24 – 27 inches and 84 inches long. As obesity becomes an epidemic in the U.S, the demand for oversize caskets increases. If the deceased is larger than the average, you will need to look for an “oversized” casket. These oversized caskets come in different width, with 31 inches being standard.
Oversized caskets are generally wider between 28 and 31 inches wide. One oversized casket manufacturer is Goliath Casket. They specialize in manufacturing oversized casket. They make customized caskets up to 51 inches wide.
With the increasing demand for larger caskets, there are more 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
There are two basic casket lid types 1. half couch 2. full couch. The half couch has a two-piece lid of equal lengths. Typically, only one lid is opened for viewing. The top cover is open to show the deceased from the waist up. It is the most commonly used lid style. The full couch uses a one-piece lid to show the whole body of the deceased.
There are a variety of choices for the interior of the casket. The most popular materials are satin, velvet, and crepe. You may also choose from linen or velour. Velvet fabric is the most expensive material, while crepe is the most economical.
The fabric for the casket interior comes in a variety of ways. You can choose from ruffled, tufted, or tailored in different colors. There are also specialty interiors you can choose from.
If you want, you can personalize the interior to reflect the deceased personality; however, the greater the customization you make, the higher the cost.
Other Casket Features
Corner casket details are also available in different shapes, such as rounded corners, square, or contoured sides. With some casket models, you can choose to personalize casket corners to attach to the edges of the casket. Those casket corners can reflect the personality of the deceased, and you can put a symbol of his hobbies on these corners.
Special Casket Features
You can put a memory drawer on the casket. A memory drawer is a hidden compartment in the lid of the casket. This small drawer can be used to put little personal items to accompany the deceased. Anything left in the drawer will be buried with your loved one.
Other Custom Features
There are different embroidered head panels, casket lid insets or cap panels, and additional customization available to make the casket unique to the deceased. Be sure to keep your budget in mind when choosing customization since it will add to the cost of the casket.
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?
There are three fundamental choices when it comes to buying a casket: a funeral home, online provider, and casket retailer. There are pros and cons for each, which one is right for you will depend on your preference and your budget.
1. Funeral home – it is most convenient to buy a casket through the funeral home, which will be handling your funeral arrangements. When purchasing from a funeral home, the Funeral Rule protects consumers. This law requires the funeral home to provide you with a price list before showing you their inventory.
2. Online providers – buying a casket has been easier through online providers. Big-box stores such as Walmart and Costco are now selling caskets online. In recent years there are many national online casket providers to choose from. Many people find buying from online providers 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 casket 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 casket 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, it is best to search online to know the nearest funeral homes and casket providers. 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 casket, visit at least five retail showrooms or ask your funeral director to show their caskets. The funeral director is required by law to show you a general price list before showing you the actual casket. It will help you stick to the selection within your budget.
When you visit the funeral home or retail showroom, take a friend or family member with you. Having someone with you will make it easier to request access to more information. 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 reviews of the company to give you a better idea of the customer service they provide.
If you are buying casket online, do some research on the online casket company. Ask if the type of casket you want 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.
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Fill out our quote form on this page or call us at 888) 862-9456 and we can give you an accurate quote.