A Guide to Buying a Casket in 2021

Guide to Buying a Casket

An essential aspect of making funeral arrangements for a loved one is buying a casket. To buy the right casket that suits a traditional burial service, it is crucial to know what to consider before selecting them. When it comes to a funeral, a casket is one of the essential purchases that one makes.

One of the first things that one needs to do before buying a casket is to do some research on the cost of caskets and the types available. Not having a preliminary plan about purchasing a casket could lead to excessive spending when bought under highly emotional circumstances.

Following a guide, while buying a casket could make the task easier. A guide can help make the right decision about the casket without compromising on the budget. The family members can honour their loved ones with a beautiful casket well under the account by doing their homework on all the options available.

Definition of A Casket

A casket is a rectangular burial vessel having four sides and a hinged lid. Unlike a coffin, a casket has a more positive connotation than its rectangular shape. It creates a better sense of comfort for the mourners when compared to the human-like shape of a coffin. The best-priced casket can be purchased in showrooms, funeral homes and from online casket retailers. The cost of a casket ranges anywhere between $700 and $20,000.

Coffin vs Casket

Coffin vs Casket
Coffin vs Casket

The terms casket and coffin are used interchangeably in recent times. The term casket is more prevalent in America and the term coffin in the U.K. Listed below here are the differences between coffins and caskets. 

Coffin- The term coffin originated in the 16th century. It is made of wood and has 6 to 8 sides with the shape of a body, i.e., sweeping around the shoulder area and tapering down at the head and feet area.

Casket- Caskets have been in use since the mid-19th century. A casket is rectangular, with four sides and two lids with hinges to help mourners view the loved one’s body.

Types of Caskets Available

Types of Caskets Available
Types of Caskets Available

The first thing to consider when deciding on a casket is to know what the caskets are made of. The most common material used is wood, but caskets are made using a variety of other materials.

1)    Wooden Caskets

Most of the caskets are made of hand-sculpted hardwood such as pine, pecan, poplar, cherry, maple, walnut, mahogany and oak. They are given a polished or a satin finishing making them shine and seem more appealing.

The price of the caskets depends on the type of wood used. Hardwood falling in the higher price range includes walnut, cherry and mahogany, and the mid-range consists of birch, maple and oak. The cheapest casket available in the market is made of pine, willow and poplar.

More economical alternatives to hardwood caskets can be seen below.

2)    Environmental-Friendly Caskets

An alternative to processed wooden caskets is eco-friendly for those looking for a green option. Wicker caskets made from seagrass, bamboo or willow are available, along with cardboard ones which can be easily personalized with digitally printed designs. Some caskets are made of linen, cotton, silk or wool.

Eco-friendly caskets made from sustainable wood can also be obtained by looking to have a traditional wood casket.

3)    Fiberglass Caskets

Fibreglass caskets are made of extremely light material and are usually used to bury children and infants. There is a misconception that these caskets are of inferior quality. But fibreglass caskets are durable and come in a variety of finishes made from faux wood and marble.

4)    Metal Caskets

Metal caskets made of bronze, copper or stainless steel are long-lasting when compared to wooden caskets. The prices of caskets made from bronze and copper are determined based on their weight per square foot, and the caskets made from stainless steel are determined based on their gauge or thickness of the material.

Bronze and copper- These caskets are rust-resistant and more durable as compared with their steel counterpart. They do oxidize and collapse in time, but still not as quickly as steel. However, they are also more expensive as the weight per square foot determines it. For example, a 30-ounce copper casket is more costly than a 22-ounce copper casket.

Standard Steel- Standard steel caskets are available in different thicknesses or gauges like 16, 18, and 20 gauge. Lower the gauge count, the thicker the steel, where an 18-gauge casket is thinner than a 20-gauge casket. A plus point is that they are more economical than their bronze and copper counterparts.

Stainless steel- Stainless steel caskets are available in the same gauge sizes as standard steel. These are more durable but are priced higher than standard steel.

5)    Other Caskets

Cloth-covered caskets made from plywood or fibreboard, laminated caskets made from hardwood and painted veneered caskets made from wooden fibreboard are also available in the market.

Caskets categorized based on their use:  

1)    Jewish Funeral Caskets

Caskets used in Jewish funerals are simple and made of natural materials. Hence, metal is not an option. Complying with the Jewish faith requirements, these caskets are made from pine or wood, without any fancy handles or ornate fittings. Even if handles are fitted, they are removed before the burial process so that the deceased loved one is sent off in a dignified but straightforward manner.  

2)    Extra-large Caskets

A traditional casket typically measures 84 inches long and 24-27 inches wide. But sometimes, there is a necessity for an oversized casket, especially as obesity becomes an increasingly common problem in America. Therefore, to send off a loved one who might be larger than average, a larger casket might be necessary. Oversized caskets generally come at 31 inches in width, but they might be modified based on individual needs.

Larger caskets come in standard measures of 28-31 inches in width and are more comprehensive than normal caskets. One of the leading manufacturers of oversized caskets is Goliath Casket, and they specialize in the field. Customized caskets are available that go up to 51 inches wide.  

There are many larger-sized caskets available in the market now to meet the increasing demands.

3)    DIY or Do-It-Yourself Caskets

If a family member or a friend wants to construct a casket for their deceased loved one, a DIY casket is the way to go. These are usually seen in in-home burials. The question comes as to how to make a casket. The good thing is that one does not need to be an expert wood craftsman to ‘build your own casket’. Many DIY casket kits are available in the market to make the process easier.

An advantage of constructing a casket is that it is more economical as compared to a store-bought one. It can also be built personally for the deceased and their loved ones with personalized designs.

4)    Rental Caskets

For those who follow cremations, buying a burial casket just for viewing during the funeral may not be economical. For this purpose, rental caskets can be used that are offered by funeral homes. They are designed in such a way that cremation caskets can be inserted and fit into it so that they can be used for service.

5)    Cremation Caskets

Cremation caskets made of wood are available for those who want to have a cremation and a service. They are made for cremation with materials like fibreboard, unfinished wood, cardboard or composition materials that are leak-proof, rigid and highly combustible. Cremation caskets are traditional and also safe to operate as they are made of fully combustible material.

Different Features of Caskets:

Different Features of Caskets
Different Features of Caskets

1)    Interior of The Casket

Different fabrics and colours can be used to decorate the casket interior. They are commonly seen as being ruffled, tufted, tailored or speciality designs in the market. There is also an option available to personalize the interiors to match the personality of the deceased. However, these custom-made caskets can be more expensive.

2)    Lining of The Casket

Casket interiors are typically designed using various fabrics like crepe, velvet and satin, and linen and velour. Caskets made of crepe fabric are cheaper, and the ones made of velvet are costlier.

3)    Lids of The Casket

Casket lids are available in two types

a) Full couch- These have only one lid that opens to show the entire body and face of the deceased.

b) Half couch- This is the most used style of lids. These have two lids of the same length where the upper lid can be opened for viewing. This allows the mourners to view the face of the deceased up to the waist.  

4)    Other Features of The Casket

Caskets are also available in more delicate details and shapes like contoured sides, squares, or rounded corners. Some caskets provide the facility to personalize the corners with add-ons to reflect the personality of the deceased. For example, the hobbies of the dead can be represented through a symbol in these corners.

5)    Special Features of The Casket

Provisions can be made to insert a hidden compartment or a memory drawer in the casket. Items that were personal to the deceased and the loved ones can be inserted in these slots. These would be buried with the body of the deceased to accompany them with their journey to the beyond.

6)    Custom Features of The Casket

Caskets can be uniquely designed with embroidered head panels, casket lid insets or cap panels or other customizations. Keep the budget in mind when making these customizations, as they may be expensive.

It is essential to select a design that would last longer. Note that paints and glued items disintegrate faster (within a year) when compared to fabrics. Colours and materials that best suit the deceased can be used to decorate the best caskets.

Where can Caskets be Purchased?

Where can Caskets be Purchased
Where can Caskets be Purchased

Caskets can be purchased or rented from casket retailers, online providers and funeral homes. Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. People can buy the best price casket based on their preferences and their budget.

1)    Casket Retailers

Many casket retailers have showrooms filled with a variety of caskets all over the country. These places are similar to showrooms as they sell caskets. An advantage is that most of these companies sell caskets at a lower cost than funeral homes.

2)    Online Providers

With the advent of online shopping, buying caskets online has also become a common practice. Caskets are available in online stores like Costco and Walmart, and many other online providers. The advantage of buying online caskets is that they are cheaper than the ones sold in funeral homes.

3)    Funeral Homes

Buying or renting caskets from the funeral home that makes the funeral arrangements is the most convenient option. Another advantage is that it comes with the FTC Funeral Rule protection when purchasing a casket from a funeral home. Due to this rule, the purchaser gets to read the itemized price list provided by the funeral home before checking the inventory.

Steps to Buy a Casket

Following these steps can make casket purchasing easier.

Step 1: Be clear about the type of casket

The first and foremost thing to do is clarify the kind of casket that they would want for the deceased. The deceased might also have left instructions about the type of casket they would like to be buried to give a better idea to shop. They can narrow down the choices based on their deceased loved one’s personality, hobbies, and preferences. If a person is buying a casket for themselves, they can do so with a vision about how they want to be remembered.

Step 2: Have a Budget

How much does a casket cost? The next thing to do is to plan and allocate the budget for it. Regardless of when, where and how the casket is purchased, it is good to keep an expense limit. It will help make better decisions and choose a casket and make modifications within the budget.

So how much is a casket? The price of a casket varies based on the hardware, craftsmanship and quality. Typically, caskets cost anywhere from $500 to a few thousand dollars. This is where sticking to the budget helps.

Step 3: Look into Contacts and Addresses

Information on where the caskets can be bought is available online. A list of funeral homes, casket retailers and online casket providers can be found on the internet, along with their address and contact information. Note to avoid purchasing caskets from places that do not include their contact information or addresses.

Step 4: Visit the Online and Offline Vendors

It is advisable to explore the different types of caskets available at various stores and funeral homes to compare their quality, designs and cost. At funeral homes, the director is expected by law to show the price list of all the caskets available before showing the actual inventory of the caskets. This will help the loved ones buy a casket that suits the deceased and stay under budget.

During these visits and purchases, it is good to visit the funeral homes and showrooms with a family member or a friend to make the process easier. They would be there to help ask for all the information and help make the decision. They can provide alternate perspectives about the models and their features which can be carefully considered before purchasing.

Step 5: Collect All the Necessary Information

People who have unique and customized additions that need to be added to the casket can discuss them with the casket provider. As mentioned, the funeral homes are obligated to show the price list before showing the caskets. They also need to clarify if they must bear any hidden fee, like the delivery cost.

Under the FTC funeral rule, funeral homes must accept caskets bought from outside vendors without billing additional fees. Information about any complaints filed against the funeral home or the casket retailer can be found with Better Business Bureau or BBB. Searching for customer reviews online can also give a better idea about these showrooms or online vendors and their services.

It is advisable to do some research on online casket providers too. Submit queries about the types of caskets available, the price of the casket, the shipping fee and other hidden costs. Some online providers deliver caskets on the same day or overnight if needed.

Step 6: Compare the Rates

People can visit the funeral homes and showrooms multiple times to gather all the information and compare the prices and types of caskets offered by the different vendors. It is essential to keep in mind how much is a casket that they offer. This helps to prevent spending above the budget.

Step 7: Purchase the Casket  

People can choose to buy caskets from independent retailers and online vendors and not only funeral homes. It is suggested to not rush into purchasing a casket but rather gather all the information, explore all the options available and clarify doubts from the vendors or the funeral director before making the decision. People who are under a strict budget can buy the cheapest casket available by comparing all the information.

Following these steps would make the process of buying a casket easier.

How does a Funeral Agency Help?

Finding insurance policies that tick all the boxes of your needs can be frustrating. It is helpful to consult independent agencies for such financial planning.

If you are a person suffering from health conditions and pre-existing medical issues, Funeral agencies will help you find a plan. They consider your budget and all your financial needs and find the best plan that would be perfect for you, make your work a lot easier. They specialize in aiding people to find affordable policies based on their needs.

Funeral agencies will get in contact with the best companies having the most reasonable prices for the insurance policy that adheres to your financial requirements. It has connections with agents who excel in providing insurance to high-risk clients and are rated A+ for their work. With their consultation, the agency will explore all the burial insurance policies offered by various companies and compare their rates.

        They help people who seek affordable and economic life insurance, budget-friendly funeral, burial, and whole-life insurance. To get an accurate quotation, fill out the quote form given on this website or give a call at 1-800-400-8319.