caskets on display at a funeral home.

Comprehensive Overview of Buying Caskets and Coffins

If you are like most people, you harbor various misconceptions about caskets and coffins. Overriding these misconceptions likely is that you have next to no real options when it comes to selecting a casket or coffin to inter the remains of a family member, another loved one, or even yourself when the time comes.

Are Funeral Homes the Only Place You Can Purchase a Casket or Coffin?

As noted a moment ago, there exist a good many misconceptions associated with caskets, coffins, and purchasing these interment vessels. The most pervasive misconception is that you must purchase a casket or coffin from funeral home that is handling the preparation of a deceased love one’s remain and providing related services.

Although purchase a casket or coffin directly from a funeral home oftentimes is the most practical course of action to take. However, you need to understand that there is no legal requirement that you purchase a burial vessel of any type from a funeral home.

Unfortunately, there are situations in which funeral homes lead consumers to believe that a casket must be purchased from them. In order to combat funeral homes providing inaccurate information to consumers, in order to prevent unfair trade practices by funeral homes when it comes to casket sales, the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, has established explicit rules as to what a funeral home can and cannot do in regard to casket sales. These rules include:

  • A funeral home cannot refuse to accept a casket purchased from another source.
  • A funeral home cannot charge a handling or similar fee for a casket purchased from another source.
  • A funeral home cannot force a consumer to sign any type of disclaimer associated with a casket purchases from somewhere else.
  • A funeral home cannot make unnecessarily derogatory statements about another casket dealer.

Armed with this information, you do need to understand that you can purchase a casket from sources beyond a funeral home. For example, you nay be able to purchase a casket directly from a manufacturer. There are other vendors in operation today that sell caskets on the retain market. Many of these merchants are accessible online. Overall, taking advantage of these resources to purchase a casket is likely to save you a considerable amount of money. While there has been some moderation in the amount of casket price market at funeral homes, thee cost of coffins will still be higher, and usually markedly so, at a funeral home.

Intentionally Limited Casket Choices at a Funeral Home

A common practice at funeral homes across the United States is to intentionally limit the types of caskets on display. Funeral homes only display those products that are at the higher end of the price range, leaving a person to conclude that there are no other options.

Some funeral homes take this seemingly deceptive practice a step further. They realize that they truly may encounter individuals who will not be inclined to pay the price of higher end caskets. Thus, they will squirrel away more affordably price caskets in out of the way places in a funeral home. For example, consumers have been reported being taken to dank basements of even boiler rooms to see more affordable caskets. These consumers were left to feel that they did not care enough for their deceased loved one because they were interested in learning more about casket options at lower price points.

Understanding Common Materials Used to Make Caskets

In the United States there is an array of different materials that are used to construct caskets. These materials include:

  • Hardwood caskets
  • Wood veneer caskets
  • Bronze and copper caskets
  • Stainless steel caskets
  • Cremation caskets
  • Green caskets and other burial vessels

Hardwood Caskets

Hardwood caskets tend to the at the higher end of the cost spectrum, no matter where you elect to make a purchase. Cherry and mahogany are the most common types of hardwood caskets available on the market today.

Wood Veneer Caskets

On the other hand, wood veneer caskets are among the more affordable options. These types of caskets are nicely crafted in this day and age. Wood veneer caskets make a nice presentation.

Bronze and Copper Caskets

Bronze and copper caskets are among the most widely utilized interment vessels on the market today. They are also at the higher end pf the price spectrum. They are highly durable and rust-resistant.

Stainless Steel Caskets

Stainless steel caskets are also highly durable. This line of caskets is also stylish and they generally are more affordable than bronze or copper alternatives.

Cremation Caskets

Cremation caskets are affordable vessels that are designed to be highly combustible. Understanding that they ultimately will be consumed in fire, cremation caskets are among the more affordable coffin options on the marketplace.

Green Caskets

Green caskets have some elements in common with cremation alternatives. These are constructed to be thoroughly biodegradable. Not only are they environmentally friendly, they are affordable.

Other Burial Vessels

Depending on what is available and permissible at a particular cemetery, other interment or burial vessels are possible. These include simple shrouds.

Buying a Casket in Advance of a Person’s Death

Many people do order a casket as part of funeral and burial planning. The purchase of a casket is part of buying a comprehensive funeral and burial package from a funeral home. In the fine print, you are likely to find that there is no absolutely guarantee that a particular casket will be available when you or another pre-planner dies.

The reality is that the only was you can preorder a casket and ensure that is precisely what you get when the need for use arises is to purchase and store the coffin on your own. Many people do balk at the idea of having a coffin stored somewhere in their home.

In the final analysis, you need to understand that you can be an empowered and educated consumer when it comes to selecting a casket and making funeral decisions for yourself or for a family member or other loved one. Being armed with this information allows you to take on others in the funeral industry who might be intent on pushing you to make a particular decision about when and how you should purchase a casket.