Many customers are turning away from conventional funerals on reason of the spending. With the casket being the most expensive item in a funeral, it makes perfect sense for people to think about the alternatives.
Whether it’s a casket or a coffin you’re thinking about using for a funeral (they’re not the same thing, but people use the terms interchangeably), it's entirely up to you. Just because coffins are narrow at the feet, it doesn't mean that they're cheaper, though. Regardless of the final choice, some aspects matter for the final price of the casket. Keep reading to understand why caskets are the most significant investment in a funeral.
Does the material count for the price?
Taking a look at the caskets out there is going to make you see that there are numerous options in terms of materials. Just like with everything else, some materials are cheaper than others, and you should give your wallet a look before buying.
Should your money be tight, the fiberboard/cardboard caskets are probably the best choice. Customers use them for cremation, and the prices begin at $20, going to as high as $350 for unfinished models without lining.
When you want to purchase a casket made of cardboard, fiberboard, or softwood, you should prepare for prices ranging from $200 to $1,000. The cloth used for interior and exterior also impact price; the amount of material that is being used can also increase the rate.
You can find caskets for $85, but it’s just one piece of cardboard covered with some cloth. When you want one that is also lined with some crepe, you may pay less than $700, whereas a solid-pine casket that is also cloth-covered may range from $850 to $2,000.
Should you set on a casket made of stainless steel, copper, or bronze (they’re semi-precious materials), you can end up paying anything from $3,000 to $10,000.
You also need to select between gasketed or non-gasketed models, with the gasketed models being pricier than the latter.
Big retailers sell metal caskets for $1500 to $9,000, but metal caskets sold online will come for more affordable prices.
Caskets with veneer-finishes or made of engineered wood begin at $1,200 and can get as high as $3,500. When you're looking for a plush and more sophisticated styles with exotic hardwoods and expensive veneers, you may pay something from $1,200 to $7,000. Red cedar and mahogany veneers are the priciest options.
Caskets made of pine or other solid softwood are affordable, with prices ranging from $1000 to $3,500. The plushness of materials and the quality affect the final price. Hardwood caskets (made of mahogany maple or oak) are priced from $2,200 to $6,500. It doesn't eliminate the category of caskets costing as high as $10,000.
The details, the decoration, and the customization you wish to have for a casket impact the final price. Along with the materials used, they all play a role in the price of a casket. The high-end caskets start at $15,000 and even higher than $30,000. Of course, we’re talking about the gold-plated models.
Is the size important for the price?
The size of the casket doesn’t give just the weight, but it also matters for the price.
A casket that is 24in wide and 79 to 83in long is considered to be standard. It's because such size will fit most persons, as long as they're not taller than 6.5ft. However, if the funeral director is willing to bend the knees of the deceased a bit, a person that is 6.7" or 6.8" can also fit in a standard casket.
When selecting the size of the casket, the width of the body also counts. You measure the body across the shoulders or at the elbows. You need the numbers of where a body is the widest.
Just to give you an idea, a regular casket is going to fit a person that doesn’t weigh more than 350pounds. Of course, it’s cheaper to get a standard casket.
Big persons cannot fit in a standard model, as they’re typically taller or wider in shoulders. The caskets should come with 27.5 or 30.5 in width.
We should also remind you that a regular cemetery vault/plot is also 30 in wide, so it makes perfect sense that an oversized casket doesn't fit. Therefore, more digging is necessary, which only increases the final spending for the funeral.
All in all, an oversized casket will cost more than a regular casket.
Do the fittings and the furnishings alter the price?
Everyone knows that no casket is made exclusively out of wood or steel. Decorations and functional hardware are also used in the making. The hinges, the clasps, and highly functional rods easing out the lifting and the transportation add up to the final price.
The materials for the hardware, the decorations, and other details that you want to use for the casket can change the price of the casket. The more details you want and the higher the customization, the more bucks you're going to pay in the end.
Along with the functional hardware, you also need to give the fabrics used for the inside a thought. Even though nothing says luxury better than velvet, we all know that it's too expensive. Crepe or satin are affordable choices for the interior, so it’s all about how much money you are willing to spend on the coffin.
Can you find cheap caskets?
It's beyond a doubt that caskets are anything but cheap. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives to think about when your money is tight. First, check out the online prices - chances are, if you thought the price given by your funeral home was high, it may well fit in your budget with an online supplier.
Green burials are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Also known as natural burial, green burials are simple, eco-friendly, and incredibly cheap when compared to the conventional burials.
The main principle of a green burial is to place the body in a container that will decompose most naturally. No need for embalming, or using an expensive metal casket. There's also no need to get a concrete headstone- there is none!
Similar to the green burials, burial shrouds are also biodegradable and cheap as opposed to the conventional caskets. The covers can be made of silks, linen, and cotton. Even if some can be customized with embroidered floral patterns or name initials, they're never as expensive as traditional caskets.
Even if the wicker coffins are entirely new on the market, more and more people are embracing the idea of using the wicker coffins. They're environmentally friendly, which counts even more than the price.
The coffins are handwoven by an experienced basket maker. Typically, every wicker coffin is one-of-a-kind and unique within its making. Needless to say, a wicker coffin is way cheaper than a conventional casket. And it doesn't look bad at all, either.
Are there any other ways to cut down the price of traditional caskets?
If you’re the DIY type of customer, you should definitely think about making one on your own. According to the style you’re using, the variety of wood and other options (lining or split lit, for instance), you can pay from $400 to $1,300 to make a wood casket on your own.
You can also check to see if the funeral home provides you the possibility pf renting a solid wood or metal casket featuring solid cardboard liner. Once a viewing or a service is completed, the inner liner can be removed, so that the body can be cremated. It's only the outer shell of the casket that is utilized several times. In the case of casket rental, the fee may range from $550 up to $2,000. Probably, the price of the insert is also comprised of the location.
The price of rental depends a lot on the model of casket you’re selecting and for how much time you’re renting it.
One last piece of advice
Customers should always be informed and knowledgeable about their rights. For instance, the federal Funeral Rule states that any mortuary or funeral home should give the customer the option of using a casket bought in another place. Moreover, they cannot charge you any fees for handling a casket purchased elsewhere.
It's common for funeral homes to display the most attractive (sort to speak) caskets, and they're required by the Funeral Rule to provide you a written price list of every casket model that they're selling. The file must contain even the cheapest models, so don't sit on the fence about whether you should ask about the low-end models or not. It's within your right as a customer!