4 min read

5 Steps to Buying a Casket Online

When someone passes away, family or friends are left to try and plan things without much guidance. In the whirlwind of sudden responsibility, you suddenly have to become an expert on things you may have never even considered, such as funeral homes, coffins, and unexpected expenses. Hopefully by reading this article, we can help you in one of those many overwhelming categories - caskets.

In modern times, one of the easiest and fastest ways to pick out a casket is to go online rather than to go to a casket showroom. While previously not common knowledge, the FTC Funeral Rule states that funeral homes cannot reject caskets from third party sellers. Through this ruling, the federal trade commission is attempting to help give you access to reduced casket prices and more options without having to pay excessive fees or be turned away.

Some retailers like Costco, Amazon, or Walmart are options but don't always provide the best customer service or variety. Being able to shop online retailers take a lot of the pressure off of having a funeral director or vendor looking over your shoulder trying to constantly upsell you. Read on for some tips when looking online.

1: Know Your Budget

The first step before even starting your search is to decide on a budget. Before searching for a casket, contact your local funeral home or the one you plan to hold the funeral at and get a general price list of the cost of services. After integrating that into your overall funeral budget, you can start to look at your options.

Something to consider is that the gauge size, or the type and weight of steel in a casket, can really change the price. Stainless steel caskets are more expensive than normal, but also more durable. the lowest price gauge is usually 20-gauge, a mid-range option is at 18-gauge, and the higher price options are often 16-gauge. The lower the gauge, the thicker and more sturdy the steel will be.

Once you have your budget, there are a handful of adjustments you can make to both get the casket you want while staying within that price range. Gauge is a good place to make those changes, but there are other customizations that you can think about to save money further in this article!

2: Visualize what they would have wanted

When making a casket purchase, one of the hardest parts of the burial is making the right decision for the deceased. When starting to look at different types of caskets, try to think about what they would have wanted. There are so many varieties of wood to pick from with different aesthetics. There are also now green caskets and biodegradable caskets to choose from, widening your options.

Something to consider is different lid types - do you want only half of the coffin opened for viewings (half couch) or the full coffin (full couch)? The price on these is usually quite similar, so you can base the decision entirely on what you think the deceased would have wanted. It is also important to consider cremation caskets if that was their wish.

3: Determine The Right Material

There is a huge variety of casket materials. While metal caskets and wood caskets are the most common, there are quite a few customization options that allow you to get exactly what you want. Consider beyond the traditional standard steel and default wood caskets, you not only can save money but find something special for your loved one.

Metal caskets come in more than just steel. Different types of bronze and copper caskets are available to choose from and are priced by weight instead of gauge. Copper caskets are often quite a bit cheaper than bronze caskets, but these aren't the only two options out there either. Fiberglass is another non-wood option that is extremely light and often picked if the deceased was young. There are quite a few customization options for these, including faux wood finishes.

Wood caskets range wildly in price depending on the customization and type of wood. Often the cheapest are pine caskets, but there are many other options to consider like maple, walnut, oak, mahogany, and cherry. These all have wildly different looks to them, and give you a lot of options in picking what you think will be best. If looking for a green option, you also can consider something like fiberboard or bamboo.

4: Find An Easy Self-Service Casket

If you are looking to make something personal, you also can make a self-service casket. It is common to see these done out of pine or plywood, but any material can be used. Remember to consider the price of materials - this may not be a cost-saving move depending on where you source them. With that being said, some companies sell casket kits that can be quite cheap, and is a good option for those wanting to pursue this path who may not have a lot of prior experience.

5: Find Free Shipping

One of the easiest ways to cut a lot of money off of your order is to find a site offering free shipping. As you can imagine, the shipping costs of caskets can vary wildly and be a huge burden on top of all of your other fees. By finding a site that allows for free shipping, you not only are saving a ton of money, but don't have to worry about the weight of the material you are purchasing.

Regardless of what you choose, we hope that learning about these options has opened some doors that you previously weren't aware of. Online casket shopping can decrease the burden of at least part of the funerl planning process. We hope that you find exactly what feels right while being able to stay within your budget with these tips.

The Great Escape.
Photo by Nelson Wong / Unsplash