There are many steps to the funeral planning process, and it seems like every step is made more complex than necessary. It can often feel like you are being taken advantage of and that people are trying to push you towards what they claim is the "best deal." While there are a handful of ways to get a better price, at the end of the day, what you and your family members often want is to pick what would have been best for the deceased.
Whether trying to contact a local funeral home or a third-party seller, choosing the right casket for burial is one of the more stressful parts of this planning process. While juggling funeral arrangements, it can be hard to even think about looking for the best price when thinking about purchasing a casket. While many people will try to get you to believe their service is the best one, we are here to help try to give you a full scope of standard options, what they mean, and what may be best for you and your loved ones.
Determine what they would have wanted
We think that the easiest way to start your funeral planning journey is always to take time to consider what the deceased would have wanted. There are many different styles and types of funerals, like celebrations of life or scattering ashes after a cremation. If they want a cremation, it is important to consider if you're going to consider cremation caskets or a special urn. If going with the traditional coffin method, what kind of funeral casket do you think best fits their personality? Is there a specific cemetery they would want their burial in, or is that kind of burial plot not their style?
Take time to reflect on these things concerning your loved one. This consideration can be a hard process, but it can help you feel more confident in your decision-making down the road. By envisioning their wants and planning out basic ideas early, you can better make purchases that feel like they are in honor of the deceased. Overall, it will also reduce your stress during the planning. Now that you have a good idea of how you want to move forward, you should start thinking about what kind of casket works best if that is the route you have decided.
What are Caskets?
There are a few basics you should know about the functionality of caskets. Caskets are also called coffins, but these descriptions can often differentiate between two standard styles. The term coffin is sometimes used for the hexagon-shaped boxes, while the term casket can sometimes describe the more rectangular versions. While caskets will often break down over time, they provide some protection from outside elements after burial.
Some caskets give better protection than others. One that is often popular is the protective coffin, which offers better long-term durable protection and comes with a rubber gasket that helps make a seal possible. While we can't expect these to preserve the body indefinitely, some steps can elongate that process as much as possible. If this is something you are concerned about, consider getting a sturdier type of casket material such as metal.
The primary purpose of caskets or coffins is to provide a decorative funerary box that honors the person inside. It can offer an ornate and sometimes meaningful decoration to ceremonies around the funeral process. They also protect the body after burial and any surrounding nature, such as the soil or nearby water sources.
Factors To Consider When Buying
There are a handful of factors to consider when you start looking to buy a casket. First, it can be helpful to think about what casket price range you are considering. There are many places where you can decide to cut price, such as the kind of material the casket is made of, if you want to consider discount caskets, or where you purchase the casket. Costco and Walmart, for example, sell coffins. Often the best place to search for the lowest prices is through online retailers, as long as the handling fees aren't outrageous.
An essential part of a casket's anatomy that you will have to think about is the lid. There are two common lid types. The first and most common is the half couch, which has a cover with two separate pieces. For viewings, the upper lid is opened so that it shows the deceased's upper body. On the other hand, a full couch is a one-piece lid that opens the casket's entire length. Which you pick is entirely up to you, as these different styles often are priced in about the same range.
If you need a custom casket, such as an oversized casket or smaller coffin, that is also very common. Many providers will offer these options in the same styles and qualities as their other offerings. Regardless of what kind of basic coffin customization you need, there are many places you can start your search. Next, we will think about considering quality before making your final purchase.
When trying to decide on the quality of your casket, a few different things can set apart a high-quality casket from a less-sturdy one. The first component that you can look at is the quality of the materials, such as the metal's durability or the quality of the wood. If looking at gauge caskets, remember that the higher the gauge, the more sturdy and the more expensive. These options are a good place for you to consider your budget along with what you think that your loved one would have wanted.
There are a few other details to determine the quality, such as the interior lining material. The most common options you will see include velvet, crepe, satin, velour, and linen. Linens can provide a more natural look, while something luxurious like velvet or satin has a touch of elegance. While this is often an aesthetic choice, make sure that the coffin you purchase details what they use so that you aren't left with a cheap inner-lining.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel your casket is appropriate for the event. If you are concerned about your coffin's quality, it can be helpful to learn about the different types of coffin materials used in relation to your budget, which we will talk about in the next section. Remember that there are always budget options if needed as well!
Solid Wood Vs. Solid Metal
Considering casket materials can seem overwhelming, we will help break things down to make your options clear. Remember that while metal caskets and wood caskets are the most common options, there are many more ways you can celebrate the life of your loved one if you are looking for something non-traditional. There are many options within these categories so that you can find the perfect choice for your event and budget.
First, let's talk about wooden caskets. These are what you think of when you envision a traditional coffin. Many types of woods are used, such as maple, walnut, mahogany, cherry, veneer, and oak. The difference between these materials is mainly aesthetic and prestige, so take a look at different images or models to get a feel for these woods' different visuals. For lower-priced options, you can consider pine as well. Another option to consider is environmentally conscious coffins, which often are made from fiberboard or bamboo. These green options can reflect the issues important to the deceased and be a lower price-point option for you.
Metal options traditionally come in steel or stainless steel caskets, but there are other options here as well. For example, bronze and copper are some more pricey options you can pick with unique looks. These all come in different weights or gauges depending on the type of metal, indicating how sturdy they are.
Caskets For Ashes
It isn't uncommon for someone to want their ashes buried. In these cases, smaller ash caskets are commonly used. These are often wooden but can be found in many different styles. They also often have the option of an engraved plaque on the side with the deceased name and other memorial details. Another thing to consider is the use of alternative containers. Because there often aren't laws that require caskets for cremation, you can use cost-effective alternative containers, which usually are made of materials like unfinished or pressed woods. Sometimes they are even made of cardboard.
Shipping Caskets Across The Country
When looking to buy caskets, you may decide that an online retailer is the best option for you. With more options and prices to compare to, this has become an extremely popular option. With that being said, many people worry about shipping a casket, especially if it is a long distance. While sometimes you can find great shipping deals to your funeral home of choice, there are other options as well. Some services allow you to pick the casket up from the airport yourself to bypass any courier fees. Of course, this requires a larger car that has the capacity to transport the large box, but it can help you cut some costs if needed!
Considerations If The Departed Was A Veteran
If the deceased was a veteran, it is worth considering applying for veterans' burial benefits. By contacting your local Veterans Affairs, they can often help cover some of the costs of things like the plot, cost of internment, or the transportation fees. To find out how the VA can help you, contact your local division to see what they can assist with.
Choosing Caskets Online
Now that you know some options and considerations as you shop, you can start searching online for providers and prices. Make sure to be careful as you shop online and consider the shop's policies in case something happens in shipping or the item isn't as expected when received. Avoid any sites that don't give you a way to contact them through a phone number or that has bad BBB complaints. If concerned about purchasing from a third party, consider looking at familiar online retailers like Amazon or Costco.
Hopefully, these tips have helped start to guide you on finding a casket without the stress of being sold to by a pushy salesman in-person. Now that you are armed with knowledge, we hope you find the perfect casket for your loved one's funeral.