We know that funeral planning is a difficult process. It can be costly. Families are often coping with deep grief, which makes it difficult to think clearly and make the best decisions. This article will cover your rights as a consumer, touch on casket quality, and provide you with the knowledge you need to buy caskets online.
It’s no secret that the internet has changed everything. The funeral industry has been changing too. From online florists to online obituaries, funeral homes have stepped up their game to keep up with the times.
Mortuaries have even changed how we can plan funerals and honor our loved ones. Gone are the days of meeting with a stuffy old undertaker in a spooky mortuary. Today’s funeral professionals are younger, more highly educated, and ready to help. But in our era of point-and-click purchasing and immediate gratification, more families are buying their caskets online, hoping to save some money.
Internet Caskets FAQs
Even the savviest of e-consumers will naturally have some questions about ordering caskets online. It’s not an everyday purchase so it gives us pause. There are plenty of questions you might have.
We’ve heard them all, and we’re happy to address them for you here!
1. Am I required by law to purchase a casket from the funeral home I’m working with?
No. Federal law (the FTC’s Federal Funeral Rule, specifically) states that you can purchase only the goods and services you want and need. You’re always welcome to shop around for items like caskets, flowers or monuments that would come from outside the funeral home.
2. Can the funeral home charge me extra for bringing in a casket?
No. Funeral homes shouldn’t be charging you extra to use a casket you buy online. (Look for these charges on your itemized contract as “casket storage fees” or “casket delivery fees”. Generally these charges are not legal!)
- However, know that most funeral homes offer their services as “packages” which include the casket purchase. It might be cheaper to buy the package with a casket included, than have an itemized contract requiring you to pay full price for each item and service except your casket.
3. Are the caskets sold online the same quality I would get at the funeral home?
Probably. There are only a dozen or so casket manufacturers in the US. They all provide the same sorts of products, and describe them by the materials they’re made with. A 20 Gauge steel casket from Company A will be very similar in quality to a 20 Gauge steel casket from Company B.
The same can be said of wood caskets. Know that some woods cost more than others. While mahogany will always cost more than pine, for instance, all the mahogany caskets you see will be about the same quality. Pine is pine, walnut is walnut, and so on.
- Each funeral home has a few distributors they work with. They will all have access to very similar quality caskets. The colors, lining materials, and other small details will differ from one manufacturer to the next.
Be sure you’re comparing “apples to apples” when shopping caskets. Make sure you read descriptions carefully to know what you’re buying.
4. Can I ask the funeral home to price match on a certain casket?
It wouldn’t hurt to try! If you can find a comparable casket online for a much lower price, you can ask the mortuary to match the price. They just might. But again, compare the whole package price to the price you’ll pay if you bring in a casket from outside.
5. Does the cemetery care what kind of casket I use?
No. You can use any casket at any cemetery.
- However, some cemeteries will require you to purchase another product called a “vault” or “outer burial container” or “grave liner”. These are designed to cover the casket and prevent the cemetery ground from sinking in and becoming unsightly. Most cemeteries require them!
6. Will a more expensive casket preserve my loved one’s remains longer?
No. No casket in existence will preserve human remains. If preservation is a key issue for you, talk to your mortician about embalming.
- Embalming is a process using chemicals to help preserve your loved one’s remains for a little while longer, but it doesn’t last forever.
- Depending on your location, it can be expensive.
- It’s usually not required by law. But if you are planning a long ceremony, multiple viewings, or waiting for family to arrive from out of town a week from now, it might be appropriate.
7. Where can I buy caskets online?
A quick internet search for “caskets” brings up thousands of results.
We are reluctant to link any here, as prices can change so quickly depending on the price of resources, like steel. The key takeaway is to make sure you’re comparing the same type of wood, or same gauges of steel, when comparing prices. Bookmark the ones you’re interested in in your phone, and show that to your family’s funeral director.