Casket Prices and Where to Buy Them

A casket is often one of the single greatest expenses associated with a funeral. Casket prices range from under $1,000 to more than $10,000 with the average being somewhere between 2 and 3 thousand dollars. The materials used and the amount of embellishment typically determine the price.

Why You Might Consider a Cost-Effective Casket

It is important to remember that caskets do not preserve remains forever, no matter what materials are used. Overspending out of a desire to honor your loved one is a natural emotional response during a time of loss. However, the funds you save by making a prudent purchasing decision could be used for investments with more lasting significance. That might be setting up a scholarship fund in the deceased’s memory or making a gift to their favorite charity. You may find it helpful to determine your price range in advance to conserve funds for these or other purposes.

Funeral Homes Must Abide by the Rules

Grieving families tend to purchase the mid-range option out of the first three caskets they are shown. So, funeral homes have an incentive not to show a cheap casket at all. Some may not even keep their most cost-effective options in stock (although they can order one for quick delivery). Because of the potential for unethical practices in this industry, the FTC requires that grieving families be shown a list of all the caskets a funeral home offers with descriptions and prices prior to taking a tour of the showroom. If you purchase a casket elsewhere, the funeral home must accept and use it at your request. They are not permitted to charge you a fee or penalty for deciding to buy a casket from another vendor.

Evaluating Casket Prices Online

As you review your pricing options, you will find that there are many affordable products online. The most price conscious caskets will often be those that are discontinued styles, on clearance, or from low cost retailers. A simple, unfinished pine box is usually the least expensive material (although other eco-friendly options such as bamboo are also available now).

Be sure you understand the shipping policy before you make a purchase. With a store such as Wal-Mart or Costco, you may be required to pick up the item in-store if you wish to avoid shipping charges. With online retailers, you can typically have the casket shipped directly to the funeral home of your choice. Delivery (including next day delivery) may be free if you live in a major metropolitan area. If you have any questions about the casket, call and speak to the supplier before you buy since returns are not accepted in this industry.

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4 Tips on Casket Purchasing
  1. Caskets do not preserve the remains of your loved one forever and the funds you save by purchasing a cheaper casket can be applied to a cause that has longer lasting significance such as a scholarship/charitable fund.
  2. Before touring the casket showroom of a funeral home, be sure to request a list of all the caskets they have for sale with casket details and pricing to help you make a better informed purchasing decision.
  3. Funeral homes are not allowed to charge you a fee if you purchase a casket from somewhere else so do not feel pressured to purchase a casket from the funeral home you select to coordinate the funeral process. 
  4. When shopping for caskets online, be aware of the shipping prices and policies.  Actual prices of caskets may be cheaper online but the shipping rates may result in the final cost being more expensive than your local funeral home.