Purchasing Tips for Caskets
What a Consumer should know before buying a Casket
Selecting and purchasing a casket can be a daunting experience. One has to take into account the materials used for the casket, the size, how the exterior suits the individual it is for, and last but certainly not least, the price. While no one wants to consider finances when selecting something so personal, it is very important to keep the price of the casket in mind, as some families have found; especially those who have suffered an unexpected loss in which preparations for the funeral service was not made. Many people are not aware of the option of selecting and purchasing a casket online. It is strange to think that, again, something so personal can be shopped for online, but keep an open mind, as there are several benefits to this option. First, you have the ease of browsing through the selections at your own pace, and the options of designs and styles are often time more extensive than that which most funeral homes are able to offer. The other main advantage is the pricing is very competitive. Many are worried that their casket will not arrive, will arrive damaged, or will not arrive on time, and these concerns are understandable, yet easily addressed. We at Memorials.com offer free ground delivery for those families that have the advantage of a little extra time. For those that don't, we offer expedited services for most caskets, and when shipped, the caskets are extremely well protected with crating and other packaging material. The following are some things to keep in mind when ordering a casket from Memorials.com. We will add items to this list on occasion, so please contact us if you have any suggestions.
Funeral Home Issues with Caskets:
The Federal Trade Commission has strict laws governing the relationship funeral homes have with customers who choose to buy their caskets from other dealers, or obtain their caskets from outside sources. Here are a few of the more important rules that you should keep in mind: Funeral homes may not refuse to accept a casket purchased from another dealer. Also, funeral homes may not charge for a handling fee for caskets purchased elsewhere. In fact, they are not to even ask to see a receipt for the sale of a casket bought from another dealer. (The latter is so they will not have unfair pricing advantages over competitors.) Funeral homes may not require families to sign disclaimers or otherwise waive any legal rights in regard to caskets purchased elsewhere. And, finally, they may not make slanderous statements about buying a casket from another dealer. We are definitely not saying that all funeral homes will have problems with purchasing from outside sources. On the contrary, many are very formal and respective, as they try to stay competitive with outside dealers, as well as help grieving families through a very difficult time. But, for those who are unfortunately having issues with their funeral home in this respect, we would like to enforce the following thought: YOU are the customer, and are entitled to good customer service regardless of your decision to get any memorial item from an outside vendor. Those who purchase caskets, or any other funeral accessories for that matter, from outside sources are not only saving themselves money, but are also increasing the competition in the death care industry, and in turn, can even help in driving down prices for future memorial consumers.
A Consumer Casket Guide:
When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends often are confronted with dozens of decisions about the funeral - all of which must be made quickly and often under great emotional duress. What kind of funeral should it be? What funeral provider should you use? Should you bury or cremate the body, or donate it to science? What are you legally required to buy? What other arrangements should you plan? And, as callous as it may sound, how much is it all going to cost? Each year, Americans grapple with these and many other questions as they spend billions of dollars arranging more than 2 million funerals for family members and friends. Unfortunately, we have heard of families that have been taken advantage of during this difficult time, and they are often talked into purchasing 'packages', which in some cases, have services that were not requested, and sometimes not necessary. This is why we stress that it is important to know all of your options! Families can greatly benefit from learning about the options available to them when purchasing funeral accessories. The increasing trend toward pre-need planning - when people make funeral arrangements in advance - suggests that many consumers want to compare prices and services so that ultimately, the funeral reflects a wise and well-informed purchasing decision, as well as a meaningful one. While we often turn to the internet as our main source of information, there are also books that cover the the topic of funeral planning. A funeral planning book can be very useful as it will serve as a quick and easy to follow list of the necessary tasks involved with planning the memorial service for oneself or a loved one. To pre-plan any type of memorial service, even partially, is not only wise financially, but will also save the surviving family a great deal of heart ache, and could ultimately help avoid them from being taking advantage of in their time of grief.
Funeral Home Casket Does and Don'ts Made Easy
When faced with the loss of a loved one, a family may be tempted to simply choose a casket from the selection on display – in a showroom or via catalogs – at the funeral home they have chosen. This may be an expensive mistake. (Or, at the least, a mistake that keeps a family from getting the casket that best suits their needs.) Caskets are available for sale from many other establishments besides funeral homes, and most can be delivered, even to the most remote funeral homes, well in time for a memorial ceremony. Here is a brief consumer guide to what to look for in a casket.
It's important to realize that caskets generally are available in three general sizes. Small caskets are generally intended for the bodies of children. Standard-sized caskets are suitable for most adults. And an oversized casket would be intended for bodies that are too tall or wide for standard-sized caskets.
Many (if not most) casket styles care available in all three sizes. So, size should not be a major concern in selecting a casket. Simply find the material and design that best suits the deceased and ask your funeral director or casket retailer to order the casket in the size that will fit your loved one.
In most cases, the pricing will be slightly different for each different size. Small caskets are the least expensive, of course, and oversized caskets will cost more. But, in general, the price difference will be nominal – considering the overall price of any casket.
Traditional caskets are generally made of hardwood or metal. And, in most cases, they will always include bedding and handlebars designed for pall bearers to easy transport the casket to and from a hearse.
In terms of price and durability, there is little difference between hardwood and metal caskets. Some consumers may be tempted to believe that metal caskets are more likely to last longer underneath the ground than their hardwood counter parts, but that is simply not generally the case. Rust has roughly the same effect upon a metal casket as rot does for a hardwood casket. Neither can be expected to remain intact indefinitely once buried in a grave. And, in fact, metal caskets have sometimes been known to allow the elements inside more quickly than hardwood caskets. This can lead to quicker decomposition of a body – though this is dependent upon the climate of the area where the caskets are buried. Humid clients lead to quicker decomposition times for caskets of any material.
Many people do not like the idea of a casket taking up space in the environment for an indefinite (though definitely limited) amount of time. For this reason, the memorial products industry has relatively recently begun offering biodegradable caskets. These caskets are made of wood, though they are not treated with stains as traditional hardwood caskets are and, accordingly, they are much more prone to the decomposition agents that nature employs. These caskets are much more economical from a price perspective than their hardwood counterparts, and they can be expected to last underground for just a few months (at best).
Akin to biodegradable caskets are cremation caskets. These economically priced pieces are build with the intention that they will be burned with a body in cremation oven. (In most cases, state laws require that all bodies cremated be done so in a container of some sort.) Though they will ultimately be destroyed in the cremation process, cremation caskets are generally crafted with sophisticated designs that make them exceedingly suitable for display at a memorial service. Much less expensive cremation caskets are available, of course, for cases in which a casket will not be displayed at a funeral service.
Today's technology makes personalization of caskets – whether they be hardwood or metal – much more practical than in decades past. Though personalization does ad a significant cost to a casket it is quite readily available. Caskets can be crafted to include colorful replicas of family photos or other art that is special to the deceased and his or her family. In general, such a choice adds about $1,000 to the price of a casket, and that my be cost prohibitive for many families – especially in light of the fact that caskets will be buried quickly after a memorial service has ended. But for a growing number of families the personalization option is proving to be a comforting choice.
One word of caution about this personalization option: families with loved ones devoted faithfully to certain athletic teams are sometimes tempted to personalize a casket with that team's logos and colors. It's important to note that this may not always be the best idea. In the first place, most teams maintain careful control of the copyright of their logos and using a logo on a casket without previous written consent may end up causing a family some legal troubles. And, still further, ethicists warn us that remembering a person by simply glorifying his or her devotion to a team may lead to a cheapening of a person's legacy. There must be, after all, something more productive and meaningful to a person's life than his her or commitment, as a fan, to a particular team. Of course these concerns do not necessarily apply to people who devoted significant parts of their lives playing for, or being employed by, a particular team, but, for all other fans, selecting a casket customization scheme that relates to a team may be a dubious choice.