Do you really need an oversized casket or are they a waste of money?
Oversized caskets are the very thing that many people find themselves looking for after the loss of a loved one, and fortunately, they are abundantly available from a wide variety of sources. And, though one man, somewhat famously, made a great fuss on the internet about his quest to order a custom-built oversize casket for himself so that his wife would not be left with that burden upon his death, larger caskets are routinely available very easily on demand for most people. Though it is never a bad idea to prepare in advance for one's own funeral, there is no practical reason for people who may be larger than average – even much larger – to fret that their funeral will be in any way hindered because a sufficiently sized casket cannot be located. We offer this article as a source of comfort for those who may be afflicted by this worry and a source of help for family members who may be in quick need of an oversized casket (or at least good information about these memorial products). The main point was hope to convey in this article is that oversize caskets are almost always available readily from the same sources that offer standard sized caskets, and customers who need oversize caskets should expect to be offered selections and prices that are not very far diminished from those of regular sized caskets. If the retailer you are working with is unable to provide you high quality service in regard to an oversize casket, the best advice we can offer is to simply search for another retailer. You will certainly find one quickly who can help you get exactly what you need for your loved one's memorial service.
How Big Are Oversized Caskets?
Oversized caskets are generally considered those that are larger than the standard size, in at least one of the following dimensions: length, larger than 84 inches; width, larger than 28 inches, height, larger than 23 inches. Those dimensions are the limit of most “standard sized” caskets and, as you have probably already noticed, most human bodies can easily fit into a casket of those proportions. But, for a good percentage of all people (some experts estimate as much as 10 percent of the global population), those dimensions result simply in too tight of a fit. Fortunately, for those people, oversize caskets are available in a wide variety of sizes that exceed those dimensions. A typical oversize casket can be up to 90 inches long, 36 inches wide, and 30 inches tall. Gone are the days in which stories would abound that families of people who are, say, 550 pounds or more had to search high and low for burial containers large enough to contain their loved one's body for burial. (Many stories have been told over the years in which families had to procure for their loved ones large containers intended to be used to ship elephants or pianos over long distances.) These days it is only the rarest of large individuals who will not fit very nicely into oversize caskets that can be purchased, quite readily, from most any retailer that offers burial caskets.
Who Uses Oversized Caskets?
It may be surprising to learn that, even people who do not necessarily need the extra space of an oversize casket have been buried in larger-than-usual coffins. Those who work in the memorial products industry are often quick to point out that oversize caskets can be used by anybody, with internal modifications (such as packing with extra cushions) made to accommodate those bodies that do not necessarily need the extra space. Many recent news articles have noted that, especially in the United States, with its rising levels of obesity, mass produced caskets are being made in larger and larger sizes so as to accommodate demand for oversize caskets. For this reason, many funeral consumers have found that they can get lower-than-average prices on large, oversize caskets that retailers and manufacturers may have in surplus in their inventory. To save a few hundred dollars on the overall cost of a loved one's funeral and burial services, many families will eagerly agree to simply add an extra layer or two of cushioning to an oversize casket. (And, in fact, since the casket will end up buried, some families even forgo the added cushioning.) So the short answer to our question in the headline above is this: anyone can use an oversize casket, and, in today's economy, oversized caskets may even offer an excellent opportunity for significant financial savings for people who might otherwise need a standard sized casket.
Availability of Oversized Caskets
As we mention above, oversized caskets are generally readily available in today's memorial products industry from just about any retailer who offers caskets, and consumers would do well to realize that, if the retailer they are working with is having trouble providing a good selection of oversize caskets, a competitor will likely be able to offer exactly what the family is looking for. Though we do mention in the section above that oversize caskets are sometimes offered for low prices when there is a surplus of inventory, it is also the case that oversize caskets are sometimes in short supply in a retailer or manufacturer's warehouse. In such cases, a particular design of an oversize casket may be out of stock, but it's often the case that this can result in a retailer offering a low price on another model in hopes of salvaging a sale. Low on-hand supplies can sometimes mean, also, that delivery of an oversize casket can take a little extra time as opposed to ordering a standard casket, but rarely are the delays sufficient enough to cause havoc with plans for a memorial ceremony. In short, a reputable retailer who offers oversize caskets will typically be able to supply a family who as lost a loved with a suitable oversize casket well in time for most any memorial service that is planned, and the price will usually be about the same, or sometimes even less, than a standard sized casket.
Though critics of modern culture may deride the fact that oversize caskets are so readily available in our modern world – as a result of an increase in obesity – the fact remains that these memorial products are, indeed, available with relative ease and little (or no) additional expense to the family who has lost a beloved member.
Alternatives to Oversized Caskets
Despite all we say about how relatively easy it is to procure an oversized casket on today's memorial products market, many people are simply uncomfortable with the idea of a large casket (or, in very rare cases, a large enough casket cannot sometimes be located) for themselves or a loved one. Fortunately for these people, there are a sufficient number of alternatives to oversize caskets. The most obvious of these is, of course, cremation. Cremation ashes require no casket or coffin at all, of course, and many people who consider themselves to be oversize have been known to specifically request in their wills that their bodies be cremated. This is, presumably, an act of humility intended to spare their loved ones the perceived expense and trouble of locating a casket sufficiently large enough for their body. (These people, of course, are probably not be aware of all we have said above regarding the relative ease of finding an oversize casket today.) But, even this is not always a panacea for those who are concerned about what to do with the remains of person who is larger than average. This is because most cremation urns today are sold in sizes that are not larger than 300 cubic inches, and the general rule of thumb for the amount of ashes a body will produce in cremation is one cubic inch per pound of body weight. It is for this reason that bodies weighting more than 300 pounds may not always fit in standard sized cremation urns. Fortunately, a large selection of “companion” cremation urns are available at sizes of at least 600 cubic inches. These will typically hold the remains of just about any human body, but, because they are originally designed for two people, some potential purchasers may be uncomfortable with this option.
The other alternative to oversize caskets is to simply make a standard sized casket work for a large body. Though this may sound like a macabre solution, it has been known to happen in many cases across the world, even in this age in which oversize caskets are readily available. Those who are skilled and experienced in the art of embalming and preparing a body for burial have many tricks of the trade that they can employ (such as removing feet or other limbs that would not otherwise be visible or otherwise apparent in an open-casket viewing) to fit a large body into a standard sized casket. It should be noted however, that this alternative should only be done at the request (or at least at the approval) of the family of the deceased. There have been numerous disturbing tales over the years in which these special techniques have been used without the family's knowledge or consent in order for a funeral home to avoid having to tell a family that it simply could not find an oversize casket to fit their loved one. Though these instances are exceedingly rare – especially in today's memorial products and funeral industry – they have been known to happen, and families of a deceased person whose body is larger than average should be cautious that their instructions are followed precisely by a funeral home's staff.