A casket or a coffin is a container used to bury the deceased. More often than not, both the terms are used interchangeably but, there is a difference between the two.
Typically, a coffin is a burial container with six or eight sides. It is anthropoid in shape. In other words, its shape is similar to that of a human body, wide at the top, tapered at the shoulders, and narrow towards the feet.
A casket, on the other hand, is completely rectangular. Generally, caskets have a partition on the lid for the purpose of viewing.
Coffins are more popular in UK whereas caskets are more popular in the US. The word casket was initially used to refer to a jewelry box or a small box used to store other valuable objects.
Anyway, when planning to purchase a casket or coffin, you need to take some factors into consideration. For instance, it is not necessary to buy a casket from your funeral home itself. You can explore other options like high street casket retailers and online shops, too.
Other points to consider are:
Determine the size of the casket depending up on the weight and size of the individual it is being purchased for. The average size of a casket is 84 inches long, 28 inches wide, and 23 inches high.
You shall also find oversized caskets for overweight and obese people who are not likely to fit properly in a standard casket.
Though there are no uniform dimensions for these caskets still, they are almost 28-31 inches in width. If you are not sure about the size you require, you may consult your funeral director.
Besides, in case you want a casket which is safe for the environment, you can get an eco casket made of bamboo, wicker, willow bark, banana leaves, etc.
If you wish to buy a sturdy and durable casket that lasts long, do not be mislead by claims like protective gaskets can prevent decomposition.
When going to purchase a funeral casket for your loved one, make sure you check the caskets available at different stores and compare their prices so that you can make an informed decision.
It has been observed that caskets at most funeral homes are overpriced. Generally, the price tends to vary depending on the type of material used. Green, eco caskets are usually inexpensive whereas copper or bronze caskets are the most expensive.
The Funeral Rule
The funeral industry has a pretty bad reputation of taking advantage of the distressed customers by tricking them into buying unnecessary and expensive products.
Hence, the Federal Trade Commission established the Funeral Rule to protect the consumers from such fraudulence.
According to the Funeral rule, the funeral providers are supposed to provide you with a price list of all their caskets, whether they are on display or not. You can get the price information over the phone, too.
Moreover, if you have purchased a casket from a third party vendor, your funeral home cannot refuse to use the casket, nor can it charge an additional fee for handling the casket.
At times, funeral homes display expensive caskets only and hide he cheaper ones in the basement or boiler room. So, if you do not find any affordable caskets on display, do not hesitate to ask the salesperson to show the low-cost caskets as well.
Furthermore, when purchasing a casket for burial, make sure you check with the cemetery whether it requires a vault or not.
Certain cemeteries require burial vaults as they avoid cave-ins from developing when the caskets begin to disintegrate. This prevents the ground above the casket from sinking.