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- Casket rentals can help to cut funeral costs
- The average cost of casket hire ranges from $950 to $1250
- No one will know if you are using a rental casket
- Most funeral homes offer a casket rental service
- Ensure that you check rental options before engaging a funeral home
With growing inflation, funeral prices are following suit with the average send-off costing more than $10,000. Buying a casket is one of the biggest expenses of a traditional funeral for many. Families looking to save money are increasingly turning to rental caskets for the service.
While we’re used to renting homes, cars, and even outfits, many are hesitant to hire a burial container. The thought of doing so can leave some… queazy. Understandably, this isn’t an area that most encounter until a death occurs. This article runs through everything you need to know about renting a casket so you can make an informed choice.
What Is A Rental Casket?
A rental casket is a reusable burial container provided by funeral homes or third-party businesses. The deceased is placed within the rental casket in a sturdy cardboard insert or simple wooden box. Even if someone is being cremated, a coffin or casket is usually on display during the memorial so a rental offers something more elaborate. After the funeral, the body is then buried or cremated in the insert or an affordable container.
Why Would Someone Rent A Casket?
Those planning a funeral have various reasons for using a rental casket. These can include:
- Cost savings on average of $1,100 compared to buying a traditional casket
- Appropriate for funerals, wakes, or viewings
- Time savings for families who are struggling to decide which casket to buy on top of planning a funeral
- Environmental benefits as rental caskets are re-used and the burial of a simpler container requires fewer materials
- Flow on eco-friendly benefits as the cremation of basic containers made of pine or cardboard results in fewer CO2 emissions
Rental Casket Basics – How They Work
Most people will not be able to distinguish between a rental casket and a traditional one. The materials and finish are usually high-end, the dimensions are standard, and the interior linings appear luxurious. When a body is in a rental casket, it is actually placed in a hidden insert or simple interior container cushioned inside the larger casket. The bottom panel of the rental casket can be opened to enable the body to easily slide inside and be secured.
Once the funeral service is over, the body is then removed in the same manner while remaining in the separate container. The cremation or burial process can then proceed as usual and the rental casket is returned to the provider or funeral home.
Is Extra Handling Of The Body Required?
Minimal additional handling of a body occurs when using a rental casket. As the deceased remains inside an insert or simple container, there is no extra maneuvering apart from sliding them into and out of the rental casket.
Is A Rental Casket Sanitary?
Rental caskets should be very sanitary despite being reusable. Part of your rental fee includes professional sanitation and cleaning of the rental casket between each use. The deceased person is also never in contact with the exterior of the container, while the interior of the casket is detachable. Funeral homes will remove and dispose of the interior lining between each hire.
What Is A Rental Casket Insert?
An insert is an affordable cardboard or basic wood box which holds a body in the rental casket. This enables the deceased to be contained in one unit throughout the funeral service and interment. Rental casket inserts are usually reinforced at the base and lined with leak-resistant material. Consumers can expect to pay $140 to $200 on average for an insert, although this is often included in the total hiring fee.
How Much Does A Rental Casket Cost?
The average cost of a rental casket is between $950 to $1250. This figure varies depending on the quality of the casket, inclusions such as inserts and pillows or linings, and price differences between suppliers.
How Much Can You Save By Renting A Casket?
Given that the price of a casket ranges from $2,300 up to $10,000 for a premium burial container, using a rental can result in big savings. Those who choose to rent a casket for the funeral service will usually save at least $1,100 by doing so.
Rent A Casket For Cremation
With cremation rates forecast to grow to 64.1 percent by 2025, the uptake of rental caskets will become more common. Given that a burial service is not required for those being cremated, there will be less incentive to buy a casket outright. The funeral industry has recognized this and is likely to expand rental casket offerings to meet demand and future trends.
Disadvantages Of Rental Caskets
- Funeral homes have a limited range of rental caskets, meaning that you might not find one that you feel is suitable for the deceased. This is likely to be the case if you need an oversized rental casket or one for babies
- Similarly, renting a casket means that there is no ability to personalize a burial container. This can be overcome by decorating the rental casket with flowers or a casket blanket that best pays tribute to the deceased
- While they are cheaper than purchasing a casket in most cases, the price is still substantial at $950 to $1250 average cost
- Some people report feeling pressured by funeral homes to buy a casket instead of renting one as there are lower margins involved. Rental caskets are rarely offered as a first option – consumers should ensure that they know their rights when it comes to the supply of caskets and review the provider’s General Price List (an itemized price list of all the items and services the funeral home offers)
Should You Rent Or Buy a Casket?
There is no right answer to this and it comes down to individual circumstances. If you are concerned about the cost of a funeral, the impact on the environment, and are not too fussed about having a reusable casket then a rental is a great fit. If you aren’t holding a viewing or the body won’t be present at the funeral, you can elect not to rent a casket at all.
Is Renting A Casket Legal? Casket Rental Regulations
Rental caskets are legal to use as long as the following provisions are met:
- The customer must be advised in writing that a rental casket is designed to be reused and may have previously been used. They will need to confirm that they do not object to this reuse (applies for both pre-planned and at-need funerals)
- If any part of the rental casket or lining comes in contact with the deceased, the part or lining must be disposed of along with the insert
- A new rental casket insert must be used for each hire
- A non-removable part of a rental casket that has been soiled, stained, or contaminated by human remains may not be used again
Where To Obtain A Rental Casket?
There are a few options if you are looking to source a rental casket. The key thing to note is that you can legally source one from a provider of your own choosing and your funeral home has to accept it without charging handling fees.
Your Funeral Home
The majority of people will source a rental casket directly through their funeral home. Most providers offer this option as part of a total funeral service. This approach helps to streamline the planning process so you don’t need to coordinate delivery of the rental casket.
Other Funeral Homes
If you engaged a funeral home that doesn’t offer rental caskets, or if you aren’t happy with their selection, then consider reaching out to other funeral providers. They may have something more suitable or fitting for the deceased. Try to pick a funeral home that is local for ease of transport.
These are businesses that are predominantly online and offer a range of funeral goods for hire. They ship across the country – but be mindful that freight of a rental casket should be done well in advance of any memorial.
Alternatives To Rental Caskets
While rental caskets are the most accessible option to save money when working with a funeral home, there are alternative options that can also be explored. These options offer even more savings than renting a casket and provide comparable environmental benefits.
Using Cardboard Caskets
A cardboard casket is a container made of interwoven cardboard that holds the deceased. They come fully assembled or as a flat-pack that will need to be set up. While they seem unconventional, cardboard caskets have been in use for decades by crematoriums. As people become more conscious of the environment, the use of this type of burial container is growing. Expect to pay $200+ for a basic box. For more info, we’ve written a full guide here.
Using Wicker Caskets
Wicker caskets are made of natural materials such as rattan or bamboo that are woven together. Being 100% biodegradable, wicker caskets offer great environmental benefits. A wicker container will set you back $800 to $1,200 on average, making them comparable in price to a rental casket.
Buying an Affordable Casket
The markup on caskets sold by funeral homes is 300% to 500% on average. Many people don’t realize that it isn’t mandatory to buy directly from the funeral home. Instead of renting a casket, you can find affordable quality burial containers from credible online vendors who are disrupting the death-tech industry. Trusted Caskets and Titan Casket are popular options – they will work with your funeral director to ensure that a casket is delivered on time, at a much cheaper price point.
Body Donation to Science
If you are open to it, donating a body to science is a meaningful way of giving back after death. It may then be used by medical schools or labs, research programs, or mortuary schools for embalming. The body is usually cremated after use with the ashes returned to the family. Most programs will pay for all transport costs along with the cremation of the deceased. You will still be able to hold a funeral at the time of the death, however, a body will not be present (and thus not needing a casket).
A direct cremation is the most affordable option for the disposition of a body. This is when the deceased is cremated immediately after death, so there is no need for a casket or refrigeration and embalming. Families may then choose to hold a funeral with the inurned ashes present.
Rental Caskets FAQs
Are rental caskets the same as standard caskets?
Rental caskets are structurally different from standard caskets, although this is not immediately obvious. The rental casket has an extra opening (a drop-down door) at the rear to allow the body to be inserted on an inner container.
Why do caskets cost so much?
Casket prices are known to be marked up anywhere from 300 to 600%. The type of material used, level of finish, and detailing also add to the cost.
Where do most people buy caskets from?
The majority of casket sales occur at the funeral home in America. This is likely due to the packaged memorial options and convenience reasons.
How many casket companies are there?
There are thousands of casket companies in operation, some of which wholesale supply and import to smaller sellers. In the USA, two casket companies own 82% of the country’s market share; Batesville and Matthews International Corporation.
Can you rent a casket for a funeral?
Yes, this is a common approach in funerals, particularly if the deceased will be cremated and an extravagant casket isn’t needed.
Why do caskets go in vaults?
Despite their sturdy appearance, a buried casket will decay over time and cave in. Most cemeteries require caskets to be placed in a vault before burial to ensure that the land above remains level and stable.