Selecting a Burial Coffin
Burial Coffins: Most people don't ever think about them until the time comes to plan a funeral. While there are many factors in the cost of a funeral, including use of the funeral home's facilities, equipment and staff, the most expensive item on a list of funeral costs, however, is easily the burial coffin. The average burial coffin costs around $2,000, and the price can go as high as $10,000.
When you're buying a burial coffin, remember that its main purpose is to provide a way to move the body to a church, cemetery, or crematory before burial or cremation. Although a burial coffin may be described in terms that suggest endurance, no casket, regardless of the cost, will preserve a body forever. Terms like "protective" and "sealed" refer to the durability of the casket itself and its ability to keep water out. The Funeral Rule specifically prohibits claims that a casket's features will help preserve the body indefinitely.
Should you decide to purchase a burial coffin from a funeral home, the Funeral Rule requires the funeral director to give you a list of the types available and their prices before showing you the caskets. You may then ask to see only the caskets that are within your budget. However, you are not required to buy a burial coffin from the funeral home. You may purchase a burial coffin directly from the manufacturer, which can result in considerable savings. Under the Funeral Rule, the funeral director must accept delivery on a casket you purchased directly and may not charge an extra fee for doing so.
A burial coffin comes in an array of sizes and styles allowing you to choose the one that is right for you or your loved one. Every funeral home will have a large selection of burial coffins from which to choose, or, if pre-planning your funeral, you may order one ahead of time. Burial caskets are made with high-quality materials as they are an important part of the funeral arrangements.
The Different Burial Caskets
Most people choose between using a burial casket or a burial coffin. A casket is rectangular in shape with straight sides, whereas a coffin is tapered at the head and the foot. Burial caskets or coffins are made with several different materials including wood, metal, and fiberglass. The inside of the coffin or casket is covered in a lining made in different styles and colors.
- Cloth-covered burial coffins are the least expensive, usually constructed from a base material – typically corrugated fiberboard and pressed wood – with a cloth exterior. Cloth-covered caskets, like more expensive styles, include finished interiors with bedding.
- Veneer burial coffins are covered by a wood veneer that many consider more pleasant to look at than a cloth-covered casket. Veneer caskets are more expensive than cloth-covered styles, but only a fraction of the cost of a hardwood casket.
- Eco-friendly burial coffins are made of natural materials, like bamboo, and are more easily bio-degradable than traditional caskets. An eco-friendly burial coffin is relatively inexpensive.
- Steel burial coffins come in a number of gauges (thicknesses) and may be gasketed or ungasketed, a term that refers to the type of welding used during construction, which affects durability. Metal coffins and caskets are generally made with bronze, copper, or stainless steel, and are more durable.
- Hardwood burial coffins have a dignified, stately look, reflective of the workmanship that goes into them. They are typically made with solid woods such as oak, cherry, poplar, or maple.
- When cost is not a concern, burial coffins can also be customized to virtually any specification. Custom features include everything from an insignia on the outside of the coffin, such as a school logo, to a personally selected lining.
Planning the Burial Ceremony
A burial coffin is an important part of the burial ceremony, likely to be viewed by many people. Funeral ceremonies traditionally include an inside memorial service followed by an outside graveside service. These services allow people to pay their final respects to friends and family members, to say good-bye. Funeral arrangements can be pre-planned or planned at the time of death.
Choosing the Burial Headstone
Once the coffin is interred into the ground, a burial memorial or headstone will mark the spot. These burial markers can lie flat on the ground or be made as burial monuments. Usually, individual cemeteries dictate the rules for the type of funeral memorial permitted at the gravesite. Whether you are choosing a burial cemetery or a burial mausoleum, you will want to find the right burial coffin for you or your loved one.
Estimated Burial Expense
The estimated funeral cost in 2010 was just under $8,000, with the cost of a cemetery plot and headstone adding yet more to the burial expense. The type of funeral coffin you select has a lot to do with that cost. The size, style and type of material used are all directly related to cost, ranging from hundreds of dollars for a simple wood casket to more than $10,000 for an elaborate metal casket. Many people set up a burial fund that will pay for this expense. Others have burial death benefits that will help offset some of the costs of these expenses.
Planning the right funeral for you or your loved one can be a difficult and cumbersome experience. The right burial coffin is one of the most important features of this planning process. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) set regulations that allow you to select your burial coffin from any location and your funeral home must accept it. Consider all your options and find the right casket for you or your loved one.