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How Much Does A Burial Vault Cost In 2022? [+ How To Save!]

Rikin Shah | Licensed Life & Health Insurance Agent

Burial Vault Cost Featured Image

Years ago, people buried their loved ones in shallow graves with nothing to protect the casket.  If the deceased was buried with money or possessions, thieves would commonly dig up their graves and steal what they could find.

This started the practice of using an outer burial container, or “burial vault,” to protect the casket.  While theft may not be as big of a problem these days, burial vaults are used to protect the casket and are required by most cemeteries.

In this guide, we’ll dig into each of the below questions:

  • What is a burial vault, and why are they needed?
  • What is the difference between grave liners and burial vaults?
  • What is the average cost of a burial vault?

Let’s get started.

Burial Vaults 101

A burial vault is a concrete receptacle designed to protect the casket from outside elements, such as water and downward soil pressure (which may be exacerbated by heavy maintenance equipment near the gravesite).

Burial vaults protect caskets from the pressure, weight, and moisture of the ground around them.

Burial vaults also help preserve the cemetery or gravesite by preventing the ground from collapsing in on the casket.

Shows three caskets: one exposed, one in a concrete box, and one in a proper burial vault (to illustrate why burial vaults are needed)
A casket exposed vs. in a grave liner vs. in a burial vault

Burial Vaults Vs. Grave Liners

Like burial vaults, grave liners are outer burial containers intended to protect the casket and the cemetery ground above it.  However, they are certainly not the same.

The image below should help you compare the two.

Grave liners vs burial vaults
A comparison of two types of outer burial containers: a concrete grave liner and a burial vault

Buying A Burial Vault

Where Can I Purchase A Burial Vault?

If you have a funeral service, your local funeral home will likely have burial vaults for purchase.

When purchasing from a funeral provider, don’t forget your rights under the Funeral Rule (a Federal law designed to protect grieving consumers from unscrupulous business practices from funeral providers).  You should receive a General Price List from the funeral home director before discussing specific products or services.

You can also check with your local cemeteries to see if they have any available on site.

If this is not possible, there are online retailers of burial vaults, but you’ll pay a hefty fee for shipping, especially if you need it rush delivered.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Burial Vault?

When purchasing your burial vault, it’s essential to get the right one for your needs.  If your plot is large, it might be wise to buy more than just one burial vault because they are heavy and will need more support from each other.

It’s also important to remember that most of these vaults have a lifespan of 50 years before needing replacement or repair.

Finally, be sure to check with your local cemetery, as cemetery requirements can vary.  Most cemeteries require that a burial vault completely fits inside the grave. Local laws may also govern this, so don’t forget to check those (or ask local funeral homes, as they should be familiar with local requirements).

What Should I Do If I’m Not Sure What Size To Get?

If you’re unsure of the appropriate size, consider buying one larger than required and cut it down.

This can be done by using a concrete saw or handsaw. If your burial vault is too big for the plot, fill in any excess space with dirt.

What Type Of Vault Should I Get?

You’ll want to install a concrete burial vault if you’re installing it into hard ground.  Steel ones are typically better for softer ground, as they flex and accommodate more weight.

Steel burial vaults can be cheaper than concrete ones, but they won’t last as long. They also come with heavier shipping and handling fees because of their weight.

How Much Does A Burial Vault Cost?

What is the average cost of a burial vault?  This depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The material type
  • Whether the container is single- or double-reinforced
  • Whether your casket is over-sized
  • Your geographic location

For a basic funeral vault reinforced with plastic or steel, you can expect to pay between $500 and $2,000.

For a double-reinforced version made of heavy concrete and lined with plastic, porcelain enamel, or metal (stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, or copper), your vault will cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

How much does a vault cost if you want a premium vault?  Outer burial containers made of metal or vaults with a marble or granite exterior can cost between $5,000 and $16,000.

Outer burial containers are not sold directly to the public, so you will have to purchase your vault from a funeral home or cemetery.

Other burial costs include the opening and closing of the grave, the plot itself, the casket, and the headstone (or grave marker).  These costs can add up significantly, and this does not even include the memorial service cost or the fee you will pay to the funeral home for their services and rental of their location.

Burial Vault FAQs

A burial vault is a sturdy container that surrounds the casket to protect it from damage. Vaults are made of concrete, steel, or reinforced fiberglass. Vaults are meant to prevent water seepage, gas (decomposition byproducts) seepage, and other issues that could cause the ground over the grave to sink.

Burial vaults are recommended to anyone who wants to protect their loved one’s grave from sinking or other issues that could cause problems in future years. Note that “burial” vaults can also be used to protect cremation urns (vase-like containers that hold a person’s cremated remains.

An outer burial container, also known as a burial vault or a grave liner, is often made from metal and can be found at your local hardware store. They will not last as long but come with a smaller price tag.

Conclusion

It clearly isn’t cheap to die these days.  According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average cost of a traditional funeral in the U.S. is now over $10,000 (including the burial plot cost).

Thinking about funeral planning in advance is a fantastic way to save money and reduce stress.

If you have any additional questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send us an email.

Warm Regards,
The GetSure Team

  1. Webster, Robert D. 

    (2011). 

    Field Notes From a Funeral Director. 

  2. Trigard. 

    (November 18, 2019). 

    Are Burial Vaults Required? Why Place a Casket in a Vault?. 

  3. Trigard. 

    (n.d.). 

    Burial Vaults. 

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