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How Much Does A Casket Cost (2022 Average Casket Prices)?

Rikin Shah | Licensed Life & Health Insurance Agent

Casket Prices in 2021

Funeral costs have gone through the roof.  For those who are not careful, unscrupulous companies in the funeral industry may try to make a fat profit off your grief.

Between paying for embalming, the burial plot, burial vault, headstone, and the funeral service itself (among many other ancillary services), average funeral costs in the U.S. now exceed $10,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.

However, one of the biggest drivers of total expenses for traditional funerals is the cost of the casket.  This guide will explore four separate questions:

  • What caskets (and coffins) are
  • Casket types
  • Casket costs
  • Where to buy caskets

Let’s dive in.

What Is A Casket?

A casket is a box or container used to hold the body of someone who has died.

Caskets come in various shapes, sizes, and materials (generally, wood, metal, fiberglass, or plastic).

Caskets vary significantly in design, with more affordable caskets being very simple in design. In contrast, high-end caskets can be elaborately designed with expensive ornamentation that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The type you choose will depend on your taste, budget, and, potentially, your religious beliefs.

The History & Significance of Caskets

The history of caskets dates back to when the body was not buried but instead placed in a burial chamber.  The first coffins were made from stone, but the most common material later became wood.

Metal caskets followed after that, with steel being widely used around World War I for military purposes due to its durability and strength.

Fiberglass and plastic are two of the newest materials being used in casket construction; however, they are rarely used at this point.

What Is The Difference Between A Coffin And Casket?

A lot of people use the words “casket” and “coffin” interchangeably.

A coffin is a box that holds a dead body.  Coffins are often placed within caskets during burial to give the container a more classy appearance.

Caskets and coffins perform the same essential function; the key difference between them is cost.

Expensive caskets are made of sturdier materials that stand up to weather and time and usually have ornate decorations.  Coffins, on the other hand, are often simply unpainted wooden boxes.

Types of Caskets

Traditionally, there have been three main types of caskets: solid wood (e.g., pine caskets), metal (e.g., copper caskets), and cardboard.  However, these days, funeral providers are also making caskets out of biodegradable materials, such as bamboo to make these items more environmentally sustainable.

Let’s go through each type of casket.

Wood Caskets

Wooden caskets are usually made from hardwood. This type of material has been used for thousands of years because it’s long-lasting and very sturdy.

The most common types of woods used in creating these caskets include oak, maple, cherry, mahogany, ash tree, walnut, and birch. These materials have beautiful grains on the outside, making them appealing to people who want a more natural-looking casket than one made from metal or plastic. Wood is also easily carved, so high-end caskets with intricate designs are often made out of wood.

wooden casket
Wooden caskets look great but vary in price greatly based on the quality of the material.

Metal Caskets

Metal caskets are made from metals, such as steel, aluminum, copper, and bronze. These types of caskets have been around since the mid-19th century when people began making burial vaults to ensure that bodies were never exposed during a funeral service or other memorial event.

They have become quite popular these days because they offer strength and durability while remaining more affordable than materials like hardwood.

Metal is also reasonably lightweight compared with other materials but still provides enough support to avoid collapse under pressure.

metal casket
An example of a metal casket

Green Caskets (Biodegradable)

If choosing an environmentally friendly option is important to you, then you should consider purchasing a casket made of natural, biodegradable materials that decompose over time.

These “green” caskets are made of natural materials such as bamboo, wicker, or cotton. They’re excellent for people who want to be eco-friendly and for those with allergies to certain types of wood, like oak, which can contain chemicals that cause allergic reactions.

It’s said that these coffins align your soul with nature while also returning your body to the earth.  These coffins also lack toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde, often found in traditional caskets made from metal or cardboard.

Bamboo Biodegradable Casket
If your loved one would appreciate an eco-friendly burial, a bamboo container can be a great choice

Alternative Containers

Finally, the least expensive option (although one that has a wide range) is a cardboard-covered casket, which can cost anywhere from $250-$4,000.

These caskets are made of corrugated cardboard and customized with anything from flowers to photos, artwork, or beads. They have been popular recently because of their low cost.

If you want to lower your total funeral cost and avoid the high costs associated with caskets bought from funeral homes, then biodegradable caskets made out of an outer shell of cardboard may be the best option for you.

Cremation Caskets

What about cremation?  Many families are under the impression that cremation is the best way to save on funeral costs.

A cremation casket is a container that holds the body before it’s cremated.  It can be made of wood, metal, or cardboard and is usually designed to look similar to traditional burial caskets, with handles, hinges, and sometimes even an exterior finish.

Cremation casket costs vary, but most funeral homes will offer them for less than $1,000 if you purchase one from them (instead of buying your own).

How Much Does A Casket Cost?

Casket prices vary widely, depending on the material of the casket and where you purchase it (i.e., whether from a funeral home or an online provider).

Typical Costs Of A Wooden Casket

The traditional casket is a wood casket.  Wood caskets can cost between $500 and $3,000.

However, if you’re looking for a fancy wooden casket with intricate designs and unique features, costs can easily exceed $12,000.

Depending on your budget, wooden coffins fall into the general “cheap” category because they aren’t made from expensive materials, so their prices tend not to fluctuate too much throughout time.

Wooden coffins are considered classic choices because they have been around for years, so many people are familiar with their appearance and might even prefer them over other items.

How Much Does A Metal Casket Cost?

Metal caskets are a more modern type of coffin, and they can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the brand and style.

They tend to be pricier than wooden coffins because metal is an expensive material that requires special equipment for processing etc. Metal caskets are often referred to as “high-end” items because they come in various stylish designs and finishes.

When choosing this type of coffin, many people look for options with unique features such as built-in speakers, so loved ones can enjoy music during memorials/funerals, LED lighting perfect for nighttime funerals, etc.

Some other things worth considering include whether you want handles (many cheap models don’t have them), ventilation systems (to prevent molds from growing on your body), or additional add-ons like pillows, etc.

Cremation Caskets And Their Cost

Cremation caskets are different from wooden or metal ones, as they tend to be smaller, more affordable, and made from biodegradable materials such as cardboard.

Cremation caskets are undoubtedly the cheapest option, as you can buy plain ones for ~$200-$500.

These are average costs for models with no additional features or designs; however, if you prefer, high-end options with intricate or personalized designs are available as well.

Where To Buy A Casket

The average cost of a funeral is now over $10,000, and it’s no surprise that people are looking to save money.

One of the most impactful ways to save on funeral expenses is to choose wisely where you purchase your casket (and if you plan, you’ll have more options than you might expect).

Do I Have To Buy A Casket From A Funeral Home?

First things first. It’s important to remember that buying a casket from the funeral home will almost always cost more than buying one on your own.

Since funeral homes, of course, do not manufacture their caskets, they have to purchase the coffins themselves. On top of this, they have to mark up the cost of the casket for their business’s overhead costs (rent, utilities, insurance, salaries, etc.).

The funeral director at your local funeral home will no doubt have an excellent pitch for why you should use them for all of your funeral services, but in the end, doing your funeral planning will reduce your total funeral and burial expenses tremendously.

Buying a casket at a funeral home
Funeral home with wooden caskets for sale

What Is The Funeral Rule?

Many people wonder whether or not they can buy their casket. The answer is yes!

According to the Funeral Rule from the Federal Trade Commission, funeral providers are legally obligated to use a casket purchased elsewhere with no additional fee.

In all 50 states, no laws say you must purchase a casket from the funeral home and only after a person dies.

Buying A Casket Online

A great way to cut out the middleman, avoid the funeral home mark-up, and compare prices more efficiently is to purchase a casket online from a retailer like Walmart or Costco.

While the price of their caskets may be low, the biggest thing to watch out for is shipping costs. For a metal casket especially, shipping costs can be prohibitive and make it better to buy from a local funeral provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

A coffin is a box-shaped container for a dead body. A coffin can be any shape or contain many decorative adornments. Historically, simple wooden boxes were used as coffins, but there is no set standard and the material and color of the coffin varies greatly. Some wooden coffins are lined with tin or lead so that they may serve more than one purpose – to carry the dead person’s physical form on its last journey while containing valuable items such as clothing and jewelry during their lifetime burial process. All sorts of materials have been used to construct coffins: woven straw, natural plant and animal reeds and fibers (saguaro cacti), metal (tin plated iron wire netting), bones

A coffin is a box that people are buried in. A casket is the thing you put the coffin into during burial to give it that extra “oomph” of class. Historically, coffins were often homemade because many people couldn’t afford one, so now the key difference between a coffin and a casket basically comes down to cost. More expensive ones are usually better quality, have nicer decoration– sometimes even being elaborately carved with designs or materials like wood or marble– so they hold up better against time and weathering. They’re also much prettier than just stacking someone’s corpse in an unpainted wooden box!

Renting a casket involves using the casket for the funeral service or viewing only. When the body is buried, a separate container will be used. In this way, you pay only a fraction of the cost of owning the casket, while still being able to display your loved one’s body in the manner that suits them.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better understanding of what caskets are and how much they cost, it’s essential to take time to think about your final wishes.

It is up to each person and their family members or loved ones to decide which type of burial option, whether a traditional funeral or cremation, will best suit them during this difficult time in their life when planning for funeral arrangements following someone’s death.

We hope this article helped you make a better decision on this critical item.

Warm Regards,
The GetSure Team

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