Everything You Need to Know about Rental Caskets
There’s no denying that funeral planning is an expensive endeavor, and any way you can cut funeral costs is worth looking into. And one of the most costly parts of the funeral—the casket—is high on that list.
A casket for burial or cremation can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the material, finish, and quality of the casket. While a simple container or box is usually sufficient, most families opt for more ornate hardwoods or stainless steel to better display the body (especially if there’s an open casket or viewing). In an effort to reduce prices and still provide families with what they want, some funeral homes are turning to rental caskets.
What is a Rental Casket?
As the name suggests, a rental casket is a casket you rent for temporary use. Instead of purchasing that mahogany casket you really love, you can rent it for a few days. Your loved one is placed in an inner lining (usually a smaller casket of durable cardboard or plywood), which is then slipped into the more elaborate casket. Because of the way the linens are arranged, no one can tell the difference, and you can display your loved one for whatever service you have planned. When the time comes for burial or cremation, the inner lining and your loved one are removed.
Are Rental Caskets Sanitary?
Because the inner lining is considered the body’s “final” resting place, the rental casket is little more than a shell. The body never comes into direct contact with the rental casket, and it is cleaned between each use. It’s also a specialty item (meaning funeral homes don’t just use regular caskets they’ve made changes to), with a slide-down panel on the end for the removal of the body.
How Much do Rental Caskets Cost?
Most of the time, you can expect a rental casket to cost about half of what a traditional casket purchase costs (so expect anywhere from $500 to $1,000). Remember that you’ll also need to purchase the inner lining since it’s not reusable. These typically run $100 to $150.
What are the Benefits of Rental Caskets?
Other than the obvious benefit of saving money on a funeral, rental caskets are also part of a growing move toward “green funerals.” Because you aren’t putting any hardwoods or metal directly into the ground—and because the casket is reusable—you can greatly reduce the strain that death puts on the environment. You also have the ability to streamline easily between a traditional memorial service and the more modern practice of cremation. If you’re trying to please a diverse audience, rental caskets are a great way to have the funeral you want without hurting anyone’s feelings.
Although not every funeral home offers rental caskets, they are a growing trend. If this is a service that interests you, be sure to ask to see a price list so you can compare rental costs against purchase costs.