If you're planning to have the funeral service in a funeral home, you may want to ask the funeral director if casket rental is available for visitation purposes, prior to cremation.
Charges for casket rentals vary but usually fall in the $600 range. Purchasing a casket can cost you anywhere between $395-$8000 and as much as $20,000, depending on the type of casket material you choose. Obviously, you will need a casket for a traditional burial and an urn for cremation. [Also see our articles on Planning Arrangements for the funeral service.
A funeral casket can be made of more than one type of material-stainless steel, wood, copper, bronze, and marble. The quality and pricing of the casket depends on the thickness and amount of the metal made within the casket. Heavy caskets also come in a variety of colors and interiors.
They are available in protective or non-protective. Protective means there is a rubber gasket at the base of the casket where the lid meets the top of the base. This gasket is meant to prevent the entrance of air, water and any other materials. Non-protective caskets do not have this gasket and are closed by a snap-shut hinge.
Recently, the most popular material for a casket is stainless steel. They are not less expensive than the other materials but do come in a variety of colors and interiors. Wood caskets come in a variety of different wood types--cherry, mahogany, walnut, poplar, and pine. Pressed wood caskets are also available and are much more cost effective than real wood. Wood caskets also come in a variety of styles, colors and interiors.
Copper and bronze caskets come in two finishes: brushed and smooth. They come in a variety of colors and interiors and have protective gaskets. They can range anywhere from $2,500- $6,000.
When selecting a casket, check the hardware, the interior, and handles. Don't choose a casket based on pressure from the funeral director or casket salesperson. Choose a casket that you feel is the best decision for you and your family. Always make your decision based on your finances and specific needs in a casket.
You may also want to consider caskets which are now offered by WalMart. They have come out with a discount line of funeral caskets that are affordable and still very beautiful. Remember, you do not need to purchase your casket from the funeral home, you can choose to purchase it outside of the home from your own resource.