Can You Rent a Coffin or Casket for a Burial?

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As funeral costs rise, some families may look for ways to lower the price tag. One of the most expensive costs associated with traditional funerals is the cost of the coffin or casket. Even if the family is choosing to cremate their deceased relative, it’s still common to have the coffin or casket at the funeral ceremony. 

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However, it turns out you might not need to purchase a brand new coffin or casket from the funeral home or another third-party seller. With new caskets costing thousands of dollars, a more affordable option might bring relief to a lot of families in their time of mourning. 

What’s the solution? While it might sound unusual at first, you can actually rent a coffin or casket. This guide is dedicated to breaking down the reality of renting a coffin or casket, so you can decide if this is right for you or your loved one. 

Yes, You Can Rent a Coffin: Here’s How

Simply put, you can rent a coffin. If you or your loved one can’t afford to purchase a new casket, you can rent one for the funeral. This is common for open-casket funerals where the body is displayed to guests. There are a number of funeral homes and third-party suppliers that offer a reusable casket for more affordable funeral services. 

Is a reusable casket safe and sanitary? If it’s used for multiple bodies, how do the funeral homes keep it clean? Don’t worry, rental caskets should be very clean. The casket itself has a removable interior. The body will never touch the outside of the casket, and the funeral home removes the interior section between uses. 

If you choose to cremate your loved one, a wooden box or clean cloth is used inside the casket. These are often used for cremation as well. This simplifies the process and ensures everything is safe and sanitary. 

The process of renting a coffin is typically easier than actually buying one. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  • Create a budget: First, create a budget for the funeral and burial. This helps you understand just how much you can afford, and it helps your funeral direction guide you towards the best options. 
  • Talk to your funeral home: Most of your communication will likely be done through the funeral home, crematorium, or cemetery. These professionals can show you the best options available in terms of rentals. Let them know your budget and the type of burial you’re planning.
  • Make your decision: Depending on whether you’re having a burial or cremation for your loved one, you’ll need to decide what type of rental works for your situation. Again, your funeral home is the best source of information on this.
  • The funeral home does the rest: Once you’ve made your decisions, you likely won’t need to do anything else. The funeral home takes care of transferring your relative’s body between the rental casket and their next resting place. They’re trained in the best ways to do this safely and securely.

You might be surprised by just how many options are available for modern funerals. While it’s easy to feel pressured towards purchasing a new casket, know that you have more options depending on your budget. Purchasing a brand new coffin just for a funeral rightfully seems wasteful and expensive, so a rental is a great choice for many families. 

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Why Do People Rent Coffins or Caskets?

If you’re new to the funeral process, it might not be clear why people rent coffins or caskets. Why is this common practice? There are a few different reasons to rent coffins:

  • Save money: First, renting a casket is a money-saving measure. Because caskets are often the most expensive part of the funeral, it’s important to save money where you can. By renting a high-end casket for the service, families can use the higher-quality materials without worrying about the price tag. 
  • Cremation: If a family chooses to cremate their loved one, there is no need to purchase an expensive casket outright. If there is still to be a visitation or viewing, a rental casket is used temporarily. 
  • Eco-friendly: Because these caskets are reused many times, they’re an eco-friendly option for those worried about the environment. 
  • Time saver: Lastly, for families that can’t decide what type of casket to purchase, a rental casket can be used for a viewing in the meantime. 

Ultimately, there are many reasons people rent coffins or caskets. For the most part, it’s a way to save money and time. It also cuts down on expensive resources, since these rental caskets can be used multiple times for different services. In a world that’s focused on using less, a rental casket is a great alternative. 

Though not common for every funeral or viewing, rental caskets serve an important purpose. Most funeral homes offer this type of product, and you might be surprised by just how much flexibility they offer. Most importantly, you can save money towards other funeral costs. 

Should You Rent a Coffin or Buy?

With that in mind, what’s right for you? Should you rent or buy a coffin or casket? While there’s no clear, one-size-fits-all answer, there are a lot of things you should keep in mind. Before deciding what’s right for you, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Are you worried about the cost of the casket?
  • Are you concerned about the environmental impact of using a large, new casket?
  • Are you holding a viewing or visitation as part of the service?
  • Is your loved one being buried or cremated?

If you’re holding a cremation and there won’t be a viewing, there is no need to rent a casket. You could buy a low-cost one, if needed, but this is usually a cost you can skip. Similarly, if you’re holding a funeral but the body won’t be present, there is no need to rent a casket at all. 

On the other hand, if you’re holding a viewing, it might be a good idea to rent a casket. When you rent the casket, you use the rental for a short period of time, usually during the service. Once you’re done, the deceased is placed in a different casket, usually a low-cost one. This is done in a safe and sanitary way, and it can save you thousands of dollars. 

The only time you should buy a casket outright is if you find one that works in your budget and you’re holding a visitation. If you would feel more comfortable having your loved one in their own, unique casket, a rental might not be for you. As we’ve said, this is a highly personal choice. If you’re unsure what’s right for you, it’s a good idea to talk to your funeral director about your concerns. 

Cost of a Coffin Rental

The cost of a coffin rental is thankfully much more affordable than the cost of a new casket. While the cost of a traditional, new casket is from $1,000-$10,000 depending on the size, design, and material, a rental doesn’t come with the same sticker shock. 

Depending on your funeral home or rental service, expect to pay around $100-$1,000 per casket rental.

In addition, you’ll also need to cover the costs of the inserts used inside the coffin. Whether these are cloth, wood, or other material affects the cost. This should be between $700-$1,000. Additional items, like pillows and clothes, are available for an extra fee.

Is a Casket Rental Hygienic?

One of the most common questions about casket rentals is whether it’s clean and hygienic. While it might sound unusual at first, casket rentals are incredibly clean and sanitary. First, it’s important to note that the deceased body never actually touches the interior of the casket. As mentioned above, there is a wooden box and rental cover placed within the rental casket. 

When the rental service is no longer needed, the wooden interior box is removed entirely. There is usually a side compartment in these caskets that makes it easy to remove the inner box. From there, the funeral home is required to sanitize the casket fully after each rental. This extra process is included in the rental fee. 

Because the body never touches the casket and there is a barrier, it’s entirely safe and sanitary. You don’t need to be worried about the quality or cleanliness of a rental casket. Used funeral products are a common, expected part of the industry. Funeral professionals are skilled in sanitation and the highest levels of cleanliness.

Where Can You Rent a Coffin?

If you choose to rent a coffin or casket, where can you do this? There are a lot of places that offer casket rentals, and some are closer than you think. It’s always a good idea to start with your funeral home to familiarize yourself with their requirements.  

Your funeral home

The first (and often best) place to rent a casket is at your own funeral home. This is a service most funeral homes offer, and you don’t have to worry about transporting the casket. They prepare everything for you, and they help you decide what casket rental is best for you.

Other funeral homes locally

Another resource is other local funeral homes. Most funeral homes have their own selection, but there might be a specific style you’re looking for. If so, it’s a good idea to check with other local providers to make sure you find something suitable. Finding one locally makes it easier to transport the casket between facilities. 

Crematorium

If you’re planning a cremation for your loved one, you might find what’s known as a ‘cremation casket’ at a crematorium. These are containers made of wood or cardboard that appear similar to burial caskets. This can be used as an alternative for a rental, but you might also choose one rent as well. 

Four Alternatives to Coffin Rental

If money is tight, you might not want to include the cost of a coffin rental in your funeral budget. This is understandable, and there are a lot of other options that are just as respectful to the deceased.

While caskets have become the most well-known part of funeral traditions, this is far from the only way to pay tribute to a loved one. These alternatives might be a better fit, depending on your needs. 

1. Direct cremation

A direct cremation is when the family has the body cremated immediately after death. When you have a direct cremation, there is no need for a casket at all. If the family has a funeral service or memorial for the deceased relative, they might use the urn with ashes or another reminder of the loved one. 

A direct cremation is significantly more affordable since there’s no need for a casket or chemical process for preserving the body. It’s a fast, efficient way to put a family member to rest. 

2. Green burial

Green burials are an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional burials or cremations. In a green burial, the body is buried in the soil in a way that allows for natural decomposition. This means a traditional casket is not used. Instead, the person is wrapped in a cloth, buried in a wooden or cardboard casket, or another green option. 

A green burial is very affordable, especially compared to a traditional funeral. The family typically places a marker or stone at the final resting place as a simple legacy of the individual’s life. Because there’s no need for any casket at all, a green burial is one of the most cost-effective options. 

3. Body donation to science

For many, the idea of giving back after death brings a lot of peace and comfort. By donating your body or a loved one’s body to science, the body is put to good use. 

After donation, the body is used in medical schools and labs to educate students or help with medical research. 

4. DIY coffin

Finally, you also don’t need to purchase or rent a coffin for the funeral at all. For those who are handy or want an affordable option, you can actually make your own coffin. There are free blueprints available online, but you can get creative as well. 

Families have built their own caskets for family members for hundreds of years. This might not be very common nowadays, but it’s still a touching tribute to a deceased family member or even yourself. 

Rental Coffins: A Practical Send-Off

In a world full of rising funeral expenses, rental coffins are an efficient, affordable option. Since funerals are truly for the living, why not save some money when it comes to large purchases? If you’re planning on cremation, green burial, or another alternative, there’s no reason to purchase a new casket. 

This practical send-off is bound to become more common as more people look for ways to save money with their final resting place. Nobody knows the difference when it comes to rental coffins, whether you’re referring to the living or the dead. Either way, the body goes to the same place. 

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