Can I Bring My Own Casket or Urn?

 

Wood-Last Supper white backgroundMany people as us whether you have to buy a casket from a funeral home.  The simple answer is “No”.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) clearly outline your choices when it comes to purchasing a casket, detailing that that you do not have to buy a casket from a funeral home and that you may purchase a casket or urn from a third party without penalty. Excerpted from The Funeral Rules:

You have the right to:

  • Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it.  The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.
  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want.  You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service).  You do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
  • See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets. Sometimes, detailed casket price information is included on the funeral home’s General Price List (GPL).  More often, though, it’s provided on a separate casket price list.  Get the price information before you see the caskets, so that you can ask about lower-priced products that may not be on display.

What this all means is that you have the right to bring or deliver your own casket, from a 3rd party, or purchase one from the funeral home.

Caskets and Cremation

As a consumer you also have the right to decide what type of container your loved one is cremated in. The FTC states that you have the right to:

  • Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation. No state or local law requires the use of a casket for cremation.  A funeral home that offers cremations must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available. They might be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.

So, Who Sells Caskets and Urns?

As we describe in a the Casket Buyer’s Guide, the price of caskets can vary depending on the style you choose and where you buy the casket from. Most funeral homes carry caskets from the largest casket manufactures who only sell their products via funeral homes, therefore a consumer cannot buy the “big name” caskets from anywhere except for from the funeral home.

These casket manufacturers include Batesville Caskets, Matthews Caskets, Aurora Casket Company, and Thacker Caskets. There are many other local manufactures that distribute in select regions and only sell via the funeral home.

However, there are many more options that the ones listed above.  Aside from buying the big brands from the funeral homes, you can also buy caskets from well-known companies such as Walmart , AmazonCostco, Willlow & Werth, local storefront casket retailers and craftsman, or other online options. A simple search for “caskets” will show you the many options available when ordering a casket online (often a much less costly option).

Thus no matter where you purchase your casket from, the important thing to remember is that you have options of where to buy a casket from and that you always have the choice to “bring your own” or buy directly from the funeral home.


Be sure to use our Funeral Planning ChecklistCasket GuideFuneral Planning TipsFuneral Term Glossary, and Funeral Consumer Advocacy information to assist you during the planning process.

4 thoughts on “Can I Bring My Own Casket or Urn?

  1. Tom Shrill

    Indeed, if they try to charge you a fee, you should just go elsewhere. Also, don’t procrastinate telling them. The more desperate you are, the worse off you are.

  2. Terry Goldmen

    In my searching around, I have found that even though funeral homes aren’t supposed to charge you a fee for bringing your own casket, they still kind of do. They will tack on a bunch of hidden fees. Just know to watch for them.

    1. Rache Zeldin

      Indeed – this is a good point. By law, funeral homes can not mark up the prices of other services if you do not buy a casket or urn from them, but it unfortunately still happens. If you find that this is happening when you are purchasing funeral services, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission as a violation of the Funeral Rule which allows consumers to bring their own merchandise without penalty, charge, or handling fee.

      Working with an honest, transparent funeral home is important, so do your due diligence before committing to any purchases of services or products. Most people have DOZENS of funeral homes to work with in their area, so shop around to find the right one for you!

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