Rental Caskets: What Are They and Do You Need One?

Caskets, Urns, Shrouds, Vaults

Posted on December 18, 2012 by Rachel Zeldin

Rental Caskets are caskets that are intended to be displayed at a funeral, but, in many cases, are not ultimately buried. Rental caskets, sometimes referred to as "cremation caskets" are common when a person is to be cremated but the family wants to conduct a full ("traditional") funeral service in which the body is displayed in a casket before the cremation.

The main difference between cremation caskets and standard caskets for burial is that they are often made up of lighter weight materials and there is a removable cardboard insert that is used for the cremation aftewards. Rental caskets often appear as luxurious as the heavier version used for burial. While sometimes cremation caskets are sent directly to the crematorium with the deceased’s body, often their purpose is only for display of a body at a funeral service. In this case, prior to the cremation being conducted, the removable insert and the body are removed from the casket and brought to the crematory for to be cremated. The cost of renting a casket is often $1,000+, which is typically less than a similar-looking casket that you could purchase outright.

The "alternative container" that funeral homes offer can also be used for a viewing and funeral service before cremation. Similar to the more ornate rental casket, after the service, the alternative container, which is often made of cardboard, will be transferred to the crematory to be cremated. Alternative containers can range from $25+ depending on the funeral home.

As with many funeral options, the choice of using a rental casket is completely personal. If you think a rental casket would be appropriate, be sure to discuss the renting or buying options with your funeral director to find the one that best fits your financial and situational needs.