Direct Cremate

Common Cremation Misconceptions: You Need a Casket for Cremation

Do you need a casket for a cremation? It’s a valid question, and this article clears up the misconceptions about cremation caskets.
Lovely floral arrangement on wood casket. Mourning loss of loved one. Death of friend or family member. Funeral service. Saying goodbye.
Lovely floral arrangement on wood casket. Mourning loss of loved one. Death of friend or family member. Funeral service. Saying goodbye.

It’s obvious that a casket is needed for traditional burial, but what about cremation? Some people mistakenly believe that a casket needs to be bought for a variety of reasons, but that isn’t necessarily the case. And even though there are “cremation caskets” that doesn’t mean you need one.

Let’s go over if and when a casket would be needed for a cremation so you can plan ahead.

No Laws State You Have to Cremate in a Casket

There are a lot of laws that regulate cremation, but there are no regulations in regards to using a casket. You also aren’t required to purchase a casket through the funeral home if you do want to use one. 

It’s a really good thing that a casket isn’t required. Cremation caskets cost $1,310 on average according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). A cremation casket is one that’s designed to be used for a viewing and then afterward for the cremation. The cost of a cremation casket is often more than the cost of direct cremation, but still well below the price for a metal burial casket ($2,500 on average). But both costs pale in comparison to premium wooden caskets that can cost up to $10,000. 

What is Actually Needed to Cremate

Although you aren’t required to use a casket, the crematorium may require that the body be in a rigid container for the cremation. While a casket qualifies as a rigid container, a less ornate coffin will be less expensive and work just as well for cremation. 

A plain pine coffin is commonly used for cremation. You can get one for just $500. Two other low-cost options are a rigid cardboard container or a cloth shroud. 

You Can Rent a Casket for a Viewing Service

But what if you plan to have a viewing before the cremation? A viewing or a funeral service will require a casket, but you don’t have to purchase an expensive one. You can rent a casket if you want something nicer than a plain pine coffin. However, it won’t be cheap. The cost of renting a casket generally falls somewhere between $500 and $1,300. The average cost of a rental casket is $995. In addition to using it, the cost covers moving the body and cleaning the casket. 

There you have it. While a casket may be needed for a viewing it isn’t necessary to purchase one. And you don’t need a casket for the actual cremation, although one can be used. Ultimately, the crematorium will make the requirements for what can and can’t go into the retort. So make sure to ask the crematorium about their policies before agreeing to a cremation service. 


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