The death of a loved one presents the grieving family with an almost endless litany of challenges. Beyond the obvious pain & emotional anguish, a funeral requires a substantial investment in time, energy & money. Trying to make rational, informed decisions while grappling with intense emotions can be a recipe for frustration & potential disaster.
Managing funeral costs is extremely difficult under these circumstances. The average cost of a funeral is approximately $6000 – this excludes costly extras (flowers, limousines, notices & acknowledgments, etc.) that often bring the cost to over $10,000. One question that many consumers are unwilling to ask: are all of these costs justified?
Most people have difficulty restraining themselves when it comes to funeral expenses. Some are preoccupied with grief and unable to comparison shop or negotiate pricing. Others feel that spending money equates to displaying their love for the deceased. In any case, the result is that the overwhelming majority of funeral consumers pay far more than they should.
Express Casket wants to help you successfully manage your funeral costs. Please review this consumer guide, which focuses on four crucial factors:
Pre-Planning a Funeral
Thinking about a death before you absolutely have to might not be appealing, but pre-planning a funeral gives you a real advantage when it comes to moderating costs:
- Remove time constraints – Pre-planning allows you to comparison shop without pressure or time constraints. When you have time to make decisions, they are more likely to be informed.
- Remove emotional considerations – Pre-planning removes grief from the equation… you are far more likely to make effective, rational decisions when you are not burdened with a swirl of raw emotions.
- Examine a range of options – You have time to talk with funeral homes, funeral planning agencies, and memorial societies about the full range of funeral options available to you.
- Choose a location – Pre-planning means there is no rush to purchase a cemetery plot. You have time to visit potential grave sites, talk with friends & family, and make the right choice.
As a final note, make certain you have all pre-planned funeral details in writing, and send copies to close family or friends (or your attorney). Do not put these details in your will or a safe deposit box – family & friends might not be able to access these prior to the funeral.
Funeral Home Tips
Funeral consumers are protected by the United States Federal Trade Commission’s ‘Funeral Rule‘. This set of guidelines ensures fair trade and protection for consumers – take some time to review the Funeral Rule prior to shopping for funeral services & products.
Some additional tips can help you when dealing with funeral homes. Keeping these tips in mind ensures that you will be able to make decisions fully supported by your rights as a consumer:
- Be familiar with local funeral & burial laws. Laws vary from state to state – funeral homes must specify any services or expenses required by local laws.
- Use our General Price List to compare prices between at least two funeral homes.
- Exercise your right to negotiate – you can often get a better price if you bargain.
- Let funeral homes know that you are comparison shopping, and ask for an itemized list of fees & expenses.
- If you are purchasing a casket from Express Casket, do not reveal that to the funeral home until AFTER they have put all of their pricing in writing, including the cost of one of their caskets.
- The Funeral Rule explicitly states that you do not have to buy into costly funeral packages – purchase only the products & services you want.
- Do not purchase a ‘Death Insurance Financial Contract’ (or at least take a good hard look at the policy offered). This is often a way for funeral homes or cemeteries to pad their profits by claiming a referral fee from the insurance company. Funeral Rule guidelines do not cover this area.
- If the costs of the funeral are being covered by insurance benefits, do not reveal this to the funeral home – they will often know the amount covered, and will adjust costs upwards to claim the entire amount.
- Make certain that all details & billing items are finalized and in writing prior to the funeral home’s receipt of the body – some funeral homes may take this as an opportunity to raise their prices or add fees.
Helpful Tips to Save Money on Funeral Expenses
Keep these tips in mind as you consider your funeral purchases, they will help you avoid unnecessary expenses:
- Shopping for funeral products & services is no different than shopping for any other big purchase – do not let your emotions override common sense. Easier said than done at a tough time in your life, but remember that spending lavishly on an elaborate casket or over-the-top funeral is not the best measure of your feelings for a loved one.
- Limit the viewing time to a day or an hour prior to burial – do not pay for an extended viewing.
- If you eliminate the viewing, you do not need to pay for embalming and other costly body preparation services. If state law requires embalming, the funeral home must disclose that fact in writing.
- Your loved one’s favorite outfit or suit is perfectly appropriate to use as burial clothing – you do not need to purchase a special outfit.
- You do not have to purchase a casket from the funeral home. By federal law, funeral homes are obligated to use any funeral supplies that you have purchased elsewhere.
- Many states allow your church, other religious groups, or family to conduct funeral services – you may not need to pay for a funeral home to conduct them.
Purchasing a Casket
The most important thing for you to know is that when it comes to purchasing a casket, you now have choices available… and having choices means you have the ability to save money and control your funeral costs.
Express Casket lets you purchase a casket online, in comfort & privacy and away from the pressure-sales tactics employed by some funeral products vendors. You can take your time browsing the available models, easily compare caskets based on features or price, and even ask trusted family & friends for their opinions.
Express Casket also delivers outstanding prices, often just a fraction of what you might pay at a funeral home. We only sell caskets – we do not inflate prices with a laundry list of additional services or unwanted extras. Our singular focus allows us to offer the very highest quality caskets for bargain prices, and every day we pass along thousands of dollars in savings to our customers.
Purchasing a casket from Express Casket is simple:
- Shop our extensive listings
- Choose the casket that is right for your needs
- Compare your savings versus a purchase from somewhere else
- Purchase your casket & arrange delivery
We have a huge selection of caskets available, for all budgets & tastes. Express Casket is sure to have what you are looking for: 18- and 20-gauge steel models, genuine hardwoods, veneers, and more.
Customer service is our specialty. We guarantee next-day delivery if needed, and can often accommodate same-day orders (call us for details). We accept several forms of payment for your convenience, and our customer service department never sleeps – we’re on-duty 24-hours a day at [email protected], or call 888-448-4001.