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Buying a Casket Online

Harbor Caskets - The Harbor American Steel Casket. Casket in Light Blue - Comes in Non-Gasket or Rubber Gasket and 20-Gauge or 18-Gauge

Why Buy a Casket Online?

Saying goodbye to a loved one is not only an emotionally difficult experience, but it is also an expensive one. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cost of a funeral for an adult increased by almost 29 percent, from $5582 to $7181 between the years 2004 and 2014. Because casket prices take up a significant portion of that expense, one of the best ways to reduce the “casket cost,” is to purchase a casket from an online retailer.

Purchasing caskets for sale online can yield several benefits, such as the considerably low prices when compared to buying through a funeral home as well as the flexibility and comfort of being able to shop anywhere, anytime the internet is available to you.

Doing Your Research

Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, every customer has the right to provide their own casket should they so choose. The funeral home is required to accept delivery of a casket from an outside source and cannot impose any fees or penalties upon you for doing so.

Prices of caskets (or coffins) purchased from funeral homes can cost up to 85 percent more than caskets purchased online. Caskets purchased online from a reputable seller, however, cost significantly less and are of the same or better quality as the caskets found in funeral homes.

At Harbor Caskets, we recognize that our customers want as much information as possible before deciding to go ahead with the online purchase of a casket or coffin. We are available at any time to answer questions about our products and the purchasing and delivery process.  Our goal is to offer all the answers our customers need for a confident, simple purchase in their time of need.

Where to Buy Caskets Online

Harbor Caskets - The Harbor American Steel Casket. Casket in Light Blue - Comes in Non-Gasket or Rubber Gasket and 20-Gauge or 18-Gauge

The Harbor American Steel Casket

There are a few options when it comes to where you can buy a casket: Batesville Services Inc., for example, is a recognizable brand that is commonly sold in funeral homes. Many of the caskets offered by Harbor are comparable to Batesville: for example, the Harbor American Steel casket is comparable to the Batesville Gemini and Batesville Sierra, the Harbor Matriarch is comparable to the Batesville Tapestry Rose, and the Harbor Matriarch II is comparable to the Batesville Primrose.

Other big-name casket companies include Aurora Casket Company Inc. and Universal Casket Co. (the supplier for Costco). While these brands are amongst the largest in the casket business, they tend to be more expensive than smaller companies like Harbor Caskets. Also, because of their size, larger casket retailers may be more difficult to reach, making customer service less personal and prioritized.

Another thing to be aware of is that many online retailers sell caskets that are imported from China and other countries outside the US. These caskets are often made of lower quality materials, are poorly designed, and are not packaged well – which can cause the casket to be damaged during shipping.

Harbor Caskets, on the other hand, sell caskets handcrafted in the USA and made from locally sourced, American materials. Furthermore, we can custom build a unique casket just for you. Any casket that you can find elsewhere, we can sell to you at the same price or less, with the highest quality materials. If you find a casket online or offline that you like, let us know and we will match or beat that price. (Please keep in mind that custom made caskets may require a few extra days to create, so contact us as soon as possible if you would like to explore this option.)

How to Shop for a Casket Online

No matter the where you make your purchase, it is important to have a set budget for a casket. Whether the budget is fixed or flexible, it will provide you with some guidelines for the purchase and make the process seem less overwhelming. A good online casket retailer like Harbor Caskets can help you determine the right budget given your requirements.

Just because you have decided to purchase a casket online, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t interact with something tangible. Consider visiting a showroom or funeral home to get an idea of the materials (such as woods, metals, finishes, and interior fabrics) used to manufacture the caskets available from an online retailer. You need not mention to the funeral home staff that you are comparison shopping, or that you are considering purchasing a casket online, as this is your own business.

We at Harbor Caskets recognize that when making a large online purchase, such as a casket, it is important to be able to use a vendor who is easily reachable and makes you feel prioritized – always make sure customer service information is clearly available before a purchase. This is why we at Harbor Caskets get to know our customers personally, and our customers have the name and direct phone number of a specific care specialist they can reach anytime, day or night.

Online retailers should have a clear and solid privacy policy to protect their customers – click here to check out Harbor Caskets’ privacy policy.

It is also important to be clear on any fees you may be charged for your purchase. Many online retailers charge for shipping which typically ranges between $300-$600. Harbor Caskets provides free and fast shipping, and charges no additional fees.  It is also important to remember that under the Funeral Rule any funeral home cannot charge you any sort of fee or penalty to accept a casket from an online retailer.

Another aspect of online shopping you should be aware of is a retailer’s delivery range – what cities and states can a casket provider guarantee delivery in – and the retailer’s delivery time – if your casket needs are time sensitive, this is especially important. Some casket providers offer overnight shipping, but this may come at an additional cost. Harbor Caskets works hard to deliver caskets and coffins whenever needed. We work with customers directly to keep them informed on the delivery status of their order. If a customer has a deadline for the delivery of their purchase, we do everything in our power to meet those deadlines. We also coordinate with the funeral home of your choice to ensure a smooth delivery.

For specific questions about shipping and delivery, feel free to contact us anytime.

Referrals from friends and family and looking at reviews featured on the site itself or applications for reviews such as Google reviews or Shopper Approved are also a great way to get a feel for a company before making a purchase from them. Click here to read reviews from our valued customers.

When looking at funeral homes, make sure to contact local ones and ask for a General Price List, or “GPL” (a detailed list of prices and fees on funeral services and experiences) before mentioning that you are considering purchasing a casket from a third party.  This will prevent the funeral home from being able raise prices on other services to make up for the lost sale.  Information regarding pricing and savings may also be available through local chapters of the Funeral Consumers Association (FCA).

Caskets are a form of container and do not preserve a loved one. As a consumer, it is important to have this information as some sellers will try to advertise their caskets as a form of preservation. This is completely false – gaskets/seals are meant to protect the inside of the casket from outside elements, and not to preserve the body inside.

Before making a purchase, it is important to understand a retailer’s terms and conditions. While a company’s terms and conditions can often be a hefty read, the goal of understanding them is important to ensure an online retailer offers similar recourse as some funeral homes offer. For example, what happens if a casket arrives damaged or late? At Harbor Caskets, we keep you updated on the status of your casket and are always available to answer any questions.

For more information on Harbor Caskets’ terms and conditions, click here.

For more information about our refund policy, click here.

How to Find a Quality Casket Online

Many caskets available online are offered at such low prices because they are inferior in terms of their materials and construction. This is not true of all discounted online casket retailers, however – Harbor Caskets, for example, works hard to reduce prices on our caskets without sacrificing quality. Finding a high-quality casket depends on several factors: where the casket is made, the material the casket is made from, the design quality, and its size.

  • Where the Casket is Made

Many online casket retailers, and even some funeral homes, sell caskets made overseas of inferior materials.

Why is casket manufacturing being outsourced? In some countries outside the US, such as China, the use of inferior materials, as well as the reduced labor costs, result in coffins and caskets that can be sold cheaply. Funeral homes and online casket retailers can save 20-50% by purchasing these types caskets from overseas. Many of the funeral homes and casket retailers which save on these inferior caskets while not passing this savings on to the customer. Instead, they are passing on lower quality caskets at an over-inflated price.

While high quality caskets can be produced anywhere, at Harbor we choose to manufacture only in the US to ensure high-quality craftsmanship.

  • Material

The next step in shopping for a casket online is to decide from which kind of material you want it to be made from, as well as the materials used for the interior:

To checkout Harbor’s material breakdown, click here

  • Design Quality

All caskets provided by Harbor Caskets are beautiful and as solidly made. Harbor Caskets offers distinctive craftsmanship and design elements on both the wood and metal casket models. Hand-crafted elements on each casket convey a distinguished, personalized feel. Soft, plush elements are incorporated into the interior of our caskets. Some caskets also have functional features included in our casket designs such as swing bars, which make for easier transport.

  • Size

It is important to pay attention to the size of the casket or coffin you are purchasing. Caskets are measured by width, not length, and generally manufactured in a standard size (28” wide) into which the average man or woman fits comfortably. If you have the need for a wider, oversized casket, we can work with you and build one to fit your needs.

Harbor Caskets are designed to fit standard-sized burial vaults.

  • What is included in an online purchase of a casket?

Harbor Caskets will provide you with a casket or coffin, as well as an adjustable bed and pillow/throw covers which are normally sold with caskets purchased from funeral homes.

Understanding the ‘Funeral Rule’

The process of buying a casket has changed drastically since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) introduced the Funeral Rule. The Funeral rule is a federal law which allows for you to choose only the funeral arrangements you want, get pricing information upfront, written out legal information regarding legal cemetery or crematory requirements, use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation, be able to provide and use a casket or urn bought outside of a funeral home, make funeral arrangements without embalming, etc. This law also requires funeral directors to provide a copy of the General Price List (GPL) to anyone who requests one. A GPL provides information about goods and services – a GPL must include prices for embalming, caskets, outer burial containers, alternative containers, and basic services. It must also specify that you have the right to choose only the products and services that you need or desire. Under the Funeral Rule, if you stop in to a funeral home and personally request a GPL from a funeral home staffer, they must give it to you and allow you to keep it. Once you have this information in hand, it should be easier to know what you can afford to spend on a casket as well as various other parts of the funeral service.

A funeral home cannot legally refuse a casket or add a “handling fee,” to one, no matter where it is purchased. However, it is important to remember that there are a handful of states which have laws which dictate that a third-party seller cannot operate outside a funeral home. In states like Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Virginia, only a licensed funeral director can sell a casket to a consumer.

For more information on the Funeral Rule and GPLs, click here.

Conclusion

The death of a loved one is never easy. From the shock of the event, to the realities of the costs you’ll be incurring, to the grief that you will inevitably face, there is much to take into consideration during this trying time. At Harbor, we are committed to making the casket purchase as low stress and economical as possible, while still providing beautiful products with high levels of service. Please check out our guide to buying a casket with Harbor or feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help.