Do You Have to Buy a Casket from a Funeral Home?

Traditionally, buying a casket from a funeral home was the norm during funeral planning. Now, with online shopping and increased consumer protections, it’s far easier to benefit from more freedom, choice—and ultimately, savings—by sourcing a burial casket yourself.

This is all underpinned by the FTC’s Funeral Rule—a set of regulations that afford consumers provisions and protections that are designed to enable and empower consumers to make more of their own choices when it comes to funeral planning, as opposed to being at the will of funeral homes and planners.

However, while the Funeral Rule establishes a legal framework for what you can and can’t do, it doesn’t stop funeral homes from using dishonest sales tactics to strong-arm you into using their own marked-up products and service—something which they have no legal right to do. 

This article aims to explain the benefits of buying your own casket online, your rights under the funeral rule, and how best to deal with funeral homes as you navigate your way through the process of honoring your loved one.

Why Buy a Casket Elsewhere?

Selecting a casket for a loved one is challenging, often compounded by limited choices at funeral homes. 

Online sellers now offer easier, more affordable access to a wider range of caskets with customization options. 

This section explores the advantages of buying caskets online versus through funeral homes.

Understanding Your Rights Under the Funeral Rule

Funeral planning can be challenging, particularly amid grief. However, it’s vital to know that you have rights as a consumer that are designed to protect you from common funeral home sales tactics and bad practices.

These rights are found in the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, which provides a series of key protections and provisions which allow families to honor their loved ones within their wishes and budget. 

The Funeral Rule ensures that you and your family have the right to select specific funeral goods and services, including the use of external caskets or urns, without penalty.

  • Consumer Choice: The Rule mandates that consumers can choose the funeral goods and services that they want. This gives you more freedom and choice, such as opting to supply your own casket or urn, purchased elsewhere.

  • Price Transparency: Funeral homes must provide a General Price List (GPL), which is essentially an itemized bill, with a full breakdown of their fees and charges. They can’t force package deals which could include hidden fees, or charge extra for using an external casket.

  • Cremation Options: For cremations, using a casket is not mandatory. Funeral homes should inform you about lower-cost, greener alternatives—like unfinished wood boxes or cardboard containers.

How to Deal with Funeral Homes

When the time comes to deal with a funeral home, you’ll want to have a good knowledge and understanding of your rights, as this will make the process much simpler to navigate.

Beyond your rights, communication is key. From coordinating logistics to the day of the funeral itself—each step of the process will be all the easier with clear and effective communication. 

Part of this is making sure that wishes are respected, especially when utilizing third-party products or services, as it’s common you’ll encounter resistance—and even aggressive or dishonest sales tactics—which you’ll need to work through and resolve.

  • Know Your Rights: The FTC’s Funeral Rule mandates that funeral homes accept caskets bought elsewhere without levying additional fees. This rule safeguards consumers against undue charges. Before interacting with a funeral home, it’s helpful to know your rights.

  • Funeral Home Interactions: Effective communication and collaboration are key—especially when it involves third-party caskets. You’ll need to inform them ahead of time, arrange delivery logistics, and handle any attempts at pushback or heavy-handed sales tactics.

  • Overcoming Resistance: Encountering resistance from a funeral home can be challenging. However, with knowledge of your rights—and possibly support from the casket seller as a last resort—you should be able address and move past any objections fairly easily.

  • Delivery Coordination: Provide the funeral home with any information relating to the delivery of your casket, such as dates and tracking information, as early as possible. You’ll also want to check they can store the casket and for any policies they may have relating to the handling third-party before booking in any delivery.


The days of relying solely on funeral homes for caskets are over. With the FTC’s Funeral Rule, there is far greater freedom and choice when it comes to various aspects of funeral planning.

The protections provided by the rule have empowered consumers, making it easier to avoid the inflated costs of products and services traditionally purchased through funeral homes—by going direct to third-party providers instead.

Key to all this is understanding your rights under the Funeral Rule, ensuring that you’re equipped to deal with funeral homes—as well as their common objections, sales tactics, and any arbitrary fees or restrictions they may attempt to impose.

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