Cost of living crisis hits coffins

The cost of living has hit families in the UK so hard they’re being forced to rent coffins for funerals, according to an article in the Sun.

The newspaper reports that funeral directors are permitting families to pay for a removeable wooden or cardboard box that can fit inside a “show” casket. The exterior is used for the service and the burial but is then removed so that the body is left to decompose or be cremated in cardboard.

Coffins range in cost from £200 to as much as £10,000. Cheaper coffins are made from cardboard or can even be as simple as shroud. There are also such things as flat-pack coffins you construct yourself.

Solid wood ‘more expensive’

Expensive versions of coffins are made from solid wood and are more popular for traditional funeral ceremonies. Metal caskets are also on offer, though these too come in at the pricier end of the market.

The Sun article says that renting a “show” casket can save families at least £500, as the average price of a rented coffin is £250, compared to about £750 to buy one.

The National Association of Funeral Directors confirmed to the paper that an increasing number of funeral homes is offering rental coffins of casket liners amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Keeping funerals within budget

A spokesperson for the organisation said there were many ways to keep the cost of a funeral within a budget while making it special at the same time. Renting a “showier” casket was one among several choices.

An industry insider told the Sun that the move was the latest sign that the cost of living crisis was “literally becoming a killer issue”. While the rental coffin market might be saving people thousands of pounds, it was sad that they needed to come to terms with the fact that their loved one was not in an enclosed casket.

The insider added that this kind of pressure could increase mental health problems that were already rife.

Funeral cost-saving measures

Funeral Choice suggests the following measures to save costs on funerals:

  • Compare prices in advance – if possible, speak to multiple local funeral directors to make the most of your budget
  • Consider pre-payment – seek out funeral plans that lock in the costs of the funeral to the current market price.
  • Have a simple funeral – and make your wishes on this clear to your loved ones beforehand.
  • Opt out of embalming – embalming is common for families who want to have an open casket. If the funeral takes place shortly after a loved one has passed away, it’s not necessary.
  • Don’t go for the shroud or gown – the common alternative is for the loved one to wear their own clothes.
  • Notify the newspaper yourself – this is commonly offered by funeral directors, but you can limit the costs if you do this yourself (if you want to let the newspaper know).
  • Consider a direct cremation – no ceremony and a simple coffin, so by far the cheapest option.
  • Arrange your own transport and flowers.

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