Purchasing a coffin is one of the most expensive items for any funeral, and many people either don’t have the means to pay for a coffin or would prefer not to spend such a large sum of money.
The term coffin is derived from the Old French word ‘coffin’ meaning basket. In today’s funeral industry, a coffin is a narrow box used to hold a deceased body for burial or cremation. It has a hexagonal shape and widens out from the top and narrows toward the feet. It originally had a removable lid, but now, can include attached hinges.
There is a wide range available on offer by suppliers. Coffins vary in materials and costs depending on your choice and budget.
- Solid timber
- Craft wood/timber combination
- Particle board
- Plain craft wood or chipboard
Can you purchase your own coffin?
Yes, you certainly can. There is no regulation for a Funeral Director to deny you your right to source a coffin that is not of their own. There are many independent funeral directors who would have no problem in letting you BYO coffin. Our Premium Member Funeral Directors are about looking after their client families and allowing them to have choices and the ability to honour and celebrate the life of the ones they love in their own unique way.
Can you rent a coffin?
A rental coffin is a good cost-saving option if you want to have a traditional coffin at a viewing or funeral, but don’t want to purchase an expensive coffin. A rental coffin is a coffin that has a removable interior. The body is placed in a simple wooden box and the box is placed inside the coffin, giving the appearance that the body is actually in the coffin. In fact, the body never touches the coffin, and the wooden box is easily removed after the service. The body can then be buried or cremated in the simple wooden box, and the funeral home can re-use the rental coffin. Rental coffins are available for rent at many funeral homes. If you are interested in using a rental coffin, make sure that the funeral home you are working with has rental coffins available.
More things you should know
Burials or cremations are not permitted without a sealed coffin (except where some religious institutions have obtained exemptions). A family carpenter can make the coffin — but it will have to comply with government regulations, the funeral director’s handling and strength requirements and any crematory requirements such as coffin dimensions. Metal liners, metal inserts, PVC or latex-based rubber materials are not permitted in or on coffins used for cremation because unacceptable emissions or residues can result.
With burials, some people like to place religious or sentimental items inside the coffin or on its lid. In most cases this will not be a problem. However, problems can arise with items placed on top of the gravesite itself. For aesthetic or safety reasons the cemetery may not allow this. It is always wise to get advice from the funeral director or cemetery beforehand. There are also a number of items that cannot be placed inside coffins during cremation as these can cause explosions.
eziFunerals recommends that you contact one of the local coffin suppliers or alternatively an Independent Funeral Director before selecting and purchasing a coffin.
- Don’t be rushed into selecting and coffin.
- Take your time and ask lots of questions.
- Choose a coffin within your price and budget.
- Ask the funeral director to see the entire range of coffins on offer.
- Don’t be swayed by the funeral director to upsize. Stand your ground.
- Don’t feel shamed if you choose a coffin at the lower price range. You’re with friends.
- Purchase your own coffin from a private supplier.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a rental coffin.
Learn more about planning a funeral in Australia
eziFunerals supports individuals and families plan a funeral and compare funeral homes online. We are an independent, Australian-owned and operated company, and are not a subsidiary of any other corporation. We are not part of any other funeral company.