What is a Rental Casket?

Casket & For Rent Sign
Many funeral providers offer rental caskets for families choosing cremation. Photo © alxpin/E+/Getty Images/Chris Raymond

A rental casket is a specially crafted casket with a removable interior that families can use if they wish to conduct funeral services prior to cremating a loved one. Typically made from wood, the rental casket's exterior resembles a regular casket but its interior construction is designed to surround a removable alternative container, typically referred to as an "insert," which physically houses the body of a deceased individual.

The insert is used once, but the surrounding casket exterior may be used multiple times.

Generally constructed of heavy-duty corrugated cardboard or fiberboard, the insert does not bear any ornamentation but usually features a leak-proof lining beneath a layer of foam and a crepe or velvet-like fabric lining the bottom and extending up and beyond the sides of the insert. Once slid into the outer casket "shell" (through the drop-down foot-end of the casket), the insert's lining drapes over the sides of the outer shell to conceal the gaps between the insert and the rental casket. During the funeral service, a properly prepared rental casket/insert appears indistinguishable from a regular casket.

After the public viewing and funeral service, however, the insert/alternative container containing the deceased's remains is removed and transported to the crematory for the physical cremation. At no point is the deceased in contact with the rental casket exterior, which can then be rented again to another family.


A rental casket might also be referred to as a "ceremonial casket," the "surround" or simply "the rental."

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