What to Look for When Choosing a Cremation Service
If you’ve decided on cremation for you or a loved one, then it is important to choose the best provider. This is how to choose a cremation service.
Choosing cremation as the final disposition of you or your family member’s body is a big decision that comes with many different variables. Before you commit to just any cremation provider, there are a few questions you may need to ask to ensure that the body of the deceased is well taken care of.
You will also want to make sure that you receive the best value of care within your price range. To help you with this decision during this challenging time, we created a cremation service guide that will help you pick the right provider for you and your family’s needs. We also will include information for a point of contact for you to reach out to for any additional questions or concerns about the cremation process.
What Is Cremation?
Cremation is an alternative to traditional burial in a casket or a coffin. A deceased body is placed inside of a cremation container and then incinerated in an industrial furnace. The body and cremation container is then reduced to mineral fragments, gases, and ashes, known as cremains.
These remains do not pose any health risks. The cremation service provider will then collect these remains and hand them over to the deceased’s family. You can place these remains in an urn, disperse them at a special ceremony, or have them buried inside a columbarium.
The entire process takes around three hours to complete. Once the crematory has the deceased body in their possession, they will remove any implants or medical devices such as pacemakers. After the cremation process, any metal or silicone implants are later removed from the remains.
The body and the cremation container are then placed inside the chamber of the industrial furnace. The temperature inside of the chamber will reach around 1400°F to about 1800°F.
After a few hours, the heat will consume the organic matter. The remaining bone fragments are then removed from the chamber and processed into a substance that resembles ash. The final ashes are then placed into a temporary container or an urn purchased by the family.
Cremation Service Provider Options
There are several different types of organizations that provide certain types of cremation services. The kind of service you select depends on the type of cremation you have in mind.
Funeral Home Cremation Services
Funeral homes provide you with a full slate of different services, and they can deal with the crematorium on your behalf. If you want to have a visitation and funeral, memorial service, and a full-service provider, you will want to opt for a funeral home for your cremation services.
Cremation societies offer membership services to those who join their groups. For example, if you want to join a crematory membership group to preplan your immediate cremation, you can take advantage of cremation societies. The lower prices associated with these societies depend on state regulations.
There are certain companies that only specialize in cremation. They may offer a range of services, but they do not provide any in-ground burial services. Since these companies only specialize in cremation, they are sometimes more affordable than a full-service funeral home.
Most cemeteries have their own crematorium on-site, or they have a partnership with a local cremation company. If you are unsure of where to start, you can always reach out to a funeral director at a cemetery. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
How to Choose the Best Cremation Service
Buying the best cremation service for you or your loved one can be complicated. Unlike purchasing a vehicle or making any large purchase, you most likely won’t have enough time to compare prices or shop around for the best rate. Even though you may be in a position where you need to make a quick decision, there are a few things you can do to help make the process easier.
Once you find a few cremation service providers near you, you should ask them questions about their prices and how the process works. No cremation service provider should make you feel uncomfortable at all about asking questions about their services. If they start to make you uncomfortable or refuse to give you any information, you may want to reach out to another provider.
Check Them Out
The Cremation Association of North America, also known as CANA, require their crematory members to abide by specific rules and standards. Ask your crematory service provider if they are a member of that organization.
Visit the Facility
There are other great ways for you to learn more about a specific cremation service provider, such as visiting the facility. When you go to look at the facility, is the area well organized and clean?
Are they proactive in offering you with information you will need to know? Do they seem open and forthcoming? The answers to these questions will help you further determine if this service provider is best for you.
Benefits of Cremation
One of the most significant benefits of cremation is the affordability factor. The average funeral costs around $8,000 to $11,000 depending on the funeral location and the additional expenses of flowers, caskets, and venue prices.
Usually, the cost of cremation is much cheaper than a traditional burial. You can expect to pay around $3,000 to $7,000 for the service on average. The final cost of your cremation service will depend on a few different variables. There are great providers who offer cremation services for less than $1,000.
Cost of cremation variables:
- The location of the cremation service provider
- If there is a memorial service or not
- If the family provides their own cremation container
- If the family provides an urn
If you choose direct cremation, the funeral service will take place immediately after cremation. Make sure that you ask about all of the available pricing options.
Your family will most likely be very overwhelmed with planning a funeral. This can be an especially trying time when you are already emotionally dealing with the loss of a loved one.
If you are planning your own burial service, you most likely want to ensure that your relatives are not burdened with the difficulty of making decisions. If you announce to your family and friends ahead of time that you want to be cremated, you will save them a lot of time and money in the long run.
Most people do not realize that burials put a toll on the environment. Many different chemicals in the burial and embalming process easily find their way to the earth, causing environmental damage.
Managing a cemetery requires significant use of water and land, which can also take a toll on the environment. Also, caskets are typically made of wood and other types of materials. The wood used to create these caskets take up around four million acres of forest each year.
Saves Space in Cemeteries
If you want to have a burial service in a cemetery, you will need to consider the available spaces. If you live in urban environments or a large metropolitan area, there are usually limited spaces.
You may not want to be buried in an overcrowded cemetery. When you get cremated, you take up very little space, and your loved ones can transport you wherever they want.
This is especially helpful if your family moves out of town and into another state or country. They can take you with them, and they won’t have to travel to visit you in the cemetery.
You Can Divide the Ashes
Speaking of portability, if you have children or other family members who live in different parts of the world, you can divide your ashes. This allows your loved ones to share your remains no matter where they are.
How Is the Body Taken Care Of?
It is imperative that the cremation provider explains to you how they will take care of you or your loved one. They should be able to tell you how they will take care of the body and how they properly identify the right remains to return to your family.
If the funeral home outsources their cremations, it is crucial that you understand how they ensure a chain of custody and how they transport the body. You also have the right to ask about any identification checkpoints the provider has to ensure that the body is well tracked.
Typically, once the funeral home picks up the deceased, they will tag you or your loved ones with their birth date and their name. This process is usually not taken lightly, but it does not hurt to confirm these steps with your provider.
Trustworthy providers place an ankle tag and a stainless-steel disc with your loved one’s information prior to cremation. The disc and ankle tag stays with your loved one throughout the entire cremation process.
Holding Gatherings Before and After Cremation
You will want to consider the type of gathering your family will want to have. The kind of service selected will affect your options during the cremation process.
For example, if you or your loved one wants to have a funeral service, you can ask the funeral home about renting a casket for the service. If you want a memorial service with cremated remains, you can ask your cremation provider if they have a room where you can have a small service.
Even if you and your family decide that you want to have a simple cremation without a service, you can ask your service provider if you can be there for the cremation process. A few providers offer you a waiting room to sit in while the cremation is underway.
Full-Time Grief Support
Any provider of end-of-life arrangements should be able to support you, and your grieving loved ones in several ways. For example, the cremation service provider is there to help ensure that any wishes are tended to and that the entire process is as stress-free and efficient as possible. This is why it is imperative that you work with a seasoned and professional cremation service provider who has worked with many families in all types of situations.
Beyond the cremation service, some family members may need additional grief support. Most cremation providers are not grief counselors, but they are very understanding and compassionate people who understand what you and your family are going through.
If you need grief counseling, you can always ask the service provider for recommendations. They should be able to point you in the right direction of a counselor that can help you work through this tough time.
What Happens if I Relocate?
If you or your family member relocates after preplanning final life arrangements, you may lose out on the money deposited. Life changes every day, and sometimes there is no telling where life will take you. You may pass away abroad or decide to move to another state.
There are a few providers who offer travel protection and relocation plans for those who are in the process of preplanning their cremations. Make sure to ask about this option to see if it is available for you through your cremation service provider.
Best Cremation Service Near You
If you and your family decide that cremation is the right option for your loved one, you will want to reach out to a reputable cremation service provider closest to you. If you find yourself searching for “cremation service near me,” contact us now.
We here at Lone Star Cremation have served thousands of families since 2004, and we are the leader in cremation services. We also are ready to answer any questions or concerns you have about the cremation process.