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5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Cremation Provider

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questions_to_ask_cremation_providerChoosing cremation as a final disposition method is a big decision—and not one every family knows a lot about. Before committing to a cremation provider, you have the right to ask questions to ensure your loved one will be cared for and that you are receiving the best value within your price range. 

Although cremation is growing in popularity, there are still several pieces of the puzzle many families misunderstand. Details such as visitations, memorials, urns and other keepsakes often get lost in the mix, causing some providers to use this knowledge gap to their advantage. This can make families feel regretful at a time when they are already coping with grief. 

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, continue reading to learn the top five questions you should ask before committing to a cremation provider or funeral home.

1. Can You Help Me Understand Your Price Ranges?

Not all cremation providers are the same when it comes to pricing and packages. Ask your provider to thoroughly explain how they price their services and what is included within each price range. The Funeral Rule is a law that requires funeral homes to offer clear pricing to consumers. Ask for a copy of their price list to see what you will be paying for—if they can’t provide this to you, then they likely aren’t reputable.  

Also ask your provider or funeral home if they have a remembrance center where you can browse urns, keepsakes, caskets and other personalization items for sale. This will help you see and feel the quality of each product, and keep all additional items on one, organized bill.

Keep in mind that if you’re working with a stand-alone crematory instead of a funeral home, your options may be limited. 

2. Can I Tour the Crematory? 

When coordinating final arrangements, ask the funeral home or cremation provider if they have an on-site crematory that you can see prior to the service. A crematory tour allows you to see the facility yourself to gauge cleanliness and if they’re following guidelines.

On-site crematories also give you the added benefit of a private visitation area. This allows you to say a final goodbye to your loved one. It also gives you a chance to witness your loved one entering the crematory to reduce the chances of a cremation mix-up.

3. How Will My Loved One Be Taken Care Of?

It is important to make sure the cremation provider explains how your loved one will be taken care of and identified to ensure the right remains are returned. If the funeral home outsources their cremations or if you’re working with a stand-alone crematory, it’s important to understand where your loved one will be transferred and how they ensure a chain of custody. 

When the deceased is picked up, the majority of cremation providers will tag your loved one with his or her name and date of birth. This process is not taken lightly or brushed over; however, it doesn’t hurt to confirm these steps with your chosen provider. Trustworthy cremation providers will also place an ankle tag and stainless-steel disc with identification on your loved one prior to cremation. The tag and disc accompany your loved one throughout the entire cremation process, so you get the assurance the remains returned to you are those of your loved one. 

If the provider you choose outsources their cremations, ask about their identification checkpoints—these should include every step from removal of the deceased to placement in the crematory to placement in an urn.

At Busch, we offer all families our 10-Step Cremation with Confidence guarantee. This ensures your loved one never leaves our care and that the cremated remains returned to you are those of your loved one.

4. Can I Hold a Gathering Before or After the Cremation?

Consider the type of gathering your family wants to have. The kind of remembrance service you select affects your options during the cremation process. 

If your loved one chooses to have a funeral service, ask about renting a casket. For a memorial service with cremated remains present, ask your provider if they have an area where you can hold a service after the cremation.

Even if your family selects a simple cremation with no memorial or visitation, ask if you can be present when the cremation takes place. Some providers offer a waiting room for families.

Consider what your loved one wants as their final resting place (ex: buried or scattered cremated remains) and ask your provider what options they provide. Not all providers offer what you’re looking for, so asking questions up-front will help you make the right selection. 

5. Do You Have Testimonials? 

Reading testimonials will help you become more confident in your final decision. What other families say about their experience can give you some valuable insight.

Your provider should have printed materials or testimonials on their website. If not, perform a quick Google search for reviews on your cremation provider or funeral home before making your final decision.

Asking this series of questions will help you find the best, most reputable provider in your area and budget. Remember that if your provider cannot answer these questions, they may not be the best option. 

Uncover Even More Questions to Ask a Cremation Provider

Don’t forget any important questions. Download our free checklist, 13 Questions to Ask Your Cremation Provider and take it with you when you meet with potential servicers. This will ensure you have peace of mind that your loved one is in good care.

13 Questions to Ask Your Cremation Provider

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2016, and was updated in 2021 for comprehensiveness.

Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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