How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Body?
Shipping a body is one of the many things that may need to be done after the death of a family member or loved one. Death can be very sudden and unexpected sometimes, while other times death may be somewhat expected, such as when a person is in hospice. If the person who passed away did so in a different area than where the funeral will take place, the body may need to be shipped to the funeral city.
When shipping a body, there are a lot of documents that must be processed and requirements that must be met. Because the family members are responsible for all of these arrangements but may be having a hard time doing so, there are funeral companies that specialize in handling these funeral arrangements. A body can be shipped in many different ways. For example, the body can be transported before or after it has been prepared for the funeral. It could also be shipped after the funeral to a burial site out of town. If the body has been cremated, there are specific regulations that must be followed to ship the remains. All of these ways of shipping can also be done on through ground or air transportation.
How much does it cost?
- Overall, shipping a body can cost from $500 to $10,000.
- Transporting the cremated remains of a body will cost between $100-$500. Shipping remains from a town in California to New York, for example, will cost between $250 to $400.
- International shipping of human remains can cost up to $10,000 as quoted by US-Funerals.com
- The same website quotes regional shipping services that can cost as much as $5,000.
- From Indiana, charges for cross country would range on an average from $900 to less than $1,500 according to Funeralplan.com.
- Like an airline ticket, the prices are going to wildly vary. Because of this variation, a short 500-mile trip may cost $2,000 while a trip across the globe can cost as much as $10,000.
What is going to be included?
- If a package price is quoted, it should include the airfare and other arrangements such as removal from the place of death, embalming, and a shipping container transfer to the local airport.
- Working with a funeral home, the director will make arrangements with an airline. Depending on where the body is, it will be properly packaged and sent to the airport. Airlines are going to treat this type of shipment a lot different than their other freight. Upon arrival, it will then immediately be shipped to the funeral home where it will be prepped for a showing.
What are the extra costs?
- Permits, embalming, prep work, shipping container, paperwork, and fuel surcharges for a cross country flight can entail additional costs that can be more than $3,000.
- A casket can cost thousands depending on design and material. See “How much does a casket cost?“
- Cremating the body before shipping can cost as much as $1,000 depending on the state/country of death.
- Depending on the package, funeral services will more than likely be separate. Depending on the set up of the funeral, the prices can start at $1,000 and go up from there.
Factors that influence the price:
- The distance that must be traveled will be the largest factor in determining the price for ground transportation.
- Airlines will charge according to the special packaging cost, which is a FAA-approved special cardboard casket enclosed in pallet. The weight of the body will also influence the price.
- If responsible parties prefer to ship an unembalmed body, a sealed metal casket is required.
- Choice of transportation to be used to ship the remains will also be a major factor in pricing.
Tips to know:
- Cremated remains costs far less as it is just placed in an urn which results in a much smaller weight freight item.
- Cremated remains can be carried on as hand luggage on most airlines if placed in a wood, plastic, cardboard or any non-lead based ceramic container that can be screened through x-ray, provided guidelines are followed and documentation requirements have been complied with.
- Cremated remains can also be transported by the U.S. Postal Service as long as they are correctly packaged.
- Many travel insurance plans will include repatriation of remains if a comprehensive plan was availed.
- By law, only licensed individuals can transport bodies across county lines.
Questions to ask:
- What are the requirements to be met?
- How much will a total package cost?
How can I save money?
- Mortuary shipping is quite costly so an alternative is to ship cremated remains which can even be handcarried.
- It is best to talk with at least two to three funeral homes. By doing so, you should be able to get a few quotes over the phone. Start with the American Association of Mortuary Shippers to get more information.
- Many local funeral homes have connections with airlines. Be sure to ask them how the process works and what will be included.
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