Cost to Ship Body For Burial: A Comprehensive Guide

cost to ship body for burial - Insurance coverage

Are you wondering how much it costs to ship a body for burial and if insurance can help with these costs? Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard, and figuring out all the details of sending them to their final resting place can be confusing and expensive. There are many things to think about, like fees from the funeral home, getting the body ready, the container for shipping, and how to transport it. These costs can add up quickly. In this guide, we’ll break down the costs in simple terms and examine how insurance might help cover some of these expenses, making things easier during this challenging time.

What to Expect When Shipping a Body?

 When shipping a body, whether for burial or cremation purposes, in a different location, there are several key considerations and procedures to be mindful of. Initially, one must engage the services of a funeral home or mortuary with experience in handling such arrangements, as they will manage the logistical and regulatory aspects, ensuring compliance with local, state, and international laws if applicable.

 This includes obtaining the necessary permits, preparing the body according to health and safety standards, and coordinating with airlines or shipping services for transport. The body is typically embalmed and placed in an approved shipping container to maintain its condition throughout the journey. Costs can vary significantly based on the destination, the services selected, and the mode of transportation. Furthermore, it’s essential to communicate with the receiving facility to confirm their requirements and timing for the body’s arrival. This process, while complex, is managed with dignity and respect for the deceased and their loved ones, ensuring a smooth transition to the final resting place.

Who Coordinates The Shipment Of A Body?

A funeral director or a mortuary professional typically coordinates the shipping of a body. These professionals have the necessary expertise and experience to handle the complex logistics and legal requirements involved in the process.

Who Can Help with Repatriation?

Repatriation, the process of returning a deceased person’s body to their home country, involves a complex network of services and regulations. Several key players can assist families and loved ones through this challenging time, ensuring that the process is handled with care and respect.

- Funeral Homes and Mortuaries

Many funeral homes and mortuaries specialize in international repatriation and have the expertise to navigate the intricate details involved. They can handle everything from preparing and embalming the body per both local and international standards, to arranging the documentation and permits required for international transport.

- Repatriation Services Companies

These companies specialize in the repatriation of human remains and are familiar with the logistical and legal challenges that can arise. They work closely with funeral homes, airlines, and consulates to ensure a smooth process. These services can be invaluable, especially in navigating the complexities of international laws and transportation logistics.

- Airlines

Most airlines have dedicated cargo services for transporting human remains and offer assistance in understanding their specific requirements and regulations. They play a crucial role in the repatriation process, and their cargo departments can provide guidance on how to properly book and prepare for the transport.

- Consulates and Embassies

The consulate or embassy of the deceased’s home country can offer guidance and support throughout the repatriation process. They can assist with necessary paperwork, provide information on country-specific regulations, and sometimes offer financial assistance or resources for families in need.

- Insurance Companies

 The insurance company could play a significant role if the deceased was covered by a travel insurance policy that includes repatriation coverage. They may cover the costs associated with repatriation and can often coordinate the process on behalf of the family.

- Employers

 In cases where the deceased works abroad, their employer might assist with the repatriation process. Some companies have policies in place or can offer support in coordinating with local authorities and services.

Navigating the repatriation process can be overwhelming for grieving families. These entities can provide crucial support, managing the logistical, legal, and financial aspects of returning a loved one to their home country for their final resting place.

Here are the steps for Body Transport After Death

The transport of a body after death involves a series of carefully coordinated steps to ensure that the remains are handled with respect and dignity and in compliance with legal requirements. Whether the body is being moved within the same city, across states, or internationally, the process requires attention to detail and coordination with various professionals. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved in body transport after death and how much does it cost to fly a body home:

– Notification and Documentation:

The first step involves officially pronouncing the death and obtaining a death certificate. A medical professional typically does this. In many jurisdictions, a transport or burial transit permit is also required to move the deceased, even within the same city.

– Engaging a Funeral Service Provider: 

A funeral home or mortuary is contacted to take custody of the body and begin preparation for transport. Choosing a provider experienced with the transport logistics and legalities is crucial, especially for international shipments.

– Embalming or Refrigeration:

Depending on the destination and duration of transport, the body may need to be embalmed or otherwise preserved. Embalming is often a requirement for international transport, while refrigeration might suffice for shorter distances.

– Choosing a Casket or Shipping Container:

The body is placed in a suitable container, which can range from a traditional casket to a specialized shipping container. The choice depends on the mode of transport, destination requirements, and the family’s preferences.

– Arranging Transportation: 

The funeral service provider coordinates with transportation companies, which can include airlines, rail services, or hearse services for road transport. For air transport, specific airline regulations and documentation must be followed.

– Customs and International Regulations:

For international transport, the process involves additional paperwork, including consular documentation from the embassy or consulate of the destination country. Customs clearance is also a critical step in the process.

– Receiving Funeral Home Coordination:

A local funeral home or mortuary will receive the body at the destination. Coordination between the sending and receiving facilities ensures that all necessary arrangements are made for the arrival and any subsequent services or burial.

– Final Resting Place Arrangements: 

The final step involves preparing for the burial, cremation, or other memorial services as per the deceased’s wishes or the family’s preferences. This includes selecting a cemetery plot, crematorium, or memorial site.

Throughout these steps, clear communication and coordination between all parties involved are paramount to ensure that the process is conducted smoothly and respectfully. It’s also essential for the family to be aware of and prepare for the financial aspects of transport, as costs can vary widely depending on the specifics of the transport arrangement.

Components of Shipping Costs

Components Of Cost To Ship Body For Burial

  • Funeral Home Fees: Funeral homes charge for their services, including coordinating shipping arrangements, documentation, and care of the body before transportation.
  • Body Preparation: Depending on the destination and transportation method, the body may need to be embalmed or placed in a refrigerated container. Embalming is often required for international or long-distance domestic shipping, while refrigeration might be used for shorter distances.
  • Shipping Container: When a casket is not used, transportation regulations often require a specific type of container, such as a casket within a wooden or metal shipping crate or an air tray. These containers ensure the safety and dignity of the body during transport.
  • Transportation Charges: The cost to ship a body for burial, whether by air or ground, can vary significantly. Air transportation is typically more expensive but faster, while ground transportation may be a more economical option for shorter distances.

– Variability In Costs

How much does it cost to ship a body? Based on the above components, it can range widely from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. International shipping tends to be more expensive due to the additional documentation, consulate fees, and airfare costs.

– Insurance Coverage For Funeral Shipping

Insurance policies, particularly life insurance, may cover some or all the costs associated with funeral shipping. The extent of coverage depends on the terms of the policy and any additional riders that may pertain to funeral expenses.

Life Insurance Policies: Some life insurance policies include a death benefit that can be used to cover funeral expenses, including shipping. The beneficiaries have discretion over how this benefit is used, allowing for flexibility in allocating funds towards shipping costs if necessary.

Funeral Expense Riders: Certain policies may offer additional riders specifically for funeral expenses, which could cover or contribute towards shipping costs. Reviewing the policy details to understand what is and isn’t covered is essential.

Review Policy Terms: Beneficiaries should closely review the insurance policy’s terms and conditions to determine eligibility for coverage of shipping costs. Policies vary, and what one policy covers, another might exclude.

The cost to ship a body for burial can be significant and is influenced by various factors, including the services needed, transportation method, and distance. Insurance coverage for these costs is possible but depends on the specifics of the life insurance policy. It’s crucial for individuals planning for their arrangements or those arranging for a deceased loved one to consult with both funeral service providers and insurance companies to understand the options and coverage available fully.

What About The International Shipment Of A Body?

International shipment of a body requires navigating a complex web of regulations and logistics, ensuring that the process respects both legal mandates and the dignity of the deceased. From securing a myriad of documents, such as death and embalming certificates, to meeting the specific embalmment standards of the destination country, each step demands meticulous attention to detail.

The body must be preserved by international standards, typically through embalming, and placed within a robust, hermetically sealed container to withstand the journey. Coordinating with airlines for cargo space, understanding customs clearance, and liaising with consular offices are critical components that necessitate expertise in international funeral shipping.

Dead body flight cost can be substantial, reflecting the intricate logistics and regulatory compliance involved. Engaging with seasoned professionals specializing in international funeral arrangements can provide invaluable guidance and support, ensuring the process honors the memory of the loved one while adhering to the myriad of international protocols.

How Is A Body Transported Over Long Distances?

 When transporting a body over long distances, especially for burial or cremation in another city or country, the process typically involves specialized procedures to ensure the remains are handled respectfully and in compliance with legal and health regulations. The body is usually first prepared by embalming, a common requirement for long-distance shipments to preserve the remains during transit.

It is then placed in an appropriate container, often a casket, which may be placed within a sturdy, sealed shipping container or an air tray to meet the transportation regulations. Air transport is the most common method for long-distance shipping, utilizing commercial airlines’ cargo services that are equipped to handle such sensitive consignments.

Throughout this process, can you transport a dead body across state lines, funeral directors or mortuary shipping specialists coordinate all aspects of the transport body, including the necessary documentation, permits, and logistics, ensuring the body reaches its destination safely and on time. Ground transportation is an alternative for shorter, long-distance transfers, following a similar protocol of care and respect.

How much does it cost to ship a dead body- Insurance Coverage?

The cost to ship a body for burial can vary widely depending on several factors, making it difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all answer. However, understanding the elements that influence the cost can help estimate the expenses involved. Here are the primary factors that contribute to the overall cost:

Distance and Destination: The further the body needs to be transported, the higher the cost. International shipments are typically more expensive than domestic ones due to additional paperwork, customs duties, and higher transportation fees.

Mode of Transportation: Air transport is the most common method for long-distance shipping and is faster but more expensive than ground transportation. The airline choice and the shipment’s urgency can also affect the price.

Preparation and Preservation: The cost of embalming or refrigeration, which may be necessary for shipping, can add to the total expenses. Embalming is often required for international shipments or when the body will be viewed upon arrival.

Type of Shipping Container: The requirement for a specialized container, such as a casket within a metal shipping crate or an air tray, can influence the cost. The choice of casket or container and its specifications can lead to significant price differences.

Funeral Home and Mortuary Fees: These fees cover the services provided by the funeral home or mortuary, including paperwork, coordination with the receiving facility, and the body’s preparation.

Receiving Facility Fees: The funeral home or facility at the destination may also charge fees for receiving the body and completing the final arrangements.

On average, domestic shipping costs within the United States can range from $1,500 to $5,000 or more, while international shipping costs can start at around $5,000 and can exceed $10,000 in some cases. These estimates include the cost of the funeral home services, preparation, container, and transportation but can vary greatly based on the specific details of the shipment.

It’s important to consult with a funeral director or a specialist in cost to ship a body for burial – Insurance coverage? to get an accurate quote based on your specific needs. They can provide a detailed breakdown of the cost to transport a body and help navigate the complexities of shipping a body, ensuring that all legal and logistical requirements are met.

How Will The Body Be Stored For Shipment?

Before shipment, the body is stored in a manner that preserves its condition and ensures dignity and respect throughout the transport process. Typically, this involves embalming, a common practice for long-distance shipments, especially if the body will be viewed upon arrival or if there are specific legal requirements for shipping.

If embalming is not performed, the body may be refrigerated to slow decomposition. For the actual shipment, the body is placed inside a specially designed container, such as a casket, which is then secured within a robust air tray or a metal transfer case to comply with transportation regulations. These containers protect the body during transit, ensuring it remains undisturbed and in good condition until it reaches its final destination.

The funeral home or shipping service coordinates these preparations, adhering to all necessary health, safety, and legal guidelines to maintain the integrity of the remains throughout the journey.


Q1. How to get a permit to transport a dead body?

To obtain a permit to transport a dead body, contact the local health department or vital statistics office where the death occurred to apply for a transportation permit, following the submission of the death certificate and compliance with any specific regional regulations. Additionally, coordination with a licensed funeral director can facilitate this process, ensuring all legal requirements are met for the transport.

Q2. How much does it cost to transport a corpse?

The cost to transport a corpse can vary widely, typically ranging from $1,500 to over $10,000, depending on the distance, mode of transport (ground, air), and international fees if applicable. Additional costs may include preparation of the body, documentation, and receiving funeral home charges.




Here is our expert author, Kyle, your go-to source for simplified insights into the world of life insurance. With years of industry experience, Kyle delivers concise and approachable content, ensuring you navigate the complexities with confidence.

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