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Burial Vault Not Required

Burial Vault Not Required

If your family is choosing a traditional funeral with full casket burial, you will find yourself deciding whether to buy a burial vault or a grave liner. What is the difference? And is it required by law? You may be surprised that you have more options than you think.

 Burial vaults or grave liners are used for caskets during ground burial. They are available in many different materials such as plastic, concrete, steel or copper. A burial vault encloses the top, bottom and all sides of the casket. A grave liner is placed over the top of the casket to cover the top and sides of the casket.

 The main purpose of the burial vault or grave liner is to prevent the earth from settling around the casket as it deteriorates. They do not prevent the eventual decomposition of any casket or human remains.

 State law does NOT require a burial vault or liner. Most cemeteries require a burial vault or liner for maintenance purposes when the ground settles around the casket. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s funeral rule, it is illegal for funeral providers to claim a burial vault or liner will keep water or dirt from getting into the vault or liner. Check with your cemetery to find what the requirements are.

 Before you are shown any type of burial vault or liner, the funeral provider is required to give you a list of prices and descriptions, just as they are for caskets. You also have the option to find a vault dealer who deals directly with the family, which can be a cheaper option for families.

 Abbey Caskets does not provide burial vaults or grave liners. All models of Abbey Caskets will fit into a standard size vault.



  1. If a person was buried in 1972, how likely is it that the casket was put in a vault?

    • Hi Stephanie,
      That would be something you should ask the funeral home and the cemetery that was involved in the burial. It would depend on the cemetery requirements and those can vary between cemeteries.

  2. I just attended a memorial and internment of a husband and wife. It was in a very old cemetary ( 1800’s) and a tiny rural town. I could not see any cement vault. Would they just put the vases in the dirt and cover them ?

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