So, You’ve Got a Body to Ship

August 1, 2019

You get the call and aren’t sure what’s next.

“My relative just died, and I need to get their body home…across the country.”

Even seasoned mortuary veterans can get a little nervous when this call hits their line. It’s not every day that the funeral isn’t taking place in your funeral home. Or your city. Or your state. Or even your country. But, when that call comes through, the family member on the other end of the phone doesn’t know how difficult the arrangements can be. They just know that they need help. And, they know that you’ll get them taken care of.

When you don’t have this conversation very often, it can be easy to get out of practice with how it should be handled. What do you say? What considerations should you go over with the caller? What are the things that a funeral director knows and doesn’t bring up that might be of interest or assistance to a person looking to get their family member back home?

Here’s a list of conversation tips you might want to remember when talking to a decedent’s loved ones about transporting a body:


“You can’t do it alone.”

Many times, in an effort to save some money and make the funeral more affordable, family members will try to arrange body shipping arrangements through an airline on their own. They will be told that they will need a funeral director or a “known shipper” (we happen to know the best one in the business…hint, hint). They need an expert, and that puts you in a great position to help them through everything.


There might be more than one funeral home involved.

As with any shipping scenario, there are two ends to the process. A funeral home in the town where the decedent is when they pass will handle the front end of shipping, but the funeral home in the town where the services will be held must be involved from start to finish. They have to know the timing of the scenario and, in order for things to go smoothly, they have to remain informed every step of the way. This is an intricate process, and it is extremely important for the funeral homes involved to be proficient. It’s hard to know who to call. That’s where NMS will step in. All of our agents are from reputable firms that have been researched and vetted for quality standards. NMS team members have even been to many of their facilities.

Something else to keep in mind: When two funeral homes are involved, you may not be getting the trade pricing. Here at NMS, we use trade pricing and are often cheaper than calling another funeral home. We start with a base ship out rate ($995) in most domestic areas and this includes embalming, paperwork, creating and filing of the death certificate, and transporting to the airport.


Shipping a body isn’t cheap, but there are options.

Planes, trains, and automobiles: there are many ways to ship a body. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, including price. Driving a body is the least expensive, while flying a body can be a bit more expensive depending on the weight of the body, distance traveled, and type of container used for shipping. Timing and location are big factors in deciding the best mode of transport. Not every method is available in every location, and if you need a body back quickly, some modes of transportation won’t be adequate.

There are some things to think about when considering cremation after the funeral service.

If you are planning on cremation after funeral services, a different kind of permit may be needed. This service can also bring along some additional charges and/or a medical examiner’s review. If the body ships and a medical examiner did not perform a review, you may not be issued a permit. It is very important to know what paperwork is required, and that it is done properly. We know that this may be overwhelming, so NMS is here to answer all of your questions and make this time as easy as possible.


It’s a lot to consider if you’ve never done it.

Heck, there is a lot to consider even if you’ve done it a hundred times. But, that’s why NMS is here. We specialize in getting loved ones back where they belong when it is time for their funeral. We help answer the questions, and we take care of all of the arrangements so you can take care of the families you serve. Contact NMS today to find out more about what we can do to help you and your customers with mortuary shipping.


Need to ship a body internationally? We can help. Keep an eye out for our upcoming blog on international shipping.


Body to Ship? Contact NMS