repatrician

What does it cost to ship a body from Germany to USA ? I need prices, before buying a travel insurance to make sure I'll have enough money to get this done.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

First, don't think too many here will have much experience with shipping bodies home. That is a pretty narrow question that no one does every day. However, call the local mortuary that you would be shipping the body to and ask them for a ball park price. When I have had bodies shipped in the US, it was always the receiving mortuary that make the arrangements.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4764 posts

According to the US Consulate page in Germany, it will cost about 4,900 € at the minimum. Things are quite different here when it comes to how death is handled, so be sure to read this information all the way through. Make sure all paperwork, etc. is in order, as the Germans are VERY specific about everything. http://germany.usembassy.gov/acs/death-of-a-citizen/ I am sorry for your loss, and if there is anything I can help you with here in Germany, please let me know.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10883 posts

I just read it as she was trying to cover all bases in case the need arose. Another approach that would be much cheaper is cremation. I had colleague who died in Spain. His girlfriend had him cremated and he came home as carry on luggage on the plane. Much cheaper. That is my plan.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

I like Frank's cremation in Europe idea...it's sensible and a lot more cost effective than flying a cadaver back here. I would want to donate any good parts first and burn whatever's left. Instead of getting the ashes home, I would need someone to scatter them somewhere...in a park, off a bridge, in a stream, in a lake, in a river, or in an ocean would be a nice touch. I really won't care where at that point. I hope Phoenix Molly is still with the living...now I'm totally confused which body she was talking about.

Posted by Dina
Fontainebleau, France
893 posts

Don't forget the additional costs associated with preparing the body for transport and getting it to/from the airport. I'm assuming the estimate Jo got takes into account more than just the actual shipping costs.

Posted by Ms. Jo
Frankfurt, Germany
4764 posts

That is correct. The price they quote on the Consulate page I believe is for everything, transport, embalming, funeral home, etc. It is quite expensive here to begin with, and when you add on the flight, it gets even more expensive. When one of my friends passed away last year, I think they ended up paying about 6000 €, including the coffin, to bring him back to the States. One of the biggest problems they had was not having his birth certificate, and without that, the Germans don't want to issue a death certificate. Germany also has a strict time limit on getting the remains out of the country, so it all has to go quite quickly. Embalming here is quite rare, so this is an extra expense. I am sorry to be so blunt with all of this information, but it really is very, very different here than in the US.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Just curious...do you have a body to ship now, or are you doing some advance planning just in case it's your body we're talking about? Since you're inquiring about travel insurance, I guess I'm assuming we're talking about your remains. Most decent policies cover both emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of your bones...just make sure the limits are high enough. BTW, it's not going to cover funeral costs, coffins, the string quartet, or the food at your wake. Let's assume you will return from your vacation in at least as good a health as you were in before you left. If you're talking purely about shipping a corpse, sorry I have no idea, but everyone else has already weighed in on that.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
969 posts

@Michael - I read the OP's question the same way you did but decided not to respond after the others because I thought maybe I read it wrong. Now I'm not sure what the OP meant. Hope she gets the answer she needed.

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
915 posts

Molly, if you're purchasing travel insurance mainly for the evacuation/repatriation benefits, one of the most economical sources is Divers Alert Network . When you buy a membership for $35 year (individual) or $55 (family) you get Travel Assist benefits, which includes emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains if you or a family member dies on a trip, up to $100,000. These services take effect when you're more than 50 miles away from home, so we just renew this membership routinely.

Posted by Mark
Berlin, Germany
319 posts

@Michael: I know of no German state (burials are regulated by state legislation) in which you can scatter ash outside of cemeteries. In a few states you can scatter ash inside of cemeteries or special forest burial sites (and there are areas in the North and Baltic Sea where you can sink urns), but as Jo already mentioned the rules and regulations (and customs and traditions) regarding human remains and burials are very different here in Germany.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

I don't worry about such things. I plan to let the kids deal with such things. If they don't choose to do so, my rottweiler will be a very well to do puppy.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Thanks for the tip on German law related to scattering my ashes, but I would prefer my ashes be scattered somewhere other than Germany. In fact, I would like for my ashes to be scattered in a wildcat fashion all over Europe (except in Germany), totally ignoring all rules while providing nourishment to the soil during the next rainfall. If Martin Sheen can do it along the Camino, I'm sure I can find someone to do it for my poor ashes, too. I think we're too late for Molly...how sad.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17776 posts

Molly, Could you clarify some information? Are you interested in repatriation should something happen to you when travelling OR do you need this to bring someone else back to the U.S.? After reading your initial post and the replies, I'm still not clear on that. If you're interested in coverage for yourself, have a look at various travel insurance policies such as Travel Guard, as many of them include some type of repatriation coverage (I believe that's the firm that RS tours uses). You could also take out a short-term membership with MedJet Assist. You'll have to contact them for details on what their plans include and current prices. Happy travels!

Posted by Molly
Phoenix
3 posts

Hello all. thank you for all your very valuable information. To James, I got a good laugh when I read your post saying " Molly is dead". No I'm very much alive, I'm just trying to cover all bases unless ( God forbid ) something does happen.

Posted by Molly
Phoenix
3 posts

Hello all. thank you for all your very valuable information. To James, I got a good laugh when I read your post saying " Molly is dead". No I'm very much alive, I'm just trying to cover all bases unless ( God forbid ) something does happen.

Posted by donna
roswell, ga, usa
1012 posts

Good Golly Miss Molly!! Are you sick? Planning a last trip to Germany before the end? I know this is a possibility, but couldn't resist quoting Little Richard, and I'm sure he also hopes you get back to the US in the upright and unlocked position :-) I DO hope you're not sick, however, and hope you have a wonderful trip.

Posted by sarah
Temecula, CA, USA
4 posts

This is the best string on the site... holy cow.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

If a birth certificate is required, and the name at birth is not the same as the current name, be sure to have documents supporting the name change too.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8755 posts

This thread appeared to come to a natural conclusion in March. We haven't anything from Molly since a few hours after it was posted so it is unlikely that comments made 4 months later will be of help to her.