Assuring Good Care for Grave Markers

Most Cemetery Grave Markers Require Little Maintenance

Trying to convince you to buy a grave marker from them, cemetery or funeral home sales people might sometimes hint that buying from another dealer is a risky proposition.

“If something should happen to a grave marker that you purchased from another company, we, of course, cannot be held responsible,” more than one salesman has been known to suggest in hopes of landing a sale.

Bronze on Granite Grave Markers are actually quite easy to maintain

Such a statement is misleading, at best.

The fact is that bronze and granite grave markers require very little maintenance other than a simple regular trimming of the grass around the marker. Bronze and granite, simply put, will last the ages, almost maintenance free. That’s why they are perfect materials for grave markers. And this is true, no matter who the manufacturer is. (Ironically, sometimes a salesman who uses the above line is attempting to sell a grave marker that is from the same manufacturer that his competitor would purchase from.)

In general, aside from a case of vandalism, the only damage remotely possible to a bronze or granite grave marker would come from the cemetery’s very own lawn equipment. So, of course, the salesman’s statement would be wrong: if a cemetery’s equipment damages your headstone, of course the cemetery can be held responsible.

And, even if you have difficulty proving that damage was caused by a cemetery’s equipment, most of today’s home insurance policies will cover grave marker repairs or replacement.

Most flush memorials only need a simple trimming of the grass around and occasional wipe down

So, despite claims or suggestions that a cemetery salesman may make, buying a grave marker from an outside company is not a risky move. The perpetual care fee that most cemeteries charge is more than enough – when invested – to pay for ground care around the marker for the ages. And damages resulting from such care would be, of course, the responsibility of the cemetery, no matter where the marker came from.

One matter of maintenance that is not necessarily the cemetery’s responsibility would be cleaning. While your marker will last the ages no matter its manufacturer, it will, of course, get dirty over time. All manufacturers generally suggest that grave marker owners conduct a thorough cleaning on occasion, and all that is involved in that is a little elbow grease and water. Some companies sell cleaning agents that they advertised as making cleaning easier. (And some genealogy buffs will say that simple shaving cream is a good cleaning agent for markers.)  But experts say those agents may, in fact, cause damage to your marker – damage that is not immediately apparent – and, of course, the cemetery would likely not accept responsibility for that. In such cases, the manufacturer of the agent may be required to assume responsibility for the damage, (assuming that you followed the directions listed on the agent package) but that would likely prove to be a legal battle. So, the best bet is to visit your grave marker on occasion and give the piece a nice wash with just a bucket of water and a rag.

In general, if a salesman tries to convince you that buying a grave marker from another source involves some sort of risk, you should consider that for what it is – a sales pitch.