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Here is a spooky topic for you today. Have you ever thought about if it’s legal to own a hearse? When can you legally drive a hearse? Why are Cadillac hearse models some of the most popular options to buy? 

Is it illegal to own a hearse?

Yes, you can legally buy a hearse or funeral car. They can be owned and sold like any other type of vehicle. You can even use one as a daily driver, depending on the rules in your state. 

Typically a funeral director is the only person who drives the funeral car or funeral coach. They typically only drive it to transport bodies and during funeral processions. They’re kept at funeral homes. 

Most states require you to have a commercial driver’s license to operate a funeral car. You may also need training as a chauffeur. 

The training includes how to handle a larger vehicle and the rules that come with respecting grieving families and transporting the deceased. For example, cars in a funeral procession must have their hazard lights on and a funeral car doesn’t travel over 50 mph. 

You don’t have to register a vehicle as a hearse to drive a funeral car. To register a vehicle as a hearse you need to be a licensed funeral home director. Any vehicle can be registered as a funeral car. 

A 1959 Cadillac hearse on display
1959 Cadillac hearse | Cadillac

Funeral coaches don’t make the best personal vehicles because they aren’t designed to function as a normal option. They have higher insurance costs due to their typical use and often get about 15 mpg. 

The back usually includes curtains to block the windows to respectfully keep caskets and bodies out of view from the public. 

The term ‘hearse’ comes from the 13th century during Victorian times to refer to a horse-drawn carriage built to carry caskets and coffins. It was a sign of wealth. 

Today funeral cars are still pretty expensive but can be rented for funeral processions and other needs. The 2024 Cadillac XT5 B9Q Coachbuilder Funeral car has an MSRP of $43,895. 

Dribble was the first company to start building horse-drawn hearses in 1858. Lutz Hearse Company started building funeral carriages in 1850. 

The first motorized funeral car was a Cadillac in 1903. High-end brands like Cadillac and Lincoln have been building funeral coaches ever since due to their popularity. 

So, basically, you can use a funeral coach as a daily driver, but it won’t be registered to carry bodies or participate in a funeral procession without the proper licensing.