Owning A Used Hearse (Legality, Cost, Rules, Mileage)

Many people are interested in owning a hearse. They think that it would be cool to own one, or they need one for their business. The most common question is, is it actually ok for me to own a hearse?

Owning a hearse is perfectly legal but the vehicle cannot be used to transport cadavers without the appropriate permit. A privately owned hearse can be bought or sold like any other automobile and falls under the same regulations from the DMV as other vehicles

There are a few things to go through before you open your wallet and spring for a brand new hearse, so make sure you carry on reading for more details

used hearse for sale

What exactly is a hearse?

A hearse is a type of funeral vehicle used to carry the dead person from one location to another. Most people think that it’s only for transporting corpses from place to place, but in fact, hearses are also good for carrying coffins or caskets during funerals and other ceremonies.

Any vehicle, as long as it is big enough, can be registered as a hearse but the most popular designs are the traditional Cadillac ones.

However, there are many other manufacturers of hearses and some of them have a very modern spin on the traditional look of a hearse.

Hearses are usually black in color with a cloth covering the back door, which is used for loading and unloading corpses. The interior of a hearse can be customized according to customer needs.

Some hearses have extremely elaborate designs that include diamond-patterned upholstery or gold leaf trimming on the ceiling panels, but most people won’t opt for a vehicle like this

So, when you are talking about buying a hearse, you probably mean the quintessential design that we all see driving slowly down the street.


Can you legally buy a hearse?

A hearse is just another type of vehicle and you are allowed to buy it. All you need to do is follow the guidelines set out by the DMV for buying a car. However, using it as transport for the dead may be illegal if you don’t have the correct documentation.

There are plenty of ordinary citizens who own a hearse without absolutely no affiliation with the funeral industry. There are no federal or state laws that say that you can’t buy a hearse, which is just a modified personal vehicle, but there may be some implications in terms of higher insurance premiums for a former commercial vehicle.

Titan Caskets

Are hearses street legal?

Hearses, as a type of vehicle, are certainly street legal when they are well maintained, just like any other automobile. What distinguishes a hearse as being a means of transporting the dead is not its shape but the permit to operate it in this role.

A permit to operate a hearse or other type of funeral vehicle is granted by the state, county, and city in which it will be used. To get one, you must submit an application with the necessary credentials like proof of liability insurance coverage and any applicable permits for autonomous operation.

You also need to make sure that the vehicle isn’t a danger to other motorists by following a series of safety features including brake lights, turn signals, and vehicle identification numbers.

Hearses are typically assembled with specific equipment and modifications to do the job of transporting caskets from place to place. These updates to the basic design do not make the car illegal to drive on the road, otherwise, they would be useless to funeral directors too.

Affordable caskets from Titan Caskets

How much do hearses cost to own?

The average cost of a used hearse will be $28,889 with some models being over $60,000 brand new and older used models costing as little as $3,295. As with all vehicles, the price will depend on the age and condition of the hearse.

Below is a quick guide to the average price of used hearses by make:

YearHearse ModelAverage Price
1996Cadillac S&S Victoria$22,500
1998Cadillac Federal$35,500
1998Cadillac Krystal$32,500
1998Cadillac Krystal CHASSIS$33,500
1999Cadillac Superior CROWN COMM GLASS$18,500
1999Lincoln Eureka$37,500
2000Cadillac SUPERIOR STATESMAN$35,000
2001Cadillac S & S$35,000
2002Cadillac S&S Medalist Hearse$47,995
2002Cadillac Superior$44,895
2003Cadillac Eureka Hearse$29,900
2003Cadillac Federal$30,900
2004Cadillac S & S Medalist$54,995
2004Cadillac S&S Hearse$32,500
2004Cadillac Superior Statesman Funeral Coach$29,500
2006Cadillac S & S Medalist Hearse$47,700
2006Cadillac Superior Statesman Hearse$37,100
2007Cadillac S & S Medalist Hearse$21,967
2007Cadillac Superior Statesman Hearse$26,250
2007Lincoln Eagle Coach Ultimate$26,000
2007Lincoln Krystal Hearse$26,500
2008Cadillac Eagle Coach Kingsley$28,500
2008Cadillac Hearse$25,500
2008Cadillac S & S Masterpiece$25,000
2008Cadillac Superior Hearse$28,500
2008Cadillac Superior Statesman$29,500
2009Cadillac S & S$25,500
2009Cadillac S & S Medalist Hearse$22,500
2009Cadillac Superior Hearse Statesman$21,900
2009Cadillac Superior STATESMAN Funer…$9,900
2009Lincoln S & S Majestic$14,900
2010Cadillac Eagle Coach Hearse$10,995
2010Cadillac S & S Medalist Hearse$3,975
2010Cadillac S&S MASTERPIECE$12,500
2010Cadillac Superior Imperial$13,995
2011Cadillac Eagle Coach Kingsley$7,898
2011Cadillac Federal Hearse$4,995
2011Cadillac Federal Heritage$4,995
2011Cadillac MASTERPIECE$5,900
2011Cadillac S & S Hearse$6,500
2011Cadillac S & S Medalist Hearse$75,900
2011Cadillac Superior STATESMAN$59,900
2011Cadillac Superior STATESMAN Funeral Coach$66,750
2011Cadillac Superior Superior –$36,995
2013Lincoln Federal Stratford Hearse$29,900
2013LINCOLN S & S$11,900
2013Lincoln Superior Diplomat$17,448
2013Lincoln Superior Diplomat$16,995
2020Chevrolet K2 Coach CT Coach$57,500

Can you start a business with a hearse?

If you own a hearse and you have the stomach for it, starting a cadaver transport business could be a viable option. You can read this book (available on Amazon) which will go into more details.

Brieftly, what you need to do is to set yourself up as an official business which can be done by contacting your secretary of state’s office of your state which can help you obtain a business permit and sales tax license.

Once you’ve done that you need to register the business at IRS.gov to get an Employer Identification Number. This will allow you to hire transportation employees and set up a checking account.

You will also need to consult with your local government to get the required licenses and permits to carry out this service in your local area. In addition to this, you should call your state and local health department, department of transportation and coroner’s office to get an idea of any particular regulations for this type of work in your state..

It’s also necessary to have the appropriate liability insurance. Being sued, even in the funeral industry is not uncommon and you need to protect yourself against it.

You also need to think about getting the right driver or driving license which will allow you to drive commercially.

Again, if you are really serious about starting this business, go an speak to a local operator in your area or read the book I recommended here.

Is a hearse a commercial vehicle?

A hearse, when used in its traditional role, is considered a commercial vehicle. When bought as a personal vehicle this classification will only change at the discretion of the insurance company and may not be considered a commercial vehicle by the DMV.

The classification of what a commercial vehicle is depends on who you are talking to. Insurance companies and the DMV may differ on what they deem to be commercial use.

Insurance companies normally classify vehicles as commercial when they are used for business purposes. If the vehicle is classified as commercial, it may be required to carry additional coverage and will have higher premiums than a personal use car.

The DMV classifies vehicles as “commercial” when they’re used for-hire or if there’s more than one passenger being transported in the backseat of the vehicle at any given time.

A hearse may be classified as commercial by an insurance company even when the DMV says it is being used for personal use, so you need to talk to the right person to avoid higher insurance rates.

Are all hearses Cadillacs?

There are many different types of hearses available on the market, and they aren’t all made from Cadillac chassis.

In fact, many manufacturers offer their own version of a hearse. These include Mercedes-Benz, Plymouth, and Chevy to name just a few.

Each manufacturer offers its own specification of a hearse. For instance, if you’re looking for a long-wheelbase vehicle with plenty of space at the back then Mercedes is your best choice while Chevy might be better suited to shorter models.

Here is a list of manufacturers and makes of hearse:

  • Buick Enclave
  • Chevrolet Suburban
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Chrysler Town & Country
  • Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Jaguar XJL
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Mercedes-Benz Metris
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom

In fact, the classic design of hearses isn’t always used and utility vehicles can be permitted to carry caskets. This being said, most families expect a certain vehicle to pull up outside a cemetery.

How many MPG does a hearse get?

A study suggested that the modern Cadillac XTS model hearse has an MPG of 17 with a highway MGP of 21 and a City MGP of 15. Fuel Consumption overall will depend on the type of journeys made and the weight of the vehicle being driven.

Overall, a hearse is going to fall into the average Miles Per Gallon range for most privately owned vehicles. As a commercial operator, you will find that your fuel consumption is less as you won’t be using the vehicle for extremely long journeys.


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