Choosing a funeral car or funeral hearse

Whether you’d like a traditional funeral car like a hearse or alternative funeral transport, it’s useful to have an idea of costs and conventions.

To make arrangements for someone who has died, speak to our knowledgeable and caring team on 01543 212000 to learn more about our affordable and no fuss funerals.

Including a funeral car as part of your funeral arrangements is a respectful way to transport your loved one to the funeral service, but it does come with associated costs.

There are many types of hearses and funeral cars to choose from, both traditional and unconventional.

It’s also possible to plan a funeral service without including a funeral car.

The right funeral car and indeed if you need a funeral car at all depends on how much you’d like to spend, any wishes or instructions your loved one left for their funeral and your own preferences.

What is the name of the funeral vehicle?

The traditional funeral vehicle is called a hearse. This is typically a black vehicle with seats at the front but a long space at the back to house and transport a coffin.

Some hearses have large windows to display the coffin and any funeral flowers surrounding it. Other types of hearses have blacked-out windows for privacy.

A funeral hearse is a common type of funeral car, but any vehicle with space to securely transport a coffin can be used. A modern funeral may feature a different type of vehicle that better reflects the deceased.

In addition to the hearse, there may be another funeral car for mourners, which follows behind on the drive to the cremation or burial.

Traditional Hearse On Country Lane

What is the average cost of a funeral car?

Like all funeral costs, the prices for funeral cars can vary depending on the level of extravagance you would like.

Even on the lower end of the price scale, you can expect to pay in the hundreds for funeral transport. The average cost for funeral limo hire in 2023 was £402.[1]

Funeral transport may be included in some funeral director’s packages, giving you peace of mind that the funeral transport is taken care of. At Distinct Cremations, all of our cremation funeral services include the collection of your loved one and their transportation to the crematorium on the day of their cremation via private ambulance.

[1] The average amount spent on limo hire in 2023 was £402 (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

Alex Moore

Operations Manager at Distinct Cremations

"Our families are at the heart of everything we do and every step of the journey with us is of the utmost importance. We understand first-hand the significance of respectful funeral transport from the collection of the deceased to the transfer to the crematorium.

“Even the smallest acts of kindness can make such a big difference. Our operatives driving our private ambulances across the country have a passion for delivering the highest possible standard of service to our families. Their hard work, dedication and attention to detail really do show in their commitment to providing care to the families we serve.”

Some of the types of funeral cars likely to be more expensive are:

  • Speciality vehicles such as luxury or vintage cars
  • Alternative vehicles not usually associated with funerals
  • Larger capacity vehicles with extra seats to fit more mourners (although this may be cheaper than hiring multiple cars)
  • Personalisation of a vehicle for example the addition of your loved one’s photo or name via decals

The more elaborate the vehicle that’s included in the funeral package, the higher the overall price you pay is likely to be. If you'd like a more unique vehicle, you may have to book this yourself but you can speak to your funeral provider to see if they can support you.

Funeral Procession On Country Lane

Types of funeral transport

The type of funeral car you choose to transport your loved one can vary widely from the traditional to the unique and may depend on the type of funeral you'd like to arrange.

Types of funeral hearse

Horse Drawn Black Hearse
  • Modern hearse
  • Vintage hearse
  • Horse drawn hearse
  • Personalised hearse (with decals)
  • Colourful hearse
  • Bicycle hearse

Luxury vehicles for funerals

Black Rolls Royce Car On Traditional Village Street
  • Limousine
  • Land Rover
  • Cadillac
  • Mercedes
  • Jaguar
  • Rolls Royce

Career-based funeral vehicles

Black Taxi Driving Through Town
  • Fire engine
  • Truck
  • Milk float
  • Tank
  • Taxi

Hobby-based funeral transport

Camper Van Driving In Countryside
  • Campervan
  • Motorbike
  • Vintage car
  • Vehicle from a TV show
  • Vehicle from a film

Your loved one may have already laid out their funeral wishes and included instructions about the funeral car. Sharing funeral wishes with those closest to you is the best way to make sure your funeral preferences are known and respected.

Choosing a greener option

Electric eco-hearses are also available as an environmentally friendly alternative. Green funeral options let you give your loved one a respectful send-off that’s also kind to the planet.

With a Distinct Cremations funeral, you can choose to Go Greener and offset the carbon of the funeral service, have a coffin made of reclaimed and recycled wood and have a tree planted in memory of your loved one.

See more about our green funerals

Do you have to have a funeral car?

If hiring a funeral car or hearse is too expensive or you’d like to prioritise the money elsewhere, there are two ways to do so.

  1. Transporting the deceased yourself in your own vehicle
    This is not very commonly done as it can be difficult both logistically and emotionally.
  2. Choose a funeral provider who arranges simple practical transport
    At Distinct Cremations, we collect the deceased and transport them to the crematorium by private ambulance.

If you’d like to arrange a funeral that prioritises care whilst keeping arrangements affordable, find out more about our cremation services.

Arrange a funeral

From just £1,099

Whether a loved one has died or you're anticipating a death, our team is available to talk you through each stage of the funeral arrangements and support you in arranging a respectful attended or unattended cremation.

Set up a funeral plan

From just £1,699 or £18.79* per month

With a funeral plan you can relax knowing a funeral is agreed and paid for in advance. Plan your own funeral or make arrangements for someone else.

View our funeral plans * Price advertised is for a 50 year old paying over a 10 year period. Total cost is £2,349.80 and includes administration fees.

Some people choose to forgo the funeral transport costs and use the money elsewhere. 11% of people in 2023 chose not to use a hearse or limo.[2]

Many people would rather money from their estate go to their loved one, rather than towards formal and extravagant funeral arrangements.

[2] 11% of people in 2023 didn't use a hearse or limo (SunLife Cost of Dying Report 2024, sunlife.co.uk/funeral-costs)

What is the etiquette for funeral cars?

Traditionally, the first funeral car carries the coffin, followed by a car or cars for immediate family members. The conventional colour for these vehicles is black. However, you can arrange respectful and appropriate funeral transport that doesn’t follow these customs.

If you do want to follow tradition, this is what to expect from a funeral procession (which is otherwise known as a funeral cortege).

Funeral procession

The funeral procession begins at the funeral home or the home of the deceased wherever they are resting.

Funeral directors

The funeral directors walk in front of the hearse for a short distance at the beginning and the end of the journey.

Funeral cars

The funeral cars proceed slowly as a mark of respect and so that all of the vehicles can stay together.

If you encounter a funeral procession whilst driving or walking, there are several ways to behave respectfully.

  1. Stay quiet in your vehicle and don’t have loud music playing, rev your engine or honk your horn.
  2. Give way and allow the whole procession to pass to avoid being caught in the middle.
  3. Follow the rules of the road and leave a safe distance between your car and the procession.
  4. Only overtake on a dual carriageway when it’s safe to do so and there is plenty of space.
  5. Pedestrians crossing the road should wait until the whole procession has gone past.

As an additional mark of respect, you can bow your head as a funeral procession passes.

Mourners Walking Behind Funeral Car

FAQs about funeral cars

Still have questions about funeral cars? Reading these other frequently asked questions may help you make your funeral transport choices.

Who should go in the first funeral car?

The first funeral car in the procession usually contains the coffin and the funeral directors. The funeral car following behind for mourners usually transports those closest to the deceased. This may be the spouse or significant other of the deceased as well as their immediate family members or closest friends. These people may be referred to as the chief mourners.

How many passengers does the car take?

The room for passengers in a funeral car depends on the size. The car is traditionally chauffeured so at least one space will be taken up by the driver. Between 3 to 6 mourners fit in standard vehicles. You’ll need to consider the mobility of the chief mourners too and make arrangements if any of them are in wheelchairs or have other physical limitations.

Do funeral cars take you to the wake?

The role of the hearse is to carry the coffin so it will make the journey to the funeral service and the burial/cremation location if they are in two different places. You can discuss with your funeral director whether you’d like the funeral car carrying mourners to transfer them to the wake or back home.

Why do people walk behind a hearse?

When the funeral cars arrive at the crematorium or burial ground there may be a procession where mourners walk slowly behind the hearse containing the coffin. This is a mark of respect towards the deceased and allows people to join their loved one on their final journey.

Other useful resources to plan a funeral service

Arranging a funeral car is one aspect of planning a funeral service but there are several other key decisions to consider.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with funeral planning, our compassionate team can help you arrange a straightforward funeral without the elaborate extras. Give us a call on 01543 212000 to arrange an attended or direct cremation.

Arrange a funeral

Arrange a Funeral

Simplify your funeral arrangements with support from our experienced team at every stage.

Arrange a funeral

Write an obituary

Hand Holding Pencil To Write Obituary

Writing a meaningful obituary allows you and your family to reflect back on your loved one’s life and achievements.

How to write an obituary

Choose a celebrant

Funeral Celebrant With Clasped Hands

A funeral celebrant will learn about your loved one and offer their experience to officiate a personal funeral service.

View our funeral celebrant guide

We offer the highest level of support, but don't take our word for it

Below are a selection of reviews from those who have arranged a funeral or purchased a funeral plan through Distinct Cremations.

"Smooth and straightforward purchase with plenty of contact and feedback."

“Easy to use and very helpful. Very easy to use their services and always called with updates. Sorry to say I've had to use their services twice now and I've already booked my own service. On both times I've used this service I've been kept informed by calls to everything going on. All my requests were made to feel like no trouble whatsoever, happy to help attitude made what was a very emotional time pass with no problems. Ty to all the teams involved"

"Quick and easy to arrange. Very good value. The information pack arrived days after I made my enquiry. It was so easy to arrange the plan that I wanted. The follow up call was very reassuring. I am very happy with the service provided."

"Already recommended to other family members. Easy to access and apply for a plan at a good price, and even better, in 20 years time there will be no additional cost. It's not a subject that anyone wants to think about but now I have it sorted it has given me peace of mind knowing my family won't have the worry or cost when that time comes, now I can forget it and enjoy many more years, highly recommended. Hassle free application that was completed in minutes but I'm not planning on using this plan anytime soon!!"

"I was very pleased with the prompt efficient service that I got, everything was explained to me, and the paperwork was easy to understand, and there was no pressure put on me for a decision. I would most certainly recommended this company for price and efficiency."

“Happy with everything. We were well pleased with the consultant Sarah Mills she was very helpful and made us feel very confident that we were doing the right thing about our funeral plan."

"Positive without being pushy. Easy to understand the scheme, helpful brochure and a realistic price. The staff I contacted were polite and professional. Great value. An ideal alternative for those of us who don't want a lot of fuss."

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