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What Is a Funeral Procession?


Planning a funeral for yourself or a loved one involves many intricate details that you may have never considered. For instance, the funeral procession is one detail that many people don’t think about until the time has come to plan a funeral. Follow along as we discuss this important aspect of a funeral.

What Is a Funeral Procession?

A funeral procession is a way to pay respects to the deceased in an orderly and somber way. It serves as a tribute to the deceased and a way to involve the community in the act of saying goodbye to a loved one. If you’ve ever driven down the highway and seen a long line of cars driving slowly with their headlights on, you’ve probably seen a funeral procession.

The line of cars follows the hearse, which is the car that carries the body to the cemetery.

Funeral processions are not a new phenomenon – they’ve been occurring one way or another for centuries. For example, in ancient Greece, just before dawn, the deceased would be placed on a bier and carried by family members or, sometimes, paid pallbearers. This was known as an Ekphora.

In India, the male family members acted as pallbearers and carried the deceased from the house to the hearse and then from the hearse to the crematorium. And the ancient Egyptian custom was called a kher-heb. They would place the deceased on a sled pulled by some of the men attending the funeral or by oxen. The procession that followed them was made up of family, servants, and paid mourners.

So, when wondering, “What is the order of a funeral procession,” this is how it typically goes:

  • The first car is a black sedan that carries the funeral directors
  • The next car is the hearse that carries the deceased
  • Immediate family follows the hearse in limousines
  • Other family, as well as friends and family of the deceased, follow the limousines in their own cars.

The drivers of all the cars turn on their headlights. In addition, some, or all of the cars (depending on how long the funeral procession is) will have a yellow flag on the left front portion of the car that displays the word, “Funeral.” The headlights and flags are to alert other drivers that the cars in the procession have the right-of-way.

How Do I Plan for a Funeral Procession?

Designing the ideal funeral procession takes some planning. If you are using a funeral director, they will help you stage and plan the procession, but if you haven’t engaged the services of a funeral home, you will need to organize it yourself. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure your procession is arranged properly.

  • Ask the participants to arrive at the starting point early so they can all park in the same place. This will allow for a quick and orderly start to the procession. If you’re not using a funeral home, arrange for everyone to meet at the same location at a certain time.
  • Tell all the participants the order of the cars. You can also create a flyer or diagram showing what order the cars should drive in.
  • Make it clear that speed limits should not exceed 30-50 miles per hour, depending on what type of roadway you will be traveling on.
  • Instruct all drivers to turn on their headlights when driving. The lead and end cars will also have their hazard lights on.
  • Designate someone to attach the funeral flags, stickers, or magnets to cars. If the procession is slow, each car can carry one, but if it is long, you can place one on every other car or even every third car. If you use a funeral home, they will do this for you.
  • Instruct the drivers that they should drive closely (but safely) behind the car in front of them. They should not allow other cars that are not participating in the procession to enter the line.
  • Once at the cemetery, all cars in the procession should park single file along the drive to prevent any traffic jams.

How Much Does a Funeral Cost and Is Assistance Available?

The costs of funerals continue to rise. According to the National Association of Funeral Director’s latest report in 2021, the national medium cost of a funeral with burial and a vault runs $9,420. That’s a 6% increase from the previous five years.

Of course, the amount you pay will depend on what type of funeral you have. If you want an elaborate flower arrangementor an additional memorial service, that price will rise.

Luckily, there are some ways to get funeral assistance to help pay for the rising costs. For instance, The Social Security Administration gives qualifying children or spouses a one-time payment of $255 to help with the cost of burying a loved one.

Some cities and states offer funeral assistance as well. Each jurisdiction is different and offers varying amounts – along with different ways to qualify for the help. Contact your local municipality to learn about the help available in your area.

Can I Use Final Expense Insurance to Fund a Funeral Procession as Part of My Arrangements?

The short answer is: Yes, you can use the proceeds from a final expense insurance policy to help pay for a funeral procession.

Final expense insurance policies, also known as funeral insurance or burial insurance, are designed to help with the final expenses of the deceased. How you (or your loved ones) use the proceeds is entirely up to you (or them). For instance, many people use a portion of the proceeds to pay for a funeral, including the funeral procession, and the remainder of the funds to pay for any outstanding debt.

The policies typically have a face value of about $20,000, which is plenty to cover a funeral and any outstanding debt, and the beneficiaries may even get a small cash payout.

How To Get More Information

If you want to learn more about paying for a funeral with final expense insurance, talk to a trusted funeral insurance provider: Lincoln Heritage. You can get a free quote based on your age and sex by filling out a simple form.