Insuring Commercial Truck For Personal Use

If you buy a used commercial truck for private use, you’ll need to purchase at least minimum liability coverage of private use truck insurance. The car insurance application process is the same for a commercial truck for personal use.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

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UPDATED: Jun 26, 2020

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Purchasing Commercial Trucks for Private Use
SummaryFrom the Experts...
On average, Ford F-150s cost 2.48% more to ensure than Toyota RAV4sQuadrant Information Services
On average, Ford F-150s cost 2.83% less to ensure than Honda Civic SedansQuadrant Information Services
A personal insurance policy won't cover your vehicle if you're using it for business purposesInsurance Information Institute
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While commercial trucks are valuable assets for a business, once a truck is too old, has too much mileage, or is out-dated for the business need, it may be sold to the general public for private use.

If you purchase a commercial truck for personal use, you’ll need to purchase private use truck insurance, which is basic car insurance coverage for a personal vehicle. This must include liability coverage but can also include comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and other typical coverage types.

The car insurance application process is the same for a commercial use truck as it is for any other motor vehicle; however, depending on the intended use of your new truck you may need special insurance for it.

Be sure to enter your ZIP code  to begin comparing rates for private use truck insurance today.

Private Use Truck Insurance

We know finding information about car insurance can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to insure something out-of-the-norm, like a formerly commercial vehicle. What kind of commercial vehicle can be purchased for personal use? Can you insure a commercial vehicle privately? What if you end up using the vehicle for commercial use? Will your personal coverage apply? Keep reading to find the answers to these and other questions regarding private use truck insurance.

What kinds of commercial trucks can be used for private use?

What is considered a commercial vehicle? As defined by LegalInfo.com, tThere are many types of commercial trucks used across a variety of businesses. Some commercial trucks can be purchased brand new and ready to roll, while other trucks are bought as chassis cabs that will need extra bodies or equipment added.

Can you own a tow truck for personal use? Some trucks are harder to reuse for private use, such as a dump truck or a refrigerator truck, though not impossible. For example, a farmer may buy a used dump truck for personal use, in which case they’ll need dump truck insurance coverage. But more common commercial trucks that are sold for private use include:

  • Tow trucks
  • Pickup trucks
  • Flatbed trucks
  • Cargo vans

Regardless of the vehicle you purchase, you’ll need car insurance coverage.

Do I need commercial coverage for my truck?

If you buy an old commercial truck for private use then you will need to buy private car insurance for it, as described in the section below.

However, in some cases you might buy a used commercial truck with the purpose of reusing it for your own business. Tow trucks (also sometimes referred to as recovery trucks) are a good example of a resale truck that can be reused in someone else’s business. Most people don’t need a tow truck for personal use (though if you do, you can purchase a private use recovery truck insurance policy as a part of typical personal insurance coverage) .

Usually, a person who buys the tow truck intends to use the tow truck for his own business, whether it is an existing one or a startup company.

In this case, the new owner of the commercial truck will need to purchase commercial truck insurance, specifically a commercial vehicle insurance policy, for it. Not every insurance carrier sells commercial insurance, so you will need to find an agent that can provide you with the proper commercial or business liability insurance.

Commercial insurance is usually more expensive than private insurance and it provides less coverage at a higher rate. This is because a commercial truck is assumed to have a higher claim risk than a truck that is used privately.

Even though it’s more expensive, commercial car insurance is important under certain circumstances. Why? If you only buy private car insurance for a truck that is also used commercially and you have an accident you will not be covered by your insurance policy. Essentially, the business use of your personal vehicle requires car insurance for business use (i.e. a commercial policy).

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How do you insure a commercial vehicle for personal use?

If you buy a commercial truck for private use, then you can buy regular car insurance for it. One of the most common examples of a formerly commercial vehicle being purchased for private use is a cargo van or other type of industrial van or truck.

Often, people will buy an old commercial truck because it can be cheaper to purchase from a company than a used truck from a dealer, and most commercial trucks are well maintained.

Provided you are not using the commercial truck for commercial purposes, you can simply insure it with standard car insurance that meets at least the minimum liability requirements set by the state in which it is registered. Take a look at this video to learn more about liability insurance.

Before buying a commercial vehicle for personal use, you should call your insurance agent and find out how much it will cost to insure it. If you already have car insurance, you should call your agent to confirm whether or not the new car will be covered for the drive home before it is officially listed on your policy.

If you are certain you are going to buy the truck, you should purchase the insurance for it before you pick it up just to be sure you are covered.

Commercial trucks for private use are sometimes cheaper to insure than regular cars. Usually, cargo vans are very basic models that are not designed to carry passengers in the back, so the insurance for them is nominal. Also, if you are buying a used truck, it is probably an older model and older trucks are usually less expensive to insure because they have a lower cash value.

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Buying Private Use Truck Insurance

Prior to buying private car insurance for your old commercial truck, you should conduct car insurance comparison for rates to see what is offered by different providers. This will help you determine who can provide you with the best deal.

What kind of insurance coverage should you look for?

When you’re looking for private use truck insurance (or any personal car insurance coverage), you want:

  • The maximum coverage you need
  • The lowest price possible
  • A carrier that is reputable

One way to find the coverage you need is to check with a licensed insurer. They can guide you in the right direction for purchasing the appropriate level of coverage to ensure you meet the legal requirements for your state as well as what you’ll need given your specific circumstances, planned use for the vehicle, driving habits, etc.

Are trucks expensive to insure?

Trucks sometimes do cost more to insure than some smaller SUVs, which you can see in the Quadrant data summarized in this table.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates for Different Vehicle Types by Insurance Company
Vehicle Make and ModelAverage
USAA Rates
Average
Geico Rates
Average
State Farm Rates
Average
American Family Rates
Average
Nationwide Rates
Average
Progressive Rates
Average
Travelers Rates
Average
Farmers Rates
Average
Allstate Rates
Averate
Liberty Mutual Rates
2015 Honda Civic Sedan: X w/ 2.0L 4cyl and CVT$2,409.67$3,092.58$3,024.24$3,178.82$3,547.84$4,429.56$4,420.37$4,405.21$4,753.69$5,869.32
2018 Honda Civic
Sedan: LX w/ 2.0L 4cyl and CVT
$2,422.66$3,338.87$3,189.99$3,721.32$3,361.93$4,528.90$4,661.22$4,779.51$5,380.28$6,682.63
2015 Toyota RAV4: XLE$2,454.58$3,090.89$3,226.02$3,326.18$3,517.03$3,647.22$4,383.78$3,728.22$4,324.99$5,825.33
2018 Toyota RAV4: XLE$2,529.63$3,337.18$3,418.33$3,496.99$3,328.57$3,730.78$4,708.19$3,769.00$4,947.90$6,244.44
2015 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab w/ 2WD 6.5 foot bed and 2.7L V6$2,551.56$3,092.11$3,204.23$3,447.30$3,571.01$3,914.05$4,023.47$4,093.50$4,429.74$5,830.16
2018 Ford F-150: Lariat SuperCab w/ 2WD 6.5 foot bed and 2.7L V6$2,855.69$3,338.40$3,497.17$3,487.91$3,373.64$3,962.58$4,412.42$4,390.19$5,491.12$5,988.85
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As the data indicates, though it varies depending on the company and the difference may not be significant, a Ford F-150 typically costs less to insure than a Honda Civic Sedan, while insurance rates are higher for the F-150 than for a Toyota RAV4. This is especially true for newer vehicles. We calculated the average rates for each vehicle type and compared the percent difference:

  • 2015 Honda Civic Sedan: 2.55 percent higher rates than rates for the 2015 Ford F-150
  • 2015 Toyota RAV4: 1.69 percent lower rates than rates for the 2015 Ford F-150
  • 2018 Honda Civic Sedan: 3.11 percent higher rates than rates for the 2018 Ford F-150
  • 2018 Toyota RAV4: 3.26 percent lower rates than rates for the 2018 Ford F-150

As we noted earlier (and is indicated by this data as well), older models cost less to ensure, so depending on the age and value of the used truck you are looking to ensure, the cost may be less. However, it’s important to keep in mind that your personal rates will also be affected by your age, driving record, where you live, and other factors that affect insurance rates.

The Bottom Line for Private Use Truck Insurance

To summarize,

  • There are a number of commercial truck types available for purchase and private use
  • You should talk to your insurance company prior to purchase to make sure your policy will cover your truck
  • If you’re purchasing a used commercial truck for continued commercial use, your car insurance will be higher than if you used the vehicle privately, and you’ll need commercial coverage

Regardless of how you plan to use your new-to-you truck, it will need to be insured. Speak with a licensed insurance agent to find out the best coverage type and mix for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions: Private Use Truck Insurance

Still have questions about private use truck insurance? Take a few moments and read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

Does commercial car insurance cover personal use?

It depends. If the vehicle is company-owned, covered by a commercial insurance policy, and is incidentally used for personal, rather than commercial, transportation, then the commercial coverage will apply.

However, if you have a vehicle you personally own and use, but also use for commercial purposes, you’ll typically need to add commercial coverage to your personal policy.  Speak to your insurance agent to find out the specific requirements under your insurer.

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What is the difference between personal and commercial insurance?

Personal car insurance policies cover your personal use of a vehicle and often specifically exclude coverage for when you’re using your vehicle for business reasons.

Commercial coverage is applied to vehicles used for commercial or business purposes. Usually the coverage limits are much higher than for personal insurance policies, and businesses typically purchase commercial policies for company vehicles.

When do I need commercial delivery insurance?

If you use your personal vehicle for business deliveries (examples include food delivery, ridesharing, and package delivery services), you’ll likely need a commercial delivery or business insurance policy in addition to your personal coverage.

Personal car insurance policies typically don’t cover your vehicle if you’re using it for business reasons, so you’ll need the extra coverage if you want financial protection for any incidents that occur when you’re using your vehicle for business reasons.

Is commercial insurance for company vehicles required?

Yes. All vehicles on the road must be insured to at least the minimum coverage requirements defined by the state in which they’re registered. This means company vehicles must be insured, and commercial insurance is necessary if they’re not personally owned.

Is a CDL required for personal use?

A CDL is a commercial vehicle license and is not required for personal-use vehicles. However, based upon the weight and/or size of the truck, you may need a class A non-commercial license. Check with your state DMV to be sure.

You can find out what your insurance rate will be right now for that old commercial truck by requesting car insurance quotes online for free. Just enter your ZIP code to start!

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