What is pleasure driving for auto insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...
  • It’s illegal to drive any type of automobile without insurance
  • Vehicles you drive for the sheer pleasure of driving are referred to as “Sunday driving”
  • You can reduce annual mileage by taking the bus, train, or becoming part of a carpool

If you have a car you only drive on special occasions, it may classify under “pleasure driving” for car insurance purposes. In social circles, it may be called “Sunday driving.” You may be able to save on your premiums if you are a Sunday driver.

In all states, it is mandatory to register and carry insurance coverage on all vehicles. In Virginia if you can not afford car insurance, you may opt to pay an uninsured motorist fee.

The down side to that option is if you are involved in an accident, you are 100% financially responsible for the damages and injuries.

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How do car insurance carriers calculate “pleasure driving”?

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Pleasure driving means that you drive your car or vehicle mostly for reasons related to fun or pleasure, with minimal driving for business or commuting.

Or you might use your vehicle to mostly drive locally, such as a stay-at-home parent driving the kids back and forth to various back-to-school activities.

There are different driver classifications car insurance companies use to calculate your insurance rate.

  • Your agent may ask you if you drive your car back and forth to work first. If you answer yes, they may ask how far.
  • If you drive less than 25 miles one way depending on where you live, you may be classified in the second driver category.
  • The third driver category drives back and forth to work regularly with no mileage restrictions.

The first category is the driver who places less than 7,500, 15,000, or 25,000 miles on their car per year, again depending on location.

Driver one is the pleasure driver, although there may be times when it is necessary to use your car for work or other appointments. The insurance company can distinguish whether you are commuting to work regularly or on occasion.

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How do car insurance companies distinguish “pleasure driving” from regular driving?

You may be thinking it’s impossible for your insurance company to distinguish whether you are driving your car regularly or not. They are in the position to request a reading of your odometer to compare to your initial reading if necessary.

They will make this request only if they suspect you may be violating your driver status. Commuting driving means that you drive your vehicle mostly to work or school and back home.

Business driving, also known as commercial driving, refers to using your vehicle for purposes related to business activities. These activities may include delivery and service calls, sales, or other work-related activities.

If you live on the bus line or take the train to work, this may be the reason you rarely drive your car. If there is a time when you need to deviate from your normal mode and drive your car for more than a few days, it may be a good idea to advise your insurance company.

If you happen to have an accident way a couple of days of having to take your car, it should not pose a problem for your claim. You may have to explain in writing why you deviated from your normal routine. If your insurance carrier insures a specialty car for you, your situation is going to be different.

Are car insurance rates lower if you use your car primarily for pleasure driving?

If you drive your vehicle a minimum amount of miles, you will usually be rewarded by car insurance companies with low mileage rates. This is because most insurance companies will charge you less for car insurance if you mainly use your car for pleasure.

Car insurance companies vary as to how they define pleasure driving but some say it is if you travel three miles or less each way.

According to the Consumer Federation of America, drivers can save up to 10 percent on their car insurance rates just by driving less every year. To find out more, visit the Consumer Federation’s website.

If you drive your car only for pleasure purposes, you drive a lot less, and your chances of receiving a ticket for a traffic violation or getting in an accident are a lot lower. This saves the insurance companies money, so your rates are usually lower.

Why do you pay cheaper rates for car insurance if you drive less?

One of the biggest considerations that insurance companies make in regards to car insurance rates is how high of a risk you are. If you are considered to be in a higher risk category you will end up paying more for your car insurance.

One of the risk factors is how many miles you spend in your car. The more miles you drive, the more you are on the road, and this means that there is a higher chance that you will be in an accident.

If you drive your car only for pleasure purposes, you drive a lot less and your chances of receiving a ticket for a traffic violation or getting in an accident are a lot lower. This saves the insurance companies money, so your rates are usually lower.

Often insurance companies will base your insurance rate on the amount of miles you drive on an annual basis. This might mean that, if you drive less than 10,000 miles in a year, your rates will be lower.

Some insurance companies will even give you a discount if you drive less than 12,000 or 15,000 miles on an annual basis.

Because the annual mileage discounts vary from company to company, make sure you ask each insurance company what their guidelines are for annual mileage and insurance rates. For more information about insurance guidelines you can go to the website of the Insurance Information Institute.

Does my hot rod, or race car qualify for “pleasure driving” rates?

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Your hot rod or race car may qualify for “pleasure driving” rates if it falls under classic car status. If your car uses high-performance fuels and is used for racing, it will not qualify as a classic.

If it is used daily, it will not qualify as a classic. Classic car owners are very particular about their vehicles and will probably not abuse it in any way.

To be sure classics qualify under the category, they must meet certain criteria. A few are:

  • You must have an alternate car for everyday driving
  • You agree to limit your usage to driving to events, club functions, and on special occasions.
  • You have a clean driving record
  • You must have a protective, locked storage facility for your classic vehicle

How the car is stored, driven, and maintained are the three factors that help determine how much specialty insurance you need. This is in addition to the established value of course.

Are there other ways to save on insurance for the car used for “pleasure driving”?

If your car does qualify as a classic, you may have established a value also. This is one of the first discussions you want to have with your insurer.

Most specialty cars like such as classics, hot rods, and muscle cars would not be fully insured under a standard policy.

Specialty car insurance carriers know the business of classics and other vehicles listed. Most policies of this nature have padded collision and comprehensive insurance just in case.

How can I lower my yearly mileage?

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If you currently drive your car a lot and want to get lower insurance rates by switching to pleasure driving, there are a couple of ways to do so.

If you drive your car mostly for commuting, you can find other ways to get to work. Instead of driving your car five days a week to work, try driving only one or two days.

Research your community and find out what types of mass transit are offered.

You may choose to take the bus to work or perhaps your city has a subway or train system. You may also carpool with people in your neighborhood or co-workers.

If you find four other people who would like to carpool with you, you can each drive one day a week. This would help lower the miles you drive each week and result in lower insurance rates.

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