How To Insure Commercial Trucks 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 application process is the same for insuring a commercial truck for personal use, so it will feel familiar.

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UPDATED: May 20, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 20, 2022Fact Checked

Here's What You Need to Know

  • There are a number of commercial truck types available for purchase and private use
  • Liability coverage is always a good idea, and the minimum coverage you’ll need.
  • Some insurance providers may expand personal auto policies to your business vehicles.

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 begin insuring a commercial truck for personal use, which is basic car insurance coverage for a personal vehicle.

This must include liability auto insurance coverage but can also include comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and other typical types of coverage.

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 commercial car insurance rates for private use truck insurance today. Which commercial car insurance company is for you? Find out now.

Private Use Commercial 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 privately obtain commercial vehicle insurance? What if you end up using the vehicle for commercial use? Will your personal coverage apply?

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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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? According to LegalInfo.com, there are many common 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. Whether you need commercial insurance for a pickup truck, non-commercial box truck insurance, or bus insurance for personal use, our quote tool is the best place to start comparing insurance providers in your area.

Do I need commercial vehicle insurance coverage for my personal vehicle?

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 tow truck business.

Most people don’t need a personal tow truck (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 it for their own business, whether it is an existing one or a startup company.

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

Usually commercial truck insurance cost more 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. For example, insuring a semi-truck for personal use involves getting commercial insurance coverage.

Even though it’s more expensive, a commercial car insurance coverage option 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 auto coverages).

How do you insure a commercial vehicle for personal use?

If you are interested in insuring a commercial vehicle for personal 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.

The commercial truck insurance cost doesn’t need to break the bank. Generally, personal car insurance providers will cover personal vehicles if they are being used for business purposes.

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.

Before buying and insuring a commercial vehicle for personal use, you should call your insurance agent to discuss the commercial auto policy cost.

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. Keep reading to learn more about insuring a commercial vehicle for private use.

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Insuring Commercial Truck For Personal Use

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

How to Determine if You Need Commercial Car Insurance

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.

Also, they will get you what you’ll need given your specific circumstances, planned use for the vehicle, driving habits, etc. Here’s how an insurance company will look at your information:

Who owns and drives the vehicle?

If you, the individual, will be the only person to drive the commercial truck, then you’ll likely only need a personal car insurance policy.

How will the commercial vehicle be used?

If you plan the use the commercial truck for any type of business-related activities, then a commercial car insurance policy will be needed. Some insurance companies now have a “ridesharing” endorsement to help bring clarity to these scenarios.

Does the commercial truck have a higher liability limit required by law?

If the truck is so large that liability thresholds must be higher to cover potential damages then a commercial car insurance policy will be required. Commercial insurance coverages have higher limits than personal car insurance.

Does the commercial vehicle require commercial car insurance?

Certain commercial vehicles weigh too much and are too large to be covered by a personal car insurance policy. Most insurance companies require a commercial policy for any commercial vehicle that is heavier than an average large SUV.

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 cost for each type of vehicle 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 insure, 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 premiums.

The Bottom Line: Insuring Commercial Trucks for Personal Use

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 for your truck

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.

Are you ready to buy commercial car insurance? You can find affordable commercial car insurance right now for that old commercial truck by requesting commercial car insurance quotes online for free. Just enter your ZIP code to start.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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