What Is Considered a Commercial Vehicle?

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Learning About a Commercial Vehicle in San Diego, CA

When it comes to commercial vehicles, most people think of large box trucks, delivery vans, and other large service vehicles such as construction vehicles. Many of these vehicles require a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) to drive. When it comes to insurance, the definition of a commercial vehicle is much broader than what most people think of and covers more than just the vehicles that require a CDL to operate.

Commercial Vehicles as Defined by the Insurance Industry

If you’ve ever read through your personal auto insurance policy, you may have noticed a few broad and somewhat ambiguous exclusions in your policy. Mixed in with the obvious exclusions, such as using the car for street racing or illegal activity or intentionally damaging your vehicle, two exclusions specifically stand out that may seem a bit out of place:

  • A vehicle being used for “livery conveyance” 
  • A vehicle used to engage in business other than farming or ranching

These two exclusions are examples of what insurance companies would qualify as commercial vehicles. According to the auto insurance industry, any vehicle used regularly for the purposes of business (aside from farming and ranching, as mentioned above) would be considered a commercial vehicle. If you use your personal vehicle to deliver pizzas or distribute goods, it would be considered a commercial vehicle by your insurance company.

Vehicles Used for Rideshare Services

If you work for a rideshare service such as Uber, your vehicle is considered a commercial vehicle as long as you’re providing a livery service. This is essentially from the time you get a pickup request from a client until the time you drop him or her off at the destination. If you’re in an accident while providing a rideshare service, your personal insurance policy will likely deny coverage for the accident due to the livery service exclusion. Thankfully, many companies such as Uber offer commercial insurance to their contractors, providing basic liability and collision coverage while you’re on the clock. If you’re not using your vehicle to conduct business for the rideshare company at the time of the accident, you’re free to file under your own personal policy, as it wouldn’t fall under the livery service exclusion.

Other Qualifications

There are a few other qualifications that would label a vehicle as a commercial vehicle. These qualifications are more general and don’t exclusively apply to insurance. They include:

  • Vehicles over a certain weight class—usually anything more than 26,000 pounds
  • Vehicles belonging to corporations and not owned by individuals
  • Vehicles leased in the names of the financial institutions that own them
  • Any vehicles transporting biological hazards
  • Taxis and other livery vehicles, such as buses
  • Heavy equipment for mining or construction
  • Travel trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds

If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle would fall into the commercial vehicle classification, make sure to call your insurance agent so you don’t encounter any unwelcome surprises. For the highest quality in auto, motorcycle, homeowners, and renters insurance, San Diego residents rely on the experienced team from Altra Insurance Services. Give one of our friendly agents a call today at 619-474-6666.

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