What Makes a Pickup Truck a Commercial Vehicle?
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Why Would a Pickup Truck Be Considered a Commercial Vehicle?

By 8  am on

Why Would a Pickup Truck Be Considered a Commercial Vehicle?


Even though pickup trucks aren’t big-rig buses or 18-wheelers, some states like California consider these trucks commercial vehicles. In actuality, the combination of the weight rating and gross vehicle weight can define a commercial vehicle, not just the latter. The type of transportation the pickup truck provides is also one of the main reasons for this classification, along with the other criteria mentioned below. Here’s what you need to know about the classification of pickup trucks, especially when it comes to what kind of auto insurance coverage you’ll need.

The Purpose

When you see garbage trucks, delivery vans, or semi trucks, you almost always know these vehicles are used to transport goods or perform services. Therefore, you know a commercial vehicle when it appears. The truck is owned by a business or leased and operated for work purposes. The intended use for the pickup is what makes it commercial or not. Some are considered commercial because they’re driven for profit.

The size of pickups is why most people don’t automatically classify them as commercial vehicles. Ultimately, the truck’s use can determine how it’s classified. For example, even a small pickup can be a commercial vehicle transporting rocks, plants, and other landscaping products.

State & Federal Regulations

Every state has its own policies when it comes to commercial vehicles. Some states, such as Florida, will classify a truck as a commercial vehicle based on its weight and number of axles. However, states like California can label a pickup truck a commercial vehicle based on its weight rating and gross vehicle weight. Other requirements include reasons for operation, such as the transportation of property or people for hire. Federal law typically considers the truck’s weight and whether it’s used on the highway for interstate commerce when determining if it’s a commercial vehicle.

Personal Use

Some business owners start small and have one pickup they need to use for business-related activities and personal errands. Of course you’re entitled to do this, but there are regulations to follow. It’s best to record driving time for commercial and personal use. However, it’s only considered personal use when the vehicle is relieved from work-related driving and all responsibilities of the drivers are completed for the day. When it comes to filing taxes and complying with other federal regulations, a pickup is considered a vehicle for personal use unless you can share documents detailing the business use of the truck.


It’s vital to purchase the correct insurance for your truck. Some drivers select personal insurance plans because they use their pickups for both personal and commercial reasons. Although you can utilize your vehicle how you like, commercial coverage is necessary for various reasons. For instance, an individual plan typically covers one vehicle and the people who drive it. However, a commercial policy generally covers an entire business, including numerous drivers and different vehicles, including trucks. Therefore, always speak with an insurance provider to ensure you’re protecting your pickups and your business. 

If you aren’t sure whether your pickup 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 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 (800) 719-9972.

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