Skip to main content

Pickup trucks can be a confusing segment. We call your Ford F-150 and a two-trailer semi-trucks both “trucks.” Heavy-duty models like the Ford F-550 or a Ram 3,500 can be tagged normally, but I think we can all agree that they fall into a different category. With all this in mind, do we consider trucks as commercial vehicles? 

Red heavy-duty Ford truck towing a tractor on a trailer.
2021 F-Series Super Duty | Ford Motor Company

What is a commercial vehicle? 

As Auto Insurance Discounter says, “commercial vehicles are vehicles that transport goods or passengers for profit.” This typically means vehicles like semi-trucks, dump trucks, garbage trucks, delivery trucks or vans, etc. You almost always know a commercial vehicle when you see one. For one thing, they are overwhelmingly truck-based, although vans are a close second. 

While trucks are the most common form of commercial vehicle, all a vehicle has to do to be considered commercial is be owned or leased by the business, or they can be a personal vehicle that is primarily used for work purposes (i.e., a pizza delivery scooter or a car you use for Uber).

Are pickup trucks commercial vehicles? 

Low-speed truck
Small low-speed fish truck | Getty

The intended use of a vehicle has a major impact on whether it’s considered commercial. Most pickup trucks roaming the streets of our world are not automatically considered commercial vehicles. However, any vehicle that weighs over 26,000 lbs in many states is automatically considered a commercial vehicle. 

Other cases of this automatic delegation are if the vehicle is driven for profit, designed to carry 16 passengers or more, or transport hazardous materials. For pickup trucks, this almost always comes down to how the vehicle is used. A truck as small as a Ford Ranger would be required to register as commercial if it were mostly used to mulch for a landscaping company, despite its size. 

Are commercial vehicles treated differently than passenger vehicles? 

In most states, special plates and commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) are required for any vehicle over a certain size and weight. There is also special commercial vehicle insurance that you must have to operate a vehicle for work. 

This is because these types of trucks and vans are often more difficult to drive and require more skill, risk, and experience. As a result, regular car insurance won’t cover any damage involving a commercial vehicle becuase the risks are much higher for accidents. 

Can you use commercial vehicle insurance on a personal vehicle? 

the ford f-250 pulling a huge trailer
2021 F-Series Super Duty | Ford

Many people who use trucks for work will often use the same pickup truck in their personal life. In these cases, you can have a personal insurance plan added to your existing commercial vehicle insurance plan. This saves drivers from keeping up with multiple insurance policies and paperwork. 

Pickup trucks are the most utilitarian and practical vehicles on the road. The fact that you can drive your truck to work, use it all day, drive it home, and then bust a road trip to go fishing all in the same vehicle makes it hard to deny the pickup truck as the Swiss Army Knife of the automotive world.


A Seasoned Truck Driver Opened Up About the Severe Health Problems That Come With the Job: ‘You Can’t Truly Fathom What It’s Done to You’