Often there is confusion surrounding whether a vehicle should have a ‘Private Passenger’ or ‘Commercial’ Plate and then whether that plate type impacts the insurance policy – a personal or business policy.
Please read futher to assure that you have the appropriate plate on your vehicle – if not, please contact us to discuss the steps needed to obtain the correct plate type. This is important as you can be stopped and fined by the police for having the incorrect plates on your vehicle.
What Vehicles Can Have a Private Passenger Plate?
If your vehicle meets the following guidelines, it is eligible for a ‘Private Passenger’ registration/plate:
- Has a manufacturer defined vehicle weight of 6000 pounds or less
- Pickup truck or cargo van that is 1/2, 3/4, or 1 ton
- If a pickup truck or cargo van, must be registered or leased to an individual and used exclusively for personal, recreational, or commuting purposes
- No lettering
What Vehicles Need a Commercial Plate?
The following vehicles warrant a “Commercial” registration/plate:
- Have a manufacturer defined vehicle weight over 6000 pounds
- Have 5 or more wheels on the ground
- Any pickup truck or cargo van owned by a partnership, trust, or corporation unless meets the definition of private passenger vehicle above
- Any pickup truck or cargo van if tools, supplies, materials, or equipment are transported to or from a job site on the vehicle bed, roof, or sides
- Lettering – either magnetic or permanent
How Does the Plate Type Impact the Insurance?
If you have a ‘Private Passenger’ registration/plate, it does not guarantee that you qualify for a ‘Personal Auto’ policy. Similarly, if you have a ‘Commercial’ registration/plate, it does not mean you must have a ‘Business Auto’.
Business vehicles that are purchased, titled, and registered in the name of individual(s) must be insured on a personal auto policy regardless of the plate type, if the use and vehicle meet the ‘Personal Auto’ guidelines such as:
- Used fully for recreational purposes
- Have a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 or less
- Used in business only for sales calls
- Used to transport tools and materials to/from job sites. The material transported must planned to be installed by the business and not just a delivery.
For trust and corporations (including LLC’s), vehicles will always be insured on a ‘Business Auto’.
Commercial insurance companies are becoming more rigid in adhering to the State rules and not allowing vehicles to be insured on a ‘Business Auto’ when it qualifies for a ‘Personal Auto’ policy. This is a decision outside of the control of an insurance agent.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your specific situation to assure you have both the correct plate type and insurance policy.