Many people rely on deliveries, and hiring delivery drivers has become a top priority for any large or small business. However, is a delivery car, van, or truck considered a commercial vehicle or not?
As most people know, personal and commercial vehicles have different regulations and insurances. However, not many know what qualifies as a commercial vehicle and what doesn’t? In this article, we’ll explain what a commercial vehicle means and if a delivery car is considered to be a commercial vehicle or not. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
What Makes a Vehicle a Commercial Vehicle?
A broad definition of a commercial vehicle includes any vehicle that a driver used for commercial purposes, whether it’s owned by an individual or a company/corporation.
However, in the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed vehicle utilized for commerce and used to transport passengers or deliver goods. Moreover, all single or combination vehicles will be considered commercial trucks if they:
- Have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.
- Can transport more than 8 passengers at a time (driver included) for a charge.
- Can transport more than 15 passengers (driver included) without any compensation.
- Are used in transporting hazardous materials in amounts requiring a placard.
So, if you use your automobile to make money and it falls under any of the previous specifications, it’ll be considered a commercial vehicle under federal law. Accordingly, it must follow all the rules and regulations imposed by the FMCSA and those of the state it operates within.
However, if your vehicle is used for business but doesn’t fit the above specifications, it can still be called a commercial truck by others. However, it doesn’t have to follow the FMCSA regulations.
What Vehicles Are Classified as Commercial Vehicles?
- Pick-up Trucks
- Box trucks
- Commercial buses
- Fire trucks
- Municipal vehicles, such as garbage trucks
- Heavy equipment and construction vehicles
- Logging trucks
Are Delivery Cars Commercial Vehicles?
As previously mentioned, if a delivery car, van, or truck has a GVWR of 10,001 or more or is used to transport hazardous materials, regardless of its weight class, it’s a commercial motor vehicle according to the FMCSA.
However, suppose your vehicle is in a smaller weight class, and you only deliver food or other non-hazardous packages. In that case, it isn’t technically considered a commercial motor vehicle from a legal standpoint. Still, in the latter case, there are other implications you’ll have to consider.
Commercial Auto Insurance for Delivery Cars
In any state, all vehicles are required to have some insurance for liability coverage in case they’re involved in an accident. And commercial motor vehicles are no exception. However, there are two different insurance policies: personal and commercial. So, which one do you get for a delivery car?
This issue causes the most confusion for delivery car owners. If your delivery car doesn’t fall in the FMCSA’s required categories of a commercial motor vehicle, then you don’t have to get commercial auto insurance for said car, right?
Unfortunately, that’s incorrect. All drivers who use a company or personal vehicle for any business use are legally obligated to tell their insurance company that they’re using their cars for that purpose. Otherwise, they’ll be committing insurance fraud if they demand coverage if they cause bodily injury or property damage.
Also, delivery trucks and vans are more at risk of getting into accidents than regular cars. So, any insurance provider will require commercial auto insurance to cover the cost of any filed insurance claims.
Moreover, a personal policy can only cover accidents that happen when you’re driving your car for personal reasons. However, once that car is used for making deliveries, your personal auto policy won’t include such situations. Consequently, you’ll be stuck with astronomical repair and medical bills, as your personal car insurance company can legally refuse to cover the accident.
As for delivery drivers who use their personal vehicles, certain companies will require that the drivers have their insurance, and others will offer their drivers a commercial auto insurance policy. As such, you have to know what your employer will cover so that you can decide if you’ll need to get commercial auto insurance.
However, if you’re a large or small business owner and rely on employees for delivering your merchandise, you’ll most probably need to get commercial car insurance. I’ll protect your business from liability coverage if your delivery driver gets into an accident while delivering goods and doesn’t have the correct type of insurance.
Ultimately, commercial insurance is crucial for any delivery car owner who drives or hires employees to make the deliveries. Still, keep in mind that the price of a commercial policy may slightly differ from another, depending on several factors, such as vehicle model, driving history, and more.
All in all, a car is considered a commercial vehicle if it’s used for commerce and falls under the FMCSA specifications regarding the number of passengers, weight class, and type of goods transferred.
Also, if you own a delivery car or have a job driving such a car, your personal auto insurance coverage may not be effective if you get in an accident while on the job. That’s why you need to insure your delivery car, even if your vehicle isn’t considered a commercial motor vehicle, according to the FMCSA.