Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Aug 11, 2021

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Key takeaways...

  • If you own a pickup truck, you’re required under state law to buy a minimum amount of insurance on the truck
  • Personal car insurance is designed to provide protection for personal cars, vans, and pickup trucks
  • The size of your truck, length of the truck bed, engine displacement, and model will all affect your rates
  • If you have permanently installed modifications in your truck, check to see if you need to add them to your insurance
  • Be sure you comply with insurance requirements under your financing contract if you have a truck loan

If you’re more of a truck person than a car person, you’ll be happier to hear that car insurance costs are typically higher for smaller cars as opposed to larger trucks and SUVs.

The actual cost of coverage can vary from person to person truck to truck but contrary to common misconceptions that trucks are expensive when it comes to insurance, on average a truck costs 14 percent less to insure than a standard car.

A truck isn’t classified as a car but it still may be eligible for coverage under a personal car insurance plan. As long as you’re using the pickup as a personal vehicle and not a commercial vehicle, you’ll find a standard plan that will work for you.

Find car insurance that’s right for you. Enter your zip code above and begin comparing car insurance rates.

As you shop for pickup truck insurance, here’s what you need to know to build the right plan:

Why does car insurance cover trucks?


You don’t usually see companies advertising truck insurance unless the company specializes in commercial coverage. That’s because a car insurance plan actually covers more than just compact, standard, and full-size cars.

If you were to look over an auto insurance contract, you’d find that the contract will cover a few types of vehicles. In the Covered Autos section of a Personal Auto Policy, it says that the following types of motor vehicles and autos are covered:

  • Private passenger auto
  • Pickup
  • Van
  • Trailer under 10,000 pounds

You can’t cover just any type of truck under your personal car insurance.

The truck can’t exceed a weight limit or have too many axles or it must be covered under a commercial plan. You also have to protect a business-owned truck under business insurance and not personal insurance.

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How does the type of truck affect your rates?

One huge factor that helps determine your rates is what type of vehicle you’re driving. Not only does the company need to know you’re driving a pickup, they also need to know specific details about the truck.

Every little detail is used to assess risk and how likely a car is to be exposed to a high-cost claim.

The year, make, and model of your pickup will be reviewed to assign an ISO classification code to the truck. The classification code contains a lot of information on the truck that’s used in rate calculations. Some of the most important information includes:

  • The size of the vehicle (larger cars don’t always carry larger premiums)
  • The truck’s engine displacement (larger engine displacements can lead to higher rates for smaller trucks)
  • The average cost of repairs for the truck after a loss
  • The average cost of replacement parts for the make and model
  • How often individuals who own the truck are involved in accidents
  • How often the specific model is vandalized or stolen

What happens if you have modified your truck?


If you decide to modify your truck or install aftermarket equipment to your truck, don’t keep this information to yourself.

Your auto insurance carrier doesn’t automatically cover additions to your truck and some modifications can disqualify you from buying standard coverage.

Your truck might be worth $15,000, but if you include the value of your modifications it could bump up the value of the car to $20,000. Some cosmetic modifications or permanent installations will be covered as long as you notify the insurer.

If you have a showroom paint job, custom parts, or installations, you need to list each customization and cover it for a stated amount.

Otherwise, you could run into a problem where the insurer decides it will only pay as much as it wants to pay for post-loss repairs.

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How does usage affect your personal car insurance?

You’re not allowed to drive your truck for commercial purposes or you should buy yourself a commercial truck policy.

If you have carpet cleaning equipment, auto repair machinery, plumbing equipment, or another type of commercial equipment installed in your truck, you can’t buy a personal policy or your claims will be denied.

Not only does it matter what type of equipment is installed in your truck, it matters how you’re using your pickup.

You can commute to and from work and drive to and from school, but you can’t drive the truck to deliver goods or to transport people from one point to another for hire. There’s a fine line between a personal truck and a business truck.

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Does a commercial truck policy provide other types of coverage?


If you own a business and you’re using your truck, having a commercial plan in place will provide you with more protection for your business finances. Some of the types of coverage that you can purchase on your business pickup truck include:

  • Business Liability Coverage
  • Physical Damage Coverage for the truck and permanently installed equipment
  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Coverage for passengers if they are injured while being transported

How can you save money on auto insurance for your truck?

Many auto insurance companies offer discounts to help you save money. These might include a multi-year discount for staying loyal to one company, or a multi-policy discount for bundling your auto insurance with homeowners insurance. For example, being a member of AARP will net you hundreds of discounts, some of them on insurance. There’s also the AARP car-buying service and the AARP driver safety program, which are considered to be driver benefits. The AARP programs are just a few examples of what can be offered when you’re looking to get the most for your money. When you get a quote from an auto insurance company, make sure to ask about any extra discounts and additional benefits you might be entitled to, like the ones that AARP offers.

What type of personal coverage do you need on your personal truck?

If your truck qualifies for standard auto insurance, you can buy the same type of coverage that you purchase on any type of personal car. You have to purchase liability coverage but you can also add some other optional coverage that’s not mandatory under state law.

Some coverage you can add includes:

  • Medical Payments Coverage
  • Personal Injury Protection (in no-fault states)
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Rental Car
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance

If you’re going to buy a pickup, make sure that you get auto insurance quotes first to see which models have the best rates and give you the best extra benefits. And when you’re looking into quotes, check to see if companies offer any incentives, such as discounts for defensive driving courses.

Use our comparison shopping tool online, enter pickup information, select coverage options, and then choose the best carrier and coverage combination.


  1. http://thismatter.com/money/insurance/types/auto-insurance.htm
  2. http://business.time.com/2012/02/13/oh-the-cruel-irony-smaller-cheaper-cars-are-more-expensive-to-insure/
  3. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/auto-insurance
  4. https://www.independentagent.com/Education/VU/SiteAssets/Documents/ISO/PP/PP00010105.pdf
  5. https://www.verisk.com/iso/faq/iso-s-symbols-for-individual-makes-and-models-of-cars.html
  6. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/automobiles/11INSURE.html
  7. https://www.business.com/business-insurance/knowing-when-you-need-commercial-auto-insurance/
  8. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/commercial-truck-insurance-work-40548.html