What Is the Difference Between a Commuter and a Pleasure Vehicle?

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Insuring a pleasure vehicle can be cheaper to insure than a daily commuter, though some insurance providers will not differentiate between the two uses. The reason for the possible price difference is that commuter vehicles generally rack up more mileage and sit in more traffic and as a result, are more likely to get involved in a collision.

Find out how coverage works for commute versus pleasure cars, alternative vehicle designations and how to get the best possible coverage regardless of usage.

Key Takeaways

  • In insurance, commute use refers to a vehicle that is driven regularly to get to and from work or school.
  • In contrast, pleasure vehicles are used once or twice a week, often for short drives such as to the grocery store or pharmacy.
  • You could face insurance fraud charges, fines, jail time and/or license suspension for insuring a daily commuter as a pleasure vehicle as a way to get a lower rate.
  • The price difference for auto insurance for pleasure versus commute-use can be nearly $100.

What Is the Difference Between a Commuter Car and a Pleasure Use Vehicle?

A commuter car refers to a vehicle used for regular use, such as driving to and from work or school every day. Pleasure use is characterized as driving your vehicle for occasional use that is not job or school-related. An example of this would be going out on that date night or grocery shopping once or twice a week.

How Does Vehicle Use Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?

Insurance companies want to know whether your vehicle is a daily commuter or a daily vehicle because it is a risk indicator used when calculating your car insurance premium. A daily commuter spends more time on the road and is more likely to be in traffic, which increases the likelihood of getting into an accident — car insurance premiums generally go up as a result.

Pleasure driving, on the other hand, is typically done only one or two times a week. Since the pleasure vehicle spends less time on the road and is therefore less likely to get into a collision, that car generally costs less to insure.

Does Commuter or Pleasure Car Insurance Cost More?

Commuter car insurance tends to be more expensive than pleasure car insurance. However, not all insurance companies distinguish between the two and charge the same premium either way.

Below, we’ve compiled rates for a 2017 Honda Civic from several major U.S. car insurance companies. Based on the data we were able to collect, the greatest difference came from Farmers Insurance, showing a $90 difference between the same vehicle being insured for commuting use versus pleasure use.


Commute Per Year

Pleasure Per Year




American Family






Liberty Mutual



State Farm



Don’t automatically assume, however, that you will save money just because you register your vehicle for pleasure use. If, say, you insure a luxury car as a pleasure vehicle, whatever you may have saved by listing it for pleasure use could easily be offset by the fact that luxury vehicles are traditionally more expensive to insure.

What if I Use My Car for Both Commuting and Pleasure Purposes?

A vehicle listed as a commuter car on a policy will automatically be able to take pleasure trips.

However, listing a vehicle for pleasure use but racking up excessive miles may get you in trouble.

Your insurance company may ask you for odometer readings when renewing your policy and if it turns out your pleasure-use vehicle should have been insured as a commuter, you could be held guilty of committing insurance fraud. This could lead to your carrier refusing to renew your policy or worst case, fines, the suspension of your license and even jail time.[1]

What Other Vehicle Designations Are There for Insurance?

Insurance companies will also want to know whether the vehicle you want to insure is being used for commercial or agricultural purposes.


Vehicles used for business purposes include hauling equipment to and from a job site, such as with a general contractor or perhaps moving someone else's belongings to a new location. In either case, you would need to purchase commercial auto insurance in order to properly protect your vehicle, as business-related drives are often excluded from coverage.


Farm-use refers to agricultural vehicles used on ranches and other similar properties. These vehicles can include tractors, harvesters, loaders and backhoes. A standard auto policy would not be appropriate for these vehicles and you would instead purchase special coverage.

How To Get Insurance for Your Commute or Pleasure Use Vehicle

When seeking car insurance coverage, it's advisable to compare at least three to five different quotes from various providers. These companies often need details like how you use your car, the vehicle's year, make and model, your driving record and if the car in question is your primary vehicle. This repetitive information sharing can be cumbersome, however.

Thankfully, platforms like SmartFinancial simplify this task. By completing a single questionnaire about your insurance needs and budget, you can quickly find personalized car insurance quotes, sometimes within minutes. Simply input your zip code below to obtain your complimentary insurance quote.

Shop for Commuter or Pleasure Car Insurance


Does commuting to my job affect my car insurance?

Daily commuters will generally cost more to insure than a pleasure vehicle that is driven once or twice per week. In addition, higher mileage often correlates with higher premiums.

Can a named driver use my car to travel to work?

Yes, drivers specifically listed in your auto insurance policy can use your car to travel to their workplace.

Can I still use my commuter car for vacations?

Yes, you can use your commuter car for vacations without issue.

Does pleasure driving include driving to work?

Pleasure driving does not refer to driving to work. This would instead fall under commuter driving.


The sample annual rates above were quoted directly from each insurance company, using the profile of a married 30-year-old male driving a 2017 Honda Civic who owns a home and has no recent driving convictions. The quotes reflect yearly rates for full auto coverage.


  1. Shouse California Law Group. “California Auto Insurance Fraud Laws.” Accessed Nov. 25, 2023.

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