Car Insurance: Pleasure vs. Commute

Whether you need pleasure use auto insurance or commuter auto insurance is determined by your driving frequency and your vehicle’s main purpose.
Written by Maxine Boyko
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Pleasure use car insurance applies to vehicles that are only used for occasional personal and leisure activities, while commuter car insurance commonly pertains to vehicles used as a primary mode of transportation. 
Whether your car is considered a pleasure or commuter vehicle by your insurance company is determined by where and how frequently you drive and will affect your insurance costs. 
Inaccurately reporting vehicle usage to your insurance company can result in unfavorable consequences, such as overpaying on your policy or worse—committing insurance fraud. To avoid any adverse outcomes, it is essential to understand how you use your car and to correctly report this information to your auto insurer. 
In this guide,
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Understanding pleasure vs. commute driving

Pleasure vs. commute driving is determined by two main factors:
  • Your driving frequency
  • Your vehicle’s key purpose
Defining your vehicle’s use with these two factors will affect how your insurance company evaluates your driving usage. 

Commute defined

Generally speaking, commute driving is defined as routinely using your vehicle for everyday needs. Driving your vehicle anywhere regularly—such as to college, driving yourself or others to work daily, or taking your kids to school—is classified as commute use.
Note that if you use your vehicle to carry out work duties—as is the case in making deliveries or a ride-sharing app that uses your personal car—you should consider commercial car insurance.

Pleasure defined

Pleasure use in driving is defined as using your vehicle only occasionally. If you drive from time to time and put only a scant amount of miles on your car—such as driving a sports car or
classic car
for leisure—this is considered pleasure use. Other examples that illustrate pleasure use are:
  • Driving only on weekends or at night
  • A vehicle only used for occasional road trips or special events
  • Infrequent trips to the grocery store or appointments
  • A car that spends most of the time parked in your driveway or garage
Key Takeaway: When deciding whether you use your car for pleasure or commute, consider how much you drive it and its primary driving purpose. 

Why does my insurance company need to know about vehicle usage?

Your insurance company needs to know about your vehicle usage to help determine your risk. Insurers use the driving data you provide to offer adequate coverage and make appropriate policy decisions. 

How does vehicle use affect my insurance rate?

Your insurance rate is determined by your driving risk—and one of the contributing risk factors is how frequently you drive.
Insurers use cutoff mileage points to decide whether your driving habits qualify as commuter or pleasure use. These points are then used in calculating your insurance rate
Essentially, the more you drive your car, the higher your risk of encountering other issues on the road, such as accidents and breakdowns. Insurance companies compensate for this added risk by charging higher insurance rates. 
In addition to your vehicle’s specific purpose and mileage, there are other factors that influence your driving habits and shape your risk rating and insurance costs:
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your job
  • Where you live
  • Your age and gender
  • Your vehicle’s make, model, age, and other features
  • Driving history and experience

Pleasure use insurance

Pleasure use insurance is reserved for vehicles that don’t spend much time on the road and generally accrue low mileage. If you’re an infrequent driver looking to save on insurance costs, a pleasure use policy is a great option for you. 
It is important to be truthful with your insurer and provide accurate information about your vehicle use and personal circumstances. False or exaggerated claims surrounding your usage, mileage, and other driving habits can invalidate your policy and lead to insurance fraud charges.

Commuter use insurance

Generally, commuter use insurance covers frequent, regular, and daily use driving. If you’re a city commuter spending many hours a week on the road, you will be best served and protected by a commuter insurance plan. 
To ensure your insurance is valid, pay attention and confirm that your vehicle is on the right policy. If you commute in a company car every day, you’ll need to look for a commercial policy rather than a personal commuter policy. 
Likewise, if you’ve been on a pleasure use policy for a while but then get a new job with a daily 30-mile commute, it’s important to report this change. 

What if I use my car for pleasure and commute?

If you intend to use your vehicle for commuting and pleasure and want to guarantee coverage, you should tell your provider you are a commuter.
If your commute isn’t very long or far, you could also consider a
usage-based insurance program
. Your low mileage and good driving habits could unlock a lower insurance rate. 
Key takeaway: It’s important to understand the difference between commuter and pleasure use insurance and accurately disclose your vehicle usage to your insurance provider to avoid denial of coverage.

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A pleasure vehicle is generally a car used solely for personal or leisure activities. By insurance standards, it does not accumulate high mileage and spends more time parked than out on the road.
Whether you need commuter or pleasure insurance depends on the risk you pose to insurance companies. Your risk is determined by several usage circumstances, including how often you drive and your vehicle’s main purpose, which determines your policy eligibility.
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