What was the first word that popped into your mind when you read the title? Safe, slow, controlled? Or was it aggressive, fast, exciting? I don’t ask this question anymore because most people described how they drive. They weren’t thinking in terms of a type or class of driver. Needless to say, some of the answers I received were both humorous and telling.
Insurance companies classify drivers by categories based on the type of drivers they are and how the vehicle is used. There are five broad classifications or types of drivers.
- Work or commuter
- Age, gender & marital status
Business Use: A business driver utilizes their vehicle to conduct business. They may or may not commute to an office on a regular basis, but do go to meetings and attend to duties, as their profession requires, outside of the office. Examples of business drivers include:
- Sales people, real estate and insurance agents, physicians or lawyers regularly visiting multiple locations on a daily basis
- Service and repair representatives such as heating & cooling professionals, and plumbers
- Contractors responsible for multiple job sites
- And many more
Some insurance carriers will also define a sub category or driver type for “artisan” drivers. These drivers use a vehicle to carry tools or supplies between home and a job site. The restriction for this type of driver is a limit on the number of sites visited, usually a maximum of 3 per day.
Farm Use: In order for a vehicle to be classified as a farm use vehicle, it must be:
- Principally garaged on a farm or ranch
- It is primarily used for farm or ranch related work and not in any other occupation
- It can be used for driving to and from school
Pleasure Use: Vehicles that are classified in this category have as their primary driver:
- Stay at home parent
- Retired persons
- Commuters if the office is 3 miles or less, one way, from the home
Some companies will accept longer commutes if they are less than 15 miles long and the policy holder drives that distance no more than 2 days per week. These vehicles may not have any business use at all.
Commuter Use: Most people are members of the commuter category. They drive from the home to the office or school and then return home each day. They don’t have regular outside meetings as a part of their professional duties.
All companies look at the distance of the commute as one of the rating factors. Mileage places commuter into one of two sub categories:
- Commuters that drive more than 3 miles but less than 10 or 15 miles one way each day between their home and office.
- Commuters that drive more than 15 miles one way each day
Drivers that drive to a bus or rail line (DART) station and then utilize the mass transit system to get to school or work also fall into this category.
Age, Gender & Marital Status: Insurance companies also rate drivers based on their age, gender and marital status.
- Youthful drivers are usually between the age of 16 and 25
- If the driver is younger than 25 but is married, many companies will classify them as an adult driver
- Married drivers are rated more favorably than single drivers
- Some companies categorize drivers as married if they are legally married, or unmarried but with primary custody of a child, or in a committed relationship
- Females are rated more favorably than male drivers
Why does it matter what type of driver you are? Knowing what kind of driver you are helps you in two ways:
- It helps your agent properly insure you and the drivers in your home
- It may save you money
For instance, if you’re a daily commuter but drive 3 miles or less to the office each day and rarely attend outside meetings, you may qualify as a pleasure driver. That would help reduce the amount of money you pay for car insurance. If you attend numerous outside meetings as a part of your daily professional responsibilities, you may need to carry higher limits to protect yourself financially.
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