When filling out a car insurance application, you’re likely to encounter a question regarding your typical car use. Usually this question is accompanied by a choice between either “pleasure use” or “commute use” and you may have wondered how these two terms are defined.

Commute Use

Commute use of your car is defined basically as anything you do with your car on a regular basis. This could include:

  • Driving yourself to and from work regularly, including driving in a work car pool
  • Driving the kids to school, including driving in a car pool
  • Driving the kids to sports practices and sports games
  • Driving to and from school

Any regular driving like this tells your car insurance company that you put more miles on your car than if your car spends most of its days in the driveway, garage or parking lot. To them, more miles driven translates into a higher risk for some kind of problem and that means a claim being submitted. Following this, higher risk usually means higher insurance rates.

Pleasure Use

Pleasure use of your car is when the vehicle is not used for regular driving such as commuting to and from work, taking the kids to school or to sports practice or any other driving done on a regular basis. Many pleasure use cars only come out on the weekends for day trips while a different car is used as a daily driver during the week.

Insurers differ in their exact requirements for classifying a vehicle as a pleasure use car. For some, they only require that the car not be used for the daily commute to work. Other insurers have a certain number of annual miles driven, often seven or eight thousand miles, as a breaking point between pleasure use and commute use. If you’re unsure as to whether your vehicle is a pleasure use or commute use according to their definition, speak to your insurance agent.

Why They Need to Know

Your car insurance company is guided in many of its underwriting decisions by the amount of risk it perceives you represent to the company. Many factors play into their formulas for determining risk, including your age, your gender, your driving record, your claims history, your address, your marital status and even your credit rating.

Among this underwriting data are the number of miles you drive on average annually. Fewer miles generally means lower rates.