Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 28, 2021

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Insurance Q&A: “Is insurance cheaper for cars or trucks?”

A question that many drivers have, considering it could be the deciding factor of which vehicle they end up purchasing. The answer, however, depends on what type of car and what type of truck we’re talking about.

If you’re comparing a car to a semi tractor trailer, there’s no question the truck will cost more. Commercial truck policies are going to be extensively more, just based off what they haul alone. Not to mention with commercial vehicles you need liability insurance, which is also going to raise your policy prices.

The semi will be between $4,000 and $8,000 per year, depending on what cargo you’re hauling – if it’s gravel, expect the $8,000 price tag.

But we suspect you’re asking about a standard car and pickup truck, so let’s get back on track with the more common options.

Similar to most of the inquiries we receive about ‘which is cheaper’, the answer, and the insurance costs, will depend on a number of factors. The type of vehicle is one we’ve already mentioned.

As always, TTAI recommends you read about how insurance companies determine rates to understand the ‘why’ behind what the monthly cost is going to look like when we go over them.

Is the devil truly in the details? 

The easy answer is that there likely isn’t really any difference in cost between two policies of varying vehicle types. The truck may be slightly cheaper, considering trucks have a lower repair cost if damaged (physical damage coverage). But drivers still might be left wondering, why is that?

The bed of most pickup trucks, which can easily make up over half the length of the vehicle, is typically sheet metal and nothing else. You don’t need to worry about the safety features of a truck bed, but you do need working seat belts in the backseat of a car, which is already going to cost more if something happens to that area in the event of a crash.

So compare the empty bed of a truck to the back end of a car, which is going to have additional seating, windows, doors, electronics, upholstery, etc. There are many more components that could be damaged, which means you’d be asking for more money when filing a claim.

Insurance companies use the data collected from previous vehicle repairs they’ve made, and all that data tells them sheet metal is less expensive than the materials necessary to repair a more ‘finished’ cabin of a car.

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Is the golden rule still golden? 

Not quite. Trucks are becoming much more common nowadays as they recreate and offer similar luxuries and comforts of their ‘bed-less’ counterparts.

After all, it’s not uncommon for modern trucks to have four doors and as much seating as a car, in addition to an, albeit smaller, bed.

These additional amenities require additional funds to repair in the event of an accident. Higher repair costs equal higher overall insurance premiums. The more there is to repair, the more someone is going to ask for in a claim, which means that in order to make up for that fact, drivers are going to see higher annual premiums.

Don’t even get us started on the new luxury pickups that may cost substantially more than cars with similar seating capacity.

What’s the final say?

There are quite a few more factors that are taken into consideration when comparing policies. Keep in mind that if you’re a commercial driver, these may be subject to change, but it’s always a good idea to know what’s looked at. You’ll need to consider the liability limits being requested, your driving history, your insurance claims history, your insurance score, and whether or not full coverage is required or desired for your chariot.

For example, if you have a clean driving record, getting the coverage type and your choice of expensive trucks wouldn’t be that difficult. These are all major factors in the determination of your overall premium, so if you’re worried you may not be able to afford the policy options you’ve been looking at, you still have a few choices.

Be sure to get insurance quotes online and/or visit a local independent agent for assistance. This way, you’ll get to see various policy service options with several insurers prior to purchasing a new policy. Online quotes are a wonderful way to quickly assess what you might be paying, if you’re already deep into the market of purchasing a new vehicle.

And don’t just look at one or two – price out multiple carriers. This is a great way to see what kind of competitive rates you’ll be offered all across the board, and will let you drive your chariot of choice in comfort, knowing you’re protected with a personalized auto policy.

The pricing difference between a car and a truck may pale in comparison to the difference between the insurance companies that are battling it out for you insurance dollar!