The definition of artisan use for car insurance purposes varies according to state laws and by the insurance company, each of which has its own definitions.

Artisan use refers to an insured vehicle used by a tradesperson or craftsperson who travels to and from job sites. Some insurance companies factor in the miles the insured drives to and from a job site when calculating artisan use rates. Commercial car insurance might be required instead depending on how the vehicle is used commercial car insurance might be required instead.

Artisan use policies usually apply to people who do work such as landscaping, construction, or any job in which they must carry tools or travel to and from locations to perform skilled work. It’s important to understand the difference between artisan use, business use, and commercial insurance.

In some scenarios, you can use a personal car insurance policy with a business endorsement or an artisan use policy. In other cases, you need commercial car insurance, otherwise known as a business auto policy.

Some carriers will allow you to add a business endorsement to a personal policy. Typically, you can get a personal auto policy with a business endorsement when the following applies:

  • You are self-employed
  • No employees will be driving the vehicle
  • You can purchase high enough limits to protect you and your company
  • There is only one vehicle that is identified for artisan use
  • You don’t use the vehicle for work on a daily basis

Every insurance company has its own definition of artisan use. This is not an exhaustive list, but artisan use usually applies to:

    • Aluminum contractors
    • Interior decorators
    • Air conditioning/Heating
    • Painters
    • Bricklayers/Masonry
    • Plaster/Stucco contractors
    • Cabinet installers
    • Appliance repair
    • Carpenters
    • Handyperson
    • Concrete contractors
    • Screened enclosure erectors
    • Electrical contractors
    • Surveyors
    • Fence installers
    • Swimming pool installers
    • Glass installers
    • Arborists

You should purchase a business auto policy instead of a personal auto policy when the following applies:

  • The vehicle is owned by the company and not by you personally
  • Employees will drive the vehicle
  • You need higher coverage limits than what is offered through a personal auto policy
  • It is your full-time job and you use the vehicle every day for work
  • There are multiple business-use vehicles
  • Equipment is permanently attached to the vehicle
  • You transport goods or people in your vehicle

It’s vital to have the right car insurance policy to protect yourself, your business and any employees you might have. Speak to an insurance representative to determine whether an artisan use policy is the right choice for your specific situation.

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Michelle Megna
Contributing Researcher

Michelle is a writer, editor and expert on car insurance and personal finance. She's a former editorial director. Prior to joining, she reported and edited articles on technology, lifestyle, education and government for magazines, websites and major newspapers, including the New York Daily News.