Owning a commercial vehicle comes with some complications that owners of regular vehicles don’t need to contend with.
Large vans and trucks are often commercial vehicles and special care needs to be taken when registering them.
Are RVs and campervans considered a commercial vehicle?
A typical RV is registered as an RV and not a commercial vehicle. Some DIY campervans, toy haulers, and RVs are vehicles that were once commercial vehicles and they may still be registered that way.
The main question is whether or not these vehicles should stay registered as commercial vehicles or if they should be converted to RVs.
Converting the vehicle to an RV has many benefits but there are some drawbacks to this as well.
Here’s what you need to know.
3 Advantages of Having an RV Registered as a Commercial Vehicle
Commercial vehicles are great for those looking to make their own campervans, RV, and stealth campers.
Some people buy old moving trucks, courier vans, and cargo trailers that were built as commercial vehicles and they add in their own beds, kitchens, bathrooms, and anything else they feel they might need.
Here are the advantages of registering your RV as a commercial vehicle
- The vehicle can be more stealth.
- The vehicle can continue to be used for commercial purposes.
- The vehicle can be sold easier.
Stealth camping has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years. People like having the ability to park anywhere without anyone knowing that they are sleeping inside.
Having a stealth vehicle means that the owner does not have to worry about finding a campground or park to sleep in overnight. This makes travel planning easier and saves money on campground fees.
It’s also great for those who want to travel through urban areas that might not have campgrounds or state parks close by for them to park in.
A commercial vehicle is also more useful than an RV. Commercial vehicles can be used for courier jobs, moving jobs, and a whole host of other jobs that require the use of a commercial vehicle. People looking to use their RV for work purposes can take advantage of these jobs by leaving their RVs registered as commercial vehicles.
Commercial vans typically sell easier than DIY campervans. This is especially true when the owner has not made many significant changes to the campervan.
For example, an owner of a low-top van may have only added a dinette bed and a kitchenette to their commercial van to turn it into a make-shift RV. This person could easily remove these items which would open the vehicle up to be sold to a much broader market.
3 Advantages of Having an RV Registered as an RV
- Less expensive insurance.
- Access to campgrounds with restrictions.
- The vehicle may be easier to sell.
One of the biggest advantages of having a vehicle registered as an RV rather than a commercial vehicle is the fact that RV insurance is dramatically less expensive than commercial vehicle insurance. It may also be easier to obtain as not all insurance companies offer commercial vehicle insurance.
This is especially true for those that do not have any commercial intent as the insurance company may want to know what you’ll be using the vehicle for.
Some campgrounds may also have restrictions on what types of vehicles can be parked in their campground. This is especially true for people who intend on staying at a long-term or seasonal campground. Having a vehicle that is registered as a commercial vehicle may mean that you aren’t allowed to use the campground at all.
While many DIY campervans and trucks are not very elaborate or permanent, many of them are. In cases where a lot of time and money has been spent upgrading the commercial vehicle to an RV, it makes sense to sell it as one. Selling an RV that is registered as an RV is much easier than selling an RV that is registered as a commercial vehicle.
This is especially true if you’re selling the vehicle out of state or out of the country as some states and countries will have special rules in place for commercial vehicles.
How to Register a Commercial Vehicle as an RV?
Most states will have different rules when it comes to changing registration. The defining part for most of them, however, is that the commercial vehicle needs to have a permanent bed and a kitchen.
In some cases, the kitchen can be replaced with some other living area.
Here is a breakdown of what each state says in regards to registering an RV:
|State||RV Registration Rules|
|Alabama||An inspection must be done which costs $75.00. If the vehicle weighs over 42,000 pounds, registration will cost more.|
|Alaska||Commercial trailers can be registered permanently for a fee of $25.00. Non-commercial trailers can be registered just like a car.|
|Arizona||RVs and motorhomes will cost different amounts to register based off their size and weight.|
|Arkansas||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars.|
|California||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars.|
|Colorado||Trailers and motorhomes must be registered like cars. The fees will change depending on the size and weight of the RV.|
|Connecticut||Motorhomes and RVs have their own registration process.|
|Delaware||RVs must pass a safety and emission check. Fees vary based off of the weight of the vehicle.|
|Florida||Registration is the same as it is for a car. Trailers under 2,000 pounds don’t need to be registered.|
|Georgia||RVs do not have to undergo emissions testing but they do need to be safety inspected.|
|Hawaii||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars.|
|Idaho||RVs and motorhomes have different registration fees based off of their size.|
|Illinois||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars. Fees will change based on the weight of the RV. RVs and motorhomes have different license plates than standard vehicles.|
|Indiana||Motorhomes and RVs are registered just like cars.|
|Iowa||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars.|
|Kansas||Motorhomes are taxed by their weight and their build year.|
|Kentucky||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars but costs vary based off of the weight.|
|Louisiana||RVs and motorhomes are registered just like cars. You’ll just need the title and a driver’s license.|
|Maine||Motorhomes and trailers must have taxes and registration fees paid before they can be registered.|
|Maryland||Motorhomes and RVs must be registered just like cars. The fee changes based off of the wight.|
|Massachusetts||Motorhomes and RVs must be registered like cars.|
|Michigan||Motorhomes and RVs must be registered like cars.|
|Minnesota||Registration fees for RVs are higher.|
|Mississippi||Motorhomes and RVs newer than 2000 must be titled and registered.|
|Missouri||RVs and motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|Montana||Travel trailers are permanently registered and motorhomes are registered with fees based off of their age.|
|Nebraska||Fees for registering trailers vary based off of its use. Commercial trailer fees are different than travel trailer fees. Motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|Nevada||Trailers and motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|New Hampshire||Registration fees vary based on the type of motorhome you register. The process for registering is similar to registering a car in this state.|
|New Jersey||Trailers that weigh less than 2,500 pounds don’t need to be registered. RVs and motorhomes are registered just like passenger vehicles.|
|New Mexico||Motorhomes need to be registered. The process is the same as it is for standard vehicles.|
|New York||RVs and motorhomes have a special inspection process that must be done before the vehicle can be registered.|
|North Carolina||Motorhomes need to be registered just like cars.|
|North Dakota||Special registration is required for motorhomes and RVs.|
|Ohio||Motorhomes need to be registered like cars.|
|Oklahoma||Motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|Oregon||A camper must not be permanently attached to a vehicle and it has to have facilities for habitation. It must also be at least 6 feet long and 5.5 feet high. Motorhomes have special registration fees based off of the length of the motorhome.|
|Pennsylvania||Vans must have a permanent bed and kitchen facilities or a desk to be considered a motorhome. RVs do not need to be registered for an entire year.|
|Rhode Island||Registration for motorhomes is different than registering a standard vehicle. You’ll need to fill out a special application for registration and title certificate.|
|South Carolina||Motorhomes must be registered like cars.|
|South Dakota||Motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|Tennessee||RVs are registered like cars but additional fees may apply.|
|Texas||Motorhomes are registered like cars.|
|Utah||RVs are taxed at registration time.|
|Vermont||RV registration varies based on the type of fuel that is used.|
|Virginia||RVs are registered just like cars.|
|Washington||RVs are registered like cars but additional fees may apply.|
|West Virginia||RVs are registered like cars but additional fees may apply.|
|Wisconsin||RVs have the same registration as cars.|
|Wyoming||RVs are registered like cars but additional fees may apply.|
As you can see, each state has different rules for registering an RV.
If the change is too onerous in your state, you may want to keep your vehicle a commercial vehicle.
Just keep in mind that you’ll be forfeiting the ability to use certain campgrounds and you may end up having to pay more for insurance with commercial tags versus RV tags.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.