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Think Twice Before Advertising on Your Car

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 22, 2012 6:56 AM

You've seen them -- car business advertisements. There are magnets, stickers and vinyl wraps. You can cover the entire vehicle, or opt for just the doors or windows. The variations are endless. But are they legal?

You must answer this question before you advertise your business on a car. While there's a good chance you'll be able to advertise on your car, the right to do so is probably not unlimited. Car business advertisements are often regulated for safety purposes -- and to prevent neighborhood eyesores.

Laws You Should Check

When researching the issue, you'll first need to consider state law. Many states regulate rear-tinted windows, which means you may not be able to advertise your business on car windows. Check with the local DMV or police station to see if they can provide any advice.

Municipal law is your next step. Many cities regulate mobile advertisements. Though they tend to apply to moveable billboards and not vehicles, this is not always the case. San Francisco's Hustler Club, for example, knows very well that the city prohibits commercial advertisements on cars. Your City Hall should be able to provide you with more information.

Your next step is to check with your Homeowners Association, if you have one. You may not be able to park your vehicle on the street or in your driveway if it's plastered with advertisements. Check before you get towed.

Once you've decided that you can legally advertise your business on a car, you're still not quite done. In some states, the presence of a car business advertisement will require you to re-register your car as a commercial vehicle. And depending on your insurance coverage, you may also need to purchase a separate business policy. Be sure to look into both of these before you hit the road.

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