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Updated June 15, 2022
A learner’s permit is a rite of passage. It equips teens and even adults with the knowledge and experience they need to drive confidently. If your child has their learner’s permit or will be getting one soon, you may wonder if they need a car insurance policy. The short answer is “it depends.”
If you need to purchase car insurance for a learner’s permit driver or as a driver with a permit, you can compare quotes online to find the best car insurance for your unique situation.
A learner’s permit is a restricted driver’s license that allows drivers to practice driving under supervision before they earn an official driver’s license.
While most drivers with learner’s permits will be covered by their parent’s or guardian’s insurance, some will need to purchase their own policy.
Being added to an existing policy is usually the most affordable way to get car insurance as a teen driver.
How a Learner’s Permit Works
Do drivers with learner’s permits need special car insurance?
All drivers on the road need car insurance. Most drivers with learner’s permits can get insurance through their parent or guardian’s insurance policy.
Also known as a driver’s license permit, provisional license, or minor permit, a learner’s permit grants first-time drivers the chance to get behind the wheel and practice before they earn their official driver’s license. Once a teen or adult receives a permit, they’re allowed to drive under certain circumstances, as long as they’re with a fully licensed adult driver.
While age requirements vary from state to state, most states offer learner’s permits to new drivers who are at least 15. Those with a learner’s permit will need to drive a minimum amount of hours before they can take a driving test and obtain their official driver’s license. An official driver’s license marks a new driver’s right to legally drive without supervision.
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Car Insurance Requirements with a Learner’s Permit
Just like fully licensed drivers, drivers with learner’s permits must be insured to drive. But they might already be covered by the car insurance policy of their parents, guardians, or other family members. In this case, they may not be required to get their own plan.
When there’s a driver in your household with a learner’s permit, insurance companies usually ask that they’re listed on your car insurance policy. On the flip side, if you’d like to exclude a learner’s permit driver from coverage, you’ll need to let the provider know. It’s a good idea to reach out to your car insurance policy and confirm their rules for permit drivers.
You may be relieved to know that adding a driver with a learner’s permit to your car insurance policy won’t increase your car insurance rates. This will usually happen once they become a fully licensed driver and you decide to keep them on your car insurance. It’s usually cheaper for a new driver to be added to a plan than to get their own policy.
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Buying Car Insurance with a Learner’s Permit
Even though you may not have to, you can still get your own car insurance with a learner’s permit. If you no longer live with your parents or it’s not possible to be added to their policy for any reason, you will be responsible for your own car insurance.
Unfortunately, however, you’ll likely need to settle for expensive car insurance rates. Also, if you’re under 18, you won’t be able to sign your contract and will need to get permission from your parents or guardian to purchase insurance.
It’s important to note that if you live alone without a spouse or partner, you may not need to get a separate policy when you receive your learner’s permit. If you don’t have your own vehicle and borrow someone else’s vehicle to practice driving, you’ll be covered by their policy, as long as they’re a licensed driver and in the car with you.
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How to Get Car Insurance with a Learner’s Permit
If you decide to purchase a car insurance policy with a learner’s permit, be sure to shop around. Find out which car insurance companies are willing to extend a policy to you. After you’ve found a few options, compare rates and coverage options. Don’t forget to consider discounts as well, as these might save you money when you become a policyholder.
Before you commit to a car insurance policy, make sure you understand how the coverage works. If you have any questions or if something is unclear, contact the provider or insurance agent. The last step will be to sign a policy and choose its start date. Remember that your policy must be active before you can legally drive on your own.
Discounts for Drivers with Learner’s Permits
Fortunately, many car insurance providers offer discounts to help make policies more affordable for all types of drivers, including those who are young and inexperienced. Larger companies, like GEICO, State Farm, and Allstate, have more discounts than smaller insurance providers.
If you have a learner’s permit, there are some common discounts you should keep on your radar, regardless of whether you decide to purchase your own policy or get added to a parent’s or guardian’s.
The good student discount might apply to you if you’re in high school or college and earn good grades or have a high GPA. Also, if you live at least 100 miles away from your parents’ home because you’re a college student or in boarding school, for example, you may score a discount.
In addition, if you take an authorized driving course or allow your insurance company to monitor your driving habits through a tracking device and engage in safe driving habits, you can potentially save money on your car insurance.
How Parents Can Lower Their Car Insurance Costs
Research from the Insurance Information Institute (III) discovered that adding a teen to their parent’s car insurance policy is usually the best way to save money. This is because parents have already locked in a rate with other discounts, such as autopay discounts, multi-vehicle discounts, good driver discounts, and bundling discounts.
If you’re a parent who decides to add a new driver to your policy, expect your premium to go up. While it may be tempting to stay with your current car insurance provider, it’s worthwhile to shop around and get auto insurance quotes from several companies. By doing your research, you can save hundreds of dollars per year.
Also, encourage your teen to become a responsible driver, as your insurance premium will increase even more if they get speeding tickets or cause accidents. Additionally, you can ask them to pay for their portion of the insurance plan with earnings from a part-time job or allowance.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes for Learner’s Permits
Whether you’re a parent or guardian who will add a learner’s permit driver to your car insurance or a student driver with plans to purchase your own individual policy, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the different types of insurance coverage and compare car insurance rates. Since different auto insurance companies will charge different amounts, exploring all your options will help you land the best rate and coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
The good news is learner’s permits don’t usually affect car insurance rates. If you have a car insurance policy and decide to add a driver with a learner’s permit, most car insurance companies won’t increase your premiums.
However, once they earn an official driver’s license, your car insurance costs will go up. This is because younger drivers are more prone to traffic violations than older drivers with more experience.
If you have a learner’s permit, you’re free to purchase as much car insurance as you’d like. You can opt for the minimum that’s legally required in your state or add on extra insurance coverage. It’s up to you and what you prefer.
If you become involved in an accident while driving with a learner’s permit and don’t have car insurance, you will face several consequences. You’ll have to pay for expenses out of pocket, and your permit will be suspended. If you’re on your parent’s plan, your damages will be covered. The downside, however, is that your parents will face higher rates.
When you purchase car insurance as a student driver, your premium will depend on a few different factors. These include who you live with, whether you live alone, your age, and your location. As a young driver, you can expect higher rates than an older, more experienced driver with a favorable driving history. Fortunately, once you earn your official driver’s license and gain some experience, your car insurance costs will eventually decrease.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.