Do you need insurance for a permit? (3 Can’t-Miss Facts)

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2019

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Teens with a learner’s permit who are living at home are usually covered under their parents’ policy
  • It is in your best interest to contact your insurance company to make sure the proper coverage is in place
  • It can be a challenge to find coverage for someone with a learner’s permit who resides alone
  • You may be able to find discounts available for your new driver

If you have a learner’s permit, you need to be covered under an auto insurance policy.

In many cases, a person learning to drive does not need to apply for a car insurance policy on his or her own. As long as you are in the car of an insured adult over the age of 21, chances are their insurance will cover you.

Whether you need to buy an individual policy will depend on your age and your personal situation.

The short answer to the question, “Do you need car insurance if you have a learner’s permit?” is yes, although you don’t necessarily need to have your own car insurance as long as you are covered under someone else’s policy (like your parents’).

Read on to learn some of the specifics of the need for car insurance with a learner’s permit by reading on below and then be sure to start with a free car insurance comparison online today!

Read on to learn more about how different situations can necessitate different ways of being insured.

#1 – There Are Three Scenarios for Drivers with a Learner’s Permit

Teen Drivers Living at Home

Teen drivers who are living at home are usually covered under their parents’ car insurance. If the parent does not have car insurance, the teen would not have coverage.

Car insurance follows the vehicle, and since a person with a learner’s permit would be operating the vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver, the parents’ existing policy would provide protection.

The teen driver would not necessarily need to be added to the parents’ car insurance policy until he or she gets a full license. When a teen gets a learner’s permit, the parent can contact the car insurance company to find out when the teen should be added to the policy.

Keep in mind that even if the young person is not expecting to drive the car on a regular basis, having access to the vehicle means that coverage needs to be put in place.

The following chart lists the quotes given by three top insurers to 16-year-olds in the cheapest and most expensive car insurance states for which quotes were available. The quotes listed are for basic coverage which does not include comprehensive and collision protection.

Customer DescriptionProgressive QuotesAllstate QuotesGeico Quotes
Female in Maine$245.07$119$234.54
Male in Maine$265.07$164$246.19
Female in Florida$501.55N/A$332.04
Male in Florida$517.67N/A$374.47

You can check out all our data right here to compare higher levels of coverage and different ages, as well.

Living with a Spouse or Significant Other

If a person gets a learner’s permit and is married or living with a partner or roommate, they may be covered under that person’s policy.

Depending on the state where the new driver lives, he or she may need to be added to the insurance policy immediately. In other jurisdictions, the individual with the learner’s permit doesn’t need to be added until he or she is fully licensed.

Living on Your Own

Woman and her dog driving in Los angeles

A person who is living independently and decides to get a driver’s license is in a different situation than someone who is living with or is a dependent of someone who has car insurance coverage in place.

Some car insurance companies will offer coverage to a person who is not fully licensed, but that person may need to pay more for the privilege of being covered. Not all insurance companies offer this type of coverage and trying to find one may take some time.

Getting a learner’s permit is an exciting time in a person’s life, no matter how old they are.

For insurance coverage purposes, the easiest time to learn how to drive may be while living at home with parents who have coverage in place.

The new driver can be added to the policy easily once they are ready to take the driver’s test.

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#2 – New Drivers Can Save Money on Premiums


When discussing the teen driver with the insurance company, the parents can ask about available discounts for students. Some available discounts may include:

Good Student DiscountMaintain a B average or better.
Part-Time Driver DiscountGo to college without a vehicle and only drive when home during school breaks.
Safe Driving DiscountComplete a driver's education course

Experienced drivers should consider whether they are getting the best deal for their car insurance coverage as well. Making changes to the policy, such as adding a new driver, is a good time to get quotes from several insurers to see whether there is a better deal available.

Looking at other options should start a few months before the policy is up for renewal so that the change to a new insurer, if one is chosen, is seamless. The last thing the vehicle owner wants is a lapse in coverage.

As long as you drive with a licensed driver aged 21 or older, their auto insurance will cover you when you have your learner’s permit. Once you get that coveted license you will need to be added to someone else’s policy or take out your own policy.

Depending on the state, a new driver may be covered under an existing policy. If not, the new person can be added relatively quickly.

#3 – You Can Find Learner’s Permit Car Insurance Quotes Online


You do need to have some type of car insurance coverage in place once you get a learner’s permit.

To find out how much you would pay for coverage when adding a new person or buying your first policy, click on the free insurance quote tool on this page. Enter your zip to start now!

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