Do you need car insurance for a learner’s permit? [Expert Advice]

You don't need separate car insurance for a learner's permit, but the driver still must be covered. There are discounts for car insurance for a learner's permit driver if they live alone.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses...

Full Bio →

Reviewed byJoel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Jul 9, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

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 can be a challenge to find coverage for someone with a learner’s permit who resides alone
  • It is in your best interest to contact your insurance company to make sure the proper coverage is in place
  • You may be able to find discounts available for your new driver

The short answer to the question, “Do learner’s permit drivers need insurance?” 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’).

What is the relationship between a learner’s permit and car insurance? If you have a learner’s permit, you need to be covered under a car insurance policy. But 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. Be sure to find out the required car insurance coverage for your state before shopping for a policy.

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 enter your zip code here to start with a free car insurance comparison online today!

Can you get insurance with a driver’s permit? Let’s find out more about how different situations can necessitate different ways of being insured.

Scenarios for Drivers with a Learner’s Permit

Many questions, like “Do you need insurance for a driver’s permit?” come along with a learner’s permit, including insurance requirements. Let’s look at the three main scenarios that determine what exactly is needed when a learner’s permit is involved.

Do you have to add a child with a learner’s permit to insurance?

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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that, in most states, there is a graduated licensing process put in place. Getting a learner’s permit is just the first step to getting a full license.

Generally, teen drivers need to take a driver’s education course as part of their licensing process. According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, these courses teach students the rule of the road and teen driver safety.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 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.

There are many different types of coverages. The quotes listed are for basic liability car insurance coverage which does not include comprehensive and collision protection.

Sample Average Monthly Rates for Teen Car Insurance
Gender and StateProgressive QuotesAllstate QuotesGeico Quotes
Teen Female in Maine$245.07$119$234.54
Teen Male in Maine$265.07$164$246.19
Teen Female in Florida$501.55N/A$332.04
Teen Male in Florida$517.67N/A$374.47
Get Your Rates Quote Now

You can see that insuring a teen driver can be quite expensive. As this video shows, there are some ways to save on teen car insurance.

Make sure to speak with an agent to see what discounts you are eligible for.

How does a spouse or significant other with a learner’s permit affect car insurance?

If a person gets a learner’s permit and is married or living with a partner or roommate, they may be covered under joint car insurance coverage for unmarried couples on their partner’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.

It is important to shop around for car insurance since car insurance rates are usually higher for new drivers. Less experience equals more chances of being in an accident or receiving a traffic ticket.

Did you know that being married can lower your car insurance rates also? Typically, married couples are charged less than singles for car insurance. Car insurance companies tend to believe that married people take fewer risks when driving so their rates are lower.

This table shows you the difference in the rates of a 25-year-old single person and a 35-year-old married person.

Average Annual Car Insurance Rates Based on Marital Status
CompaniesRates for a Single 25-Year-Old FemaleRates for a Single 25-Year-Old MaleRates for a Married 35-Year-Old FemaleRates for a Married 35-Year-Old Male
USAA$1,988.52$2,126.14$1,551.43$1,540.32
American Family$2,288.65$2,694.72$2,202.70$2,224.31
Travelers$2,325.25$2,491.21$2,178.66$2,199.51
State Farm$2,335.96$2,554.56$2,081.72$2,081.72
Geico$2,378.89$2,262.87$2,302.89$2,312.38
Nationwide$2,686.48$2,889.04$2,360.49$2,387.43
Progressive$2,697.73$2,758.66$2,296.90$2,175.27
Farmers$2,946.80$3,041.44$2,556.98$2,557.75
Allstate$3,424.87$3,570.93$3,156.09$3,123.01
Liberty Mutual$3,959.67$4,503.13$3,802.77$3,856.84
Get Your Rates Quote Now

You can see that the rates are cheaper for married than single. The difference can be hundreds of dollars a year.

Does a permit driver need to be insured if they are living on their own?

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.

Do you need car insurance when you have a learner’s permit in California? Can you get car insurance with a permit in Connecticut? You do need to have some type of car insurance coverage in place once you get a learner’s permit.

Some car insurance companies will offer coverage to a person with no license, 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.

Can you register and insure a car with a permit?

Although you can buy a car with a permit, you can’t register the vehicle until you get your driver’s license.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

New Drivers Can Save Money on Rates

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

Car Insurance Discounts Available for New Drivers
New Driver DiscountQualifcations
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
Get Your Rates Quote Now

If you are purchasing a new vehicle for your new driver, you may be eligible for multi-car discounts as well.

As long as you drive with a licensed driver aged 21 or older, their car 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, a new person can be added relatively quickly.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

You Can Find Learner’s Permit Car Insurance Quotes Online

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.

Is car insurance needed for drivers with a learner’s permit?

  • In most circumstances, individuals with learner’s permits do not need their own insurance policies.
  • Individuals with learner’s permits are usually covered by their guardian’s insurance policy.
  • It is important for you to know the specific laws regarding learner’s permit drivers in your state.
  • You must inform your insurer when you or your child receives a driver’s license.[/su_box]

Individuals with learner’s permits do not need their own car insurance unless they own a vehicle that is registered in their name. This is fairly uncommon, therefore, as a general rule, you won’t need car insurance until you get your driver’s license.

Can I get car insurance if I only have a permit?

Although you can buy a car with a permit, you can’t register the vehicle until you get your driver’s license.

Depending on your situation, you may or may not need a separate insurance policy for it. You will need to speak with an agent to make sure you are fully covered, no matter your specific situation.

What insurance companies accept learner’s permit drivers?

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 for their car insurance to lapse and be caught driving without insurance.

There are many companies that offer coverage. These are just a few companies and policies:

  • Geico learner’s permit insurance
  • Progressive learner’s permit insurance
  • State Farm learner’s permit insurance
  • USAA learner’s permit insurance
  • Travelers learner’s permit insurance

Regardless of your situation, you will need to have coverage in place when you transition from your learner’s permit to your license. Getting multiple quotes to compare is the best way to keep your rates low.

Why don’t my teenage drivers need their own insurance?

The question of insurance with learner’s permits typically applies to teenage drivers. They don’t need their own insurance policies because they are covered by the policies of their parents or guardians.

It is generally assumed by insurance companies that such minors will be operating the vehicles of their parents or guardians, with those adults present most of the time. Therefore, minor drivers are allowed to be covered by the parent or guardian policies.

Furthermore, it’s highly unusual for teen drivers to own vehicles before the age of 18 or 19. This precipitates the need for them to borrow the cars of their parents when they need to drive.

Once a teen driver earns his regular license, he can be added to the policy of his parents without having to get his own.

He can stay on that policy until he moves out of his parents’ home or reaches an age somewhere in his mid-20’s, depending on the state in which he lives.

Purchasing Car Insurance with Only a Permit

Purchasing insurance when you only have a permit is probably not the best way to spend your money.  Here are some reasons:

  • It’s difficult to find an insurer — The truth is, it can be pretty difficult to get car insurance if you do not have a driver’s license. Not all insurance companies will insure you if you only have a learner’s permit, so you may have to contact a number of companies and agents before finding coverage.
  • It’s expensive — Keep in mind that the cost of car insurance for teenagers is very high and it is even higher for drivers who do not have their licenses yet. There may also be a number of rules and restrictions if you end up getting insurance with only your learner’s permit.
  • A learner’s permit holder can be added to another policy — The best thing to do when you only have your learner’s permit is to just be added to another licensed driver’s policy. If you live at home you can be added to your parents’ policy. If you do not live at home you can usually be added to your spouse’s or roommate’s policy.

If you are just added to someone else’s policy there is usually no extra charge, which will save you a lot of money. It will also save a lot of problems and hassle.

Should I purchase additional insurance?

This is a question that’s difficult to answer because there’s so much conflicting information. There are a fair number of insurance articles found online that suggest it is possible to purchase additional insurance coverage for learner’s permit drivers.

At the same time, it’s difficult to determine the difference between specific coverage for learner’s permit drivers and coverage that applies to such drivers through the policies of car owners.

Teens are usually covered automatically under their parents’ insurance, while an adult driver with a learner’s permit should be covered by the insurance on any car they drive, provided the owner is present and gives consent. Take a look at the video below for tips on adding your teen driver to your insurance:

Having extra coverage is likely unnecessary because the standard auto insurance of the car owner covers the learner’s permit driver.

Informing the Insurance Company Once a Valid Driver’s License is Obtained

Once you pass your driver’s test and get your license, you will need to inform the insurance company that you are now an official driver.

You can still stay covered under the driver’s insurance that you did when you had your permit, but now the insurance rates will increase because new drivers are considered to be a higher risk.

If your child gets a learner’s permit, do you have to add them to your auto insurance policy?

  • You probably do not need to add a teen with a learner’s permit to your insurance, but you should check with your insurer to make sure
  • You should take this life-change of your teen starting to drive, to reexamine your existing coverage limits. Circumstances may have changed drastically in your life since you last looked at your coverage
  • Adults with learner’s permits may be viewed differently by an insurance company than a teen with a permit

The answer to the question of whether a child with a learner’s permit needs to be added to the parents’ auto insurance policy depends on the new driver’s age and living situation.

Each car insurance company has its own rules about whether and when new drivers should be added to an existing car insurance policy.

When should you buy learner’s permit car insurance?

The most basic situation is that, as long as the adult driver who owns the car is covered, the child will be, too. However, some companies require notification.

Teen Drivers with Learners Permits

In a situation where the driver is a teen living with both parents, he or she may not need to be added to an existing insurance policy right away.

It’s a good idea to check with the insurance company to find out when a new driver needs to be added.

Since the person with the learner’s permit will be operating the vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver, he or she will probably be covered until obtaining a full driver’s license.

Teens with divorced parents who spend some time with each one may need to be added to each parent’s car insurance policy. Even if the new driver spends

Even if the new driver spends very little time behind the wheel of a parent’s car, the insurance company considers whether they have access to the vehicle when deciding who must be on the policy.

Adults with Learners Permits

When the new driver is an adult living with his or her parents, the situation is a bit different. The insurance company may insist that the individual is added to any existing car insurance policies right away.

Rather than assuming that a new adult driver would be covered, it’s a good idea to contact the insurance company when the individual obtains the learner’s permit. That way, if the policy needs to be changed, the policyholder can deal with it right away.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Comparing Car Insurance Quotes for Learners Permits

Depending on the insurance company involved, a person who has recently obtained a learner’s permit may not need to be added to a car insurance policy right away.

The rules may be different for teens learning to drive than a young adult who is living with his or her parents.

It will provide you with the information you need to make the right choice about your coverage. Get started now!

How much does it cost to insure a learner driver?

You can find affordable learner’s permit car insurance rates if you are willing to shop around and do your research.

  • Anyone in possession of a learner’s permit who is operating the vehicle of an accompanying licensed driver of at least 21 years of age will be covered by the car owner’s insurance in most states
  • Once the new driver transitions from having a learner’s permit to an official license, he or she will need proper insurance as well
  • Often new drivers are added to their parent’s policy which allows them to take advantage of existing discounts
  • However, if a new driver decides to take out his own policy, there are several steps he can take to keep his insurance payments manageable

Most novice drivers will find themselves protected by the insurance policy that covers the car in which they are learning to drive. For example, a son who is learning to drive in his father’s car, will be covered by the family policy.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Abiding by the Law

If you are one of those rare individuals who need car insurance even though you only have a learner’s permit, keep in mind that having insurance does not give you the freedom to drive your vehicle outside of the terms of your learner’s permit.

Using the state of Vermont as an example, its Department of Motor Vehicles states that new drivers are required to have a licensed parent, guardian, driving instructor, or other unimpaired individual over the age of 25 in the passenger seat when driving with just a learner’s permit.

Each state is responsible for determining the type of insurance coverage required and how much each driver needs to have. To find out the regulations for your state, you should visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ website.

Although car insurance for those with learner’s permits may not be required in your state, you still will need to make sure that the driver you are learning from has insurance on the car you will be practicing in.

Restrictions on Drivers With Learner’s Permit

State laws dictate what learner’s permit holders can and cannot do. It’s important to know what the restrictions are in your state so that the actions of learner’s permit drivers do not have an adverse effect on your insurance.

For example, in the state of Georgia, a student may not retain his learner’s permit under the age of 18 if he does not remain in school. Therefore, a 17-year-old high school dropout could no longer possess a learner’s permit and would not be covered by insurance should he drive anyway.

Using the above example, if that 17-year-old high school dropout was pulled over, both he and his licensed passenger would be held accountable. If he were using his parent’s vehicle, it would reflect negatively on them and their insurance rates would most likely go up.

As long as student drivers are obeying the law, insurance rates will remain unaffected.

Drivers with learner’s permits can rest assured they don’t need to spend the money on their own insurance policies, but they do need to be careful to follow the rules that come with having a learner’s permit so as not to jeopardize passengers.

If you’re a parent with a child who possesses a learner’s permit, legally you may not need to inform your insurance company, but it would be wise to do so anyway.

As soon as they earn their regular license you will have to inform the insurance company, otherwise, your child may not be covered in the event of an accident.

Drive Safely and Responsibly

The most important thing a new driver can do to stay safe and pay less is to drive responsibly. A clean driving record will save a lot of money in insurance premiums in the long run.

Driving safely means respecting all the rules that were just learned in driver’s ed class like:

  • Keeping to the speed limit
  • Maintaining a proper distance between cars
  • Paying close attention to all traffic lights and signs

Drive the Right Car

The car that a new driver operates also has a profound effect on the price he or she pays for insurance. The make and model of an automobile are two factors that insurers consider when computing the cost of a policy.

The only factors that come close in significance, besides the good driving record mentioned above, are the demographic and location of the new driver.

A new driver has the opportunity to change the price of his policy by buying the car that will save the most money on insurance.

A flashy sports car will cost more to insure than a reliable sedan. Since sports cars go faster, there is more risk associated with driving them. By choosing a less risky vehicle, a new driver will be able to ease into his new driving lifestyle in a safer way.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Never Drive Under the Influence

Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This advice applies to everybody, not just new drivers. It is an important message to reinforce whenever possible.

An accident caused by driving under the influence can have a catastrophic effect on the life of a driver.

A ticket for driving while intoxicated can destroy one’s driving record.

One of the key things any driver can do to protect his life and his driving record is to drive soberly.

Another facet of smart driving comes in the form of the high school report card or college transcript. Good grades can reap savings more than 10 percent on the yearly premium.

When a new driver shows responsibility at school, it indicates to insurance companies that he or she is more likely to show responsibility while driving.

Review Insurance Coverage

When a policyholder is thinking about adding a new driver to his or her insurance policy, it’s a good time to review the type and level of coverage on the vehicle.

Many people don’t think about whether their current level of coverage has kept up with their needs.

Here’s a brief review of the various types of car insurance coverage.

A young person who has recently learned how to drive and who has bought his or her first car may be more concerned with being able to cover the cost of car payments and insurance than the level of coverage they have.

Over time, life changes may mean changes in car insurance coverage. Getting married, buying a house, and starting a family means that the policyholder may need to increase the level of coverage he or she has in place.

By the time a parent has a child old enough to learn how to drive, he or she may have accumulated a number of assets that need to be protected.

If it’s been some time since the level of insurance coverage in place has been reviewed, now is the time to contact the insurance company or an independent insurance agent for help.

Working with an agent is a good idea since these individuals can shop the market to find the best combination of a good level of protection and an affordable price for his or her clients.

The agent can also offer advice about what level of coverage the customer should be looking at for his or her situation.

Another option car insurance customers can consider when considering making changes to an existing policy, including adding a new driver, is to do the legwork themselves.

The Internet makes it much easier and more convenient for car insurance customers to gather general information about car insurance coverage and get their questions answered.

Here are some easy ways to get answers:

  • A quick e-mail to a car insurance company, including the insured’s name and policy number
  • A phone call to the company’s customer service department

It’s a good idea to consider quotes from several insurance companies when reviewing coverage options.

Each company sets its own standards for determining levels of risk and coverage rates, and the amount charged can vary greatly, depending on the insurer.

Taking some time to consider options when a life change occurs makes good sense, and it’s probably a good idea to evaluate the car insurance coverage on an annual basis, anyway.

Compare Rates on Car Insurance

Whether a family is adding a new driver to an existing policy or a new driver is buying his own policy, completing a careful insurance comparison is a must. Experts advise shopping around for new insurance rates every six months.

Few situations impact the bottom line as much as adding a new driver to the policy, so there is no time like the present to find the best rate for this new circumstance.

By evaluating several different insurance companies in an organized manner, smart drivers will be able to find the car insurance policy that gives them the most personalized protection for the least amount of money.

Enter your zip code in to compare new driver car insurance quotes now!

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption