Car insurance is required for drivers in most states, including drivers with a learner’s permit. A learner’s permit is a provisional or limited license given to someone who is still learning the ropes and working to obtain a full driver’s license. Learner’s permits are often issued to younger drivers, who may use a permit while gaining experience. In order to acquire a learner’s permit, drivers must pass either a written test, a proficiency test on the road, or a combination of the two.

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Key takeaways

  • Insurance companies usually want drivers with a learner's permit added to an insurance policy to know what risk exists in a household.
  • Permitted drivers may not increase insurance costs if added to a policy, but costs may increase significantly once they obtain their driver's license.
  • A permitted driver may get their own policy in some cases, but eligibility can depend on the permitted driver's age and insurance carrier's criteria.

Do you need car insurance with a learner’s permit?

You may be wondering, “Do you need insurance with a learner’s permit?” The answer is yes. To drive a car legally, you must be insured, so you will need some sort of insurance before the permitted driver in your household starts driving with a learner’s permit. Even if a driver is not fully licensed, they must be insured so that your insurance company knows the risk of an inexperienced driver exists.

Driving can be especially dangerous for young drivers, who are often learning safe driving habits while behind the wheel. According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teenagers behind the wheel are four times more likely to crash than drivers ages 20 or older. Thus, policy coverage for inexperienced drivers is crucial.

How much does car insurance with a learner’s permit cost?

Though an individual policy for young drivers can be costly, it is best to check with your insurance company about the options for coverage. Many young drivers with a permit can be added to an adult household member’s insurance existing policy without a rate increase caused by their inexperience.

However, once a driver with a learner’s permit obtains their driver’s license, rates will usually increase. If a new driver can obtain their own insurance policy, insurance costs for younger drivers can be high until they gain experience over time. In either case, discounts are commonly available for good students. Be sure to check with your insurance provider before earning your license to inquire about any changes in cost.

How do I add a driver with a learner’s permit to my car insurance policy?

To add a permitted driver to your insurance policy, you will want to contact your insurance carrier and provide some information about the new driver. The information required will differ depending on the insurance company and your location but commonly will include:

  • The new driver’s name and learner’s permit number
  • The policy number and policyholder’s information to add the permitted driver to an existing policy
  • Driver’s name, address, and date of birth
  • Vehicle information for the primary vehicle they will be driving

Be sure to contact your insurance provider once the new driver obtains their permanent license. The insurance company will need their updated driver’s license information.

What discounts are available for drivers with a learner’s permit?

If you are adding a permitted driver to your insurance, the cost of your monthly premium may not change. But once young drivers get their driver’s license, you will likely see the cost of your insurance increase, and in many cases, substantially. For example, adding a 16-year-old licensed driver increases car insurance premiums by $208 a month, on average. To offset rate increases, checking with your insurer about discounts for young drivers is a good idea. A few of the most common discounts for young drivers are:

  • Good student discounts: If the young driver maintains a certain GPA, they might qualify for this discount. In many cases, teen drivers who are full-time students and maintain at least a B average in school can earn a discount.
  • Driver education discounts: If young drivers complete a certified driving program, they may qualify for discounted premiums. For example, Allstate gives discounts to teen drivers who qualify.
  • Distant student discounts: These are available through certain carriers for students who live 100 miles or more away from school and will not keep a car on campus.
  • Telematics programs: Since younger drivers often face higher rates due to inexperience, a telematics discount may help offset the cost. This discount is available through many major insurance carriers and tracks safe driving habits. If a driver practices consistently safe habits, they may be eligible for a discounted premium.

Frequently asked questions

    • A provisional license is also considered a type of license with restrictions. Some states have drivers graduate to a provisional license after meeting the driving requirements with their learner’s permit. Other states may consider a provisional license and learner’s permit to be similar. A driver may also be issued a provisional license if their regular driver’s license has been suspended. The provisional license will allow them to continue driving under specific and limited conditions.
    • While it may be possible to get a new car insurance policy with only a learner’s permit, be aware that there may be more conditions involved than getting a policy with a standard license. Your insurance carrier may require you to get a driver’s license within a certain time frame, for example. If you need car insurance and have a learner’s permit, consider shopping for insurance in advance in case it takes more time to find a carrier that will write a policy for a permitted policyholder.