Can you get car insurance with a learner’s permit?

1
RichLegg/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

Car insurance is required for all drivers, including those with learner’s permits. Insurance providers commonly allow parents to add teen drivers onto the parent’s existing policy — but this is not a given.

If getting coverage through a parent’s insurance policy is not an option, some car insurers may also agree to provide coverage for a driver with a learner’s permit. However, the process may be more involved than finding insurance for a driver with a standard license.

Whatever the situation, you will need a policy in place before hitting the road. Knowing the ins and outs of learner’s permit insurance is vital before seeking out a policy.

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 you or your teenager starts driving with a learner’s permit. Even if a driver is not fully licensed, they must be insured.

Driving can be especially dangerous for young drivers, who are often still learning safe driving habits. In a 2018 study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that drivers aged 16 to 24 used seat belts the least out of all age groups surveyed. And further NHTSA data found that 9 percent of all teen fatalities from car accidents involved distracted driving.

To account for the liability of driving, insurance is always required. But that does not necessarily mean you will need to purchase a new policy if you are looking to insure a new driver with a learner’s permit.

Can your parents insure you as a driver?

It is common for car insurance carriers to allow policyholders to add drivers with learner’s permits onto an existing policy, but the new driver generally needs to be living in the same household, as well as driving a car that is already covered by the policy.

If the new driver is living elsewhere or driving a car that is not already insured, then finding insurance for permit drivers may either require alterations to your existing policy or buying a new policy altogether.

There are pros and cons to including a permit driver on an existing policy, as well as to buying a new car insurance policy for a driver with a learner’s permit:

Pros Cons
New policy
    Permit drivers can generally live anywhere and receive coverage

    Permit drivers may be able to insure a car purchased in their own name
    Buying a new policy is generally more expensive than including a permit driver in an existing policy
Existing policy
    Carriers may automatically extend coverage to permit drivers

    Policyholder might be able to offset any increase in premium with teen driver discounts
    Permit drivers usually need to live at the same address as the primary policyholder

    Permit drivers usually need to drive a car registered to the primary policyholder

Never assume that a permit driver will be covered under a current policy. Always check with your insurance carrier first and find out what its guidelines are for drivers with learner’s permits.

Where can you buy insurance with a learner’s permit?

It is possible to get a new car insurance policy with only a learner’s permit, but there may be more conditions involved than getting a policy with a standard driver’s license. If a carrier does agree to insure a permit driver, it may require the driver to get a full driver’s license within a set time frame, such as within 30 days of issuing the policy.

If the permit driver is under 18, then a parent or legal guardian will probably need to co-sign the policy, as the permit driver is still a minor. Additionally, the monthly premium for the permit driver may be higher than the premium for a licensed driver. If you are adding a permit driver to an existing policy, the company may require that the permit driver live with the primary policyholder.

It may be difficult to find car insurance with a learner’s permit if you are a permit driver who lives alone. If you are in this situation, we recommend calling an agent and explaining your circumstances.

Best discounts for young drivers

If you are adding a permit driver to your insurance, the cost of your monthly premium might go up. To offset the increase, it is a good idea to check with your insurer about discounts for young drivers. 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. For example, Nationwide gives discounts to teen drivers who are full-time students and maintain at least a B average.
  • Driver education discounts: If the young driver completes a certified driving program, they could qualify for discounted premiums. For example, Allstate gives discounts to teen drivers who complete the teenSMART® driver education program.
  • Sorority/Fraternity and Alumni discounts: If the young driver is in a sorority, fraternity or alumni association, they might be eligible for this discount. For example, Geico awards discounts to students who are members of eligible college organizations.

Frequently asked questions

How much does auto insurance cost?

The cost of auto insurance is highly individualized. The premium you pay is based on a range of factors. These factors include the kind of car you drive, your age, driving history, location and more.

How can I compare auto insurance quotes?

To find the best auto insurance to fit your needs, it is a good idea to shop around and get quotes from a few different insurers. It is often easy to compare quotes from top car insurance companies using online quoting tools. Many insurance providers offer these tools on their official websites.

How can I reduce the cost of adding a teen driver to my car insurance?

If you are worried about the cost of your monthly premiums increasing when you add a teen driver to your car insurance, you should check with your current insurance provider to see if it offers teen driver discounts.

Written by
Julian Dossett
Insurance Contributor
Julian has three years of experience writing for insurance domains including Bankrate, NextAdvisor with TIME, The Simple Dollar, Reviews.com, and Coverage.com. He writes about auto, home, and life insurance.