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

You do need car insurance with a learner's permit, but you usually don't need separate learner's permit insurance if you can be added to your guardians' or significant other's car insurance. The average car insurance rates for new and teen drivers are $320 a month. Fortunately, there are also discounts for learner's permit car insurance to lower your car insurance rate.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked


Here's What You Need to Know

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

Do you need car insurance with a learner’s permit? The short answer is yes, but you don’t necessarily need to have your own car insurance as long as you are covered under someone else’s policy (like your guardians). 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 separate policy on their own.

Specific car insurance for a learner’s permit is not necessary. As long as you are in the car of an insured adult over the age of 21, chances are the primary driver’s insurance will cover you.

Whether you need to buy an individual policy will depend on your age and your personal situation. Either way, finding cheap car insurance as a new driver can be difficult. Be sure to find out the required car insurance coverage for your state before shopping for a policy. Keep reading to learn some of the specifics regarding car insurance with a learner’s permit.

Since you do need car insurance with a learner’s permit, find affordable learner’s permit auto insurance quotes by entering your ZIP code in our quote box.

Table of Contents

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

You need insurance with a learner’s permit. Does a permit driver need insurance? Car insurance and learner’s permit drivers can be a tricky combination.

  • 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.

Individuals with learner’s permits do not need their own car insurance unless their vehicle registration is in their own name. This is fairly uncommon and does not apply to most scenarios. Therefore, as a general rule, you won’t need car insurance until you get your driver’s license.

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

Does a young driver with a learner’s permit need insurance? Do you need insurance to get a permit?

Teen drivers who are living at home are usually covered under their guardians’ car insurance. Individual car insurance for minors with a permit is not necessary as long as the guardian has insurance.

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 guardians’ existing auto insurance policy would provide protection.

When a teenage driver gets a learner’s permit, the guardian can contact the insurance carrier to find out when the teen should be added to the policy.

Keep in mind that even if the young driver 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 companies for teens in the cheapest and most expensive car insurance states for which quotes were available.

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

Sample Average Monthly Teen Car Insurance Rates
Gender and StateAverage Monthly Progressive RatesAverage Monthly Allstate RatesAverage Monthly GEICO Rates
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
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You can see that insuring a teen driver can be quite expensive. A new driver lacks driving experience, making an auto accident more likely. Thus, rates are higher.

One way to keep those rates as low as possible is to take advantage of any discounts your car insurance company offers. Make sure to speak with an agent to see what discounts for teen drivers you are eligible for. There is a defensive driving discount and multi-car discount, to name a few. There is also a discount for being a safe driver.

Should you purchase additional car insurance for a new driver?

From Maine to California, knowing when you should add your son or daughter to your car insurance is the same…as soon as they start driving.

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 guardian’s 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.

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

Why should you insure a learner’s permit driver?

Are learner’s permit drivers covered by insurance until they get their driver’s license?

  • You probably do not need to add a teen with a learner’s permit to your insurance, but you should check with your insurance carrier to make sure.
  • You should take this life change of your teen starting to drive as an opportunity 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 teens with permits.

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

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

Guardians should notify their auto insurance company as soon as their teen gets a learner’s permit. Although they won’t be added to the policy yet, the insurance company should know who the potential young drivers are in case of an accident.

So, when should you buy learner’s permit car insurance? Well, as long as the adult driver who owns the car is covered, the child will be too. However, some companies require notification.

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

Can you drive without insurance with a permit if your guardians have 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 guardians.

It is generally assumed by insurance companies that such minors will be operating the vehicles of their guardians, with those adults present most of the time. Therefore, minor drivers are allowed to be covered by the 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 guardians when they need to drive.

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

They can stay on that policy until they move out of their guardians’ home or reach an age somewhere in their mid-20s, depending on the state in which they live.

What car 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.

If you are wondering where to get car insurance for a learner’s permit, GEICO and State Farm learner’s permit insurance is available, as is learner’s permit insurance from Progressive.

In fact, 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.

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Purchasing Car Insurance With Only a Permit

Can you get car insurance with 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 guardians’ 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 you a lot of problems and hassle.

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

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. Depending on your situation, you may or may not need a separate insurance policy for it.

So, can you get car insurance with a learner’s permit? You will need to speak with an agent to make sure you are fully covered, no matter your specific situation.

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

What are scenarios for drivers with a learner’s permit?

Many questions, like “Do you need insurance to drive with a permit?” and “Do I need to be insured to learn to drive?” come along with a learner’s permit, including insurance requirements.

There are some reasons you might not want to add your teen to your family car insurance policy. For example, if the teen already has accidents or tickets, adding them to the family policy could raise rates all around.

Let’s look at the main scenarios that determine what exactly is needed when a learner’s permit is involved.

When do teen drivers with learner’s permits get added to your car insurance policy?

Do permitted drivers need insurance right away? In a situation where the driver is a teen living with both guardians, they 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, they will probably be covered until obtaining a full driver’s license.

Teens with divorced guardians who spend some time with each one may need to be added to each guardian’s car insurance policy.

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

It’s also important to note that some car insurance companies may require a teen with a learner’s permit to get their own policy. If that is the case, make sure you shop around for the best deals on auto insurance.

How do adults with learner’s permits get added to car insurance?

Do you have to have insurance to drive with a permit if you’re an adult?

When the new driver is an adult living with his or her guardians, 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.

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 policies for unmarried couples on their partner’s policy.

Depending on the state where the new driver lives, they 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 they are 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
CompanyAverage Annual Car Insurance Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Car Insurance Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Car Insurance Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Car Insurance Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old Male
American Family$2,288.65$2,694.72$2,202.70$2,224.31
State Farm$2,335.96$2,554.56$2,081.72$2,081.72
Liberty Mutual$3,959.67$4,503.13$3,802.77$3,856.84
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You can see that the rates are cheaper for married people than they are for single people. The difference can be hundreds of dollars a year.

Do learner’s permit drivers need their own car insurance if they are living on their own?

Does a person with a permit need insurance if they live 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 dependent on someone who has car insurance coverage in place.

Do you need car insurance when you have a learner’s permit in California? Does insurance cover permit drivers 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 learner’s permit insurance, 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 guardians 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.

Why should you compare car insurance quotes for learner’s 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 they are for young adults who are living with their guardians.

How does a new driver affect your car insurance rates?

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, they will need proper insurance as well.
  • Often new drivers are added to their guardian’s policy which allows them to take advantage of existing discounts.
  • However, if a new driver decides to take out their own policy, there are several steps they can take to keep their 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.

Can you find the best car insurance for learner’s permit 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.

Do you have to notify your car insurance provider 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 at a higher risk.

How can new drivers save money on car insurance rates?

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

Car Insurance Discounts Available for New Drivers
New Driver DiscountQualifications
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
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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 your 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.

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How do graduated licensing laws and driver’s safety go together?

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 rules of the road and teen driver safety.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the teen driver would not necessarily need to be added to their guardians’ car insurance policy until they get a full license.

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 guardian, driving instructor, or other unimpaired individuals over the age of 25 in the passenger seat when driving with 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.

What are the restrictions on drivers with a 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 rates.

For example, in the state of Georgia, a student may not retain their learner’s permit under the age of 18 if they do 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 they drive anyway.

Using the above example, if that 17-year-old high school dropout was pulled over, both they and their licensed passenger would be held accountable. If they were using their guardian’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 guardian with a teen who possesses a learner’s permit, you may legally 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.

How do permitted drivers 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 rates in the long run.

Driving safely means respecting all the rules that were just learned in driver’s education class, such as:

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

Not only will these habits keep you safe, but they will also help you keep your car insurance rates low.

How do you choose the right car for your teenager?

The car that a new driver operates also has a profound effect on the price they pay 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 are as significant, 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 their policy by buying a car that will save them 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 their new driving lifestyle in a safer way.

Why should you 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 their life and their driving record is to drive soberly.

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

When a new driver shows responsibility at school, it indicates to insurance companies that they are more likely to show responsibility while driving.

When should you review car insurance coverage?

When a policyholder is thinking about adding a new driver to their 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.

A young person who has recently learned how to drive and who has bought their 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 they have in place.

By the time a guardian has a child old enough to learn how to drive, they 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 their clients.

The agent can also offer advice about what level of coverage the customer should be looking at for their particular 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 email 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 your car insurance coverage on an annual basis anyway.

How do you compare rates on car insurance for new drivers?

Whether a family is adding a new driver to an existing policy or a new driver is buying their 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.

And, by the way, if you are wondering, “Can you get car insurance without a license in PA or any other state?” the answer is that it’s possible, but not always easy or recommended.

To find affordable car insurance rates with a learner’s permit, enter your ZIP code in our free tool below to compare new driver car insurance quotes and get cheap learner’s permit car insurance rates now.

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.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

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. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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