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How To Get Car Insurance Coverage With A Learners Permit

Insuring a teen with a learner’s permit isn’t quite the same as insuring a fully licensed teen driver, but there are still ways to get coverage and save money while you’re at it. 

About Learner’s Permits

Simply put, learner’s permits are the driving permits teens get before they become fully licensed.

Most states have Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) systems in place, which means teens go through a series of permits before they get their full licenses. Often, this involves several phases:

  • Learner’s permit with strict driving restrictions.
  • Intermediate license with limited driving restrictions.
  • Full driver’s license with no driving restrictions.

Of course, exact names and restrictions vary by state. Refer to our Driver's Permits section for details specific to your state.

Does a Permit Holder Need Insurance?

Many new drivers and their parents wonder whether you can get insurance with a permit. In general, permit holders don’t need car insurance, in the classic sense; usually, car insurance companies extend the parents’ policies to include the permitted teen.

Once the teen becomes a licensed driver, he or she will need car insurance—whether that means formally adding the teen to the parents' policy, or having the teen purchase his or her own policy. See How to Add Teens to Your Auto Insurance Policy for more details.

However, this can vary from provider to provider, so it’s crucial you ask your own car insurance agent about your company’s policy regarding car insurance and learner’s permits.

Notifying Your Auto Insurance Company

Just because your teen now has a learner’s permit (or driver’s license) doesn’t mean your car insurance company knows anything about it. Notify your provider!

This protects you in two ways:

  1. Your car insurance company will know you have a permitted driver on the road and can discuss any special situations with you. For example, in some cases your teen may actually need to be insured, such as if he owns his own vehicle and his name is on the title.
  2. You and your car insurance company can talk about adding your teen driver to your own policy (or having him or her purchase a policy) once they are fully licensed.

Again, never assume your teen with a driver’s permit is automatically covered under your policy. Always notify your car insurance provider.

Saving Money On Teen Car Insurance

There are multiple ways you and your teen can save money on car insurance.

For example:

  • Have your teen enroll in a driver’s education course, driver-training class, or both—even if your state doesn’t require it.
    • This education is invaluable and car insurance companies often offer discounts for it.
  • Encourage your teen to make good grades.
  • Sign your teen driver up as an “occasional” or “pleasure only” driver, if she doesn’t drive often or is away at school without a vehicle.
  • Put your teen in a vehicle with a high safety rating.
    • Whether your teen has a license or a permit, if she wants to buy a car, it’s smart to buy a sensible one. Flashy cars are more expensive to insure (and don’t bode well for teens in general, who are already among the highest-risk drivers for auto accidents).
  • Rethink your liability vs. collision and comprehensive coverage.
    • Most states require some form of ntlink id="609" nav="Liability Insurance" url="" tooltip="Internal link">liability coverage but unless you lease or owe money on a vehicle, comprehensive and collision coverage generally is optional. If you own an older vehicle, it might make more sense to just cover them under liability insurance.
  • On that note, how about your deductible?
    • If you can reasonably afford it, increasing your deductible often decreases your monthly premiums.
  • Do you own multiple vehicles?
  • Often, insuring more than one asset—often called multi-line insurance—can get you a discount.
    • For example, you might save money if you purchase both car insurance and homeowners insurance from the same provider.

Make sure to ask your auto insurance provider about each of these possible discounts and more.

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