If your teen just got their learner’s permit and is going to start driving the family car, contact your insurance company to see if you need to add them to your policy. Some insurance companies automatically cover drivers who only have their permits, but that isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to double check.
Adding a student driver to your policy won’t raise your rates right away, since having a learner’s permit means they won’t be driving alone yet. But your insurance will get more expensive once they’re fully licensed.
Do learner’s permit drivers need car insurance?
It depends on the company, but some insurers automatically cover drivers with learner’s permits, which means you don’t need to officially add your teen to your policy once they get their permit.
Companies have different rules, though, and some require you to add your newly-permitted driver to your policy even though they won’t be driving the car on their own yet.
If you have a driver in your household who just got their learner’s permit, check with your insurance company to see what you need to do. It’s important to make sure they’re covered, just in case they get into an accident while they’re practicing their driving.
Can you get car insurance with a permit?
Drivers with a learner’s permit can get their own car insurance policy. In fact if you only have a permit but you own your own vehicle, you’ll need to get car insurance just like any other driver.
Drivers who are younger than 18 years old (like student drivers usually are) will need their parent or guardian’s permission before they can get covered.
What car insurance do drivers with a learner’s permit need?
Drivers with a learner’s permit need the same amount of insurance as any fully-licensed driver (assuming they have a car). If you’re a student driver, you can’t drive without enough insurance to meet your state’s minimum coverage requirements.
These minimum coverage limits aren’t often very high compared to the amount of damage that you could be responsible for after an accident. Given their lack of behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to have more liability insurance (the kind of insurance that covers damage you cause) than your state requires if a young driver is using your car for practice.
Permit drivers may also need comprehensive and collision coverage, which cover damage to your own car, either from a peril like weather or theft or an at-fault accident.
How to get insurance for drivers with a learner’s permit
There are two ways that drivers with a learner’s permit can get insurance: a family member can add them to an existing policy or they can get a separate policy on their own.
As long as you have all of the necessary information, it doesn’t take very long for a parent, spouse, or partner (who lives in your house) to add a driver with their learner’s permit to an insurance policy.
Here are three steps that you as an existing policyholder can take to add a driver who has their permit to your insurance:
Contact your insurance company and let your provider know that you need to add a driver with their learner’s permit to your policy.
Give your company the necessary information, including your policy number, the driver’s name, and their permit number.
Add another vehicle to your policy if you bought your teenage driver their own car. In this case, you’ll need the car's make and model, vehicle identification number (VIN), in addition to the name and age of the vehicle's primary driver.
But drivers who have their learner’s permit but own their own car will need to buy their own car insurance instead of joining an existing policy.
It depends on the company, but generally you can get your own insurance online, over the phone, or in person just like a fully licensed driver. You’ll just have to give your permit number instead of a driver’s license number.
How do drivers with a learner’s permit affect insurance costs?
Adding a driver who has a learner’s permit doesn’t typically affect car insurance costs. Instead, any rate increase for a new driver will come later, after they are fully licensed and they’ll be driving your car on their own.
It's still possible to find cheap auto insurance coverage even with a newly-licensed driver in your household. We recommend comparing quotes from more than one company to find the cheapest rates in your area.
Cost for most drivers
Cost of adding a new driver
Auto Club (AAA)
Cost of adding a newly-licensed driver to an existing policy at the largest companies
How to get cheaper insurance once a permit driver is licensed
While your car insurance rates will increase once your permitted driver gets their license, there are plenty of ways to make sure that your premiums remain affordable.
Compare quotes before buying (and renewing): The best way to get cheap car insurance once the permit driver on your insurance is fully licensed is by comparing rates from multiple companies before you buy and when it’s time to renew your coverage.
Keep high grades: Young drivers who are full time students can qualify for lower rates by getting good grades, making the honor roll, or scoring well on standardized tests.
Attend school far away from home: Many insurance companies offer discounts to families with young drivers who go to school at least 100 miles away from their parents’ home without a car.
Avoid tickets, accidents, and claims: Many companies offer lower rates for avoiding risky behaviors that result in incidents and claims.
Complete a safe driving class: With most companies, you may be able to lower your car insurance premiums by completing a defensive or safe driving class run by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.
Even if you don't think you'll be able to find cheap car insurance coverage after you transition from a learner’s permit to a full license, your rates will still get more affordable over time, until they level out around age 25. As you age and gain more experience, insurers steadily drop their rates — as long as you aren’t involved in any accidents.
Policygenius found the cost of car insurance for adding a 16-year-olds driver who no longer has a permit to an existing policy using rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Our rates were from every ZIP code in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and were for a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.
Our sample fully covered our vehicle with these coverage limits:
Bodily injury liability: $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Property damage liability: $50,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist: $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Comprehensive: $500 deductible
Collision: $500 deductible
Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.