Do You Need Car Insurance With a Learner’s Permit?

Adding your teen driver to your auto policy is generally the cheapest way to get insurance for permit drivers, but you have other options.

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Almost everyone driving a car on public roads needs to have a minimum amount of car insurance (auto insurance is mandatory in nearly all states) — including drivers with a learner’s permit. But state laws and insurer policies can differ when it comes to a learner’s permit.

Drivers with a learner’s permit can get coverage under their parents’ policy, which is usually the cheapest way to get insurance. In some cases, a new driver may need to purchase their own policy. Whichever route you take, there are many ways to save money on car insurance costs.

Here’s what you need to know about getting car insurance with a learner’s permit.

Key Takeaways:

  • You typically need to be at least 18 to own a vehicle and purchase your own car insurance policy.
  • Minors can be listed on their parents’ car insurance policies or may be able to purchase a policy of their own with their parents as co-signers.
  • Parents should check with their insurance company to see when and how they can add their teen drivers to their policy.

How to Get Car Insurance With a Learner’s Permit

Teen behind the wheel of a car

As a new driver, someone will need to cover you under their car insurance policy while you practice your driving skills, whether that’s the owner of the car (often your parents) or through a policy you purchased yourself.

Most people’s on-ramp to driving is through their parents, who supply both the car and the insurance. But that’s not always the case, and it could depend on many things, including:

  • Your age
  • The state you live in
  • Your insurance company
  • Who owns the title to the vehicle

Based on these factors, you have two main routes for getting car insurance if you don’t have a license yet.

Getting your own policy

Buying your own car insurance policy — separate from a family member or legal guardian — is rare but may be necessary for some people, such as:

  • Foster children
  • Adults learning to drive
  • Teens who own their cars
  • Teens whose parents don’t drive
  • Teens who live in different houses from their parents

Generally, you can only buy auto insurance for cars you own. You also usually need to be at least 18 years old to own the legal title to a car. Adult teenagers (18- and 19-year-olds) may be able to buy their own car insurance policy, but it’s typically more expensive. That’s why most people rely on the next option.

Adding a driver to a parent’s insurance policy

Most people start their insurance history when a parent adds them to their insurance policy. This is generally a much cheaper and easier route — and the best way for most families to help their kids get the right coverage.

Some auto insurance companies automatically cover them under your policy while they have a learner’s permit and list them as a covered driver only once they get a provisional license in some states. This is essentially for drivers beyond the permit stage who haven’t yet received their official license.

It’s best to reach out to your insurance agent before your teen gets their driver’s permit to find out your insurance company’s policies.

How Much Does Insurance Cost for a Permit Driver?

Teen holding a learners permit

Unfortunately, adding a new driver with a learner’s permit to your policy will cause your rates to increase. After all, teen drivers made up just 5% of all drivers in 2020, yet were responsible for 12% of reported crashes and 8.5% of fatal crashes, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

As a result, insurance companies charge higher premiums to compensate for the higher car accident rates — especially if your teen is purchasing their own policy. The table below shows how much different insurers charge to add a teen to your policy vs. their own policy.

Insurance Company Cost of Adding Teen to Policy Cost of Teen on Their Own Policy
GEICO $153 $164
State Farm $174 $186
Nationwide $202 $217
Allstate $225 $241
Safeco $241 $259
American Family $283 $303
Progressive $286 $307
State Auto $320 $343
Liberty Mutual $329 $353
Travelers $352 $377
The General $354 $380
Dairyland $355 $380
Farmers $393 $422

Adding a driver with a learner’s permit to your insurance policy is the cheapest option across the board, according to our analysis. But depending on your insurer, you could pay twice as much. For example, six insurers have rates that are more than double GEICO’s rate — whether you add your teen to your policy or they purchase their own.

But these data points show why shopping around and comparing rates is a good idea. Keep in mind that each auto insurance company calculates rates differently, and many factors, like your gender, ZIP code, credit history, driving record, and marital status, influence your actual rate.

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What Car Insurance Does a Teen Driver Need?

Teen with her parent in a car

At the very least, all drivers — teens with learner’s permits included — need to meet their state’s minimum insurance requirements. This generally includes a certain amount of bodily injury and property damage liability coverage to pay for the injuries and damage you cause to others in an accident.

That’s especially important for new drivers, who are more likely to get into an accident. Many financial advisors recommend having higher liability coverage amounts for exactly this reason, especially if you have a lot of assets that someone could sue you for.

It’s also a good idea to consider umbrella insurance. These policies kick in and offer extra coverage if you exceed the limits of your current auto insurance policy. Most insurers require you to have at least $250,000 in auto liability coverage first, but given that teens are more prone to serious and fatal crashes (with high claims payouts), it may be worth it.

Other types of insurance coverages worth considering, if they’re not already required by your state, include:

Discounts for Permit Drivers

Teen holding a learners permit

Car insurance for permit drivers is expensive, but higher rates don’t last forever — plus, there are plenty of ways to save in the meantime. Comparing insurance quotes from multiple companies is one of the most effective money-saving strategies — not only because insurers price policies differently but also because each offers different discounts and potential savings.

The good news is most auto insurance companies often more discounts available specifically for teen drivers than any other group. Here are a few examples of discounts to look for:

  • Good student discount: High school and college students who maintain good grades (a B average or higher)
  • Student away at school: Students attending college away from home who leave their vehicle with their parents instead of driving it at school
  • Defensive driver training: Drivers who complete an insurer-approved defensive driver training course
  • Telematics devices and apps: Plug-in devices and apps that record your teen’s driving and offer feedback and discounts based on their habits

Car Insurance for Permit Drivers FAQs

Looking for additional information? Here are the top questions people ask about car insurance for permit drivers.

Do you have to add a permit driver to your car insurance?

No. You aren’t required to add a permit driver to your existing policy. But unless they can buy their own policy or someone else in your household adds them to theirs, they may not be able to drive until they get their full driver’s license.

How much is car insurance for permit drivers?

Young drivers must be covered under an auto policy that meets the same minimum insurance requirements in the state where they live. Each state sets its own minimum requirements for the specific amounts and types of coverage that drivers must have.

Can you drive alone with a permit?

Generally, no. Permit drivers must be accompanied by a licensed driver under each state’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) program until they’re eligible for a provisional license. In most states, 16-year-old drivers can get this type of license.

How much does it cost to add a permit driver to your insurance?

Depending on the specific company you buy a policy with, it’ll cost between $153 and $393 per month to add a permit driver to your insurance, according to data.


Data scientists at analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurance providers in order to compile the quotes and statistics seen in this article.’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.

All the quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.


  1. Insurance Information Institute, “Is it legal to drive without insurance?” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Auto insurance for teen drivers,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  3. Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, “Teens Shopping for Auto Insurance,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  4. Houston Bar Association, “Now You Are 18!” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  5. Seattle Journal for Social Justice, “Life Is a Highway: Addressing Legal Obstacles to Foster Youth Driving Driving,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  6. Insurance Information Institute, “A Rise in Roommates Raises Questions about Home and Auto Insurance,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  7. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Traffic Safety Facts 202 Data Young Drivers,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  8. National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “NAIC Consumer Shopping Tool for Auto Insurance,” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  9. Insurance Information Institute, “What is an umbrella liability policy?” Accessed February 21, 2024.
  10. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Teenagers,” Accessed February 21, 2024.

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