Can I Get Car Insurance if I Only Have a Learner’s Permit?

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young woman holding her learner's permit

If you have your driving permit, chances are you’re eagerly awaiting the moment when you can get your license. You’re probably also working on maximizing your time behind the wheel to hone your driving skills and get ready for your big test. But what if something happens while you’re behind the wheel? Should you be insured, and can you get insurance with only a learner’s permit?

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

Yes, it’s important to carry car insurance when you have your permit, that’s because if you’re driving and you get into an accident, you could face serious and costly repercussions. 

If you’re at-fault, you could be responsible for the resulting damages, including medical bills, for the other driver and any passengers. Even basic car repairs can quickly get expensive, so a single accident could leave you with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of expenses. And if you can’t pay those expenses, the other driver could take you to court. 

When you have a permit, you’re learning to drive and developing those habits that will keep you safe on the road. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that teen drivers are almost four times more likely to have an accident than drivers who are over age 20. Insurance is a must, especially during this higher-risk time. 

Car insurance can help to protect you against accident-related expenses, and it’s important that you have insurance any time you get behind the wheel. 

Fortunately, there are multiple ways for you to get insured even while you only have your permit. 

How Do I Get Car Insurance With a Learner’s Permit?

If you only have a learner’s permit, you can apply for your own car insurance policy, just like any other driver. However, the process is more difficult than it is when you already have your license. Some car insurance companies won’t insure drivers who only have a learner’s permit, so you may need to shop around to find a company that offers policies to drivers who don’t yet have a license. 

To get car insurance with just a permit, many insurance providers will expect you to get your license within a certain time period after your policy starts. A company may also ask you to have a parent sign your policy if you are under age 18. 

Keep in mind, too, that when you take out your own policy as a teen without a license, you will have higher premiums than most adult drivers do. Car insurance companies view teens as high-risk drivers, so be prepared to pay more for your insurance. 

If you’re ready to get your own auto insurance policy, it’s best to compare quotes from multiple companies to find the best deal. Compare.com makes this easy. Use our auto insurance comparison tool to quickly receive quotes from top insurance providers so you can save on your policy without sacrificing quality coverage. 

Can My Parents Add Me to Their Car Insurance Policy?

teen driver in the car with her mom

Since getting insurance with just a permit can be difficult and expensive, many parents just add their teens onto their existing car insurance policies, especially if they’ll be driving their parents’ vehicles that are already insured. 

Once you have your permit, ask your parents to contact their car insurance company and have you added on as a driver. Once added onto the policy, you will have the same coverage as the other drivers on the policy. 

In some cases, your parent’s policy may already cover you if you’re driving while they are supervising from the passenger seat. It’s always best to double-check, though, so your parents should still call the insurance company to verify that you are covered. 

Being added onto a parent’s policy has another key benefit: It allows you to start building an insurance history. This insurance history can be helpful when you eventually apply for your own car insurance policy in the future. 

Can I Register a Car or Buy Car Insurance When I Have a Learner’s Permit?

You can register a car without a license, and you can also buy car insurance with just a learner’s permit. However, you might need to meet additional insurance requirements, like having someone over age 18 sign your policy. You will need to have proof of your insurance in place before you are able to register the vehicle. 

Other registration requirements will vary depending on your state. Consider visiting your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website for additional registration details. 

What Insurance is Offered if I Have a Learner’s Permit?

When you have a permit, you can buy the same types of insurance policies that drivers with a license have access to. While there are many different types of insurance and add-ons available, you will probably want to consider a few of the most common types of insurance: 

  • Liability insurance is the most basic type of insurance that’s required to legally drive a car. If you were at fault in an accident, liability insurance will help to cover expenses resulting from bodily injury to other people and their property.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is required by an increasing number of states. This type of coverage protects you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault in an accident. It covers injury-related expenses and can include lost wages, medical bills, rehab costs, and funeral expenses.
  • Collision insurance helps to pay for any damage that occurs to your vehicle from an accident while you were in motion. The policy covers damage that results from your own driving, whether you hit a tree, a fence, or another car.
  • Comprehensive insurance covers the cost of damages that occurs to your car that isn’t the result of an accident. or a hit-and-run incident that has left your car damaged. The damage covered under comprehensive insurance might occur because of  a fire, vandalism, an animal, vehicle theft, or another event outside of your control.
  • Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance is required by some states. Uninsured motorist insurance helps to protect you if a driver hits you and doesn’t have any insurance or if the driver flees the scene of the accident. Underinsured motorist coverage pays for expenses that are left over when an at-fault driver’s insurance has paid out the policy maximums.

How Much Insurance Do I Need When I Have a Learner’s Permit?

At a minimum, you will need enough insurance to meet your state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Those requirements vary by state, but any car insurance company will be able to ensure that the policy you choose allows you to drive legally.

It’s a good idea to take out more insurance than just the minimum required in your state, though. While some insurance is better than none, if your insurance policy limits are too low, you could still be liable for costly expenses after an accident. That’s because state minimum insurance typically requires liability coverage which doesn’t protect you at all, only the other driver. 

Certain types of policies, like comprehensive and collision coverage, are typically optional, but they’re a good idea for new drivers who are more likely to be involved in accidents than more experienced drivers. 

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost When I Have a Learner’s Permit?

The cost of your own car insurance policy when you have a learner’s permit will vary depending on the company, the value of your vehicle, and even factors like your age and credit history. The best way to determine how much you can expect to pay is to get quotes from multiple car insurance providers. 


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How Can I Save on Car Insurance With a Learner’s Permit? 

If your parents have added you to their policy, their policy rates have likely increased. There may be ways that you can help them save on their insurance, though. 

Call your car insurance company and ask if they have any discounts available for teen drivers. 

Some companies offer discounts for teens who have good grades, since they view those good grades as an indicator that a teen is a lower risk or more responsible driver. Companies may also offer discounts if you complete a driving safety course, which can reduce the chance of your being in an accident. 

They might be eligible for multi-policy discounts, or adding you as a driver might qualify them for multi-driver discounts. Other common discounts include paperless billing, vehicle safety discounts, good driving discounts, and even usage-based discounts.

When you shop for a vehicle of your own, the car you choose can also affect your insurance premiums. 

A newer, more expensive vehicle can increase your car insurance premiums drastically, because that car is more expensive for your car insurance company to repair or replace. If you want to keep your insurance premiums down, then it’s best to look for a quality used vehicle with a lower value. 

Will I Ever be Required to Take Out My Own Car Insurance Policy With a Permit? 

While many teen drivers have their parents add them onto their insurance policies, there are some situations where you may have to get your own insurance, even with just a permit. 

  • If you are an adult with a permit, or you have already purchased your own vehicle that will be registered under your name, then you will need your own insurance policy
  • You will also need your own policy if your parent or guardian doesn’t have their own car insurance
  • If you live at a different permanent address than your parent or guardian, you will need to purchase your own auto insurance 

How Can I Find the Cheapest Car Insurance with a Learner’s Permit?

teen researching car insurance on the computer

When shopping for auto insurance with a learner’s permit, we get that you want to keep expenses low. Being a teen driver and having limited driving experience will automatically make your premiums more expensive, but there are a few things you can do to keep your rates low. 

Consider Your Vehicle

If you need to find your own insurance policy with a learner’s permit, then carefully consider the vehicle that you will be driving. Try to find an affordably priced, used vehicle, since the vehicle’s lower value will help to keep costs down. 

Ask About Discounts

Ask insurance companies about any available discounts that you might be eligible for. Companies often offer discounts for paying your premium in full, signing up for electronic paperwork, or driving with an app that tracks your driving habits. These options may help you to save money. 

Pick a High Deductible

Increasing your deductible can lower your premiums, but it’s important to be prepared to pay that higher deductible after an accident before your policy will pay for expenses. 

Compare Quotes from Different Companies

Most importantly, be sure to shop around and compare policies. With Compare.com, you can quickly gather quotes from different companies. Compare.com users save an average of $720 on their car insurance each year.

Take your time and compare the policies to make sure that you’re choosing the option that’s not only most affordable, but best for your needs.

FAQs About Getting Insurance With a Permit

Can I buy a car with a learner’s permit? 

If you have a permit, you may be able to buy a car, but you will need to have a driver’s license before you can register that car under your name. When buying a car, you may need to pay cash, or you will need a good credit rating to get an auto loan. 

Do I need insurance if I have a provisional license? 

A provisional license is sometimes issued to drivers under age 18, and it limits factors like the number of passengers you can have in the car or how late at night you can drive. If you have a provisional license, you need to carry car insurance, unless you’re in a state that offers you the ability to opt out of car insurance.

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