Can you get car insurance with a permit?

You can get car insurance with a permit and depending on factors like age and household status, you have the option to get cheaper rates on a policy. Being young and inexperienced behind the wheel comes with a heavy price tag, so make sure to do your research and compare rates from various insurance companies.

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Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

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Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Things to Know

  • You can buy auto insurance with a learner’s permit, although it is difficult 
  • Provisional drivers should seek coverage from a parent or guardian or spouse first 
  • Insurance premiums for young provisional drivers are likely to be higher 

Getting your learner’s permit is an exciting milestone towards adulthood and freedom. But, with this exciting milestone comes the tedious, confusing, and expensive process of owning and understanding car insurance. Where do you even begin?

Continue reading to find out if you’re eligible for car insurance with a permit and the best car insurance options for a learner’s permit. 

Can you purchase car insurance with a permit?

Yes, it is possible to buy car insurance with only a learner’s permit. However, you should keep in mind that it’s much more difficult than getting insurance as a licensed driver. Not every car insurance company will offer a car insurance policy to provisional drivers. 

If you’re still learning how to drive, you may be covered by your parent or guardian’s policy. For example, if you’re practicing driving with a family member’s car, it’s likely you’re covered by their policy and won’t require your own. 

Conditions for Purchasing Car Insurance With a Permit 

Already owning a car before obtaining your driver’s license would require you to find a policy. 

To purchase car insurance with a permit, most insurance companies require you to take your driver’s test within a 30 to 45 day timeframe after buying the policy. Car insurance for young and inexperienced drivers can be very expensive.

If you’re under 18 years old, not all insurers will sell you a standalone policy. Companies will ask you to have a parent or guardian or other licensed adult sign a policy with you. Sharing a policy with a family member experienced in driving will also help inexperienced drivers get the best rates. 

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How to Buy Car Insurance With a Learners Permit

As mentioned, young provisional drivers with a permit can be added to their parent or guardian’s car insurance policy. This is the most affordable option to get car insurance with a learner’s permit or provisional driver’s license. You can do this whether you share a car with a parent or other family member, or if you have your own car only driven by you. 

Getting Your Own Policy

Drivers who live alone, are older or can’t join an existing policy will need to purchase their own car insurance. If this applies to you, we’ve summarized the essential steps to get car insurance with a permit: 

  • Keep your options open. Start by looking for insurance companies that provide coverage for provisional drivers. It may take various hours of phone calls to figure out which companies will offer this choice.
  • Understand the requirements. Inquire about the conditions for provisional drivers when speaking with agents. You may be required to sign a policy with another licensed driver or prove that you are eligible for a license within a specified timeframe.
  • Find a quote. Start getting quotes from the companies you found. Pay attention to the many coverage options and discounts available. Request various quotations to compare several options. 
  • Pick a policy. The final step is to sign a policy and set a start date for your coverage. Remember that to legally drive on your own, you must have an active policy.

Do you need car insurance?

Anyone who drives a car on a public road must be covered by insurance. 

Inexperienced drivers generally don’t need to purchase a standalone insurance policy. If you’re learning to drive, you’re probably doing it in a family member or friend’s car, with a more experienced driver in the passenger seat. In this instance, the car owner’s policy will almost certainly cover you while you’re learning. However, It’s a good idea to contact your insurer to confirm you’re covered while driving. 

Additionally, regardless of whether you live with a family member or just a roommate, if you live with the owner of that car, you’ll need to be added to the policy once you’ve passed your license exam.

The insured party must be over 21 years old, and the vehicle the permitted driver operates must be covered on the insured party’s policy. With these requirements being met, you most likely won’t need your own car insurance. 

Does my policy cover my young driver?

It’s important to remember that your young driver or anyone in your family who has recently been issued a driver’s permit is not automatically protected by your insurance policy. This will depend on the insurance company. Some insurers will automatically extend the policy to cover drivers with permits, while others want you to add them.

Talk to your insurance agent as soon as your child is issued their permit to ensure they are covered. an insurance company has the right to deny coverage if you didn’t inform them about your teen driver. 

Coverage for Your Significant Other

The same rule applies when living with your significant other or are newly married and living together. It’s important to make sure you inform your insurance company. If you fail to inform the insurance company about your living arrangements, they do have the right to deny coverage in the event you’re in an accident. Everyone in the household who has a permit or a driver’s license must be listed on the insurance policy for appropriate coverage to be provided. 

Average Cost of Car Insurance for Drivers With Permits

While adding a driver with a permit would increase your auto insurance rate, you don’t want to risk not having them insured or protected under your current policy. The new driver’s insurance will be less expensive for older adults. The following is a list of the average annual premiums for drivers between the ages of 15 and 21:

  • 15 years old: $2,296
  • 16 years old: $1,829
  • 17 years old: $1,509
  • 18 years old: $1,378
  • 19 years old: $1,334
  • 20 years old: $1,292
  • 21 years old: $1,252

Insurance Companies Comparison for Young Drivers

Although it is exciting to have your teen have their independence and not require you to drive them to school or social activities, there are financial benefits for waiting a year or two since car insurance gets cheaper as you age.

The chart below compares insurance rates across top car insurance companies when signing a policy under a parent or legal guarian vs. singing a policy on your own to help you find the best and cheapest rates for teen drivers.

Car Insurance Rates by Parent/Legal Guardian's Policy
CompaniesCar Insurance Rates under Parent/Legal Guardian PolicyCar Insurance Rates without Parent/Legal Guardian
State Farm$316$301
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How Parents Can Save on Their Car Insurance Costs

When you add a teenage driver to your vehicle insurance coverage, your premiums are likely to go up. If you’re adding a provisional driver to your current insurance policy, the best thing you can do to reduce expenses is to compare quotes from at least five different insurers. Auto insurance premiums might vary by hundreds of dollars each year when you have a minor driver on your coverage.

 While you can have access to numerous discounts as a policyholder, the following are the most typically used:

  • Satisfactory grades in high school or college
  • Driver safety courses above minimum requirements 
  • Keeping a spotless driving record
  • A good credit rating
  • Away-at-school discount 
  • Bundling home and auto insurance
  • Anti-theft device
  • Insuring several vehicles
  • Automatic bill payment
  • Renewing your subscription early

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Purchasing Car Insurance With a Permit

The simple answer is yes, you can get car insurance with just a learner’s permit. Provisional drivers are technically permitted to buy their own car insurance policy. However, just a few insurance companies provide it, and the plans are typically rather expensive.

Check to see whether you can enroll in a parent or guardian’s or spouse’s coverage before purchasing one. You may be able to use discounts for being a good student or taking a defensive driving course to avoid a premium increase.

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