Can you register a car with a permit?

Most states won’t let you register a car with a permit since you need car insurance for registration. While you can find car insurance with a permit, it’s very costly on top of already high new driver rates.

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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: Mar 31, 2022

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Things to Know

  • You need a valid driver’s license to register your vehicle in most states
  • Car insurance is needed to register a vehicle, and it’s difficult to get coverage with a permit
  • A license isn’t needed to buy a car

A learner’s permit is the first step to becoming a licensed driver. Although a permit allows you to drive with another person, there are still a lot of restrictions. And these restrictions extend past driving privileges.

For example, can you register a car with a permit? You must register your vehicle no matter what state you live in, but each one creates its own rules.

Most states don’t require a driver’s license to register a car, but car insurance is required. And, finding car insurance with just a permit is very difficult. So, expect to pay much higher rates without a license when you find coverage.

Read on to learn more about registering a car with a permit and how to find car insurance without a license.

Can you register a car with a permit?

All states require you to register a vehicle, but every state has its own process.

Registering a car with a permit is unlikely to be allowed in most states. Although you technically don’t need a driver’s license to register a vehicle, you have to show proof of insurance. And, in most instances, you need a driver’s license to get car insurance.

Some states allow you to register a car without insurance if you plan to get coverage quickly. Temporary registration is usually good for 30 days to allow you to find car insurance.

If you buy a car from a dealer, they will handle registration and vehicle taxes for you. However, you can register your car yourself with a trip to the DMV. The process is simple and typically completed in one day. In addition, many states allow you to renew your registration online.

You need certain documentation to register your vehicle. While each state is different, most requirements are the same.

To register a vehicle, you will need:

  • Title, loan, or lease paperwork
  • Proof of insurance
  • ID such as a passport or state ID card
  • Registration forms
  • Inspection paperwork if required by your state
  • Payment of fees

Typically, registration fees are less than $200, but some states base fees on how much your vehicle is worth. Your DMV can tell you the cost.

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Can you get insurance with a permit?

Many different factors affect car insurance rates. Two of the most significant factors are your age and driving record.

Because drivers with just a learner’s permit and new drivers don’t have a driving record yet, it’s difficult for the car insurance company to determine how risky they are to insure.

Therefore, most car insurance companies require you to have a driver’s license to get coverage. However, some companies are willing to offer coverage to drivers who own their own car but don’t have a license yet.

In this case, new drivers can expect very high car insurance rates. The cheapest and easiest way to get car insurance as a permitted or new driver is to be added to someone else’s policy.

For example, a parent or guardian can add a young driver to their car insurance policy. Older drivers can also be added to their spouse’s policy.

Regardless of how you get coverage, young drivers’ car insurance is very expensive. However, older, more experienced drivers see much lower rates than young or new drivers.

This table shows average car insurance rates from top companies based on age, gender, and demographics.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Age, Gender, and Marital Status
CompanyAverage Annual Rates Single 17-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates Single 17-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Rates Single 25-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates Single 25-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Rates Married 35-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates Married 35-Year-Old MaleAverage Annual Rates Married 60-Year-Old FemaleAverage Annual Rates Married 60-Year-Old Male
American Family$5,996.50$8,130.50$2,288.65$2,694.72$2,202.70$2,224.31$1,992.92$2,014.38
Liberty Mutual$11,621.01$13,718.69$3,959.67$4,503.13$3,802.77$3,856.84$3,445.00$3,680.53
State Farm$5,953.88$7,324.34$2,335.96$2,554.56$2,081.72$2,081.72$1,873.89$1,873.89
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Rates decrease by around $400 a month for 25-year-old drivers. However, no matter your age, expect very expensive rates if you don’t have experience behind the wheel.

No matter what, don’t drive without car insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, driving without insurance leads to hefty fines, impounding your vehicle, and possibly jail time.

Can you buy a car with a permit?

Requirements for buying a car are very different than registering or insuring your vehicle. However, you should be aware of some factors.

Can I buy a car without a license? Yes, you can buy a vehicle without a valid driver’s license. The problem is registering and insuring your car without a license.

You don’t need a license to register your vehicle, but you do need car insurance to register your car in most states. Most car insurance companies won’t insure you without a license.

While you can find a few insurance companies to insure you without a license, coverage is difficult to find and more expensive than usual.

The simplest way to buy, register, and insure a vehicle without a license is to add an insured driver to the process. For example, if you have a permit, have a parent or guardian add you to their car insurance policy, and list them on the title and registration.

How can you save on new drivers’ car insurance?

New drivers see high car insurance rates. Fortunately, there are ways to easily lower those rates.

First, take advantage of car insurance discounts. Most insurance companies offer various discounts that even new drivers can use to save. For example, multi-car, multi-policy, and good student discounts lower rates significantly.

This table shows discounts from top car insurance companies. The savings amount is listed if it is available.

Car Insurance Discounts
Car Insurance DiscountsAllstate (%)American Family (%)Farmers (%)GEICO (%)Liberty Mutual (%)Nationwide (%)Progressive (%)State Farm (%)Travelers (%)USAA (%)
Adaptive Cruise ControlN/AN/AN/AN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Adaptive HeadlightsN/AN/AxN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Anti-lock Brakesxxx555x5xx
Claim Freexxx26x10x152312
Continuous CoveragexxxxN/AN/AxN/A15N/A
Daytime Running Lightsxxx155xN/Axx
Defensive Driverxxxx105105103
Distant StudentxxxxN/A10xx7x
Driver's Edxxxx10N/A101583
Driving Device/AppxxN/Ax30402050305
Early SigningxxxxN/A8xN/A1012
Electronic Stability ControlxxxN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Emergency DeploymentN/AN/AN/A25N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Engaged CoupleN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Family LegacyN/AxN/AxN/AN/AxN/AN/A10
Family PlanN/AxxN/AN/A25N/AN/AN/AN/A
Farm VehiclexN/AxxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Federal EmployeeN/AN/Ax810N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Forward Collision WarningN/AN/AN/AN/A5xxN/AN/AN/A
Full PaymentN/Axxx$5N/AxN/A7.5N/A
Further EducationN/AN/AN/Ax1015N/AN/AxN/A
Good CreditxxN/AN/AN/AxxxN/AN/A
Good Studentxxx1522.510x2583
Green VehiclexN/A5N/A10N/AN/AN/A10N/A
Lane Departure WarningN/AN/AN/AN/AxxxN/AN/AN/A
Life InsurancexN/AN/AN/AN/AxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Low Mileagexxxxxxx30xx
Military GaragingN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A15
Multiple DriversN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Multiple Policies1029x102010121713x
Multiple Vehiclesxxx25102010208x
New Customer/New PlanN/AN/AN/AN/AxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
New GraduateN/AN/AN/AN/A5N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Newer VehiclexN/AxxN/Axx401012
Newly LicensedN/AN/AN/AN/A5N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Occasional OperatorN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/Ax
On-Time PaymentsxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A15N/A
Online ShopperN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A7N/AN/AN/A
Paperless DocumentsxxxN/AN/A5$50N/AN/AN/A
Paperless/Auto BillingxxxN/Ax$30x$233
Passive Restraintxxx40x20x40xx
Recent RetireesN/AN/AN/AN/A4N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Roadside AssistanceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Safe DriverN/AN/Ax15N/A3531152312
Seat Belt UseN/AN/AN/A15N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Senior DriverxN/AxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/Ax
Stable ResidenceN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AxxN/AN/AN/A
Students & AlumniN/AxN/Ax107N/AN/AN/AN/A
Switching ProviderN/AxxN/A10N/AxN/AN/AN/A
Utility VehiclexN/AxxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Vehicle Recoveryxxx153525x5xx
VIN EtchingN/AN/AxN/A5xxN/Axx
Young DriverN/AN/AN/AN/AxN/AxN/AN/A$75
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Next, take a look at your policy. Drop coverages that may be unnecessary, such as roadside assistance or rental car coverage. In addition, reduce coverage amounts and raise deductibles to lower rates.

Finally, shop around. Every car insurance company evaluates your personal factors differently and offers different rates. Compare coverages and rates from multiple companies to find your best deal.

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Registering a Car With a Permit: The Bottom Line

Because most states require car insurance to register a vehicle, you can’t register a car with a permit. While some car insurance companies offer coverage without a driver’s license, coverage is expensive and hard to find.

Add a licensed and insured driver to your registration and title to simplify the process. Have them also add you to their insurance policy to get lower rates.

Once you do get your license, save money on car insurance by adding discounts, reducing coverages, and raising deductibles.

Shop around to find your best deal on car insurance. Compare rates and coverages from multiple companies to find the best coverage with the lowest rates for you.


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Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save

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