Can I get car insurance with just a permit?

You can get car insurance with just a permit, but realize you’ll be paying a lot for coverage. New drivers always pay more for auto insurance because of their increased level of risk. Before you get auto insurance with a learner’s permit, ask a parent, family member, or roommate to add you to their policy until you get your drivers license. If that’s not an option, enter your ZIP code below to compare insurance quotes for free and get auto insurance with just a permit at the best rate possible.

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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

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you have a learner’s permit, getting car insurance can be more challenging than it is when you have an unrestricted license
  • One of the most effective ways to get coverage when you have only a learner’s permit is to be added to your parents’ or roommate’s policy. As long as you live with a licensed driver who owns a car, you should qualify for coverage with your permit
  • If you own your own vehicle, you need a policy where you’re the named insured. Since you can’t be named as a policy owner under someone else’s policy, you’ll need to find an insurer that will issue you insurance with just a permit
  • Since having a license is an underwriting requirement for most traditional policies, you might have to shop for a special short-term policy as an adult learner
  • After your driver’s license is issued, you can switch from a high-cost temporary policy to a traditional policy

When it comes to a skill like driving, you learn from experience. While there are handbooks and other manuals that can help you familiarize yourself with the rules of the road, you need time to be hands-on behind the wheel of a car to really feel comfortable.

This is the main reason why states issue restricted learner’s permits to inexperienced drivers.

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Since being inexperienced has an effect on your insurance, some companies won’t insure adult drivers who have strictly a learner’s permit. Finding insurance as an adult who hasn’t yet held a driver’s license will require some time and effort.

If you’re in search of a policy with only your permit, here’s a guide that can help:

Having a License is a Common Underwriting Requirement


Every company sets its own underwriting requirements. When you’re buying insurance and renewing your policy, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements to get insurance and keep it.

While carriers can decide which market segment they want to target, it’s typical for all traditional insurers to require policyholders to possess a driver’s license.

Some traditional insurers will extend an offer for insurance to individuals who don’t have a U.S. license, but these drivers must hold a foreign license with their International Driving Permit. Without a foreign license, the applicant won’t fulfill the licensing requirement to get affordable low-cost auto insurance.

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Are you able to get added to someone else’s insurance?

You can’t qualify for traditional insurance as a permit holder, but that doesn’t disqualify you from being added to someone’s existing policy. The most affordable way to get insurance if you don’t own a car and you live with a licensed driver is to get coverage through the existing policy.

Depending on your age, you may qualify to be added to your family member, partner, or spouse’s policy free of charge.

Teens and young adults who are under the age of 25 are typically covered under a coverage extension that’s built into traditional auto insurance policies. You should verify that this is a feature of your policy before you make costly assumptions.

Carriers will cover young permit holders for free when they are driving under the supervision of a licensed driver on the policy.

If the inexperienced operator is in an accident, they must be accompanied by an adult for the claim to be covered. Adult learners may need to be rated on the policy as an active driver for the coverage to extend.

Do you need your own policy if you own your own vehicle?

Having a permit doesn’t mean that you can’t own a vehicle. If you’re an adult learner, you can still have a vehicle registered in your name.

This can pose some unique challenges when you’re trying to get auto insurance on the vehicle. Unfortunately, since the car is registered in your name, it can’t be added to someone else’s insurance.

Since the names on your vehicle registration and your insurance contract need to match, your only option is to buy a policy in your own name. Since you’re not yet licensed, you don’t qualify for traditional coverage. The only option will be to apply for a short-term policy where the underwriting requirements are more lenient.

What is a short-term auto insurance policy?


Short-term auto insurance is a specialized plan that’s designed for drivers who don’t qualify for traditional plans. The plans are typically sold for weeks or a month at a time. Since adult learners only have to hold their permit for a short period of time, buying a temporary policy is ideal.

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Are there drawbacks to buying short-term insurance?

Getting short-term car insurance will give you the time you need to practice for your licensing test. While it is an option when you need insurance, this option does have its drawbacks.

Since the policies are sold in the substandard marketplace, they tend to cost a lot more than traditional counterparts.

If you’re getting your permit, you should browse the market for insurance. It might be best to borrow a vehicle and hold off on getting your own car until you’re licensed. If you already have a vehicle, you need to buy insurance right away.

Use an online quote comparison tool to compare the rates for state-mandated coverage, and bind coverage to avoid fines and fees.

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