Do you need car insurance with a learner’s permit?

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Reviewed byBrad Larsen
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...
  • In most cases, your child will be covered under your auto insurance policy while they have their learner’s permit
  • Once they get their license, you will need to add them to your auto insurance policy
  • There are ways to save money when insuring young drivers on your policy

Learning to drive is a right of passage for teenagers. It can also be a frightening time for parents. Besides the stress associated with teaching your teen to drive, you have to be present in the car when they are practicing their nascent driving skills.

And you may already be thinking about the rising cost of your car insurance when Junior gets behind the wheel.

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Your Child is Probably Covered

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The good news is that, in most cases, you will not incur any extra charges when your teen gets their learner’s permit. Your insurance policy will cover your permitted teen driver as long as they are operating under a permit that requires them to have a licensed driver in the car.

If you’re in the market for a new policy, be sure to add this to your list of things to compare if you have children approaching driving age.

Make sure you understand the requirements in your state for insurance coverage. Call your insurance agent or your carrier before your child gets their permit to let them know that you’ll soon have a young driver in the household.

Young Drivers Are Expensive

Using the time that your child has their permit to instill good driving habits will help keep your insurance costs down once they get their license.

But you may still be shocked at how expensive it is to insure your newly licensed driver.

As a group, new drivers have more accidents than more experienced drivers, so their insurance premiums will be higher.

There are ways to keep your costs down once your child is driving on their own:

  • Make sure your child takes an approved driver training class.
  • Add your child to your policy instead of getting them their own policy. If you want your child to pay for their own insurance, just have them pay you the additional cost you incur when adding them to your policy.
  • Shop around for a policy that gives you the best price for your young driver. The policy that was the best choice for you before may not be as attractive once you add your teen to it.
  • Make sure your new driver follows all the rules of the road, including any graduated license requirements your state imposes for teens or new drivers.
  • Moving violations and accidents will raise your insurance rates even more. Make sure your young driver is extra careful.
  • If you have more than one car, add your child as a driver of the car that’s least expensive to insure. This may not necessarily be the oldest car, depending on the make.

When Your Child Gets A License

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You should also familiarize yourself with any Graduated Driver Licensing laws in your state. Some states prohibit young drivers from driving in the early morning hours.

New drivers may be restricted as to the number of passengers they may have, or they may be prohibited from driving people other than immediate family members. In many states, cell phone use is prohibited for drivers who are new or under a certain age.

These restrictions may be in place for a certain number of months after your child receives his permit, or they may be in place until your child reaches a certain age. In either case, you and your child should both know what the restrictions are, and how long they are in place.

Any infraction of the Graduated Driver Licensing laws, or a serious moving violation such as driving under the influence or drag racing, can result in your child having to attend a driver retraining course and take the road test again.

There may also be a fine they’ll have to pay. But an even greater expense may be the surcharge on your auto insurance because that can cost you annually for several years. Make sure your young driver understand the consequences of an infraction at this early stage of the game.

A learner’s permit is a big step toward independence for your teen. Make sure they understand that it is also an increased responsibility that they need to take seriously.

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