Why you can trust The Zebra

The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed agents. Reference our data methodology and learn more about how we make money.

What car insurance do you need to drive with a learner's permit?

A learner's permit is the first big step towards adulthood and the freedom that comes with it. But, with this freedom comes the confusing, expensive, and sometimes tedious responsibility of owning and understanding your car insurance. Even if you do not have a car to insure, there are car insurance implications of getting your learner's permit. Whether or not you need car insurance, if you need to be added to your parent’s policy, and where to find cheap car insurance as a new driver are all topics we will discuss.

Can you get car insurance with a learner’s permit?

Simply put, yes. While it may sound strange, but you don’t even need a driver’s license to get car insurance. Moreover, you’re able to purchase and register a vehicle all with just a learner’s permit. But there are certain circumstances where you might not need car insurance, as you could be automatically covered by your parent’s or significant other’s policy.

Can my parents add me to their policy?

The most common circumstance for someone with a learner’s permit is a young teen driver living with their parents. In this scenario, whether or not you needed to be added to their car insurance company will depend on the insurance company’s rules. Some car insurance companies have provisions within the policy to cover drivers with a learner’s permit. However, other car insurance companies require anyone of driving age (even if they don’t have a driver's license or learner’s permit) to be added to the policy as an excluded or included driver.

It’s never a good idea to assume anything about your insurance company. So, if you’ve just received your learner’s permit or your teen has, make sure you speak to your insurance company about your situation. If you assume they’re covered and they’re not, you run the risk of having a claim denied.

This same rule applies to anyone else you might be living with — a spouse or a significant other. If you’re living with someone full-time, you should speak to their insurance company about the implications of your driving status.

teen icon

Cheap companies for young drivers

As we stated, whether or not you need to be added to your parent’s or significant others policy will depend on the company and unique situation. Thus, it’s difficult to give car insurance quotes for companies. However, we skipped ahead to the next step of your driving life and created a user profile (outlined here) where a licensed teen was added to their parent’s policy. Here, we can see that, all other metrics constant, Geico and Progressive were the cheapest companies for families with young drivers.

Car Insurance Provider Annual premium
State Farm $5,998
Allstate $4,590
Geico $1,974
Progressive $2,462
Liberty Mutual $3,352

Auto insurance data methodology

The auto insurance rates published in this guide are based on the results of The Zebra's State of Insurance car insurance pricing analysis. This analysis of more than 83 million insurance rates spans every U.S. ZIP code, using a sample user profile: a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord, good credit and full coverage at these levels:

  • $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
  • $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage

To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the driving profile based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies. These factors include credit score, coverage level, driving record and others.

In some instances, average rates from Liberty Mutual were derived from internally sourced sales data.


Discounts for young drivers

While young drivers may face higher rates overall, there are ways to save money on your insurance policy. Have a look at the following discounts that can help you save money on your insurance rates.

student
Good student discount

Being a student with good grades can oftentimes lead to reduced rates. This is often stipulated at a B average or above.

driver
Safe driver discount

Safe driving and keeping a clean driving record can often save you money. 

driving course
Take a driving course

 Taking a course — like drivers ed — can lower your auto insurance rates in many cases.


Drivers permit insurance considerations

You should consider our data as a starting point and not a strict rule. Every company will view you differently and thus charge you differently. So, your best bet for finding affordable car insurance is to shop around as much as possible. Be upfront about you or your child’s learner permit status ahead of time.

Bear in mind, however, getting car insurance with a learner’s permit may be fairly expensive. Car insurance companies use driving age and years of experience as major rating factors which could hurt your chances of keeping your premium low. Again, the best way to mitigate this is to look at as many companies as possible.

Most auto insurance companies allow first-time drivers with permits to be added to the plan of a parent or significant other. Once they become a licensed driver, however, it's possible that rates will go up. Whether you are a permit driver or have a full license, shopping around for car insurance quotes regularly is a good idea. The Zebra can help you find a car insurance policy that is right for you and your family's needs.

Compare insurance rates quickly and easily.

or
Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.
RECENT QUESTIONS

How do I handle insurance for my license's test?

Yes, there are several companies that will insure you with a learner's permit. Not all companies will do it but most will.
Jan 14, 2019 Windham, CT

Can I get car insurance with only a permit?

Yes, you can get insurance with a permit. You typically have 60 days to get your license, but every company is different.
May 10, 2019 Columbia, SC

How will my insurance handle a claim where I backed my boat into another truck at the dock?

The simple is, yes, you will have to file 2 claims. The damage to your boat would have to be claimed on your boat insurance policy.
Jul 16, 2017 Fenton, MO

When do I need to add my child with a learners permit to car insurance

You should add your daughter and the new car to your policy if she'll eventually be driving it once she gets her license. This will prevent the insurance company from having any reason to deny a claim in the event of an accident. If you're interested in learning more information regarding car insurance for teens, see our guides below: Car insurance for teens Car insurance for 16-year-olds Car insurance for 17-year-olds Car insurance for 18-year-olds If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask.
May 6, 2019 Largo, FL

Kristine Lee photo
Kristine LeeManager, Content and Data

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a freelance copywriter for over five years. 

She is an authority on all things insurance and covers the ins and outs of auto, home, life and renters insurance. Her specialty is in providing data-backed insights and information to help insurance shoppers make informed decisions.

Kristine's insurance expertise and research have been cited by publications such as CNBC, BadCredit.orgCar and Driver, Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Balance, Nationwide and Elephant.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.