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Can You Get Car Insurance With a Permit?


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Sarah Li Cain
Updated May 25, 2022
4 Min Read

If you’re wondering if you can get car insurance with a driver’s permit, the answer is yes, you can. 

That being said, you may not need to have your name added to a policy— if you’re using your parent’s vehicle for instance while you’re preparing to get your driver’s license, you probably won’t need your own policy. 

You may need one, however, if you own your own car. 

To help you determine what’s best for your situation, let’s take a closer look in what scenarios you would need car insurance, and how to purchase a policy if you have your learner’s permit. 

Does a permit-holding driver need car insurance?

While all drivers will need some kind of insurance, those with driver’s permits typically don’t need their own insurance policy. In most cases, the car the permit driver is using is insured — perhaps by a family member — and that policy should provide coverage for the vehicle. 

The instances in which you need to get car insurance are if you had your own car or the policy of the vehicle you’re driving won’t cover you. In this case, it’s a good idea to check with your friend or family member’s car insurance company to check whether you’re covered.

If you have your own vehicle, your state will most likely require you to get car insurance. Check to see what the minimum coverage requirements are and be prepared to pay a higher premium for coverage. 

Once you’ve passed your driving test — as in, you no longer have a driver’s permit but an actual driver’s license — then you’ll need to purchase your own car insurance policy. Or at the very least, ask if you can be included in your family member or spouse's policy as a covered driver. 

How to get car insurance with a learner's permit

Typically, the most budget-friendly option when it comes to getting car insurance is for the permit driver to be added to an existing car insurance policy of a family member. That’s because in most cases, adding an additional driver to an existing policy is cheaper than purchasing your own. It’s also most likely cheaper even if you add your own vehicle to an existing policy.

Of course, this is assuming you get permission from your family member to do so. If they have a competitively priced policy and are good drivers, they’re taking on some risk. If you end up getting into a crash, their policy premium will go up

While you can have your family member call their current insurer and add you to their existing policy, it’s a smart idea to shop around. You never know if there are better rates and terms out there, such as additional discounts the current insurer doesn't offer. 

If you need to purchase your own policy and have a learner’s permit, it’s possible. However, it’s probably going to be harder and more expensive because of the risk the insurance company is taking on with a young and inexperienced driver. 

Even if you end up finding an insurer that will give you a policy, you may be required to have a parent or legal guardian sign the policy with you if you’re under 18. That’s because most states require someone of legal age to sign a contract in order to make it legally binding. 

Can I buy and register a car with a learner's permit?

You can buy a car with only a learner’s permit. It’s much easier to do if you’re paying in cash and from an individual. However, you can probably still finance a vehicle purchase, though if you’re under 18, you will most likely need a parent or legal guardian to sign the loan documents with you. 

However, when it comes to registering your car with a learner’s permit, you may come across some hurdles. Most states require you to have a driver’s license in order to register a vehicle, or else you can’t drive it. That’s because registering your vehicle means you’re financially and legally responsible for whatever happens, including accidents. 

Before purchasing a car, you’ll want to check with your state to see what the rules and regulations are. 

How much does it cost to insure a learning driver?

The exact amount you’ll pay for car insurance will depend on several factors, such as your age and whether you’re purchasing your own policy or being added onto an existing one. 

In most cases, being added onto an existing policy can save you around half of what you’d pay in monthly premiums if you were to purchase a separate policy. The price could go even lower once you’re older and have more experience as a driver (assuming you don’t get into any accidents). 

How to save on money on car insurance with a learner’s permit

Adding a driver with a learner’s permit can get expensive, though that’s usually the cheaper option than buying a separate policy. To find competitive rates, a smart move would be to shop around and get quotes from multiple insurance companies. Doing so can help you save hundreds of dollars a year. 

Before going with a different insurance company, you can try to see if the existing insurer will offer a better price. 

As you’re doing your research, see what potential discounts you may qualify for. The most common discounts are bundling insurance policies and being deemed a safe driver. Others include opting into autopay, paying for the policy in advance, renewing a policy early, having anti-theft devices, and having a good credit score.

For those who have a learner’s permit, there may be additional discount opportunities such as maintaining good school grades, taking driver safety classes, and if you’re attending school within a certain number of miles from home and you don’t have access to a car. 

Whether you purchase your own policy or you will be added to one, having a learner’s permit makes you one step closer to being an independent driver. Making sure you have the right type of insurance ensures you’re covered in case of an accident and abiding by your state laws.