Before you get your driver’s license, you must learn to drive. But even those who merely have a learner’s permit still must make sure the car they drive has auto insurance coverage.

In most cases, a driver with a learner’s permit will be covered by the insurance policy associated with the car he or she is driving. But in some cases, a driver with a learner’s permit may want his or her own coverage.

So, can you get car insurance with a permit?

The answer is “yes.”

But it’s important to understand the details of how this works.

We’ve done the research to equip you with everything you need to know about making sure you're covered as a permit driver. Read on for more.

Key Highlights
  • As soon as you get your driver’s license and purchase your own car, you will need to insure it.
  • Joining your parents' policy is the cheapest way to get car insurance as a teen.
  • If you need to insure a car but only have a driver’s permit, your options will be limited and the policy likely will be expensive.

What is a learner’s permit?

A learner's permit is a restricted license that allows first-time drivers to get behind the wheel and practice before earning an official driver's license. Typically, you are required to obtain a driver's permit before you can legally drive a car.

Such permits go by many names, including driver's permit, learner's license, provisional license or minor permit.

With a permit, you are allowed to drive under restricted circumstances as long as you are accompanied by a fully licensed adult driver. Once you have passed your driving test, you typically will be eligible for an intermediate driver's license. Eventually, you will graduate to a full license.

In most states, you can apply for a learner's permit once you are 15, although this varies from state to state.

Who can be in the car with a permit driver?

There are many driving permit restrictions. For example, wondering who can be in the car with permit drivers? Laws vary from state to state. But in many places, a driver with a learner's permit must be accompanied by a fully licensed adult.

Can you drive alone with your driver's permit in New York?

Can you have a minor in the car with a permit?

Minors typically are not allowed to ride in cars driven by those who only have a learner's permit.

Can 16-year-olds drive alone on a learner's permit in Florida?

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

Yes, you need to be covered by an auto insurance policy if you are driving with a learner's permit. But car insurance for a learner driver doesn’t necessarily equate to purchasing your own policy.

If you are learning to drive, and are operating a car insured by the owner, that person's coverage usually extends to you.

Carole Walker Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association
Carole Walker
Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

“Most young drivers with a learner’s permit are likely covered under their parents’ policy, and premiums shouldn’t increase until they are legally licensed,” says Carole Walker.

Indeed, teens living at home and driving their parent's insured car are typically covered by the parental policy. However, it's recommended that you confirm this with your car insurance company.

Although teen drivers generally don't have to be added to their parent's policy until they are licensed, there are exceptions.

Some car insurance companies' policies will automatically extend to drivers with a learner’s permit. Other car insurance companies require anyone old enough to drive who is living in the household to be added to the policy as an included driver.

If you are a newly licensed minor and your parents already have a policy, you should see if you can be added to their policy for coverage. This will not only be easier but can save you money, as car insurance for young drivers is very expensive.

Being placed on your parent’s policy is still costly, but it's usually more affordable than getting a policy of your own.

Review average rates for this scenario by reading our guide Car insurance for a 16-year-old

Do permit drivers need insurance in California?

All vehicles in the state of California must be insured before they take to the state's roads, according to the state government. It is illegal for anyone to drive a car that is not insured. The Golden State requires you to purchase liability insurance before you can register your car.

Read our detail guide on How much is car insurance in California?

What types of insurance are offered to those with a learner’s permit?

With some car insurance companies, it’s possible to get a policy with only a learner's permit. But this varies from company to company. So, make sure to check with auto insurance providers so you understand their rules.

Walker says it is possible to purchase a standalone insurance policy if you have a learner’s permit. “But it will likely be harder to find and much more expensive,” she says. In some cases, the car insurance company might require you to start the policy with a driver who has a valid license until you have your own license.

Your age may also be a factor in whether you can start your own auto insurance policy with just a learner’s permit. If you are under 18, many car insurance companies will require that you have a parent or guardian sign on the policy with you, since you are still a minor and a car insurance policy is a legal contract.

Most states require someone 18 years old or older to sign the documents to make them binding. Also, most car insurance companies have underwriting restrictions saying that the named insured cannot be under the age of 18.

Walker adds that most standard or preferred insurers don’t sell separate auto policies to drivers with a learner’s permit and no listed household drivers. “So, you’ll need to shop around for a higher-risk or non-standard company,” she says. “An independent agent will likely be your best bet.”

How much car insurance does a permit driver need?

If you are driving a car -- even if you don't have a driver's license -- the vehicle must be insured. The amount of insurance needed does not change simply because the driver does not have a license.

So, that means that at the very least, the vehicle must be insured for the minimum amount required by your state's laws.

Also, remember that if someone with a learner's permit damages the car he or she is driving -- or wrecks someone else's car – that driver will face the same consequences as a fully licensed driver in the same situation.

That means it is important for those with driver’s permits to carry enough coverage so that they will be fully reimbursed for any losses they incur, including if they injure or kill someone and are sued.

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

What is the cheapest way to insure a learner driver? If you have a learner’s permit, the best way to save money on car insurance is to be added to the policy that covers your household. For most new drivers, this will be their parents’ auto insurance policy.

Car insurance is expensive for new drivers, particularly if they are young. It will be much more expensive to purchase a policy in your own name than to add yourself to another car insurance policy. However, it is crucial to note that if you are added as a new driver to your parents’ policy, their rates will jump.

Fortunately, these car insurance rates should drop over time as new drivers age and gain more driving experience. New drivers also can help their parents save money on auto insurance by qualifying for certain discounts.

Your insurer may offer price breaks for new drivers who:

  • Maintain good grades in school
  • Take a recognized driving education course
  • Attend school at least 100 miles from home and don’t bring a car with them.

Can you buy and register a car with a learner’s permit?

Yes. As long as you have the cash, there is nothing to prevent you from purchasing a car, even if you don’t have a driver’s license.

However, you may not be able to register the car until you get a license. Rules differ from state to state. So, it is important to contact your state’s department of motor vehicles to determine the requirements for registering a vehicle.

In many states, you can register a vehicle as long as you have some form of official identification. For example, Massachusetts says you can register a vehicle without a driver's license as long as you have a Massachusetts ID, or a Social Security number.

In Colorado, you must provide proof of insurance and proof of vehicle emissions, but a driver’s license is not mentioned on the state’s DMV site.

By contrast, states like Delaware and Rhode Island specifically state that you need a valid driver’s license to complete the registration process.

You must also contact your local police department for a VIN inspection prior to registering. You need a current Rhode Island drivers license or current out-of-state license with proof of residency.

You must also supply your insurance information. You must have insurance with a company that is licensed to insure Rhode Island residents. Within five business days of registering, a safety inspection must be performed.

It's important to remember that registering a car and driving it are two different things. To legally drive a car, you will be required to obtain a driver's license.

In New York state, can you insure a car without a license?

The conclusion on insuring a car as a permit driver

When you learn to drive a car, it opens a new world of possibilities. Do you need car insurance with a learner’s permit? Yes. You should never get behind the wheel without the proper insurance.

So, as you learn to drive, you will need insurance. Fortunately, car insurance is tied to the vehicle, not the individual driver. So, if you are driving someone else’s car, that person’s insurance will cover you.

Some insurance companies may require you to be added to your parents’ insurance policy if you are going to regularly drive their car while you are driving with a permit.

Source :

  1. California Department of Insurnace
  2. Identity Requirements for Vehicle Registration
  3. Colorado Department of Revenue - Registration Requirements
  4. Delaware DMV - Vehicle Services Titling
  5. Rhode Island DMV - Frequently Asked Questions