Getting a learner’s permit is an exciting milestone for teens. It’s a time to get a feel for driving a car under the attentive guidance of a parent or another fully licensed driver. But, do you need insurance with a learner’s permit? The short answer is yes, but it may not be as complex as you think.
We’ll explore how to get car insurance for a learner’s permit whether you’re on your parent’s plan or starting off on your own. Our team recently reviewed the best car insurance companies in the nation, so you can get to know the best provider for your budget and needs. Despite the infamously high insurance costs for new drivers, many companies help new drivers afford their plan with specialized discounts.
When shopping for car insurance, the easiest way to find the best deal is to get quotes from several providers and compare coverage and rates. Use our tool below or call (844) 246-8209 to get started.
In this article:
- Do You Need Car Insurance With A Learner’s Permit?
- Can You Be Added To Your Parents’ Policy?
- How To Save Money With Young Drivers
- Is It Important To Have Insurance With A Permit?
- Our Recommended Insurance For New Drivers
Do You Need Car Insurance With A Learner’s Permit?
Many new drivers wonder: Can I get insurance if I only have a permit? All drivers must be covered by car insurance that meets their state minimums, including teen drivers with a learner’s permit.
In many cases, a teen who lives at home with their parents or guardians can be added to the current plan linked to each car. In some cases, a car insurance company will cover the teen for free until they are a fully licensed driver. In other words, your car insurance does not go up the moment you get your learner’s permit, but it can in the near future.
The exact answer comes down to your specific car insurance policy. We strongly recommend calling your car insurance provider before your teen heads out with their learner’s permit for the first lesson. Since a car insurance plan traditionally follows the vehicle, there may be little you need to adjust on your plan until the teen begins driving the car on their own.
A new driver can of course get their own policy, but it will often cost more in the long run than tacking onto a parent's plan. We’ll go a bit more into this later, but it’s important to note that all new drivers – at home or not – must be covered under a qualifying plan.
Can You Be Added To Your Parents’ Policy?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, adding a teen to a parent’s policy is often the cheapest way to go. Parents may have already locked in a rate that takes other discounts into account, such as multi-vehicle plans, good driving discounts, and loyalty perks.
New drivers can often be added to their parents’ policy if they live under the same roof full-time. We recommend the following steps to be sure you’ve covered all your bases:
- Call your car insurance provider to let them know your teen will soon be receiving their learner's permit.
- You may need to provide information about which of your cars they will be driving and whether they’ve received formal driving instruction.
- Spend some time comparing quotes so you can understand any premium increases and get recommendations on additional types of coverage for young drivers.
- If the quote seems high, spend some time shopping around for an auto insurance quote that will cover your whole family at a better rate.
How To Save Money With Young Drivers
Adding a teen to a new policy often increases premiums a significant amount. The New York Times reported that rates increase an average of 78 percent. But don’t fret: Your car insurance rates will drop as your teen gets older and demonstrates safe driving. For this reason, it’s particularly important to pay attention to how your rates change when you renew your six-month or annual contract.
There are plenty of ways to temper the costly factors that determine teen car insurance rates. You may spot a range of discounts with the same or similar titles:
- Teen drivers
- Good student drivers
- Defensive drivers
- Seat belt use
- Driver’s ed course
Safe Driving Trackers
Some car insurance companies are catching up with the times by offering driver tracking apps to register good driving habits that trigger lower rates for the future.
For example, State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save™ app allows drivers to unlock up to 30 percent off their rates after tracking driving habits. By connecting with your phone’s Bluetooth, the app detects acceleration, quick braking, and distracted driving habits. State Farm’s Steer Clear® app is specifically for young drivers, which we’ll explain more below.
Usage-Based Car Insurance
If your teen has a car of their own that will not see a lot of driving in the first few years, you can also consider usage-based car insurance plans. These plans often use a device or another check-in system to detect how much a car has been driven over a set period of time. Premiums are then adjusted accordingly.
Pair With Other Discounts
If you’re a parent adding a teen to your plan, you can save money through your own discount qualifications. Shop around for companies that reward adult drivers for certain things. These may include membership in an organization or federal agency such as the military. You can also add common discounts that reward vehicle safety features, customer loyalty, payment options, or your age.
Is It Important To Have Insurance With A Permit?
Parents of new drivers are often met with an expected level of concern. Teen drivers cause a higher rate of accidents, both minor and severe. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death in teens, particularly during their driving years, between 15 and 19.
These unfortunate statistics come from the fact that teens have less experience handling issues on the road and are more likely to speed. Teens are also more likely to drive with other teens. As of 2017, less than 60 percent of teen drivers said they always wear their seatbelt when riding in the passenger seat.
Good car insurance is a necessity for teen drivers. Though sticker shock is a common problem, car insurance companies know that they are more likely to cover claims for accidents. We recommend working with a company that you trust, that offers extensive coverage, and that features discounts that can help you afford auto insurance with a learner’s permit.
Our Recommended Insurance For New Drivers
Many car insurance providers vie for your business by offering discounts. Here are some of our top picks for companies with discounts that lower rates for new drivers:
|Company||New Driver||Good Student||Good Driver||Driver's Ed||Seatbelt Use||Defensive Driving||Student Away|
Though you may spot a few student driving discounts here and there, these four companies go above and beyond to take care of teen insurance prices. This is especially helpful if you have a teen in your home wondering if they need insurance with a learner’s permit so early in the game. Let’s take a closer look at how these four companies lower young driver costs and how they ranked in our recent study.
#1 Geico: 4.5 Stars
Geico is known for being affordable for a range of drivers, mainly due to its extensive discount plans. It is also the only group on our list that offers a discount for ongoing seatbelt use, a particularly hot topic for teens.
Geico came in second place in our 2021 study, only behind USAA, which isn’t open to all drivers. The company is highly respected in the industry, earning a 78 out of 100 from Consumer Reports and an A++ for financial stability from insurance reviewer AM Best.
The most notable discount is for good students between the ages of 16 and 24 that maintain a B average in a full-time program. These drivers can earn up to 15 percent off their premiums on certain coverages.
Good driving is the best way to get a solid cut in Geico car insurance. If your teen goes five consecutive years without an accident, they could receive up to 26 percent off their premium.
To learn more, read our full Geico review.
#2 AAA: 4.0 Stars
Though the company is mainly known for being the best in the industry for roadside assistance, AAA members can also get car insurance through local branches. Each state offers its own coverage under an individual branch that falls under the AAA name, so it’s important to note that discounts may vary. For example, AAA Auto Club Enterprises Insurance is the full title of the company based in California and New England.
Depending on your area, you could receive extensive discounts for your new driver with AAA car insurance – even over 46 percent if you have a college student that spends most of their time at college without the car. AAA also rewards good grades and safe driving habits.
To learn more, read our full AAA insurance review.
#3 State Farm: 4.5 Stars
This Fortune 500 company is a stable bet for car insurance, especially if you’re adding a teen with a learner’s permit or new license. Discounts range from accident-free driving and defensive driving courses to having a student either at home or away at college.
State Farm auto insurance also offers the Steer Clear program, a safe-driving app specifically for drivers under 25 with a clean driving record. Young drivers can complete safety courses on the app, get feedback from mentors, and even obtain a State Farm certification.
To learn more, read our full State Farm insurance review.
#4 Erie: 4.0 Stars
If you’re searching for a smaller company with great rates for teens, check out our review of Erie Insurance. You should note that Erie is only available in 12 states throughout the Midwestern and Eastern regions of the U.S.
Erie has an entire category of discounts tailored for young drivers, including those with solid grades and teens who have completed accredited driver’s ed courses. It also offers the away-from-home discount when a college student leaves the car at home most of the year. Erie specifies that rates decrease as new drivers obtain another year of experience.
To learn more, read our full Erie insurance review.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of auto insurance providers to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Insurers with strong financial ratings and customer-first business practices receive the highest scores in this category.
- Availability: We consider availability by state as well as exclusions for specific groups of drivers.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of insurance available, maximum coverage limits, and add-on policies.
- Cost and Discounts: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of drivers in every state. Companies with lower prices and many car insurance discount opportunities receive the best scores.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and consumer feedback studies from experts like J.D. Power.
- Technology: Auto insurers with mobile apps, advanced online services and telematics are more likely to meet consumer needs.
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