Getting a learner's permit is an exciting event for most teens. While the process is a right of passage for teens looking to gain a bit of freedom and independence, it can be a little frightening – and expensive – for their parents. Depending on the state in which you live, your teen can get a learner's permit as early as 14 years of age. In most cases, teens with learner's permits are covered by their parents' insurance if they live in the same household, and don't need their own policy.
State Laws Vary
Insurance laws governing drivers with learning permits vary from state to state, but all states require that any car operated by someone with a learner's permit have at least public liability and property damage insurance coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in most states teens are required to have insurance before they are licensed, but student drivers can be covered by his parent's insurance if they are a member of the household. To be sure you're in compliance with the laws of your particular state, obtain a copy of your state's laws at your nearest department of motor vehicles.
Insurance for Permit Drivers
Most insurance companies that accept permits will cover a teen while he has his learner's permit at little or no extra charge. However, because teen drivers are at a higher risk of having an accident, the cost generally goes up significantly when your teen receives his actual driver's license. Because insurance companies differ in their policies regarding teen drivers, you will need to set an appointment with your insurance agent to let him know that you have a new driver with a learner's permit so that he can make any changes necessary to your policy.
Teens Without Insured Parents
Teens with learner's permits who are not living with a parent or caregiver with insurance may purchase their own policies, but if they are under the age of 18, and therefore considered minors, they will likely need a parent or legal guardian to sign any insurance documents for them. Most auto insurance companies offer learner's permit insurance to drivers who have not yet received a driver's license, though the cost is generally much higher than having the teen covered under a parent's policy. The rate depends on where the teen driver lives, but according to Carinsurance.com, the average cost for auto insurance for a 17-year--old driver with his own policy is $5,836 for full coverage in 2018.
- Allstate: Learners Permit and Insurance
- esurance: Teen Driver Insurance Basics
- Insurance USA: Car Insurance and Learner's Permit
- DMV.org: How to Get Car Insurance Coverage with a Learner's Permit
- State Farm: Teen Car Insurance
- Governors' Highway Safety Association: Teen and Novice Drivers
- Allstate: Adding Teen Driver Without Car to Insurance Policy
- Carinsurance.com: Car insurance for a 17-year-old
- National Institutes of Health. "Teen Crash Risk Highest During First Three Months After Getting Driver’s License." Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Graduated Licensing Laws by State." Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
- American Family Insurance. "Does Car Insurance Cover Other Drivers?" Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
- State Farm. "Car Insurance for Teens and New Drivers." Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Teenagers." Accessed Sept. 21, 2020.
Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.