Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider. Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • A learner’s permit is a provision license that gives someone who’s learning to drive permission to get behind the wheel under the supervision of a licensed driver
  • In most states, only drivers under the age of 18 are able to apply for a learner’s permit for an opportunity to gain driving skills hands on
  • Some states have an adult learners permit program for drivers over 18
  • If you’ve recently applied for a learner’s permit, it’s important that you verify whether or not you’re covered under someone else’s insurance while you’re driving a vehicle
  • In most states, insurance companies are required to extend automatic coverage to drivers who live in a household and possess their provisional license
  • Supervising drivers generally have to be more experienced adult drivers
  • When you’re not licensed, it can be difficult to find standard coverage because a valid driver license is typically an underwriting guideline. In this case, you’ll need to consider other alternatives

When it comes to driving, it takes hands-on experience to gain skill. Most states require new teen drivers to pass both a written test and a driving test before they’ll be issued a formal driver license. You can easily study a driver’s manual and read textbooks to prepare for a written test, but to prepare for a driving test behind the wheel you’ll need some driving experience.

Most states allow teen drivers to get a learner’s permit so that they have time to gain the experience they need to pay an on-the-road skills test.

A learner’s permit is a restricted provisional license that grants the licensee permission to drive strictly so that they can gain driving experience. Most states allow drivers to be licensed at 16. So they could get a learners permit as early as 14 in some states, but generally by 15. Some states also grant adult learner’s permits to drivers who don’t hold a license but who are over 18. No matter your age, if you’re going to get behind the wheel of a car, you have to meet minimum state insurance requirements.

Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above! If you’re in the process of applying for your permit, preparation is key. Not only do you need to consider what you need to get your permit, you’ll also need to consider how you’ll need to protect yourself once you’re legally operating a vehicle. This is where insurance becomes an important topic of conversation.

Are you legally required to get insurance when you get your permit?

When a state motor vehicle agency grants you a permit, you’re still not legally obligated to get insurance. Any driver in your household who drives on a regular basis has to be factored into your policy. This way, your insurance company can properly assess the risk and price your policy accordingly.

Some companies are more sensitive to younger drivers with less experience. So they may raise rates substantially or even refuse to renew your policy. This is even more common if your teen has been in an accident of any kind. This is part of why it’s essential to shop around for different auto insurance policies. Even if you think your current insurance company is offering you a great deal, another company may be better with a teen driver.

The only time that you’re required by law to have insurance when you hold an instructional permit is when you own a vehicle.

How much coverage do you need with a learners permit? You still have to meet the state’s mandatory auto insurance laws to avoid serious penalties that could delay your ability to earn your license. If you’re caught driving unlicensed without a permit and/or uninsured, some states might revoke your right to get a license until you’re 21 or sometimes older. Your insurance agent can advise you on the exact details, but most parents maintain their current coverage limits. Each family has to make a choice based on their circumstances.

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What type of insurance is required by law?

If you’re shopping for cars, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with insurance laws before you’re obligated to comply with them. Auto insurance laws are different from state to state. The types of coverage that you must carry are dependent on the type of insurance system the state operates under.

Typically, you’ll be required to carry Bodily Injury or Property Damage Liability. In no-fault states, you might also be required to carry Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Protection. State minimums satisfy the law but that doesn’t mean that they fully protect you. You’ll need to consider buying physical damage coverage and other types of protection if you want a fully comprehensive plan.

What do you need to do to make sure your unlicensed driver is covered?

Insurance companies may offer insurance coverage for drivers with learners permits under strict conditions. Your car insurance follows the car. But an unlicensed driver generally would not enjoy the coverage they paid for. A driver with a learners permit can be covered. But the insurance provider may require, for example, a supervising driver who meets certain requirements to be in the car. The exact requirements are laid out by your insurance company. Whether you’re a parent or learners permit driver, you should make sure you know exactly what your insurance provider requires.

Will a driver with a learner’s permit be protected borrowing c car?

When you’re driving a non-owned, there’s a good chance that the vehicle’s existing insurance will still pay even when you’re not a driver on the policy.  These policies typically have a clause to cover drivers who have permission to drive the car if it’s an occasional thing. If any driver taking the car is wholly unlicensed, that could change. Some policies may have extra clauses. It’s up to the car owner to do their research and make sure they understand the constraints of their policy.

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Are there permissive user restrictions for teen drivers?

If permission grants someone coverage, it would entice people not to list people on their policies all of the time. This is why there are status requirements. Not everyone qualifies for the permissive user status. Here are some of the restrictions you should be aware of:

  • The driver must have been given express permission to drive the car
  • The driver can’t live in the household where the vehicle is primarily parked
  • The driver can’t have regular access to the vehicle
  • The driver can’t be under 25 (not under all policies)
  • The driver can’t be a child of the named insured

Does a teenage driver need to be listed on parents’ policies?

As you can see, there are probably a few items that disqualify you from being covered as a permissive user when you’re driving your parent’s vehicle. To be 100% clear, any regular driver in a household has to be insured. Whether a teenage driver has a permit or a license, insurance companies want to know how much risk their policy has to cover.

Since you don’t automatically get coverage under this policy provision, it’s very important that you tell your agent when someone in the home gets their permit.

Your rates will rise when you add coverage for teens. The only question is by how much. Teens don’t typically have a driving record going in. So there are no accidents, tickets, etc. But this inexperience works against them. Some parents report rates doubling when teen drivers are added.

What happens if I am applying for an adult learners permit?

If you’re applying for an adult permit, you may need to apply for a nonowner’s plan from a company that offers high-risk policies. This would be a high-risk plan that offers only liability coverage while you’re driving non-owned vehicles. If you want collision coverage, you should expect to pay a higher premium as a learners permit driver or one with limited driving experience and a short insurance history.

If you’re curious to find out how much you’ll pay for coverage once you’re licensed, shopping around early can help. To do this, you can use an online comparison shopping tool that connects you with several insurers at once. Start entering your personal information and you’ll be ready to buy coverage the moment that you get your license. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to start comparing car insurance rates now!