Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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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
  • If you’re the parent of someone with their permit, there’s a good chance that your teen driver living in the home will receive automatic coverage on your policy without physically being listed
  • 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 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. While learners permits are most common for teens between 16 and 17, many states also grant adult learner’s permits to drivers who don’t hold a license but who are over 18.

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. In fact, in many states, you don’t actually qualify for your own auto insurance policy unless you have an unrestricted driver license.

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

Since you don’t actually have to be licensed to own a vehicle, it’s possible for you to be the registered owner of a car without yet being able to drive it. When this happens, you’re required to satisfy the state’s mandatory auto insurance laws to avoid serious penalties that could delay your ability to earn your license.

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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 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.

Do you need auto insurance with a permit?

Just because you’re not required to buy coverage doesn’t always mean you don’t need it. If you’re worried about protecting your finances, there’s a chance that you might be putting these finances at risk each time you get behind the wheel. What you might not know is that you could have automatic coverage when you drive a car that you don’t own. Before you go looking for expensive substandard plans you should consider researching how car insurance follows the driver and the car.

Will the owner’s insurance protect me if I am borrowing a car I don’t own?

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. Policies that have these provisions written into them call the driver a permissive user. Permissive users will be covered just like the listed drivers on your policy if they have a liability loss.

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Permissive User Restrictions

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

Do I need to be listed on my parents’ policy?

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.

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.

It’s easy to assume that making this phone call will raise your rates but that’s not always the case. Many insurance companies offer free coverage to teens with a permit. Instead of being a rated driver, they’ll simply be listed as a member of the household. They won’t have an effect on the premiums until they pass their driving test and have an official license. Verify this with your carrier before you make assumptions.

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

If you’re applying for an adult permit and you can’t be listed on a family’s plan, you may need to apply for a nonowner’s plan from a substandard company. This would be a high-risk plan that offers only liability coverage while you’re driving non-owned vehicles.

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!