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: Jun 25, 2019

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Learning to drive a car comes with enormous responsibilities, and as a result, it’s extremely important to make sure junior drivers have their insurance needs and requirements met. While getting licensed to drive may be a long, drawn out process, finding good coverage for teens doesn’t have to be.

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Due to the risks that come with driving a vehicle, learning to drive safely is one of the more important things a youth will undertake. Accordingly, many state governments oversee driver’s license programs, which are designed to help young drivers. The insurance requirements they need to make sure they’re fully protected, however, may vary depending on where they live.

Driving with a Learner’s Permit

Everybody begins their path to a driver’s license by getting their learner’s permit first. Typically, you must write and pass a test that’s given by your local state government to get it. A learner’s permit allows a young or inexperienced driver to operate a vehicle while being supervised by a licensed driver. The specific regulations can vary, depending on the state, but often the supervisor must be 21 years old or above.

The eligibility age for a learner’s permit ranges from 14 to 16 depending on the state.

The mandatory holding period varies among the states, as some governments require a driver to hold their learner’s permit for six months. Other states require one year. In addition, before a person can attempt to take their road test for a driver’s license, they must have a certain amount of supervised driving hours.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides information regarding learner’s permit regulations in each state.

The standard insurance policy that a family or parent has for their car should cover a junior driver with a learner’s permit. Of course, the rules regarding a learner’s must be followed in order for the insurance to be valid. For example, if a person with a learner’s permit causes an accident but does not have a licensed supervisor with them, then the insurance company will not cover any damages.

Your insurance provider may have different regulations, however, for a person with a learner’s permit that is over the age of 18. Before you supervise a junior driver with a permit, it’s a good idea to check with your provider to see what the specific rules are.

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Junior Drivers with Restricted Licenses

Once a junior driver has practiced for enough hours and they complete their road test, they will receive a restricted driver’s license. This is one stage of what many state’s call graduating licensing programs. In some regions, junior drivers who have completed driving lessons are eligible to take their road test quicker than those that haven’t.

The restrictions regarding this intermediate stage of licensing also varies from state-to-state. Often, drivers with restricted licenses are not allowed to drive during nighttime. For example, in Massachusetts, a parent must accompany a driver with a junior operator’s license if they’re behind the wheel from 12:30 AM to 5:00 AM.

Many states also put restrictions on the amount of passengers a driver with a restricted license can have. For example, in Alabama, junior drivers cannot have more than one passenger, while in Iowa they are not allowed any at all.

Junior drivers typically will have a restricted license until they turn 18. At that point, they will have full driving privileges. Some states, however, allow junior drivers to get a senior’s license earlier provided they fulfill certain requirements. For example, in New York City’s Five Boroughs district, drivers who are 17 and have completed a state approved driver education course can apply for their unrestricted license.

Check with your relevant state department to find out more about junior drivers and intermediate licenses in your region.

Similar to a learner’s permit, a family insurance policy should cover a junior driver who is under the age of 18. The rules and coverage may vary depending on where you live and the policy you have. Be sure to check with your provider first. Remember, your insurance provider needs to be notified if you plan to have a junior driver behind the wheel.

Depending on the provider, typically a customer must have an unrestricted license to purchase car insurance. If you’re over 18 and a family policy isn’t an option, then you may have to explore non-standard policies to get your car insured with a restricted license.

Fully Licensed Teens

Once a driver turns 18 and satisfies the senior licensing requirements in their state, then they can start shopping for their own car insurance. If a youth continues to live at a home, then they may still qualify for their parent’s family policy. Some companies extend the family policy to children who are attending college away from home. Be sure to check with your provider to see if your specific situation qualifies.

While keeping a teen on the family policy may be cheaper than having them buy their own, if an inexperienced driver causes an accident or receives a few tickets, the insurance rates will go up. For a youth to purchase their own insurance, providers typically require that they are at least the co-owners of the vehicle.

Fully licensed youths who live on their own will have to buy their own car insurance.

Because providers view young drivers as a high-risk age group, insurance rates for young adults can get pricey. Thankfully, if you go about it the right way, you can still find great and affordable insurance!

Choosing Your Coverage

If they can afford it, inexperienced drivers should purchase a hefty amount of liability insurance. This type of insurance helps cover the medical bills, repairs and property damage that’s done in an accident you cause. Not only are you required by law to have liability insurance, but if you don’t have enough, someone may try to take you to court.

While many young people are great and responsible drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorists from the age of 15-20 are a high-risk age group for accidents. As a result, having enough liability insurance to protect yourself is extremely wise.

In addition, it’s a good idea to buy collision and comprehensive insurance.

Collision insurance will help pay for the repairs to your own car if you cause an accident. Comprehensive will cover damages that aren’t caused in a crash, like a flood or break-in.

If you drive an older and cheap car, however, take a little time to assess how much collision and comprehensive insurance you need. The less valuable a car is the less it costs to repair. You may determine that paying for the additional coverage may not be worth it.

You can learn more about the minimum insurance requirements in your region by contacting the relevant department in your state. For example, in Nevada, the Department of Motor Vehicles oversees the state’s insurance regulations.

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Drive a Safe Car

In addition to driving a cheap car, which cost less to repair, teens can lower their insurance rates by driving one that is safe. Providers charge less to insure cars that they’re confident will protect its passengers in the event of an accident. The better a vehicle does this, the lower the medical bills that are passed on to an insurance company will be.

Cars that are equipped with modern safety features such as anti-locking brakes and traction control are better at avoiding accidents. Since inexperienced drivers are more likely to be in a crash, insurance companies like to see them behind the wheel of cars that are easier to drive.

Do Well in School

Another great way for young drivers to lower their insurance rates is to do well in school. Many providers offer sizeable discounts to good students, because they believe that they are more likely to be responsible drivers.

The average grade you need to qualify for such a discount depends on the provider. Many companies begin offering lower rates to students with a B average or higher. You may also qualify for a discount if you scored well on a standardized test like a SAT.

Raise Your Deductible

You can lower your insurance rates significantly by simply agreeing to pay a higher deductible. The deductible is the sum of money you’re required to pay towards any damages when you file an insurance claim. So, if you agree to pay a $500 deductible, then you’ll have to come up with that much for a claim. Your provider will pay the remainder. The larger the deductible the less the insurance company has to pay.

Many students and young people don’t have a lot of extra money, so before you agree to raise your deductible, consider whether you’ll have the money for it. It may be a good idea to set aside the money for the deductible in case you need it.

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Shop Around

Take a little time to shop around for car insurance. You could save a lot of money just by shopping around and finding the best deal out there.

Always double check to make sure any insurance company you deal with is reputable and has received positive reviews.

A great way to shop for insurance is to use a website that compares insurance rates from all the major providers. The site will ask you a few questions about your driving circumstances, and then it will send you a bunch of quotes for you to compare!

Start shopping for great car insurance rates now by entering your ZIP code into the FREE tool right here!