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...

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UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

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Driving with just your learner’s permit may not make your insurance rates very different from driving with a newly obtained driver’s license. Being a new driver is the overriding factor that usually raises the rates every time.

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Because each state has its own laws pertaining to car insurance and each insurance company has its own set of policies, you may not even be able to get car insurance in some cases based on your learner’s permit alone. The vehicle you are driving, however, will most likely need to be insured for you to legally operate it. The insurance can be held by the vehicle’s personal owner or the driving school at which you are enrolled.

Higher Premiums for New Drivers

Some insurance companies may require a driver to get his or her own insurance the moment a permit is in hand, while others may allow the permit-holding driver to hold off on insurance until the actual driver’s license is in hand, according to this Pennsylvania department. The only way to find out is to check with each individual insurance carrier to see what type of policy it employs.

New drivers are less experienced than other drivers on the road, which automatically puts them at a higher risk of accidents and possible violations.

Drivers under age 25 may be considered one of the highest risk groups, which means they may also incur some of the highest premiums compared to other age groups.

Whether that high-risk coverage comes when you have a permit, a provisional or temporary license or a fully official driver’s license, the cost of your insurance is most likely to reflect it. There are ways; however, you may try to offset the high cost of new driver insurance.

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Lowering Premiums for New Drivers

Keeping your driving record spotless is a key to keeping your premium rates as low as they can be. Safe and careful driving is a must for avoiding accidents and following all the rules of the road.

Speeding tickets, collisions, and even non-moving violations such as parking tickets may contribute to a higher overall premium. Don’t forget your traffic violations are part of your public record and accessible to anyone who wants to look at them, inclusive of insurance companies.

Safe and careful driving comes from keeping your distractions to a minimum. Teen drivers can be especially distracted by conversations with other passengers, cell phone use, loud music, and hazardous practices such as texting and driving.

Additional distractions pointed out by the Virginia Department of Education include searching for lost or dropped items, rummaging through a bag or purse, having books, bags or other objects sliding all over the seats.

Eating and drinking while driving can be dangerous, as can attempting to put on makeup, change clothes or look at yourself in the mirror. Not only teens fall into these traps, which can impair the ability to drive for all ages.

Companies may offer higher rates for new drivers, but they may also offer discounts. A good student discount is often a possibility, for a reduced rate based on maintaining a good grade point average. Taking driving courses and classes beyond the bare minimum to get your permit may merit another discount.

Piggybacking on someone else’s insurance policy may help keep rates lower. For teens who live with their parents, your parents’ existing insurance policy may be able to add you as a driver for less money than it would cost to set up your own individual policy. The same can apply for new drivers who are added to existing policies held by their roommates, spouses or other close acquaintances that would allow such a practice.

Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle you choose as a new driver can save or cost you money on insurance. Those with high safety ratings and low theft rates are usually a wise choice. They offer the lowest amount of risk for the insurance company. They may cost less to insure than cars that are frequently stolen or expensive to repair.

The Michigan State Police stresses the safety factor, advising vehicles to be chosen for safe performance over looks or image. It discourages small cars, sports cars, trucks and sports utility vehicles. Small cars do not hold up as well as larger vehicles in crashes. Sports cars and other flashy vehicles could lead to speeding.

Trucks and sports utility vehicles typically have a higher risk of rollovers than other vehicles. The smaller trucks and SUVs are most at risk.

How to Make Sure a New Driver is a Safe Driver

New drivers are likely to be at higher risk of crashes than more experienced motorists, and this may hold especially true for some teenagers, according to the Michigan State Police. Teens may face various issues beyond inexperience on the road that can hinder their driving ability.

Their attitude can play a part. Rebellion can be a teenage trait, as can a feeling of being invincible. The two can combine into a potentially deadly mix. Behaviors that may result include speeding, failure to use seat belts, or intentional thrill seeking.

A car full of rowdy friends, or even any friends, can be another hazard for teen drivers. Not only are teens often distracted by conversations with their pals, they may be more inclined to show off or take unnecessary risks behind the wheel.

The Michigan State Police says the risk of accidents increase at the same rate as the number of passengers. If three passengers are in the car, for example, the beginning teen driver is three times more likely to get in an accident than he or she is while driving alone.

Nighttime driving is more dangerous than a daytime drive for any driver, but especially inexperienced motorists.

Visibility is lower and late-night outings are often peppered with fun and games. Those fun and games may not translate well to safe driving. MSP notes the time period that contains the highest amount of teen driver fatal accidents is from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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Restrictions for New Drivers

Parents, spouses, or others close to the new driver can set certain restrictions to help new drivers stay safest, and sometimes state law does it for you. Those who hold only a permit instead of a driver’s license may be subject to a number of restrictions under state law.

Examples from the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles illustrate a number of restrictions that apply to permit holders age 18 and above. While there is no curfew on the time a permit-holder can drive, there is a restriction on passengers. The only passenger allowed in the vehicle is a qualified driver trainer or a legal guardian or parent.

Permit holders who are 16 and 17 years old have an additional set of restrictions. They have a curfew that restricts them from driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The only exceptions are for school, work, religious activities, or medical emergencies.

Their passengers for the first six months of their permit are also limited. The driver has three passenger options. One is a licensed instructor. Another is a parent or guardian who holds a driver’s license.

The third is a person who is at least 20 years old without any license suspensions in the past four years who is providing driving instruction. After the first six months, new drivers may add immediate family members to their passenger list.

Two additional restrictions apply to 16 and 17-year-old permit holders. The driver and all passengers in the vehicle must have access to permanent seat belts. The use of cell phones and other hand-held mobile electronic devices is prohibited until the teen’s 18th birthday. This applies to all cell phones, even the hands-free devices. It also applies to laptops and other electronic devices with a video monitor.

If you are a new driver who chooses not to obey the restrictions, the consequences you face can do more than mar your driving record. They may have the power to raise your insurance rates.

Other Ways to Save on Car Insurance

Keeping an eye on your coverage types and limits can keep your rates lower. Each state has a bare minimum set of car insurance requirements you have to meet, but additional limits and coverage is up to you.

Coverage types typically include liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage. Liability may be especially important for new drivers, as that is the type that covers proper damage and personal injuries to the other driver if the driver is at fault for the accident.

Comprehensive and collision coverage reimburses you for damage done to your own vehicle. Collision, as the name implies, covers damage from collision. Comprehensive covers damage from other sources.

Setting your coverage level low may save money, but it may not be the wisest choice for new drivers. Paying more for coverage may end up beneficial if a costly accident occurs. Raising the deductible typically results in a lower premium, offering another way to save if you don’t want to cut down the coverage limits.

Shopping around for the best deal is another way to keep rates as low as they can go. Use the same criteria to obtain quotes from several insurance companies then compare what each can do for you and how much it will cost to do it.

Let our FREE tool found here help you find low rates as a new driver by entering your ZIP now!