Learner's Permits and Car Insurance

Learner's Permits and Car InsuranceWe all know that it costs a small fortune to insure a newly-licensed teen driver, but do you have to have that insurance in place when your teenager merely has their learner's permit?

There is no simple answer, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Where insurance is required for licensed driver, a learning driver without a license must still have insurance. Since a driver with a learner's permit has to have a licensed adult in the car with them at all times, and that adult is usually a parent who owns the car, it may not be absolutely necessary to have the teen driver's name on the insurance policy. Sometimes a driver who only has a learner's permit can be added to your policy at no cost. Check with your insurer.
  • State law varies. Depending on where you live, a new driver with a learner's permit may not be required by law to have their own insurance, but in those cases the car itself must be insured, and the insurance company must have formal notification that a driver-in-training is using the car. The learning driver won't be listed on the policy, but will still be covered.
  • Driving schools cover their students. If your teen driver is taking lessons from an accredited driving school (or through their own high school) they will be covered by the school's insurance while driving a school car, but not in any other vehicle.

Does this mean you need to run out and find learner's permit insurance for your teen driver? No, though such policies do exist. It means you should check with your state Department of Motor Vehicles and with your existing insurance company to see what the coverage requirements are.

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