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Car insurance for learner’s permits

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Learn how to extend your car insurance policy to a child just learning to drive.

It’s a rite of passage: Your child has passed their exam for a learner’s permit and is now ready to get behind the wheel. But how to learner-proof your car before they start driving? After you’ve made sure they understand the unspoken rules of the road, get them covered under your car insurance policy.

What’s next

Do learner’s permit drivers need special coverage?

No, new drivers aren’t required to get a different kind of coverage. You can typically add a learning driver to your current policy so that they’re covered under the same terms.

  • Add a new driver to your policy. It’s usually cheaper to add a student driver to your existing car insurance. If you can find a provider willing to sign up a student for a standalone policy, it will likely be significantly more expensive.
  • Understand exclusions. Carefully read your policy’s terms and conditions to learn how your provider handles learner’s permits. Most policies specify whether family members in the same household can share a car with full or partial coverage under the same policy, along with any exclusions.
  • Ask for student discounts. Learning drivers can be expensive to insure. Ask your current car insurance provider to learn how to cut the costs for covering a student driver, with discounts for students, good grades and more.

What kind of car insurance do learner’s permit drivers need?

Car insurance covers drivers with learner’s permits just like anyone else, so you don’t need special coverage. Instead, you’ll want to decide the types of coverage you want:

  • Liability coverage. Protects your learning driver from damage that results from an accident they’ve caused.
  • Collision coverage. Pays for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if your new driver is in an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage. Protects against damage caused by almost anything other than a collision, like theft, vandalism and weather damage.
  • Personal injury protection. Covers post-accident injuries and in some cases lost income.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Covers the cost of repairs if an uninsured or underinsured driver damages your vehicle.
  • Roadside assistance. Covers towing and roadside help after a car breakdown. Consider adding this coverage until your new driver learns how to change a flat tire or if they drive an older car.
  • Accident forgiveness. Prevents rates from going up after an at-fault accident. Look for free accident forgiveness or individual accident forgiveness in case your new driver has a fender bender.

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How to save on car insurance with a learning driver

The best way to keep your car insurance rates low is to start with a strong one by comparing quotes from a range of insurers. By practicing safe driving and protecting your vehicle, you can keep them low:

  • Maintain a clean record. Stay within the speed limit and avoid traffic violations to keep your insurance claims to a minimum and potentially reduce your rates in the future.
  • Don’t get separate coverage. It’s often cheaper to add a driver with a learner’s permit to your current policy.
  • Garage your car. Vehicles kept overnight in a secure, locked garage are often cheaper to insure than cars parked on the street.
  • Choose a higher deductible. A higher deductible often results in a lower rate, though make sure your savings can support paying more up front after an incident.
  • Drive less. If you’re not a frequent driver, look into insurers that specialize in low-mileage or pay-as-you-drive policies.

Car insurance discounts for learner’s permit drivers

You’ll find a handful of discounts to shave money off your insurance rates that your learning driver may qualify for.

  • Student driver. Get a discount if your driver is a student and maintains good grades.
  • Online policies. Some providers offer discounts for purchasing coverage fully online.
  • Safety devices. Equip your car with safety features like seatbelt pretensioners and additional airbags to save on your rates.
  • Antitheft devices. If your vehicle is equipped with alarms or other theft deterrents, you might be eligible for a discount.
  • Low-mileage drivers. People who drive less frequently could see lower rates. Or consider use-based car insurance, where cost is based on how much you drive.
  • Defensive driving. You could get a discount for completing a driver training or defensive driving course.
  • Multicars. Most insurers offer savings for bundling multiple vehicles under the same insurance policy.
  • Telematics device. Increasingly, providers are adopting telematics devices that track your driving habits for lower rates.

Compare car insurance providers for learner drivers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Available states
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
Liberty Mutual
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All 50 states
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Root
Optional
No
AZ, AR, DE, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MT, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, TX, UT
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save. Available in 20 states.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
All states except AK, DE, HI, MT, NH, VT, WY
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go. Available in 42 states.
Metromile
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
USAA
Optional
No
All 50 states
USAA offers affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service to millions of military members and their families. Only available to military members, veterans and affiliated military members.

Compare up to 4 providers

Preparing your car for a learning driver

If you’re learning to drive or planning on teaching someone how to, learn all that you can about your state’s road laws and prepare your car before getting behind the wheel.

  • Embrace the rules of the road. Know how your state applies driving laws and speed limits, and run through basic driving scenarios before you pull out of the driveway.
  • Minimize distractions. There’s a whole lot to get used to when driving a car for the first time. Get comfortable by adjusting seating and mirror positions before driving. Turn the radio off and put mobile phones away so that the driver can focus.
  • Get familiar with car controls. Any new driver will need to understand the car’s controls before hitting the open road. Demonstrate the turn signals, windshield wipers and headlights, and explain what to look for in the fuel, engine temperature and oil pressure gauges.
  • Check equipment. Make sure your vehicle is prepared for your neighborhood’s road conditions and that all equipment operates properly. This includes headlights, tail lights, windshield wipers, brakes and tires.

Did you know?

Most states require learners to log a specific number of driving hours before graduating to an intermediate or full license. Those supervising learning drivers must also:

  • Own a valid US driver’s license.
  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Stay in the passenger seat at all times.
  • Avoid drugs or alcohol while supervising.

Don’t want the pressure of teaching? Consider a driving school.

Driving schools are designed to help new drivers learn the ropes from an accredited driving instructor. By completing training, your learning driver can acquire the skills and confidence needed to become a safe and competent driver.

Find a legitimate driving school by asking about:

  • Accreditation. Accredited driving instructors must pass a state-administered exam, be at least 21 years old and maintain a satisfactory driving record.
  • Cost. Lessons can range from $50 to $75 or more, depending on your area. A comprehensive driving school may allow you to bundle multiple lessons beyond simple road knowledge.
  • Insurance. Ask whether the school has appropriate insurance in place to provide coverage if your driver is involved in an accident while in the instructor’s car.

When can a learning driver upgrade to a full license?

StateLearner’s permitRestricted licenseFull license
Alabama151617
Alaska141616.5
Arizona15.51616.5
Arkansas141616.5
California15.51617
Colorado151617
Connecticut1616.318
Delaware1616.517
Washington, DC1616.518
Florida151618
Georgia151618
Hawaii15.51617
Idaho14.51516
Illinois151618
Indiana1516.518
Iowa141617
Kansas141616.5
Kentucky1616.517
Louisiana151617
Maine151616.5
Maryland15.7516.518
Massachusetts1616.518
Michigan14.751617
Minnesota151616.5
Mississippi151616.5
Missouri151618
Montana14.51516
Nebraska151617
Nevada15.51618
New Hampshire15.51617.1
New Jersey161718
New Mexico1515.516.5
New York1616.517 with classes; 18 without
North Carolina151616.5
North Dakota141516
Ohio15.51618
Oklahoma15.51616.5
Oregon151617
Pennsylvania1616.517 with classes; 18 without
Rhode Island1616.517.5
South Carolina1515.516.5
South Dakota1414.516
Tennessee151617
Texas151618
Utah151617
Vermont151616.5
Virginia15.516.2518
Washington151617
West Virginia151617
Wisconsin15.51616.75
Wyoming151616.5

Bottom line

New drivers have a lot to worry about, from passing the driver’s test and following the rules of the road to getting insured to drive the family car. Adding your learner driver to your car insurance isn’t cheap, but it is the best way to get them the coverage they need to stay safe on the road. Compare car insurance rates to make sure you’re getting the best deal for you and your new driver.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

Frequently asked questions

Picture: Shutterstock

Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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