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Can you get car insurance with a permit?

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After you get a learner’s permit, car insurance is the next stage of driving to consider. Every driver, whether licensed or provisional, needs to be covered by car insurance before they can get behind the wheel. If you live alone or your parents don’t have insurance, you might be wondering can you get car insurance with a permit. In this article, we’ll explain if you can get insurance in that circumstance, and if you need a license to purchase a car.

Can you buy car insurance with a learner’s permit?

Yes, it is possible to purchase car insurance with just a learner’s permit. However, it’s much more difficult than getting insurance as a licensed driver. Only a handful of car insurance companies will sell a car insurance policy to a provisional driver.

In order to purchase car insurance with a permit, most insurance companies will expect you to get a driver’s license within a certain period of time. For instance, you could be required to take your driver’s test within 30-45 days after buying a policy. If you’re under 18, some insurance companies will ask you to have a parent or other licensed adult sign a policy with you.

How to buy auto insurance with a driver’s permit

Many young provisional drivers are able to be added to their parent’s car insurance policy while they have a permit. However, individuals who live alone, are older or can’t join an existing policy will need to purchase their own car insurance. These are the essential steps to get car insurance with a permit: 

  • Shop around: Start by shopping around for companies that offer insurance to provisional drivers. You may need to spend a few hours calling around to see which providers will even offer you this option.
  • Know the requirements: When calling agents, ask about the requirements for provisional drivers. You may need to sign a policy with another licensed driver or certify that you are eligible for a license within a certain period of time. 
  • Get quotes: Next, get quotes from the providers you discovered. Pay attention to the coverage options and discounts offered. Apply for several quotes so you can compare rates side-by-side.
  • Sign a policy: The last step is to sign a policy and choose your policy’s start date. Remember that you must have an active policy before you can legally drive on your own.

Most national car insurance providers don’t sell insurance for permit drivers. Insuring provisional drivers is risky for insurance companies because it is presumed that provisional drivers lack experience. This is especially true for teen drivers. If you’re shopping for auto insurance with a driver’s permit, consider looking at smaller, local providers first.

What factors play a role in insurance rates?

When you purchase car insurance with a learner’s permit, your premium depends on a few different factors. These factors can also determine how easy it will be for you to purchase a car insurance policy in the first place.

Who you live with

The people you live with have a big impact on your ability to get car insurance, and in determining the cost. If you live with a parent or spouse who has car insurance, their policy may automatically extend coverage to you. This isn’t always the case, so it’s a good idea to verify your status as a provisional driver. Make sure your parent or spouse tells the insurance company that you are joining their policy with a learner’s permit.

However, getting added to a parent’s insurance policy means their rate will increase. If you’re a teen driver, your parent’s can expect their rate to increase an average of 130%. Fortunately, there are ways that your parents can lower their premium. If you’re a good student, they may qualify for a discount. Most insurance companies also offer savings for taking a defensive driving course, being claims-free, bundling policies and paying the annual premium in full.

If you live alone

If you live alone, it can be difficult to purchase permit insurance. It means you are likely not covered by a parent or spouse’s insurance policy, and provisional drivers who live alone usually pay high premiums for their car insurance. However, you can still take advantage of discounts to lower your premium. When you’re shopping for insurance, make sure to get several quotes to verify you’re getting the lowest rate.

How old you are

Another factor that impacts your car insurance rate is your age. Generally speaking, a 16-year-old provisional driver is going to pay much more than a 30-year-old provisional driver. The younger you are, the higher your premium will be. Keep in mind that some car insurance companies require provisional drivers under 18 to sign a policy with another licensed adult, like a parent or guardian. Insurance discounts can help lower your premium if you are a young driver.

Can you buy a car with a permit?

Yes, you can purchase a car with just a learner’s permit. In fact, it’s relatively easy to buy a car with a permit because car dealerships don’t require car buyers to have a valid driver’s license. However, there is one catch—you must have an active car insurance policy before you can drive off the lot.

In order to register the car with your state’s department of motor vehicles, you have to show proof of insurance or financial responsibility, depending on what your state requires. If you buy a car and don’t have proper insurance, you can’t legally drive the vehicle.

The takeaway

  • It is possible to purchase car insurance with a learner’s permit, but it’s typically not easy.
  • Provisional drivers should first try to get coverage through a parent or spouse.
  • Young provisional drivers can expect to pay a higher premium for their insurance.

Provisional drivers can technically purchase their own car insurance policy. However, only a small number of insurance companies offer it, and the policies tend to be very expensive. Before you buy a policy, see if you can join a parent or spouse’s policy first. To avoid a rate hike, you may be able to apply discounts for being a good student or taking a defensive driving course. If you’re shopping for a new car, you don’t need an insurance policy in order to make the purchase. But if you want to drive off the lot, you will need coverage.

Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth is an insurance writer for coverage.com, where she covers insurance providers and reviews policies to help consumers find comprehensive and affordable coverage for every area of their life. She has more than three years of writing experience for top online insurance and finance publications.

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