Does a teenager with a learner’s permit need to be listed on a parent’s policy?

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Apr 26, 2021

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When to insure teenager with learner's permit

If you have a teenager who has recently received their learner’s permit to drive, then you may (or may not have) thought about adding them to your auto insurance policy. It can be an easy thing to overlook, and many families wonder exactly when is the right time to add teen drivers to their car insurance policy.

Requirements may vary depending on your insurance carrier, but most states do not require parents to add teen drivers with a learner’s permit to their family policy until they have a valid driver’s license. At that point, they must be added to your policy and the policy for families rated appropriately (i.e. charged more).

You may be wondering if your teen has coverage when practicing driving or when taking a driver’s education course. Under the parent’s policy, most insurers provide coverage to any member of the household who has permission to use the vehicle. In this case, your teen has your permission to drive your car or truck, so they should be covered if they do indeed get into an accident.

In my case, as a parent of two teenage drivers, my auto insurance company performed a discovery that returned my first son as having a school learner’s permit. My agent contacted me regarding the insurance company’s findings, and I added him to my policy. This was several months AFTER the same agent told me I would not have to add him to my policy until he turned 16 and got his permanent license.

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What is the impact on car insurance rates?

Parents universally dread the day when they have to add a teenager to their car insurance because the drivers age will undoubtedly result in a significant rate increase with multiple licensed drivers and, importantly, insurance for teens is pricier than for most drivers. Teenagers, as inexperienced drivers, are several times more likely to be involved in crashes, so insurance carriers will factor that in and charge much higher premiums to provide coverage for them.

How can you reduce the cost of teen driver insurance?

The best way to ensure that you can (almost) afford teen car insurance is to take a serious look at the vehicle they will be driving. A teen in a high-performance sports car is a recipe for high rates, as is a teen in basically any newer vehicle that requires full coverage.

The solution to this is to provide them with a lower-cost vehicle that is maybe 8 to 10 years old. At this age, the vehicle most likely has depreciated enough that full coverage is not a necessity. Liability coverage rates will be high on anything they drive, but if you can avoid paying for comprehensive coverage and collision coverage you will save a ton on insurance premiums.

How to save when insuring a teenage driver

If your son or daughter is a good student, they may qualify for a good student discount. This is a good way to save 10-15 percent annually on insurance for teens. Additionally, if they successfully complete a certified driver’s training course, they can earn an additional discount on top of the good student credit.

There are multiple driver discounts you may qualify for to lower your rates, including a multi-car discount or multi-driver discount for multi-driver households.

If you want to make sure your teen has coverage when driving around the neighborhood, just pick up the phone and call your agent or insurance company. They will know your state’s requirements for insuring teens while they are learning to drive and give you peace of mind that junior is covered in case of an accident.

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