This topic attracts so many questions from parents and teenagers alike that it’s probably best to tackle them one by one, in a FAQ form.
My daughter just got her learner’s permit. She doesn’t have her license yet. Do I need to add her to our family’s car insurance?
It depends. Different states and different carriers have different policies -- so it’s definitely best to check in first. Always inform your insurance company when there’s a new driver in the family. Most states allow teenage drivers living at home with permits to be covered by their parents’ or guardians’ car insurance. So these drivers don’t technically need insurance, they just need to be the dependent of someone who has a policy. If no one in the household has car insurance the driver with the permit cannot be insured.
My insurance provider actually does require that my teenager does have coverage. What’s the next step?
This is usually called temporary car insurance. Ask your provider for a quote; it shouldn’t cause a major jump in your monthly premium. If the new policy or temporary policy represents a large spike in your monthly costs you should shop around for a more affordable option.
What about car insurance coverage for drivers with learners permits -- who don’t live at home?
In this case getting covered by a parent’s or guardian’s existing policy is not an option. This is where a group policy with a partner or friend might come in handy. The only requirement here are that you live with the person who has the policy and that he/she is in the car whenever you drive.
I just got my learner’s permit? Can I just do nothing about my car insurance?
This is a bad idea. Drivers with permits usually don’t have their licenses yet for a reason -- they still need to beef up their road knowledge and experience. Drivers with permits get into thousands of accidents each every year; the only way to mitigate against very high liability costs is by contacting car insurances carriers and being transparent about your situation. The market will cater to your needs, and it’s not even that costly.