Teaching a teenager to drive can be stressful. One way to reduce your stress is to make sure your auto insurance offers adequate coverage for drivers with a learner’s permit. The good news is that most auto insurance policies make it easy to add a teen (or adult!) with a learner’s permit to your coverage.
In this post, we’ll highlight key things to know about your auto insurance when someone in your household is learning to drive.
Drivers with Learner’s Permits Must Have Auto Insurance
The most important thing to know about drivers with learner’s permits is that they must be covered by auto insurance. Most carriers make it easy to add a student driver to a policy, but it may not happen automatically.
If someone in your household has a learner’s permit, reach out to your agent or carrier to find out how to include them as a covered driver on your policy.
In most cases, it’s possible to add a student driver at no additional cost, meaning your premium won’t change. Your agent can update your policy so that any drivers with learner’s permits are listed along with fully licensed drivers in the household.
It’s also possible for a student driver to get their own insurance. This might be necessary if…
- Their parents’ or guardians’ policy explicitly won’t cover them.
- They’re an adult learner. (Though in many cases, adults learning to drive can be added to the policy of whatever car they’ll be learning on.)
The bottom line: student drivers need to have auto insurance to comply with state laws in most of the country. Insurance becomes doubly important, though, in the event of a crash.
What Happens if You Get into an Accident with a Learner’s Permit?
If you get into a car crash while driving with a learner’s permit, proceed as you would regardless of your license status. That is, take care of injuries, call emergency responders if necessary, and exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved.
Once you’ve left the scene of the accident, though, your next steps will depend on whether the student driver was covered by auto insurance.
If the driver was covered, the policyholder should be able to make a claim as they normally would and receive whatever compensation their policy entitles them to.
If the student driver was not properly listed on the policy, though, the policyholder and / or car owner may be responsible for covering any crash-related costs out of pocket. Depending on the nature of the crash, those may include…
- Repair costs for one of both vehicles involved.
- Medical costs for drivers or passengers.
- Liability costs (if the student driver was negligent).
It’s also possible that there would be downstream effects on the policyholder’s auto insurance policy. If, for example, the student driver was not listed on the policy, the insurance company may penalize the policyholder, because letting a non-covered driver operate the car may be seen as breach of contract. (An insurance policy, after all, is a contract between the insurance company and the policyholder.)
Your agent can help you understand what you need to do to maintain adequate coverage.
How to Manage Premium Costs for New Drivers
While many auto insurance companies don’t increase premiums when policyholders add drivers with learner’s permits, they do typically charge more for newly licensed drivers – especially when those drivers are teens.
Why? Because newer and younger drivers tend to get in more accidents than older drivers and those with more experience. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the second most common cause of death among teenagers.
One analysis found that adding a teen boy driver to your auto insurance can increase your annual premiums by 176 percent, and adding a teen girl can increase it by 129 percent.
The good news: depending on your carrier, there may be steps you can take to reduce those premiums. These often include…
- Maintaining good grades: If the teen driver maintains a certain grade-point average, some insurers offer a premium reduction.
- Demonstrating safe driving: Maintaining a clean (accident-free) driving record for a certain amount of time may make you eligible for lower premiums. Some carriers even offer “smart” in-car devices that track driving behavior and adjust premiums accordingly.
- Completion of driving safety courses: Again, the exact requirements depend on your carrier, so be sure to ask your agent for details.
Also worth noting: all states now offer some version of “graduated” driver’s licenses, which grant different permissions to a driver based on how long they’ve been driving. The learner’s permit is the first stage of the graduated license.
Before becoming fully licensed to drive independently, some states also offer an intermediate license that requires drivers to drive supervised at night, complete additional driver’s safety courses, and maintain a driving record free of accidents. Premiums may adjust as a new driver completes each stage.
When updating your auto insurance to accommodate a new driver, be sure to indicate which stage of license they have and to update your agent when the driver moves to the next stage.
When Someone in Your Household Gets a Learner’s Permit, Contact Your Agent
One last note: not all drivers with learner’s permits are teens. Regardless of a student driver’s age, it’s best to contact your insurance agent to update your policy when someone in your household gets a learner’s permit.
Still have questions about making sure the newest driver in your household is protected? Reach out to a WE agent – WE would love to help!
The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.