Updated: February 2017
A learner's permit gives a person permission to drive under certain restrictions. And, every state now has graduated drivers license (GDL) programs, according the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
So, you won't be handing over the keys completely until your learner driver has logged supervised practice behind the wheel.
If your teen is getting a learner's permit, here are a few things to consider about making sure they have appropriate car insurance coverage.
If your teen is ready to get his learner's permit, it's a good idea to notify your insurer. As a learner driver, he may be covered on your auto policy because he is using your vehicle with your permission. Once he gets his driver's license, you'll likely need to add him as a listed operator on your policy.
Keep in mind that the rules on when to add your teen driver to your policy vary by insurer. So, you may want to talk to your agent sooner rather than later to go over your options.
While your teen is learning to drive, you'll likely expect him to make a few mistakes as he learns the rules of the road. But, according to the IIHS, teen drivers are three times more likely than drivers over the age 20 to have an accident.
If a teen gets into a fender-bender while they have a learner's permit, the consequences are the same as they would be for a fully licensed driver. In other words, if your learner driver is involved in a car accident, you would file a claim with your insurer, and the coverage on your car insurance policy would typically help pay for related expenses.
The most important thing is to help keep your teen safe on the road. According to the Insurance Information Institute, states' GDL laws help teen drivers gain valuable experience as they develop into more mature drivers. Know the rules in your state, and make sure your teen is adhering to them. The IIHS encourages parents to take an active role in helping teens develop safe driving habits — being a good role model, taking part in practice driving sessions and setting rules beyond the GDL regulations.
It can be an exciting and stressful time when your child starts learning to drive. With practice and insurance protection in place, you can help your learner driver learn the rules of the road. Talk to your agent about when it's the right time to add your son or daughter to your auto policy.