Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 13, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  •  It’s against the law not to have car insurance
  •  Not all companies will cover your teen as they become drivers
  • The policy on the insurance may change as your teen goes to college

The time has finally come for your teenager to begin learning how to drive.

Of course you, the parent, will be paying most of the bills and have come to the realization that you have more than a few questions about how this process works.

Fortunately, insuring your teen is not as complicated as it may seem. Let’s look at the most popular questions about insuring teen drivers.

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When does my teen need insurance?


As soon as your teenager starts driving, you should notify your insurance carrier.

Some companies will not insure a teenager until they have a full license, while other companies prefer that you insure your child as soon as they get their permit.

So before your teen gets behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to check your state guidelines for insurance as well as talk to your insurance agent about whether or not your child should be listed on your policy.

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Will my teenager need car insurance with a permit?

Many companies will automatically cover your child while they are driving with a learner’s permit.

The only way to know which scenario applies is to check with your agent to find out.

However, some companies will require your teen to be listed on the policy as soon as they get their permit.

Does my teenager need car insurance without a car?


You may think that your teen won’t need insurance until they have their own car.

However, the truth is, if your child has a valid driver’s license, he or she must be listed on an insurance policy to be covered.

Do not assume that your auto policy automatically covers all household residents.

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Should my teenager get their own policy?

Generally speaking, it is usually cheaper to add a teen to a parent’s policy than it is to start a new policy covering only the teenager.

The exceptions to this are:

  • If one or both parents have an expensive vehicle, it may be cheaper to insure a teen on their own policy if they will be exclusively driving their own, older-model vehicle
  • This prevents the insurance company from unnecessarily rating your teen as a driver on all the vehicles in the household
  • When another driver on the policy has a bad driving record or several claims, it may be cheaper to list a teen on their own policy
  • Parents with especially bad credit may find that it’s cheaper to insure their teen on a separate policy if their insurance company uses credit scores as a rating factor

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How can I insure a vehicle titled to a teen?


When parents buy a teen their first vehicle, usually the car is titled to the parents or both the teen and his parents.

If it’s more cost effective for your teen to have his or her own insurance, title the car in their name and at least one parent.

A teen whose name isn’t on the title of their car will not be able to get their own insurance policy.

Can I get insurance for a teen without a car?

Many people believe that they only need insurance if they own a car.

Even if you don’t have a car, it’s dangerous to rely on the insurance of others to protect your teen.

The best course of action is to buy a nonowner’s policy so that your teen will be covered regardless of who’s car he is driving.

How do I insure my teen in college?


Most parents don’t realize that their insurance policy may need some tweaking once their teen goes away to college.

If your child will be attending school out of state, a new policy may be required.

Since an auto policy must be written in the state where a vehicle is primarily garaged, your auto policy cannot cover a car which is in another state for the majority of the year.

Many parents find at this time in their lives that their current insurance company is not a feasible option when insuring their young driver.

The time to shop for a new policy is worth it to know that your family is getting the best value and your teen has the protection they need.

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