Do You Need Car Insurance for a Learner’s Permit in New York?

Last Updated on October 7, 2020

It is an excellent feat for a young teenager to get their learner’s permit; however, it can be challenging to know the dos and don’ts involved with having a child who has a learner’s permit. A common question often brought up when getting a learner’s permit is, “do you need insurance for a learner’s permit?”

Do You Need Car Insurance for a Learner’s Permit in New York?The easy answer is yes. The young driver’s vehicle needs to be insured; however, young teenagers in New York do not need to have their own insurance policy when driving on a learner’s permit. Once the driver starts to operate independently, they will need to be covered on insurance whether they have their own policy or are added to a parent’s policy.

First Step to Getting Insured

The first step after your teenager has received their permit is to notify your vehicle insurance carrier. Talk with your insurer to see what their requirements are for a driver with a learner’s permit. They may want you to add them to the policy then or tell you they are already covered.

Checking with your insurance company will allow you to consider any particular circumstances that may come up and begin discussing what to do once they earn their unrestricted license.

Not Allowed to Buy Own Insurance Policy

It is very uncommon for an insurance company to allow a teenager under 18 to have their own policy. This is because it is illegal for a minor to enter into a contract. Teenagers with learner’s permits are no exception.

One exception to this is if the teenager has his/her own vehicle meaning the parent is not on the registration.  They will need to have their own insurance policy, but they will need an adult on the policy.

Types of Licenses for Teenagers

There are three types of licenses for teenagers in the state of New York. These types are learner’s permit, junior driver’s license, and an unrestricted license.

Learner’s Permit

Teenagers can apply for a learner’s permit at the age of 16 in New York.  Several regulations and items needed to be considered for a learner’s permit, including proof of residency and a social security card.  They must know traffic laws, traffic signs, and road work zones.

There are restrictions the driver must follow, including have an adult over the age of 21 in the front seat. There are some exceptions to the different rules depending on which region of New York State you inhabit.

The teenage driver does not need to have their own insurance policy; however, the vehicle they are driving must have insurance. This insurance needs to meet at least the state minimum requirements. 

Junior Driver’s License

Once the 16-year-old teenager has held a learner’s permit with no problems or suspensions, they can get their junior driver’s license. A driving log must be submitted with the application that shows 50 hours of driving time and 15 hours of nighttime driving.

The purpose behind the junior’s driver license is to allow for more freedom but still have supervision.  A driver’s education course must be completed to receive a junior driver’s license.

Again, like the learner’s purpose, the driver does not need to have their own policy, but the vehicle must be insured.

Unrestricted license

An unrestricted license is a standard driver’s license. A teenage driver will qualify for an unrestricted license at 17 after completing a driver’s education program. When a driver turns 18, the junior license will automatically upgrade to an unrestricted license.

Once a teenage driver has received their unrestricted license, they must be placed on an insurance policy or have their own insurance policy.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Penalties can transpire when a teenage driver drives a vehicle without insurance. These penalties can include a monetary fine, jail time, or a revoked license. The registration on the car can also be suspended without insurance.

Adding a Teen to an Existing Policy

Although it is not required to add a teenager with a learner’s permit to an existing policy, it is a good idea to do it anyway.  Accidents happen, and the teenager can be at fault, adding the teenager to the policy will allow the insurance to help offset the accident’s cost. Simply contact your insurance agent to make this change.

Notifying Your Insurance Carrier

It is essential to notify your insurance carrier about the new teenage driver who has a learner’s permit. Insurance companies often have different requirements regarding learner’s permits.  Depending on your policy and coverage, merely having them drive a car already listed on the policy with your permission may give them insurance coverage. Notifying your insurance carrier of the new driver with a learner’s permit will help you know what steps to take to ensure everything is in order.

Buying a New Insurance Policy

If adding your new driver to your insurance policy isn’t something you want to do, once they reach 18, they can purchase an individual new policy. When purchasing a new policy, some things to keep in mind are to ensure your policy covers the state minimum coverage requirements, and be sure to shop around. Expect to pay a large sum as new drivers are more expensive to insure. Also, be sure to be upfront about your driver’s permit status when looking for a new policy.

Final Words of Caution

Don’t try hiding your teenager from your insurance carrier. There could be penalties for doing so, including dropping of coverage.  Some companies require all household drivers to be listed on the policy. Other companies do not. Adding your new driver to your policy will be expensive, but not doing so could be even more costly, especially if your teenager with a learner’s permit is at fault for an accident.

Don’t have a current insurance carrier or want to find a cheaper one to add your new driver on? Let us help. Scroll to the top of the page, enter your zip code, and get started today.

Other Resources

https://teendriving.aaa.com/NY/supervised-driving/insurance-vehicles/insurance/#:~:text=New%20York%20teens%20driving%20on,their%20own%20auto%20insurance%20policies.

https://www.carinsurance.com/insurance-without-license-new-york.aspx

https://www.williammattar.com/blog/auto-accident/new-yorks-teen-drivers-license-and-insurance-requirements/

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