So you've finally got your learner's permit! Time to hit the open road, right? Not so fast, let's stop and think for a moment. Did you know that along with your learner's permit and pending driver's license comes a whole list of responsibilities? Being a driver means controlling a very dangerous object -- a car. Everyday people are injured or killed because of poor driving, and you do not want to be one of them. You must be responsible and careful while driving at all times to ensure that those with you and around you are safe.
One responsibility you have when you start driving, even with a driver's permit, is to have insurance. Insurance protects you, those around you, and your car if you are in an accident. Car insurance pays for damages caused or received in an accident so that you are not stuck with a huge bill. Also, the law dictates that any licensed driver who is on the road must be covered by insurance. If you don't have insurance, not only are you responsible for the damages caused in an accident, but you are also facing an expensive traffic ticket and losing the privilege to drive because you were driving unisured. Every state has different laws about driving and insurance, but these guidelines will get you on the right path. Before you start driving, check with your insurance company and the laws of your state to find out about specific details that relate to your insurance responsibilities.
Now, what are the guidelines you can look to when getting your learner's permit? First, just because you have your permit does not necessarily mean you must get your own insurance policy. Most states allow those with their learner's permits who are still teens living at home to be covered by their parents' or legal guardians' insurance. This means you can drive under their supervision without technically having insurance. However, this does require you to be the dependent of someone with a current auto insurance policy. If your parent or legal guardian does not have a policy, you will not be covered. If they do, however, you do not have to be added when you get your learner's permit.
With that being said, your guardian needs to read the policy carefully to check to make sure that you do not have to be added to drive with your permit. The policy's insurance agent can also help you to determine this. Keep in mind, too, that when you are finally able to get your license, you will have to either be added to the policy or be given your own policy independent of the one your guardians own.
What about those who get their learner's permit after leaving home? Many states will allow you to be covered under the auto insurance policy of your spouse, significant other, or roommate. Depending on the insurance policy and the laws of your state, you may have to be officially added to the policy, or it may simply cover you until you get your license. Remember, even though you are an adult, you still have to drive only when there is a licensed, insured driver in the car, and chances are this will be your spouse or roommate.
Again, have the insured individual either read the policy over or check with the agent to see if you are covered when you have your permit. This will help the two of you determine if you need to be added to the policy or if you are covered simply because you live in the same house. If you are in doubt, add your name to the policy to be sure.
What if you are on your own? It is very difficult to get insurance when you do not have a license, but it is possible with a little creativity. First, if you are over sixteen it will be much easier to get insurance with just your permit. Keep in mind, however, that policies for unlicensed drivers are usually quite expensive and come with a whole bunch of rules. You also may find that you have to contact a significant number of insurance agents and insurance providers before you find on that offers this service.
This is why it is best to get your learner's permit and driver's license while living at home or with a licensed driver. Of course, this is not always possible, but when it is it is ideal. Not only will you avoid the high cost of a learner's permit policy, but you may not have to pay for insurance at all until you get your license, because the existing policy may already cover you. Trying to obtain one on your own is a lot of hassle and expense that can be avoided if you take care of getting your driver's license while you are still at home.